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Light next to front wheel

Old 05-18-19, 08:41 AM
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Big in Japan
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Light next to front wheel

Has anyone used a front light mounted next to the front wheel like those on the Compass / René Herse racks shown here?

[I've just discovered I can't post photos or URLs since I'm new here. Please see photos of Compass / Herse racks on the René Herse Cycles website and Jan Heine's Off the Beaten Path blog.]

I'm thinking of getting one of the Herse racks for center pull brakes and an Edelux II light, but am skeptical about having the light mounted there—especially if I run 700c tyres (38 or 44 mm: the ones in the photos I've attached are 650b x 42 mm, I think).

Doesn't the wheel (& mudguard if fitted) cast a shadow on the right hand side? Doesn't the wheel prevent motorists and pedestrians from seeing the light from some angles, particularly in urban situations? One correspondent on Jan Heine's blog complains about being distracted by his B&M IQ-X light shining on his front wheel and the shadow it casts on the road—but I believe this light has a wider beam than an Edelux II. Additionally, I'd be worried that if I collided with someone they might argue the light was obscured. Jan Heine argues that you're focused further down the road than the shadow, but I think I might be distracted by it anyway. And I'm in Australia where we drive/ride on the left hand side of the road: the shadow will be towards the centre of the road.

Heine also says that the position on the Compass / Herse racks protects the light, which may be so but many builders position the light further forward and/or higher. I've previously mounted a dynamo light (Philips Saferide 60) front & centre, either on the mudguard (fender) or at the fork crown. I want to use a rack so the fork crown is unavailable. And I want to take the mudguards off from time to time, so that option is also out. Besides, I've found that when it rains, no matter how long the mudguard, water is often blown back from the front tyre onto the light. Mounting the light to the side will alleviate that problem a little.

If I decide to use the Herse rack I could get the version with two screw-on mounts on the struts and use a Soma Wingmann, or something similar. But it's inelegant (ugly), and looks likely to fall downwards into or onto the wheel. [Google Soma Wingmann Light Mount]
I'd appreciate any feedback from anyone with any experience of any of this, particularly using an Edelux II.

BTW, I've just written to René Herse as well and am waiting on their answer.

Tx
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Old 05-20-19, 08:27 AM
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You mean these racks.

For what it's worth, I use a Haulin' Colin porteur rack with a B&M Lumotec IQ premium light and I'm in Japan where traffic drives on the same side as in Australia and Britain.





I do get a shadow from the tire and fender and the side-mounted light, but it is not distracting. When riding at night you're usually looking 5 m or more ahead.

Though mounting the light on the side of the front wheel that faces oncoming traffic is preferable, I think it would work almost equally well on the offside because the cone of light is wide enough.
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Old 05-20-19, 09:25 AM
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I have 2 racks with lights on them now. It works fine. I have my dyno light on the left strut and my battery backup on the right strut. Most of the German lights are meant to be mounted at the fork crown, so the rack mounts it a little lower. I don't think that is much of a problem.
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Old 05-20-19, 09:53 AM
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I also prefer to mount my main lights on the handlebar. But for Japan, I wonder if Grand Bois offers a racklet with the light mount on the right?
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Old 05-20-19, 10:03 AM
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After first mounting the headlight beside the wheel for brevets/PBP, I've come to prefer having it over the front wheel. The shadows cast to the other side were distracting for me, especially when I was getting ready to turn to that side.
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Old 05-20-19, 10:17 AM
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I don't even notice the shadow, maybe I have mine further forward than on other racks
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Old 05-20-19, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I don't even notice the shadow, maybe I have mine further forward than on other racks
Mine was mounted high up on the fork blade, since I didn't have a front rack.

It probably sounds silly, but I'm still trying to decide if having a front rack would be worth the weight increase over the KlickFix system I'm using now.
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Old 05-20-19, 10:50 AM
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Not using a front rack, my light is closer to the fork than you are talking about. For that reason I probably have more shadow than I would otherwise have. I use a regular handlebar bag on a second stem, not a rack to mount it.

