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mack_turtle

Night-riding lights

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Yup, my cheapo lights have a battery warning light that works most of the time, but when they go out, they go out. There is no dimming, or reduced power-save mode. They go black.

But since I always ride with two and an extra battery in the pack, I've never been all of a sudden riding blind.

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I've been running two niteriders for a while now. One on the helmet (950, narrow beam) and one on the bars (1200, wider beam). The weight on the helmet is borderline, but as long as the cinch dial is snug, it doesn't bother me too much. I also 3D printed a sexy mount for it, so it's lighter and not sticking up so high.

I really like the convenience of the all in one Luminas. I used to have lights with separate batteries, and there's just so much less to keep track of now 🙂

IMG_20190924_163924812.thumb.jpg.717a57b9312849743a485606356639a6.jpg

Although Tip has me thinking... might try to rig a side mount like that up someday. Looks pretty trick.

Edited by schoolie
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I have a Bontrager Ion 800 RT that's pretty sweet. It's bright enough for road or gravel rides by itself and nice because it's all self contained. Most of my rides that require lights have been of this variety lately. I especially like it for those times where 80% of the ride will be daylight. I can just put one unit on the bars, a red flashy in the back, and that's it. 

I had the original Magic Shine, but the battery failed on me mid-ride on some gnarly shit in BCGB. It didn't just run out. It was completely fried. Luckily, I was riding with another guy running the same light and had an extra battery in his pack. I would have been walking out with a cell phone light if I was alone or with a less prepared riding partner. For trail riding, one on the bars and one on the helmet is a minimum. At least if one fails, you can limp home on one or the other. I think I bought a replacement battery and another light+battery at the same time, but the light only worked for one or two rides, so I got another (nicer) one off Amazon.  Now, I don't ride trails at night much anymore and can never remember which ones work and which ones don't. Once I figure it out, they work pretty well.

I haven't done a legit trail ride since getting the Bontrager. I'd probably bring all 3. Worrying about vital equipment failing on a ride is sort of a buzzkill.

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I keep one good one on helmet (Glowworm) and one amazon cheapo head lamp with a decent quality battery pack, like a Magic Shine. I have had good luck with MagicShine batteries but I do see what you reported there, notyal.

The likelihood of TWO separate systems going out at the same time is very low.

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7 hours ago, mack_turtle said:

I am trying to picture this, but failing. Where and how was the light attached? What kind of light?

It was strapped around the head tube, then its base swiveled to to point up/down. It was an old halogen Somethin'-Or-Other 3000.

Bikes don't have head tubes anymore, or many flat surfaces to stick a mount to.

7 hours ago, RedRider3141 said:

I don't have a problem mounting to the handlebars for my secondary light, it does wiggle a bit but my helmet light minimizes the effect.

Having a broad beam would also reduce with the wiggles, but I didn't try that.

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Another vote for cheapo amazon magic shine knockoffs. $25, lives on helmet w battery pack. Rock all day, rock all night, baby.

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I just placed an order for a downhill package from these guys: https://www.outboundlighting.com/
These actually look rather nice. The trail light at least. I do think you get what you pay in regards to build quality and dependability and ease. Looks like a good product option.
That warranty is pretty cool

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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22 hours ago, schoolie said:

 I also 3D printed a sexy mount for it, so it's lighter and not sticking up so high.

IMG_20190924_163924812.thumb.jpg.717a57b9312849743a485606356639a6.jpg

You're going to make more of those, right? Sign me up. I have a strap-on mount for my NiteRider and I hate how tall it is. I use a Livestrong bracelet instead.

Edited by mack_turtle

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2 hours ago, mack_turtle said:

You're going to make more of those, right? Sign me up. I have a strap-on mount for my NiteRider and I hate how tall it is. I use a Livestrong bracelet instead.

It's a little tricky, since there's no adjustment. I had to print a couple before I got the beam in the right spot. If anyone else has a new model Fox Flux helmet, I'd be happy to give it a shot.

If you're into CAD/3D printing, I'll send you the file to tweak it and try it out.

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With today's lights NEVER have only one light. It used to be the light got dimmer and dimmer as the battery ran down. Now days the light goes from full brightness to OFF in a second. If you only have one light it goes from good light to no light in that second. Murphy's Law says that one second will be just before you hit that big drop.

I have a cheap Amazon light on my handlebars and an Ayup on my helmet. The helmet light is mounted forward on my helmet so it is not the tallest part of my helmet. Its battery in my jersey pocket or Camelbak.

I quit keeping the "spare" light on my bars. If it is not in my pack it either gets used or has the same problem as the light it was supposed to back up. Now I need to remember to pull it out and charge it occasionally.

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4 hours ago, TheX said:

Got the helmet light figured out.

 

helmet-light.thumb.jpg.04c0bfd1a15ba34dd70e65e900877900.jpg

What's that hanging to the left of the 12-string?

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6 hours ago, TAF said:

What's that hanging to the left of the 12-string?

