Road bike lights – moon on a stick?

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  • Road bike lights – moon on a stick?
  • Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    For night time training rides, mix of decent lit roads and dark country lanes, rides up to 3 hrs.

    Currently using an old exposure joystick on the front and a Smart R2 on the back (with a Cateye Nima as backup.)

    Things I’d like…

    – A better beam pattern from the front light. It’s bright enough but it’s a bit of a spot and not much spread. Also needs to be good on the road (i.e. not some brighter than the sun mtb light that’s going to blind traffic.)

    – Better buttons to change brightness. The joystick has a tiny button which is fiddly with winter gloves. I also mount it under the bars which makes it even more fiddly. A remote switch could be handy.

    – Be nice if front and rear lights all worked off the same battery and I had only one thing to charge. Also be good to have an easily replaceable spare.

    – A tidy under seat mount for the rear light.

    – Rear light has to have a good constant on mode (not blink). Also needs to be able to have a lower power mode for group riding.

    Current options being considered…

    – Buy another joystick and carry one as a backup. I’d like the remote switch for it AND the Red Eye but you can’t run both at the same time which is a pain. Also the beam pattern is not great.

    – Exposure Strada… better beam pattern than the joystick apparently, but same issue with Red Eye and remote switch.

    – Strada and TraceR, two things to charge, not that much of a pain I guess, and I could carry the old joystick as backup (same mount I think?)

    – Hope R1 with District Plus. Button looks fiddly if I mount it under the bars. Is the beam pattern any better?

    – Some German front light with a better road beam?

    – A Lezyne something or other, not really used them before, but meant to be good on the road?

    Help! Thanks.

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Subscriber

    I do a similar ride and use an Exposure Reflex (F) and Hope District (R).

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Think I saw that B&M now do a rechargeable version of their dynamo light. Great beam for road riding, struggling to find details or reviews atm.

    TiRed
    Member

    Why do they need to run off the same battery? I have a Mk 2 Strada (400 lumens) and a Joystick (another 400 lumens). Joystick points down at he potholes. The Strada is fine for normal riding. I had a remote switch and it broke, so now I just stab the rubber button as required. Never use the Redeye.

    For the rear, I cannot recommend Cateye lights highly enough – The new Rapid Micro is excellent – so I always use two, one on the saddle and one on the seatpost. The Rapid X also has a low level, and the battery lasts OK on this setting, but it is band fastening so I tend to use it less.

    For less money than the Strada, see if you can find a Cateye Nanoshot, or the twin version, that is also an excellent light. The new Volt is more like a Joystick though.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Why do they need to run off the same battery?

    I probably don’t really. I just quite like the idea of one thing to charge. Also if I run the rear light off the front light then I know if it’s low on charge (bit paranoid about the rear lights.) I may well get the Strada and forget about the single battery idea.

    B&M

    Shall check them out. Don’t know much about them really.

    I am tempted to build up a dymano but it really is overkill for how often and how long I ride at night.

    Exposure Reflex

    Sounds interesting, does the auto feature actually work well in practice? Looks like they’ve dropped it for 2015.

    purbeckian
    Member

    Due to family and work, 95% of my winter road miles are in the dark. I’ve invested (only real word for the cost of the things!) in an Exposure TraceR as the rear light and an Exposure Diablo for the front. I also bought a 3-cell extender battery from mtbbatteries which I duct tape under the stem and which recharges the Diablo. Good for more than 4 hours riding at a time in any weather on anything from lit A-roads to unlit country lanes and easy enough to operate.

    The Diablo’s beam width is good enough to light country lanes side to side and has a long throw, though fast descending on anything less than full-power can be scary. I also helmet mount the Diablo for MTB use with a more floody bar-mounted light, so good flexibility.

    Both my LBS’s have boxes of demo Exposure lights, so if that’s a common thing, it might be worth asking your LBS if they do something similar so you can try before you buy?

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    I did look at the Diablo, quite like the tap touch thing, but it does look very mtb specific. Would be good to do a comparison with the Strada to see how different the beam patterns are. May have a chat with my LBS who do a lot with Exposure I think.

