Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
bgnukem
Posts: 176
Joined: 20 Dec 2010, 5:21pm

Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby bgnukem » 14 Jan 2019, 12:41pm

Have decided this year that rather than fitting my hub dynamo system all I really need for my winter bike is a decent front battery light to get me home the last hour or less in the dark.

Can anyone recommend a good quality LED front light, ideally with a proper bracket (not rubber O-rings) and replaceable batteries rather than a non-replaceable battery pack?

Ideally I'd like a flashing mode and a bright enough light to allow riding on unlit lanes, but with reasonable life and reliability. Waterproofing is also desirable.

The Exposure range look good but £250+ seem a tad pricy for me!

Cheers,

Ben

User avatar
andrew_s
Posts: 4855
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 9:29pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby andrew_s » 14 Jan 2019, 4:47pm

It depends on whether you mean AAs that you can buy in a shop when you forget to charge, or that dead batteries doesn't mean new light.

In the latter case, you could look at the Fenix BC30
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fenix-BC30-Lig ... B00LMX99TM

This uses 2x18650 (not included), which you should probably use on a regular recharge basis, rather than carry a spare pair.

pwa
Posts: 10075
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby pwa » 14 Jan 2019, 5:04pm

Some of last year's Exposure range is now being sold off at less unaffordable prices.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 13573
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2019, 5:21pm

Lidl's specials and Axa Blueline and Greenline are usually worth a look, but pretty much anything with a K~ mark (German StVZO compliance) and more than 30 lux should be fine IMO.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

User avatar
TrevA
Posts: 2101
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby TrevA » 14 Jan 2019, 6:07pm

Cat eye Volt 1200 for me. 1200 lumens - I can see well enough on dark country lanes at chaingang speeds - 20mph. RRP is £150 but I got mine for much less than that. It lasts about 4 hours on full beam, but most of the time you don't need to run it at the highest setting, which extends the run time as high as 10 hours.

pwa
Posts: 10075
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby pwa » 14 Jan 2019, 9:34pm

TrevA wrote:Cat eye Volt 1200 for me. 1200 lumens - I can see well enough on dark country lanes at chaingang speeds - 20mph. RRP is £150 but I got mine for much less than that. It lasts about 4 hours on full beam, but most of the time you don't need to run it at the highest setting, which extends the run time as high as 10 hours.

Is that the sort you can get spare batteries for?

JohnW
Posts: 6203
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby JohnW » 14 Jan 2019, 10:11pm

I have Hope Vision 1 lights. Mark 1 and Mark 2 (which are better). They use rechargeable AA batteries (and non-rechargeables of course, but that would be expensive).

These Hope lights are the most powerful lights which use traditional batteries that I Know of. Their brackets are clumsy, but the lights can be adapted to be used with the superbly practical Exposure Lights brackets, by fitting a part from Shimano clipless pedals.

I have a Lezyn USB charged light - the light is brilliant but the neoprene/rubber fixing O-ring has caused me more stress and frustration than a bad knee - put me off Lezyn and similarly fixed lights for life.

The problem for me, for the future, is that Hope no longer make their wonderful Vision 1 light! Why not join me in writing to them? Hope are one of the most helpful and decent manufacturing companies that I know.

thelawnet
Posts: 2156
Joined: 27 Aug 2010, 12:56am

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby thelawnet » 14 Jan 2019, 11:58pm

pwa wrote:
TrevA wrote:Cat eye Volt 1200 for me. 1200 lumens - I can see well enough on dark country lanes at chaingang speeds - 20mph. RRP is £150 but I got mine for much less than that. It lasts about 4 hours on full beam, but most of the time you don't need to run it at the highest setting, which extends the run time as high as 10 hours.

Is that the sort you can get spare batteries for?


Yes and no. The Volt 1200 uses two 18650 batteries (~£10), but they are in a single proprietary battery pack, which they charge more than the cost of a new light at typical discounted prices (£85 for a battery pack).

