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Bright rear light with long battery life

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Bright rear light with long battery life

Old 06-03-19, 10:09 PM
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wipekitty
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Bright rear light with long battery life

I am in the market for a bright rear light with a long battery life and am seeking recommendations! Specifically, here's what I'm interested in:
  • Bright - for both daytime visibility (in flashing mode) and night (steady) road cycling
  • Long runtime: preferably 12+ hours
  • Reasonably small/light
  • Mild preference for USB charging
  • Budget friendly (under $50).
I currently use (and love) my Cygolite Hotshot 100, but have never been able to get one to stay lit for more than ~6 hours. If what I'm looking for doesn't exist, I'll probably just pick up two more Hotshots and call it a day.

Not interested in dynamo at this time.
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Old 06-04-19, 04:47 AM
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I have the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150. Of the 6 modes, there is only one that will last longer than 6 hours. In that one mode, I got through a 300K without any issues.

The other light that I like better is my Cateye Rapid X3. I mount it on my seatstay.

Both are USB charging.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:32 AM
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Something that takes AAA? I have a few different models and they last a minimum of 50 hours with NiMH batteries.

I have a requirement for an integrated clip and AAA and have been using these for a while now. If you don't need an integrated clip there are many other AAA choices.

https://www.planetbike.com/store/sup...ail-light.html and https://www.walmart.com/ip/Bell-Arel...Black/43120866

The Planet Bike one is really bright but noticed recently when it gets wet it gets wonky. The Bell model is a single LED and not nearly as bright but going good for years in all conditions and will last for a week+ of all day rides.

Last edited by u235; 06-04-19 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:45 AM
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+1 Cateye rapid X3
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Old 06-04-19, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
I have the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150. Of the 6 modes, there is only one that will last longer than 6 hours. In that one mode, I got through a 300K without any issues.
Which mode lasts longer than 6 hours?
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Old 06-04-19, 02:09 PM
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If run time and cost are primary considerations, check out the Bontrager Flare 1 and Flare 3 tail lights. Both run on 3 AAA batteries and will run a heckuva long time. I'm going on about 2 months with the Flare 1 on a hybrid that's often used for errands and long casual and group rides at night. They're rated for 30-80 hours per set of batteries. So far mine hasn't dimmed like many AA/AAA lights do with extended use. One problem with my handful of AA/AAA head and tail lights is the discharge curve is a long arc and about halfway through the runtime the output is about half that of a fresh set of batteries. So far that hasn't happened with the Flare 1. Sometimes switching to NiMH rechargeables ensures brighter output per charge, but also a shorter runtime.

It's the brightest of the AA or AAA battery powered tail lights I've tried, but not quite as bright as my Cygolite Hotshot SL50. But at only $15 it's a bargain. I'll probably get the brighter Flare 3 as well.

It's a bit heavier than a Cygolite Hotshot, but the Flare has the best clip I've tried -- I'd be surprised if one ever popped loose from a saddle bag strap. It has multiple nubs that dig into the web strap. In contrast my Planet Bike Rack Blinky 5 is a slippery rascal and will securely hold only onto the provided mounts on the rear rack or seat post.

While the Cygolite Hotshots are a great value in a bright tail light with an intensely focused beam (the reflector also limits side visibility), a common complaint is that after a year or so they don't run as long per charge and won't hold a charge for long. That's been a minor issue with my Hotshot. Even if I don't exhaust the USB rechargeable battery between uses it no longer holds a charge for a week or longer like it used to -- now I need to recharge it every couple of days, even if it hasn't been used. And in most modes it'll last about 3 hours now.

Best thing about the Cygolite is the compact size, light weight, intense beam that is most intense from directly behind, so it tends to provide a psychological nudge to get tailgaters off your back. The clips are very secure too -- I've never lost one off the fabric strap on my seat bags.
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Old 06-04-19, 02:53 PM
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  • 6 exclusive night and day modes provide enhanced safety : Steady, Zoom, Steady Pulse, Daylighting, Triple Flash, Random Flash
The only mode that lasts me longer than a 100K is the Triple Flash. I think the runtimes are on the box but I'm at work now. I accidentally got it into the wrong flashing mode on my most recent 200K and it was dead by mile 60.
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Old 06-04-19, 03:19 PM
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can't you reduce the brightness on the Hotshot? I recall the max runtime for flashing on the original hotshot was 56 hours. I'm pretty sure I have used the throbbing setting on my hotshots for overnight. I have also recharged from a battery pack, doesn't take too long. But it would be a good idea to have a spare.