It's a Soloette classical travel guitar.

soloette.thumb.jpg.e053a1e3d3893c9e718b4c58f2d36767.jpg

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I guess I need to charge my lights since it’s not getting any cooler after work lately. I’ve ridden only Niterider lights since I got my first 15w halogen in the late 90’s. I’m up to a 1400 lumen LED but I rarely use high and mainly l upgraded because I can easily get 3-4 hours out of it on a single charge. Every Niterider helmet light I’ve had since the early 2000’s has a limp mode. They don’t just go dark. When it drops to dim you’ve got at least 15-20 min to get out before it dies. I have several all in one Lumina lites of various lumens I used for commuting over the years and run one on medium when I ride stuff like brushy to add some shadows to pickup rocks.

I learned this setup tip early on so I got comfortable with less light and reduced peripheral vision. Put helmet on, walk up to your car/a tree and mark a spot at the height of your eyes. Backup 2-3 bike lengths and fix your eyes on that spot while adjusting beam center to hit that spot. I.e. the peak of the beam falls where your gaze tends to fall on the trail. Set your bar light to fall between bike and headlight beam to create shadows for better depth perception to pickup obstacles. I find when lights are super bright it tends to wash out the white limestone and I’m hitting more stuff. I also ride with yellow lens cheapo shooting glasses to up the contrast. I love all the cool stuff you see at night and there’s no dogs to dodge at walnut. But watch out for the killer bunnies!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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My MiNewt is perched directly on top of my handlebar. This position puts the light behind the brake hoses on my bike and, try as I might, there seems to be no practical way to reposition the hoses to avoid the shadows that creates. So I'd like to reposition the headlight. I have a secondary light on my helmet that is fine where it is.

What model, brackets, alternatives have you tried to raise and push forward your handlebar light? I see a ton of generic versions of brackets like the one below, how well do those work?

sgs400std_blank.jpg

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I have tried a few iterations of lights lately. mostly SATN rides, but last night riding BCGB was a much harier experience. I used to be terrified of BCGB but nothing about it scares me now. what does bug me is mandatory hike-bike routes and loose terrain downhills with insufficient lighting and line-of-sight in the dark. but that sketchiness is part of what made it fun!

I started with the MiNewt 750 on the handlebar  but the off-center position and shadows from the brake hoses always bugged me:

then I figured out how to mount the same light on the front of the stem:

 

finally, I bought a bracket on ebay for under $10, it gets the light higher and further forward, but the front tire still casts a shadow on the trail in in front of me:

I think I am going about this wrong. a light on my head and on my handlebar still produces a very flat light. what I probably need is another light on my handlebar, and space them out a few inches from the center. that would create a binocular kind of vision and the two lights would cancel out the shadows that each creates. thinking out loud: two self-contained lights (how bright?), single battery pack with two heads on it, or just throw whatever extra light on the bar? anyone using two handlebar lights for this reason?

Screenshot_20191004-192638_Photos.jpg

Screenshot_20191004-192640_Photos.jpg

Screenshot_20191004-192641_Photos.jpg

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You say that you still have really flat light on the trail but you’re wanting more lights to eliminate shadows.

I see two problems.

First, why are you worried about the shadow your front tire makes? You need to be looking further down the trail. Any shadow there is illuminated by your helmet light if you do need to look closer to the front of the bike.

Second, the more lights you have at different angles, the less shadows you will have. Which will make the light flatter, giving you less depth perception of the trail surface.

Your handlebar should be a flood, your helmet should be a spotlight. Anything else is too much. If you don’t like the light you’re getting from the two, then switch to lights with brighter light or a better light pattern. Shadows behind rocks and roots are good.

*bonus tip: Glad Press’n’Seal wrap over the lens makes a really good diffuser.


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On 9/24/2019 at 7:53 AM, Cafeend said:

I cut a old water bottle in half and I put the battery in a glove inside the cut water bottle and they are in the water bottle cage on the downtube.
 

This is really a good idea. I absolutely HATE that my battery is a velcro attachment to the frame, it bangs around a lot. I have been able to rig something up for my SS on the stem, but for my FS the stem will be too short for that.

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2 hours ago, Teamsloan said:

First, why are you worried about the shadow your front tire makes? You need to be looking further down the trail. Any shadow there is illuminated by your helmet light if you do need to look closer to the front of the bike.

Second, the more lights you have at different angles, the less shadows you will have. Which will make the light flatter, giving you less depth perception of the trail surface.

Your handlebar should be a flood, your helmet should be a spotlight. Anything else is too much. If you don’t like the light you’re getting from the two, then switch to lights with brighter light or a better light pattern. Shadows behind rocks and roots are good.

I see what you're saying and it inspired me to try something: I have my helmet light, which is less powerful, pointed more upward and use it to look down the trail. I have my more powerful handlebar light pointed more directly in front of my tire. I'll try reversing those. I do feel the need to have as much light directly in front of me for navigating ledges and loose stuff so I can make micro adjustments.

The segment where this posed the biggest problem was a narrow, ledgy, twisty, overgrown downhill segment near HOL, and it's possible that nothing would have made that part less sketchy other than slowing down. But who's got time for slowing down?

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Yes, flip them around. You want the brightest lights where your eyes are pointed. Your bars aren’t always pointed in the direction you want to aim the bike. Your eyes will be. By micro adjustments I’d assume you mean moving the bars left/right which will shine the light away from the ledge. Your eyes will still be focused first on the ledge then on the runout. Old MTB mantra, where your eyes go your ass follows.

 

 

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