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New to night riding, what light to get?

Nov. 26, 2007, 5:53 p.m.
Posts: 402
Joined: July 8, 2005

i'd carry 3 HIDs on the helmet before putting anything on the handlebars … dont believe me then do your own tests … we have tried it all …

I've done the tests and concluded that I like bar mounts. They cast shadows that you can see which makes drops and rocks stand out better. So I've got 2 bar mounts with one flood and one spot. I also have a helmet mount as well.

Mine are all LED lights which are probably equivalent to a 15ish halogen. No they are not as bright as HID's, but they don't require ballasts to kick them off and have much longer lifespans. Also the power consumption is lower so you can run smaller capacity batteries and still get 3-4 hours of run time at full power (or 7ish at lower settings).

The new Lupine LED based light (Wilma?) is supposedly extremely bright, but carries an extremely high price tag (~$1000!!!!). A couple friends are getting sets so it will be interesting to see how they work.

Back to the original post, a 10W halogen is just adequate. Moving up to 15W is probably a good investment. BLT makes some good lights at decent prices. Start off with one set (helmet mount). If you get hooked on night riding then you can upgrade with a second one for a bar mount.

I carry one of those small LED headlamps with me as a emergency back-up which I will also use to climb with if there isn't enough moonlight. That way you're not using your main light and killing run time. And if your lights do die for some reason, you'll still be able to get down the hill.

Dave K (Oops. didn't notice that I was logged in as mudhoney. Oh well)

Nov. 26, 2007, 5:57 p.m.
Posts: 3736
Joined: July 25, 2004

HID's are obsolete. Believe it. I myself own a high-end HID set, and while it's been great, the new high-output LED's are unbelieveable. My buddy just picked up a Night Rider Tri-Newt. It's pretty much as bright as my HID (I didn't believe it until I saw it). Considering that the LED bulbs are far more reliable, have slightly better run times, use lighter batteries, and cost less; I wouldn't even consider an HID today. The trick is actually getting your hands on one of these sets. Night Rider has been sold out of them because they're selling like hot-cakes. I believe North Shore Bike Shop has a bunch of Tri-Newts in stock though.

Apparently there's some crazy German company selling an LED set that's TWICE as bright as an HID. I think it's uber-expensive, but regardless, LED's are the way to go.

Lupine is the company, and Betty is the light model.

I don't think led's are quite there yet. The batteries are not light from what I have seen. The Trinewt is about twice the size as the ones for the HID both Lithium ion. And the light head for the trinewt is heavier that the HID. Heavy light heads for the helmet is not good for me. I get a pretty sore neck early in the night riding season if I overdo it. But I do believe that LED's will take over soon.

Take a look at the Lupine, the LED light heads they offer aren't as unnecessarily heavy as the Tri-Newt and the also offer even more light output. The batteries should not be abnormally heavy either…

And just so I have actually contributed a bit, I would recommend seeing if you can manage a TrailTech (single MR11).

22 Pride

Nov. 26, 2007, 6:54 p.m.
Posts: 5225
Joined: July 22, 2003

so many options really, especially if you don't mind doing some work …

if you ride even once a week for 2 years you may regret not getting the HID in a few years. yeah it costs a lot of money but it will last 3-4+ years and over that time if you get out lots you won't regret it. if you check out the prices of the trailtech HIDs and a battery from batteryspace.com you'll see it's not as much as you might think. the trailtech ones are pretty solid too, no issues.

or you can build a 50W halogen setup if you can build things and you don't mind the weight of a big lead acid battery. this is probably the most light for the bucks out there. thedude on this board did a write up on this and it's actually a pretty slick setup for a home made.

but i wouldn't drop that $200 at bike store … maybe online for an LED setup.

Nov. 26, 2007, 7:51 p.m.
Posts: 2121
Joined: Nov. 6, 2005

Just picked up a Cygolite TridenX LED light with Lithium Ion battery. This is easily brighter than the Niterider Storm 2.0 HID system I used to have. Total system weight of the Cygolite is [HTML_REMOVED] 300 grams while the Niteride was 900 grams. I think its safe to say that the LED can suitably replace HID as the dominant light technology. I've also compared the Cygolite TridenX against the Niterider Trinewt and would definitely give the nod to the Cygolite. Overall system weight is half the Trinewt, that's a big difference especially if you are running the helmet mount.

And I picked it up online for $230 which was a total deal. I would suspect that it retails somewhere around the $450-$500 point if purchased from a shop.

Nov. 26, 2007, 9:12 p.m.
Posts: 261
Joined: Oct. 15, 2003

I am in the market for a light. Can I ask where you made the comparison between the trinewt and the Cygolite. Where did you get the light for 220?

Thanks

Nov. 26, 2007, 9:58 p.m.
Posts: 33676
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Total system weight of the Cygolite is [HTML_REMOVED] 300 grams while the Niteride was 900 grams.