I get a small shadow that is within maybe 8 to 10 feet of the bike off to the left side, does not bother me. My light lands on the ground where I will be going, that is all I need to really see. I bent the metal light bracket to get the light up higher. In my case I also used the optional extra long mounting bracket instead of the stock one that came with the light.

There is a 90 degree sharp left turn on a bike path that I sometimes ride, the shadow blocks some of that turn when I am going slowly up to a few feet of that location, but that is the only time that I have noticed any issue.

Since the photo was taken, I have rewired it to get rid of some of the excess wire. Disregard some of the excess wiring.



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Old 05-20-19, 10:58 AM
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I think that's a good place for a light. I'm very sensitive to shadows being thrown around and this doesn't bother me.



Hard to see the light because it's black like the tire, but it's just forward of 12 o'clock on the tire, right under the basket.
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Old 05-20-19, 11:54 AM
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I tried the "below the bar bag, next to the tire" headlight position a few years ago and couldn't get used to the shadow so I moved it to the top of the fender, in front of the bar bag. Works great now. YMMV.
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Old 05-21-19, 03:41 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

There seems to be an even division between those who don't care about or don't notice the shadow, and those who do. I think I'd be annoyed by the shadow.

Since posting I've realised that Herse offers the racks for c/pull brakes in 3 types: one (i) as described above that mounts a standing Edelux II next to the tyre; one (ii) with a tab on the left hand side designed to mount a hanging Edelux in the same position; and another (iii) with two 5 or 6 mm mounting points on the struts supporting the rack from the forks. It should be possible to use something like the Soma Wingmann light mount—or, indeed, a Weinmann c/pull brake arm—to one of (ii) or (iii) to raise a standing Edelux to what would be, to my eyes, a better position.

Thanks again. (Unless someone has more to say?)
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Old 05-21-19, 05:08 AM
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depends on where the light is placed near the wheel. I am pretty sure my lights are forward enough there is no shadow, or it's right at the edge of the light beam. I see on some of the racks in this thread that the lights are mounted further back. I know that when I have lights on the fork crown, the shadow occasionally annoys me.

For a bike with a metal fender, there are fender mounts. Velo Lumino is the easiest one to buy. I have one of those, but I haven't used it yet. I think that might be the best place to put a light.
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Old 05-21-19, 07:36 AM
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I have the light mounted to the right of the wheel on a couple bikes, and on the front of the fender on one. It doesn't make much difference.


Yes, having it off center makes a shadow on the other side; but the shadow is very close to the bike, far behind the area that I'm watching as I ride. There is absolutely zero chance of something appearing in that shadow that hadn't been visible a few seconds earlier, and anyway, the shadow is off to the side, not where I'm riding. So it's not a big disadvantage.

And yes, that shadow creates an area where the light is blocked and a driver in that area will not see it. But no driver is likely to stay in that area for long; it will be just a moment. So it's not a big disadvantage.

Having the light next to the wheel also means that light from the headlight falls on the spokes, which are moving, and make a distinctive light show that clearly says "bicycle" to anyone who sees it. That's a good thing.
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Old 05-21-19, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Big in Japan View Post
(Unless someone has more to say?)
This is Bike Forums! Someone will *always* have more to say.
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Old 05-21-19, 11:12 AM
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I've used skewer mounts, that works fine, light over the front wheel works okay, but to be honest, I can't see a whole lot of advantage one way or the other. Supposedly, over the wheel is what the lights are designed for, but they seem to work well either way.
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Old 05-21-19, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I've used skewer mounts, that works fine, light over the front wheel works okay, but to be honest, I can't see a whole lot of advantage one way or the other. Supposedly, over the wheel is what the lights are designed for, but they seem to work well either way.
I tried mounting a light down low, a few inches above the axle/skewer height off of the ground. With the light that low, anything on the road, leaves or perhaps just a bumpy road made much larger shadows than a light up higher would make.

I picked up a used dynohub wheel for a cheap price, put it on my errand bike that I use for grocery store runs. And I had a vintage D-Lumotec light that I was not using, the result is the light in the photo on the fender mount.

