Touring lights

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
indy
Posts: 42
Joined: 17 Jul 2010, 6:06pm

Touring lights

Postby indy » 6 Mar 2012, 6:10pm

Originally thought that the question of what lights to get would be pretty straight forward but having checked things out I find that thats not necessarily going to be the case.

As I see lights as a safety feature I'm prepared to spend a fair amount of money (without getting silly about it) on them. To be honest I thought that a top end pair could be had for around £100. Its been a bit of a shock seeing Evans with front lights ranging in prices up to £400!

My main concern is that most decent sets of lights theses days seem to work off rechargeable battery packs giving around 8hrs of usage before needing to be recharged. I'm concerned that I'm constantly going to be hopping between power points to ensure that I don't run out of power. Is a dynamo charging system an option?

Also a concern is that at these prices they become very nickable which means having to remove them and the battery pack every time I leave the bike. From what I've seen they aren't even particularly 'light' (no pun intended!)

What do people suggest as a good sold lighting system for mainly touring and commuting in a sub £200 price bracket.
Cheers

snibgo
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Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Touring lights

Postby snibgo » 6 Mar 2012, 6:21pm

If you are touring at night, dynamo is the obvious solution, eg B&M £60 front and £30 rear, plus whatever cost for the dynamo itself.

Loads of possibilities are suggested on these forums: search for "dynamo lights".

Mike Sales
Posts: 5076
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby Mike Sales » 6 Mar 2012, 6:42pm

I am a dynamo enthusiast, but if you are camping a battery lamp is useful in the tent. Myself, I prefer summer camping, and find there are ample daylight hours to satify my desire to cover the ground.

tatanab
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Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby tatanab » 6 Mar 2012, 6:43pm

For touring I use a Busch & Muller Ixon IQ front light (about £40). This lasts 20 hours on low beam which is perfectly strong enough for vigorous riding. The batteries are AA so easily replacable if needed although 20 hours exceeds my night time riding even in a month long tour. Advantages - no battery pack, light clips to a bracket you leave on the bike so you could stow the light in your baggage. Rear light is Cateye LD1100 (about £25), again with a bracket on the bike and the light stowed in luggage. This also takes AA batteries.

If you intend to do a lot of night touring then a dynamo system seems sensible.

Commuting - it depends on what you want from the lights. A dynamo may serve, maybe the lights I've shown above will serve, for off road path commuting you might want an expensive eye ball searing --------
Last edited by tatanab on 6 Mar 2012, 6:47pm, edited 1 time in total.

alicej
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Joined: 14 Oct 2010, 10:16pm
Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

Re: Touring lights

Postby alicej » 6 Mar 2012, 6:44pm

I've ended up going for two of these brackets on my handlebars http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rotatable-Han ... 4aacce5760 and then trying out different torches. My current ones were £2.49 each from WIlkinsons, have 9 LEDs each and are waterproof. They take 3 AAA batteries each, and they're easily small and light enough to take off and put in a pocket when you leave the bike although I often don't bother 'cos it's no big deal if they get nicked at £2.49 really.

They look a lot like these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/9-led-torch-/ ... 3cc32a287f

I also have a couple of Knog silicone lights on my forks - black ones are less noticable so less likely to get stolen, although I've had my white ones for nearly a year now and never taken them off even when parking in the city centre etc. Again only a few quid so not a big problem if they ever do get stolen.

Do you need lights to light your way or just lights to be seen by?

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syklist
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Joined: 19 May 2008, 6:43pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby syklist » 6 Mar 2012, 7:37pm

snibgo wrote:If you are touring at night, dynamo is the obvious solution, eg B&M £60 front and £30 rear, plus whatever cost for the dynamo itself.