AndyK
Posts: 789
Joined: 17 Aug 2007, 2:08pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby AndyK » 15 Jan 2019, 12:03am

andrew_s wrote:It depends on whether you mean AAs that you can buy in a shop when you forget to charge, or that dead batteries doesn't mean new light.

In the latter case, you could look at the Fenix BC30
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fenix-BC30-Lig ... B00LMX99TM

This uses 2x18650 (not included), which you should probably use on a regular recharge basis, rather than carry a spare pair.


Another vote for the Fenix BC30. I'm now on my second one. (Nothing wrong with the first one, but it disappeared into the murky waters and was never seen again when I crashed into a flooded pothole last year. After many months, Hampshire Highways finally paid up for the replacement.)

It has a few minor niggles, the worst of which is a slight rattling noise on rough roads. Both of mine have rattled, so I think it's a design flaw. Various dodges with blu-tac have failed to silence it. Also it's too easy to put it into flashing mode accidentally by pressing the mode button twice when you meant to press it once - especially on bumpy roads. I never, ever want to have it in flashing mode. There's a turbo-boost button which is a waste of space.

Generally though, it works well and is robust. Mine survived a couple of tumbles onto tarmac with only a few scratches.

The lens is cleverly shaped to give a strong central beam but a weaker wide-radius light which cuts off at the top, so you can see where the verges are but you don't blinding oncoming pedestrians and traffic. This works pretty well. The pair of 3500mAH batteries I bought for it give me a good 3 hours if I switch judiciously between settings (full beam for downhill, low beam for uphill) - possibly longer, I haven't tried beyond that. By the way, the light is designed to take "flat top" 18650 batteries rather than "button top" ones - you can use the latter but it's a pain getting them out of the battery cradle.

The mounting bracket is robust and screws into place but it is quite large and unless you have super-oversized handlebars, you end up with a long bolt protruding forward from it. Spare brackets are available, if a bit overpriced.

As well as the cost of the batteries you need to budget for an appropriate charger.

thelawnet
Posts: 2156
Joined: 27 Aug 2010, 12:56am

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby thelawnet » 15 Jan 2019, 12:29am

bgnukem wrote:Have decided this year that rather than fitting my hub dynamo system all I really need for my winter bike is a decent front battery light to get me home the last hour or less in the dark.

Can anyone recommend a good quality LED front light, ideally with a proper bracket (not rubber O-rings) and replaceable batteries rather than a non-replaceable battery pack?

Ideally I'd like a flashing mode and a bright enough light to allow riding on unlit lanes, but with reasonable life and reliability. Waterproofing is also desirable.

The Exposure range look good but £250+ seem a tad pricy for me!


There is the Fenix BC21R which uses a Cree XM-L2 T6 LED & a single 18650

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fenix-BC21R-Re ... B01A70LYLG £60

The Fenix BC30 uses twice XM-L2 T6s and two 18650s

https://www.torchdirect.co.uk/fenix-cyc ... light.html Around £85

Cheaper options are Chinese torches.

The Convoy S2+ is around £14

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/produc ... 28969.html

It uses the same Cree XM-L2 T6 LED but they have choices of colour temperature & number of cells.

The Fenix is using the neutral white (4300-4500k) I believe. The Convy has 3-cell (=max 1050 mA), 4-cell (=max 1400 mA), 6-cell (=max 2100 mA) or 8-cell options (max 2800mA).

The Fenix is rated for 1 hr 20m on high on a 2300 mAh battery, so that suggests a 1700 mA draw. Essentially the best option for the Fenix is the 6-cell, as the 8-cell runs too hot. You could however also consider the 4-cell if you didn't need the full 800 lumen-ish.

This is a mount for it (or similar torches).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fenix-ALB-10-B ... B00J2G30SC

Yes, it costs as much as the light.

The Convoy light is pretty well-designed, water-proofed, etc., but the beam is in no way shaped for road use, as the Fenix would be.