For the streets where I ride near home on my errand bike I can live with the light down that low, but I would not want to ride a long way at night on unfamiliar roads with the shadows you get with the light that low. But on the plus side, it was the simplest wiring job I ever did.


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Old 05-21-19, 08:23 PM
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My experience with that is kind of the opposite. I'm using hub-generators with Edelux lights. If adjusted properly, they work great out on the open road in the middle of nowhere, either on a skewer mount or over the wheel. But, they're not necessarily that bright, and in the city, riding with a lot of car headlights and streetlights, the light tends to get washed out with the ambient, and makes it hard to see potholes, etc.

One other factor- I interpret "adjusted properly" to mean lighting up the road from about 8-10' in front of the bike on out to infinity. I have seen people point them down at the ground where you get a bright little rectangle of light right in front of the bike and can't see anything in front of that. And coincidentally, the riders I've seen that did that felt the need to use a second headlight as well.
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Old 05-29-19, 05:08 AM
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I'm in the US and it never even occurred to me to put it on the side of the bike facing traffic... Oops. Either way, I've got a B+M IQ-X mounted hanging style (I removed the arm and rotated the bracket around the housing so the wires are still coming out the bottom- it's the reason I bought this particular light) on a VO canti rando rack and I've never noticed any issues with the light (though mine is pretty far forward). Note the light under the front corner of the bag. Please forgive this quick and dirty picture I took while riding through a park the other day. It's crap but it does show the beam well.


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Old 05-29-19, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DHPflaumer View Post
I'm in the US and it never even occurred to me to put it on the side of the bike facing traffic... Oops. ...
When I installed my first dyno powered light that was not on the fork crown, I thought about where to put it. Did I want it on the side of the bike where oncoming cars are? Or did I want it on the right side where it would be better at showing curb locations, parked cars that are near me, or edge of pavement when in rural areas?

I decided that the potential of hitting something close to me on the right side or going off the edge of the pavement was a greater risk than a car on my left that would surely see me when still at a distance.

So, I decided the light belonged on the right side.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:30 AM
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Easy DIY solution: part of an old chain ring


Well above the wheel so no shadows and low enough that it doesn't touch the bag.

Nitto sells a light bracket to mount the light to the rack and if you check eBay most of them are the Japanese variety with a right-hand mount for driving on the left side of the road.

Did it again a few weeks ago on another bike (with another part of the old chainring). Use small fender R-clips to guide the wires: I have trimmed it in the meantime to slim it down a little bit.

Last edited by JaccoW; 06-06-19 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 05:49 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. Love the first chainring solution! (The second one not so much, but still good.) Does it vibrate much? Need triangulation?
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Old 06-06-19, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Big in Japan View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Love the first chainring solution! (The second one not so much, but still good.) Does it vibrate much? Need triangulation?
I have trimmed down the second one considerably in the meantime. aluminum is easy to work with in that regard.

There is some vibration when riding but you really don't notice it at night with the light on. I have thought about adding a second one but the only time it needs any adjustment is when someone else bumps his bike into it. I can make some better pictures later this week if you want.

Top view
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Old 06-06-19, 11:51 PM
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Axle area mount...

my uptown casts a tiny bit of a shadow from the dyno light mounted on fork crown. Not in my field of view at all. Now... I do have a dyno hub... if I got the right hub (it will need replacing eventually) I could in theory mount two lights down by the axle end of the fork specifically for pothole & road hazard illumination and have the main headlight that points out ahead with that beam starting 10 feet out or so. Potholes full of water can be any depth, so getting a glimpse even for a moment would allow me to splash or swerve vs jar the teeth outa my skull or needlessly swerve to avoid half an inch of water.

- Andy

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Old 06-08-19, 11:38 AM
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I mounted a Braze on to the Hoop of my Bruce Gordon steel tubing low rider rack, its to the left side ,

so I could see the edge of the highway, to not go off into the ditch..
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Old 06-08-19, 05:26 PM
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This is all I can think of when I see this thread...

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