I hate Cygolytes website, why would the only source for runtime be the box, which everyone is going to throw away?
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Old 06-04-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
can't you reduce the brightness on the Hotshot?
If I recall correctly, you can only reduce the brightness on the steady mode. But I do 95% of my riding alone and feel that the flashing mode attracts more attention both day and night. When I was stopped at a control this past Sunday I had not one, but two motorists comment positively on my visibility! In case of a serious adverse event, I want my husband to have solid documentation that I was visible.
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Old 06-04-19, 10:08 PM
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@GadgetGirlIL and @unterhausen got me on a bit of a Cygolite investigation.

Turns out that I have boxes from an old Hotshot 80 Pro (lost in a crash a couple years back) and a Hotshot 100, currently in use. Only the 80 Pro lists runtimes on the box. I also learned that one cannot adjust the brightness of the flashing modes (which I tried and obviously failed to do), but rather, the tempo of flashing can be changed.

I'm fairly certain that I was using the three-flash mode when the light most recently failed ~6 hours, but could be wrong. I think an experiment is in order.

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Old 06-04-19, 10:17 PM
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Just set it to triple-flash and job done, no money spent. I run my Hotshot Pro on triple-flash and charge it once a week, so it lasts 15+ hours without issue.

Mine is 2+ years old, and has covered over 20,000 miles, so the battery isn't exactly spankin' new. So if y'all can't get a full day out of it, I dunno what you're doing.
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Old 06-04-19, 10:35 PM
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I like steady/pulse, too bad the runtime is so short. Seems like they could leave the tempo of that alone and use the second button to dim.
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Old 06-05-19, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Just set it to triple-flash and job done, no money spent. I run my Hotshot Pro on triple-flash and charge it once a week, so it lasts 15+ hours without issue.

Mine is 2+ years old, and has covered over 20,000 miles, so the battery isn't exactly spankin' new. So if y'all can't get a full day out of it, I dunno what you're doing.
Same here, I charge every 2 weeks with about a 1hr daily (round trip) commute.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:40 AM
  #14  
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This is one of the lights (Cygolite Hotshot Pro 80) that advertises an extraordinary run time for one of the settings. It doesn't seem to pan out if this review taken from the REI website for the light is true. "Exaggerated run times

The light is bright, and the product is easy to use. I occasionally participate in rides extending several hours into the night, so extended run times are important to me. So far I have only tested the three longest specified light modes of the six light modes available: random pulse (spec 7-40hrs), single flash (spec 9-50 hrs) and triple flash (spec 40-100hrs). My results: random pulse lasted fewer than 4 hrs. and both single & triple flash lasted fewer than 7 hrs."

The only way to achieve an extraordinary run time is to lower the lumen output substantially or extend the time between flashes. Either one makes the light less visible. I've seen very expensive lights advertising an impressively long run time but with the lumen output as low as 5 lumens. If you really want a longer run time pick one with a larger capacity battery. That's tough since so many of the expensive lights treat that information as though it is classified information.
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Old 06-05-19, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Just set it to triple-flash and job done, no money spent. I run my Hotshot Pro on triple-flash and charge it once a week, so it lasts 15+ hours without issue.

Mine is 2+ years old, and has covered over 20,000 miles, so the battery isn't exactly spankin' new. So if y'all can't get a full day out of it, I dunno what you're doing.
It looks like operator error (to some extent) on my part.

I just did an experiment: I set the light to the 4th setting (with steady being 1) and let it go last night. 15 hours later, it is still running!