AA lights/batteries are pretty much obsolete; the issue with bike lights is there are plenty using 18650s in proprietary battery packs, and plenty of torches using 18650s, but precious few bike lights that will take loose 18650s.

bgnukem
Posts: 176
Joined: 20 Dec 2010, 5:21pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby bgnukem » 15 Jan 2019, 7:17pm

Thanks for the recommendations everyone.

Would rather avoid proprietary battery packs in case I can't buy another one when the time comes. Will have a look at some of the options in this thread.

Cheers,

Ben

mattsccm
Posts: 2661
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby mattsccm » 15 Jan 2019, 8:41pm

I am a fan of lights using removable 18650 batteries. Just keep one charged. I always take one in my pocket when solo night time woods riding. Most built in ones are these stuck together. Built in ones work but when they die so does the light unless you are a clever fixer. Torchy the battery boy does some good ones. Like virtually all they are far eastern but with good batteries and backup.

User avatar
Sweep
Posts: 5514
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 4:57pm
Location: London

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby Sweep » 17 Jan 2019, 7:26am

pwa wrote:
TrevA wrote:Cat eye Volt 1200 for me. 1200 lumens - I can see well enough on dark country lanes at chaingang speeds - 20mph. RRP is £150 but I got mine for much less than that. It lasts about 4 hours on full beam, but most of the time you don't need to run it at the highest setting, which extends the run time as high as 10 hours.

Is that the sort you can get spare batteries for?

No basically. The all too common thing of folk not reading the original question and just saying what they do/use/own.

The good news OP is that I don't think you need to spend a lot for what you need.see mjr's post. If the "main" light for lanes doesn't flash, you could always use a separate flasher from the likes if cateye. £10 to £15, take little bar space and in fact mount in front of the bar - can post links when on a proper keyboard.

+1 also for the discontinued hope and i second all the points about it above. May be worth looking on ebay.
Sweep

pwa
Posts: 10075
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby pwa » 17 Jan 2019, 8:32am

Sweep wrote:
pwa wrote:
TrevA wrote:Cat eye Volt 1200 for me. 1200 lumens - I can see well enough on dark country lanes at chaingang speeds - 20mph. RRP is £150 but I got mine for much less than that. It lasts about 4 hours on full beam, but most of the time you don't need to run it at the highest setting, which extends the run time as high as 10 hours.

Is that the sort you can get spare batteries for?

No basically. The all too common thing of folk not reading the original question and just saying what they do/use/own.

The good news OP is that I don't think you need to spend a lot for what you need.see mjr's post. If the "main" light for lanes doesn't flash, you could always use a separate flasher from the likes if cateye. £10 to £15, take little bar space and in fact mount in front of the bar - can post links when on a proper keyboard.

+1 also for the discontinued hope and i second all the points about it above. May be worth looking on ebay.

A spare battery does exist but isn't cheap.
https://www.fawkes-cycles.co.uk/2470625 ... gLc6fD_BwE
But if the OP wants AAs or some other sort of generally available battery, this isn't it.

jcborden
Posts: 1
Joined: 17 Jan 2019, 9:18am

Re: Decent front battery light - Recommendations?

Postby jcborden » 17 Jan 2019, 9:24am

I've been using one of these for the past few weeks, for commuting and general night riding (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1)

Only £39, with a nice wide beam pattern and very bright (probably not far off the quoted 1800lm). The battery life has also been excellent, easily lasting a few hours between high and medium (haven't run it flat). Whilst the batteries are not easily accessible, they are 18650's and it should be simple to replace by undoing a few screws...

Charging is a little slow (quoted 7 hours to full charge, although I've never needed more than 4 hours as have not run it flat) and I am not keen on the mounting bracket as it is slightly bulky and simply didn't work too well with my road bike bars, so I ended up making my own (as it has a 1/4" tripod screw mount built in which is super convenient).