These guys say it's 525 for the battery and light:
http://www.blueskycycling.com/product3883_9_-Cygolite-TridenX-LED-Headlight-NiMH.htm

But that's still a lot less than the NiteRider. Only issue with the Niterider is that the battery pack is actually 2 NiMh packs put together, so it weighs a fair bit. Fortunately that's not an issue when mounting it to the frame or putting it in a backpack.

If you can go Lithium for a battery pack, then do so, as it's a fair bit lighter for a given amount of power.

With regards to handlebar mounting, I like it because the light is a lot lower (I mount the lights below the bar so they have some protection in case of a crash). This illuminates the terrain differently, and when the air is misty (which it is most of the time around here), it cuts through a lot better (like fog lights). The other day I road by two riders going the opposite direction, and one had a light on the helmet and bar, and the second had a light on the helmet and two on the bar.

I'm going with two on the bar, with one aimed at about 10 feet, and one at 25 feet.

Get this light - 750 grams and 4 hours of runtime:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/14898-225_NITED6-2-Accessories-35-Lights/Niterider-Enduro-HID-Bike-Light-offerIN070BB1.htm?zmam=3075515[HTML_REMOVED]zmas=1[HTML_REMOVED]zmac=20[HTML_REMOVED]zmap=14898

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
- Josiah Stamp

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
- H.G. Wells

Nov. 26, 2007, 10:41 p.m.
Posts: 18059
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Get this light - 750 grams and 4 hours of runtime:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/14898-225_NITED6-2-Accessories-35-Lights/Niterider-Enduro-HID-Bike-Light-offerIN070BB1.htm?zmam=3075515[HTML_REMOVED]zmas=1[HTML_REMOVED]zmac=20[HTML_REMOVED]zmap=14898

that's what i have, on my helmet - it's amazing. i'd like to try one of those cygolites for my bars.

Nov. 27, 2007, 9:27 a.m.
Posts: 5731
Joined: June 24, 2003

back to the original question, which was NOT "should I run 3 or 4 HID's on my helmet…"

a 10W halogen helmet mounted light with a battery that has at least an hour and a half run time is the bare minimum for night riding. Always ride with a friend who also has lights, in case yours crap out in the middle of nowhere. The more you pay, the better you'll get, and you'll find that you'll want to upgrade as you do more night riding.

Good point. I actually checked out a Trinewt last night. The battery is not much heavier than the Li ion for my Niterider HID, bit it is longer. Still an easy carry in a jersey pocket or pack. But I haven't seen a light by light coparu=ison on the trail which is the real test. The tri newt does look very bright in the shop. My buddy got one and he claims it's as bright as his HID, but he doesn't trail ride. The lih=ght head is heavier than my Niterider HID light bnut I hear it mounts on top of the helmet which mitigates the negative affects of the weight.

As to a 10 watt halogen helmet being the minimum required. I agree and disagree. I whole hartedly recommend at least that, but also I recall night riding in the 80's in the UBC Endowment Lands in packs of 10 to 20 riders every Wednesday night and all we had were generators and Union globes with 3 watt incadescent bulbs. We managed. The genarator on the fork was the hot set up because if you locked up the back wheel, no light. Plus yopu could pick up the front of the bike when you stopped to spin the wheel to see something before attempting to go.

Debate? Bikes are made for riding not pushing.

Nov. 27, 2007, 10:49 a.m.
Posts: 2121
Joined: Nov. 6, 2005

These guys say it's 525 for the battery and light:
http://www.blueskycycling.com/product3883_9_-Cygolite-TridenX-LED-Headlight-NiMH.htm

But that's still a lot less than the NiteRider. Only issue with the Niterider is that the battery pack is actually 2 NiMh packs put together, so it weighs a fair bit. Fortunately that's not an issue when mounting it to the frame or putting it in a backpack.

If you can go Lithium for a battery pack, then do so, as it's a fair bit lighter for a given amount of power.

With regards to handlebar mounting, I like it because the light is a lot lower (I mount the lights below the bar so they have some protection in case of a crash). This illuminates the terrain differently, and when the air is misty (which it is most of the time around here), it cuts through a lot better (like fog lights). The other day I road by two riders going the opposite direction, and one had a light on the helmet and bar, and the second had a light on the helmet and two on the bar.

I'm going with two on the bar, with one aimed at about 10 feet, and one at 25 feet.

Get this light - 750 grams and 4 hours of runtime:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/14898-225_NITED6-2-Accessories-35-Lights/Niterider-Enduro-HID-Bike-Light-offerIN070BB1.htm?zmam=3075515[HTML_REMOVED]zmas=1[HTML_REMOVED]zmac=20[HTML_REMOVED]zmap=14898

The 525 grams you mention is for the NiMH battery option. I have the Lithium Ion battery and the system weight is 290 grams (light + battery). I have verified this on my own scale. If you add the helmet mount plus longer patch cord the whole system weight increases slightly to 350 grams. I don't run the light on my bars, only the helmet, where extra weight is not desirable. The light itself weighs 115 grams (verified). A lot better than most HID systems. Here's the link:

http://www.cygolite.com/2-Products/18-TridenX-LiIon.htm

P.S. I got mine on Ebay…lucky timing.