According to the box for this product (the 100), the 4th setting should be random flash, rather than triple flash. The order seems to correspond to that listed on the Hotshot 80 box, not the box for the actual product. My confusion was that both the 3rd setting (which dies quickly) and the 4th setting (which apparently lasts) have three blinks.
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Old 06-05-19, 03:47 PM
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I'm pretty sure I've done the exact same thing. I've accidentally switched mine to that "SteadyPulse" mode-- usually when I've forgotten to turn the thing on, and I'm trying to do it while moving. The battery does not last on that one.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:27 PM
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I just bought the Cygolite HotShot Pro 200 Tail light, I mounted it to the rear of my helmet and WOW! Exremely bright and the Strobe setting emits a ton of very bright light.

I cannot verify its run time as I only used in it traffic for about 1 hour during the daylight and it was still extremely bright when I shut if off. My biggest fear is getting hit from behind in traffic and all I can say it that Im glad I bought this little light.

The battry is Rechargeable thru USB.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:26 PM
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Lightbulb

12h @ 30lm (steady):
lupine-shop.com/en/led-lightsets/taillights/1675/rotlicht-max

4,5-30h steady:
NiteRider Sentry Aero 260
https://www.niterider.com/product/5088-sentry-aero-260/

USB powerbank connected (2-20h):
https://www.orfos.us/pages/flarepro

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Old 06-07-19, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
I have the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150..
This is the correct answer to the question.

It's bright enough for broad daylight....and from a mile away (no exaggeration) It's massively overpowered at night....but that is fine with me. I know I will not go unnoticed.
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Old 06-15-19, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
This is the correct answer to the question.

It's bright enough for broad daylight....and from a mile away (no exaggeration) It's massively overpowered at night....but that is fine with me. I know I will not go unnoticed.
overpowered from about a 20 degree angle, useless for about 340 degress. no 150 for me.
Hotrod 50 on the other hand good at about 180 degrees or so. 50 50 and 50 = 150, get 3 hotrod 50 insted of 1 150.

3M reflective tape in white amber blue and green works very well, half inch wide works for bikes.
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Old 06-15-19, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisx View Post
overpowered from about a 20 degree angle, useless for about 340 degress. no 150 for me.
Hotrod 50 on the other hand good at about 180 degrees or so. 50 50 and 50 = 150, get 3 hotrod 50 insted of 1 150.

3M reflective tape in white amber blue and green works very well, half inch wide works for bikes.
You mentioned tape.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MUDQQ0H
A little more $$ but works great. It is thinner than the 3M tape but far more flexible for using on bends. Lasts years.

Last edited by u235; 06-15-19 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 06-16-19, 02:25 AM
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Cool thing about the Cygolite Hotshots is that it's painfully bright only when viewed from directly behind. It has a narrow aperture of maximum brightness, due to the reflector design.

Which in theory should nudge cars off your butt.

Sure works for me when I'm in a group ride and someone ahead has their Hotshot on maximum strobe. It's hard to follow directly behind anyone using those modes on a Hotshot. In group rides I always set mine to steady dim, and use a less potent blinky as a supplemental light.

I think the triple flash mode has much lower peak intensity, which is why it lasts the longest per charge. That's what I normally use.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:09 AM
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I've had numerous people pull up next to me at stoplights and say something along the lines of, "That is the brightest taillight I've ever seen. What is it?" So if the Hotshot Pro is only effective from a 20 viewing angle (which it absolutely isn't) then that's fine by me.

One of those people was a lady in full kit-- driving home from a ride-- who made a U-Turn in her SUV to chase me down. Meaning in her rearview mirror a Hotshot is so bright she took notice. Oh, and I don't often ride at night. All of these interactions happened in broad daylight.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:54 AM
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the two flashing modes are indistinguishable to me, the triple flash with longer runtime is second in the sequence?

There are a lot of lights that are impossible to follow, even on steady. main thing is to aim low
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Old 06-19-19, 08:50 AM
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Lightbulb Light

Toplight Line tail lights for rack mount, are 2 LED with a fresnel lens and will light up the whole thing..

I use the wired ones, this is the battery one.. battery is AA so long run time .. they do not blink..


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