+1.
Other advantages of hub dynamo/LED light systems are you can use them as day running lights if the visibility is poor. If you buy the sensor equipped ones they will come on automatically as you enter a tunnel. Even cheaper Shimano hubs will produce enough energy to power modern LED lighting systems. Plus for a bit more cash you can buy accesories that allow you to charge up batteries/gadgets when you the lights are off.
So long and thanks for all the fish...

bogmyrtle
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Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby bogmyrtle » 6 Mar 2012, 7:52pm

Unless you are riding at night, I wouldn't have thought there is a lot of point in spending a huge amount on lights. The times you might need them in are low/poor light conditions and in fog. I've only twice found the need to use lights when touring, once in fog to make sure I could be seen and once at three o'clock in the morning to see with and be seen. There are plenty effective back lights which run off AAA batteries and front ones that run off AA or AAAs. Aldi and Lidl regularly sell large packs of these batteries which are enough to power lights for longer than the average tour. If you have a removable battery operated front light there is no need to carry a separate light for camping.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

nmnm
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Joined: 14 Nov 2010, 6:03pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby nmnm » 6 Mar 2012, 8:06pm

For rear light, I use a Smart Lunar R1. It's £11 incl postage, for the 1 watt version (there's a 1/2 watt one also). Important to align the bracket so it shines parallel to the road, not downward. I took this on my last tour, in summer, for rainy traffic situations as well as dusk.

If safety at night is your thing, buy reflective tape on ebay and coat the whole bike. Blue works best, I think, being unusual and shouting "police".

I used a cheap flasher at front, primarily for tent use.

ossie
Posts: 1026
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: Touring lights

Postby ossie » 6 Mar 2012, 8:53pm

Exposure joystick on the front, rechargeable but battery lasts forever and is a solid piece of kit .Petzl headtorch as back up , 1/2 watt on the rear.

Truth be told I could probably just get away with the head torch for the front and tent /camping but the Joystick is small enough to justify taking for its performance, weight and size.

PW
Posts: 4519
Joined: 23 Jan 2007, 10:50am
Location: N. Derbys.

Re: Touring lights

Postby PW » 6 Mar 2012, 9:18pm

Budget comes a lot into this,as well as how much night riding you do for other purposes. A Schmidt hub with one of the better LED headlamps and a Seculight on the rear is the ultimate solution all year round. It also gives the option of an E-Werke to recharge gadgets on the move, but it ain't cheap. One of my lighting rigs would cost more than some people's bikes and if you only ride at night on tour I fail to see how it can be justified. (A case of do as I say not as I do, I know but I'm just a bike freak!)
Probably a decent bottle dynamo or one of the Shimano hubs with the IQ Cyo rather than the pricier Edelux/Supernova would be the way. I'll second the Smart Superflash tail lamp, the 1/2 watt is affordable and VERY bright.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

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bikes4two
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Location: SE Hampshire, UK

Re: Touring lights

Postby bikes4two » 6 Mar 2012, 10:24pm

There's lots of choice - just one point about a rear light: consider having at least two. I say this as if you only have one, it might fail/fall off and you'll most likely not realise this until sometime after the event. Also with two, you can have one flashing and one steady.

As mentioned earlier, I avoid touring in the dark if at all possible, but in case 'the plan' goes wrong, I have a cheapo white LED light permanently fixed to the front, likewise a red LED on the rear with a Petzl headtorch as backup to both (the Tikka XP2 has both white and red LEDs).

I like the handlebar holders for torches -both cheap options: must give it a go! the Smart Lunar R - I like the idea of the 0.5 watt with a runtime of 40hrs - nice one :wink:
Without my stoker, every trip would only be half a journey

Dudley Manlove
Posts: 249
Joined: 18 Jun 2009, 10:41am

Re: Touring lights

Postby Dudley Manlove » 6 Mar 2012, 10:52pm

indy wrote:My main concern is that most decent sets of lights theses days seem to work off rechargeable battery packs giving around 8hrs of usage before needing to be recharged. I'm concerned that I'm constantly going to be hopping between power points to ensure that I don't run out of power. Is a dynamo charging system an option?


I use Ayups, but that's only cos I have them kicking around - I'm not really recommending them as touring specific lights. That said, that point is even with these lights with rechargable packs (6hrs light from a pack for the Ayups) I don't find you don't do so much cycling in the dark that charging is a pita - and I'm terrible for setting off late and having to pitch after dark. But then that depends on you and your plans, time of year, place, etc..