Nov. 27, 2007, 11:07 a.m.
Posts: 15175
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I like something on the helmet otherwise you can't see where you are looking ,I point the 10w down at the trail and the 15W way out in front .Going up I use just the 10 OR let buddy go ahead,turn it off [HTML_REMOVED] draft off buddies residule beam but I like having that helmet light pointing where ever I am looking .I use the 10 [HTML_REMOVED] the 15 going down .

the led flashlight is a good backup

My blt light swithc is on the helmet ,if you switch beams while going over a bump and miss you could be riding downhill at night with no lights

Nov. 27, 2007, 12:15 p.m.
Posts: 11680
Joined: Aug. 11, 2003

I still use a halogens, but I run an 12V MR16 bulb at 14.4V. The 20[HTML_REMOVED]#37; overvolt shortens the lifespan of the bulb by 90% (5000hrs to 500hrs), but the luminous output is almost doubled. If you find a good quality Japanese projector bulb, you can get a nice tight beam with a good colour quality. I Did a ride with Timmigrant who had a Light-in-Motion ARC and we noticed that while the HID has a better colour and penetrates a bit better, my halogen was brighter. You can get light housing from MEC for about $40 and a battery with charger from www.batteryspace.com for about $100.

Nov. 27, 2007, 1:14 p.m.
Posts: 670
Joined: Sept. 14, 2003

I still use a halogens, but I run an 12V MR16 bulb at 14.4V. The 20% overvolt shortens the lifespan of the bulb by 90% (5000hrs to 500hrs), but the luminous output is almost doubled. If you find a good quality Japanese projector bulb, you can get a nice tight beam with a good colour quality. I Did a ride with Timmigrant who had a Light-in-Motion ARC and we noticed that while the HID has a better colour and penetrates a bit better, my halogen was brighter. You can get light housing from MEC for about $40 and a battery with charger from www.batteryspace.com for about $100.

Ditto on this. Pick up an old housing from someone or buy one from MEC. Most housings you will find are for MR11 bulbs though, not MR16. Order a 14.4V NiMH battery (5 Amps) and 12V bulb and you are set. You will probably have to order an extra male or female end (whichever one does not come with the battery) to wire to your light housing. Should come in at less than $200 and will be a better light than you can buy for the cost.

It's all about fun.

My Blog

Nov. 27, 2007, 1:17 p.m.
Posts: 670
Joined: Sept. 14, 2003

Ditto on this. Pick up an old housing from someone or buy one from MEC. Most housings you will find are for MR11 bulbs though, not MR16. Order a 14.4V NiMH battery (5 Amps) and 12V bulb and you are set. You will probably have to order an extra male or female end (whichever one does not come with the battery) to wire to your light housing. Should come in at less than $200 and will be a better light than you can buy for the cost.

This is the one from MEC that I run.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442095071[HTML_REMOVED]FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692895[HTML_REMOVED]bmUID=1196198145404

It's all about fun.

My Blog

Nov. 27, 2007, 2:22 p.m.
Posts: 11680
Joined: Aug. 11, 2003

This is the one from MEC that I run.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442095071[HTML_REMOVED]FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302692895[HTML_REMOVED]bmUID=1196198145404

That's the one. And in my post, I meant to say I run an MR11, not MR16. The 16 is a lot bigger/brighter, but clearance could be an issue.

Couple that light with a couple of minutes soldering and this pack/charger combo, and you have a really good light system, even better if you find a nice 20W bulb. That battery isn't light, but you get 2.5 hours burn and at night, I find I need less water, so the weight is offset.

Nov. 27, 2007, 5:24 p.m.
Posts: 809
Joined: Dec. 22, 2002

Lots of great tips in this thread. A couple posts refer to US mailorder for some way better pricing on the high end LED and HID's. If you check out the "inside line" forum, you'll get a surprise - the local shops seems to be finally listening. I've been pretty critical in the past of the discrepency in prices, and stuff like L[HTML_REMOVED]M HID's were prime examples of how far apart US MSRP was from CDN MSRP.

Anyways, I'll pass along kudo's to these shops who are stepping up! I don't want to threadjack too bad but I'd add in this for those considering new light purchase: new lights can go bad. Chargers don't work, batteries have a glitch etc etc., so this is one bike accessory where you might actually need warranty and/or after-sale support. Dealing with a local shop for this is likely going to be WAY easier that dealing through US mail order shop.

NSMBA member.

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