    STATO
    Member

    Ive got a few Exposure lights, joystick, MaxxD, Diablo, Sirius. Dynamo beats any of them for road work (and thats a cheap B&M Cyo Premium, £50 from Germany), beam is much better and brightness even increases with speed, tho its already bright enough anyway. If you dont want a dynamo front wheel you can bodge them to run off a battery, tho the always on / always there is a massive boon when weather turns or you stay late at work or just want to extend a ride when otherwise youd be running on fumes from battery lights (because you will forget to charge them, i do on my other bike!).

    Google battery driven B&M CYO

    Would be good to do a comparison with the Strada to see how different the beam patterns are

    http://www.ultimatesportsengineering.com/exposure-lights/lights-comparison

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    HoratioHufnagel, thanks for that. I was looking at that earlier. Interesting the difference in beams between the joystick and the strada. Can’t really tell what difference that would make when riding though.

    Thanks Stato, shall check those out.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    – Some German front light with a better road beam?

    B&M Ixos IQ premium. Can’t recommend it highly enough. The full beam is bright enough for a decent pace, and lasts more than 5 hours. AA rechargeable batteries so you can swap sets for all-night rides. The high/ low button can be operated with thick gloves.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    On the road I have a pair of Leyzene SuperDrives, one set to high-low only, one to high-med-low-flash. Only need one most of the time really. Works well flashing in town and on steady out on country roads.
    On offer on SportPursuit at the moment.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Those B&M ones look good, but assume they need to be mounted on top of the bars due to the beam pattern. This would just get in the way of my garmin unfortunately, which is why I run the current joystick under the bars.

    Lezyne ones seem well rated, but the battery life quoted seems like it may be a problem with 3 or 4 hour night rides. Don’t really want to be stopping and swapping batteries.

    Also I really just want to be able to switch easily between two modes, a full or low. Lots of these seem to come with a whole range of settings which needs lots of button presses.

    STATO
    Member

    Crown mounting is best place for road lights. Adaptors are available for the battery powered IXON ones.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    The Lezyne lights can be set to high-low only

    medoramas
    Member

    I can highly recommend Niterider Lumina750 as a front light. Self contained, nice looking, helluva solid mounting bracket.

    The light has an excellent beam pattern, which lets me use it on Low Mode for most of the time (it’s 200 lumens then), even off road (combined with Lezyne Mini XL on the helmet). I was riding some pretty fast unlit roads last night and switching the light to medium (500 lumens) was like switching the sun back on! No problem with speeds around 30-35 mph.

    I’ve never needed to use the High mode.

    Lezyne Zecto to rear.

    cynic-al
    Member

    mrblobby – Member
    I am tempted to build up a dymano but it really is overkill for how often and how long I ride at night.

    Unless you really can’t afford it, you won’t regret it IMO.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Thanks cynic-al, may see if I can get a demo of one from the LBS. Assume they are a lot better than dynamos from 25 years ago when I was a kid! The exposure one looks like it’d be about 400 quid with bits for a wheel build. Doesn’t seem too bad but I’d need some convincing before spending that much 😕

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Been looking at the Supernova Airstream, looks like a good match for what I want, other than the under the bar mounting. Anyone use one?

    STATO
    Member

    Thanks cynic-al, may see if I can get a demo of one from the LBS. Assume they are a lot better than dynamos from 25 years ago when I was a kid! The exposure one looks like it’d be about 400 quid with bits for a wheel build. Doesn’t seem too bad but I’d need some convincing before spending that much

    Dynamo hubs and LED lights are great now, ignore any previous experience, even from over 5 years ago.

    The exposure one is good (i have one on the MTB commuter) but for road work the B&M or Schmidt ones are better.

    Hub wise you can go from £40 for a cheap shimano, £100 for a SP (its what exposure use and stick their name on) or go mega buck and get a SON. SP/SON give you more options and are lighter, also more efficient but were talking already small losses anyway.

    Lights wise, if you want to spend your money there is the Exposure REVO for offroad or mixed, B&M LuxosU, Schmidt ExeluxeII or lots of other fancy looking things that are not actually any better/different but cost loads. Ive had a ExeluxeI and have a Revo, im getting a LuxosU now tho, premium power and charges USB.

    Or you could save loads of money and just get a cheap shimano hub for £50, a CYO Premium for £50 and laugh all the way to/from work in a pool of self generated light.

    Rear lights are worth it too, B&M are super cheap. Other ‘fancy’ machined lights your paying more money again (which are arguably prettier but not as effective as a big glowing bit of plastic)

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Thanks for that Stato, not having to bother with charging stuff is a definitely something to consider.

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