If not really necessary, good lights do have their uses. Flood lighting while pitching up is often nice. Last year a rear pannier fell off coming out of Budapest and I didn't notice for 25miles, but then it was getting dark. I had to cycle back along route looking the whole time, but I saw them a mile off with the Ayups.

alicej
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Joined: 14 Oct 2010, 10:16pm
Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

Re: Touring lights

Postby alicej » 6 Mar 2012, 10:57pm

Forgot to mention that my rear light is a Reelight http://www.reelight.com/

Magnets attached to the spokes power the light via a small unit clamped to one of the seatstays. Absolutely fit and forget, I love mine. Light, very little resistance, not expensive, and not very nickable (they bolt to the bike).

Do make sure you get the right model though, the earlier ones had a couple of fatal flaws:

Get one of the later models which have a cable allowing you to attach the light to the seatpost. Earlier ones bolted on down near the hub, which is pretty useless.

Get the one with what they call "power back up" - this is their name for the capacitor which stores a charge, making them keep going for a bit even when you stop. Otherwise you'll be without a rear light every time you stop at traffic lights or anything. The "power back up" ones go on flashing for ages and ages!

Beware also to always stand facing railway platforms. Don't let the bike sit parallel to the tracks, as flashing red lights can apparently be mistaken for signals by train drivers, and of course you can't turn these off (they stop on their own after a few minutes)!

I do also use a rack mounted battery powered rear light - partly as back up as mentioned above, partly also because a seatpost mounted light is obscured by having anything on top of the rack - something you may need to consider depending on what luggage you tour with.

Dudley Manlove
Posts: 249
Joined: 18 Jun 2009, 10:41am

Re: Touring lights

Postby Dudley Manlove » 6 Mar 2012, 11:05pm

bikes4two wrote:There's lots of choice - just one point about a rear light: consider having at least two. I say this as if you only have one, it might fail/fall off and you'll most likely not realise this until sometime after the event. Also with two, you can have one flashing and one steady.

As mentioned earlier, I avoid touring in the dark if at all possible, but in case 'the plan' goes wrong, I have a cheapo white LED light permanently fixed to the front, likewise a red LED on the rear with a Petzl headtorch as backup to both (the Tikka XP2 has both white and red LEDs).


Just to echo this. I've had rear lights go out or go AWOL. A pair of the Backupz/Knog type lights you can stick anywhere don't hurt to leave as backups on the frame either. I hang one off the rear pannier too - whichever side happens to face the road. I've had a camper van hit the panniers before in a close pass and send me into the hedge, maybe he would have hit me anyhow with such a close pass, but doesn't hurt to highlight, you're a 'wide load'.

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meic
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Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Touring lights

Postby meic » 6 Mar 2012, 11:34pm

I will be the first to mention "the law"

For that reason I would go for a Cateye AU100BS as it is a British Standard rear light and reflector in one.
http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-t ... 0000000000

On the front it would be the Busch and Muller Ixon IQ which is German standards and should satisfy any legal reqmnts.
http://www.bike24.net/1.php?content=8;n ... 3::137:505

This can be done for around £70 to £80 and will give a very good and adequate lighting system which will also protect you from any (unlikely) legal hassles.

Then any small LED lights front and rear as emergency backup. My preferred is the Electron Pico as they have excellent value, output, battery life and weight ratio.
http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-t ... 0000000000


Now really you should stop right there it is absolutely all you need or should want.

I have however left open the option for using a dynamohub. I did buy one and it really is a not worth the money for 99% of riders. For me it was a waste of money but everyone else had one so I had to as well :roll: . The main lights mentioned use AA batteries and the Ixon IQ can be connected to a dynamohub both to power it directly and to charge AA batteries inside of it for your rear light and other toys.

To do that you need a dynamohub wheel and a Busch and Muller Ride n Charge.
http://www.bike24.net/1.php?content=8;n ... duct=12802

I'll leave it to others to recommend which dynamohub wheel as my recommendation is dont bother, if you really need one then you will ignore that recommendation. :wink:
The extra expense, weight and resistance isnt worth it for the rarely exploited benefits.
Yma o Hyd