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Bike lights

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bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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I took up cycling last year.  Gradually getting to the point where I am consideringtravelling into cenrla London by bike after fears of COVID get more manageable, so not until at least autmn, and it would only be once or twice a month.  I am following the other thread on helmet cams, but I also need to buy better lights.  At the moment my lights are to be seen by others, not to see with.  Looking through various catalogues I get information about lumen ratings - but I have no idea how that translates into real life - what's a reasonable rating for lights that will be used on reasonably well lit roads.  Would if be a good idea to have helmet mounted lights rahter than bike nounted ones, or do I need both?  I have a hybrid rather than a road bike, if that's useful info. 
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Replies

  • fred246fred246 Forumite
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    I have a
    https://www.wiggle.co.uk/cateye-volt-1300-rc-front/
    that I really like. USB charging. Good clamp on handlebars. Flashing good for normal daylight cycling. Hyperconstant good for lit roads. Always have a background light with a little flash. Middle is good to light unlit roads and good battery time. High is just blinding. Bit excessive. Low is good when you are worried about your battery. I have never used a helmet light. There's obviously an advantage of 2 with battery lights but I just keep mine charged up. I know it's expensive but it's quality stuff.
  • Johnmcl7Johnmcl7 Forumite
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    How long is your commute and what is the surface, is it all road or is it off road in parts?

    Personally I don't use a helmet light on the road as I find I don't really need it and you can easily blind drivers if you look straight at them.  Off road though I find a helmet light essential since the routes can be twisty with variable surfaces so being able to light up where  you are looking rather than the fixed position of a light on the handlebars is very useful.

    Lumen ratings aren't that useful because many companies will exaggerate them and also they don't give you an idea of the beam pattern, in some cases you want a nice wide beam to light up a good amount in front of you and other times a bright, focused beam is more useful.

    I can't give you any specific recommendations because I primarily buy my lights for off road mountain bike use but hopefully someone else can make a good suggestion.
  • Nebulous2Nebulous2 Forumite
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    It depends on budget and usage. In lit areas you only need lights to be seen by. I like two cheapish sets, one on flash and one on solid. Then if one fails you still have the other. Something like this would be fine. https://www.evanscycles.com/cateye-el135-omni-5-light-set-EV190653 You have time to look for discounted sets. Use rechargeable batteries and carry some charged spares if you don’t get usb chargeable ones. 

    If you are going to be lengthy periods outside lit areas then keeping them going becomes a challenge. I cycle overnight occasionally and use a dynamo. A usb chargeable light will cost you a bit more than those with AA batteries, but will often give more light. I use an older version of this as a backup to my dynamo. Despite its claim to do 87 hours, it will do less than 3 on full power.  https://www.evanscycles.com/lezyne-lite-drive-1000xl-front-light-1000-lumen-EV366205
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    Thank you.  It's only 18 -20 km  with part of the route off road, though with reasonable surfaces apart from one small stretch which has a poor surface. That bit is lit but it is the sort of narrow lonely path that I would probably avoid after dark anyway and use the road instead. If traffic goes back to pre lockdown levels then the road sections will be very busy.
  • Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    You certainly need lights but when driving reflective clothing makes cyclists far more visible. No batteries to fail and potentially very cheap.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.
    Hate the multi post quote. Hate the stupid 21 "badges" in my profile. Complete waste of space needing to be scrolled past daily to find posts you've commented on. Badges? Is this the Brownies?
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    Believe me - I’m fluorescent!  
  • vitaweatvitaweat Forumite
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    I certainly recommend cateye as a brand.  Basically with them, the more you pay the brighter the light and the longer the battery lasts for a given level of light.

    If you're offroad and unlit then get a really good front light so you can spot roots etc.
  • rdrrdr Forumite
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    Aldi/Lidl often do decent lights at good prices.
    Key thing is getting lights that will do your trip on their batteries, I have a small, USB Aldi light that does my 20min commute and an ebay special witha huge battery from Alibaba that will run at blinding power for more than 24 hours.
    Bear in mind that batteries don't last as long in the cold.
    I always try to have 2 different lights at the front and back, and check them at the end of each trip to guard against the batteries giving up on a journey.
    USB charging is handy, particularly if you have usb access at work.
  • edited 17 May at 7:44AM
    SidneySmuttSidneySmutt Forumite
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    edited 17 May at 7:44AM
    I recently (last month) purchased a new MTB (all that petrol money I couldn’t use as I walked to work / rode an old bone shaker)!

    When I was surfing for lights (the nights start drawing in again from next month)! I came across a front handle bar mounted light that had a £350 price tag on it! Gulp. 
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    Gulp indeed!
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