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Tail lights

Old 04-23-21, 12:20 PM
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Jno
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Tail lights

I assume that the riders of this forum choose their tail lights with at least some consideration of the battery run-time. Is there a consensus about whether long riding days mean alkaline battery powered is more (or less) preferable to usb-charged re-chargeable lights? Is there a brand (model) of choice? I know Lezyne makes claims about longer than average run-times for re-chargeable but my experience with them did not win me over.
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Old 04-23-21, 12:25 PM
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My taillight of choice is the Cateye Rapid X3 https://www.cateye.com/intl/products...ts/TL-LD720-R/

I'm a slow rider and these lights have kept flashing for 19+ hours (300K brevet). They have several different settings which will affect battery life.
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Old 04-23-21, 04:01 PM
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Is this for your coast to coast Canada tour?
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Old 04-23-21, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Is this for your coast to coast Canada tour?
Yes, but at the rate our bikes are being built and that cross country travel options are opening up, I think it’s more likely the light research is “just in case”
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Old 04-23-21, 10:29 PM
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Right now, my randonneuring bikes have Cygolite hotshots on them, so USB. It's nice to be able to change batteries out, but I can charge on the bike and I have more than one light I carry with me, so battery life is not much of an issue.

Lots of randonneurs use replaceable battery lights though.

For me, the battery lights are backup for the dyno taillight. I'll put the battery light on flashing. Best practice is to have one non-flashing light.

If I was going on a tour, as opposed to randonneuring or other relatively short duration long distance riding, I might make different light choices. Although I think for touring that if you are riding too much in the dark you are doing it wrong. But I suppose that's why this thread is here instead of the more appropriate touring forum.
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Old 04-23-21, 11:01 PM
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Dyno taillight is primary, Planet Bike Superflash AAA powered for backup/secondary.

I have a rechargable taillight, as well as a tiny rechargable headlight, on my helmet. The helmet taillight is reserved for extreme conditions like dark/fog/rain with traffic. The helmet headlight is for looking at a map, fixing a flat, or reading street signs. I don't ever plan to recharge those on a brevet.

I don't use flash mode if I'm in a group, but I'll use it when solo.
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Old 04-23-21, 11:57 PM
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I don't have dynamo power, so yeah my main preferred tail light is battery-powered. Specifically, the Cateye Reflex Auto. I also carry a spare set of AAA Eneloop Pros, which I have never needed to use even on 1000k rides. This is for constant illumination though - for blinkers I still use USB rechargeable lights like the Cateye Rapid Mini, and the Rapid X3 mentioned above, since they already have phenomenal battery life in blinking mode (though that may not be a feasable option depending on your country's laws on blinkers).
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Old 04-23-21, 11:59 PM
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I use solar lights. They recharge by being exposed to light. They do have a usb charging option, but I have never used it. I just leave them on the bike all of the time.

Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
these lights have kept flashing for 19+ hours (300K brevet). They have several different settings which will affect battery life.
In the past I used cheap ($2) taillights with rechargeable AAA batteries. One day I left them running to see how long they would go. After over 20 hours, they slowly began to get dimmer. After 36 hours, they were still going, but so dim it would not be realistic to use them. So you could use them all night for 2 nights before recharging the batteries.

I used to run 2 taillights, in case one failed. Now I only use one. If the taillight does fail, you can see the light from the headlight from behind. I use 2 headlights, in case one runs flat or fails.
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Old 04-24-21, 12:08 AM
  #9  
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I have a Garmin RTL515, https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/698001

Up to 16 hours of runtime, but the really neat part, is it has radar. The radar notifies you of cars approaching from the rear.

I use it with Ride with GPS on my phone. There are other options. It automatically links up with my Garmin Fenix 6 watch. This is micro-USB rechargeable.
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Old 04-24-21, 05:56 AM
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Touring, I almost never am in dark conditions, but some trips I might go through a tunnel on occasion. That said, I almost always have one tail light turned on in flash mode, if dark overcast or foggy, I might use two taillights in flash mode.

Touring I use a Planet Bike Superflash and a Planet Bike Superflash 65.
https://www.planetbike.com/superflash-bike-tail-light/
https://www.planetbike.com/superflas...ke-tail-light/
They have many other taillights called Superflash, the above two are the ones I bring.

The Superflash has a very tightly focused beam, it needs careful aiming to get the brightest part of the beam straight back, I use that mostly on fairly straight roads. The Superflash 65 has a very wide beam, I am more likely to use that light on winding up and down roads where following traffic is more likely to be off to one side from me instead of straight back.

If I think I have bumped my light bracket and it no longer aims straight back, I readjust. I figure if my light aim is off to one side that is worse than no light, as I would have a false sense that someone saw it. I used to commute through a large university campus and I saw how a lot of college students had blinkers aiming to the sky that you did not even know they had a light until you were within 30 feet.

I use NiMH rechargeable AAA batteries for taillights, I like the white color Ikea Ladda batteries, a close second is Enellop batteries. And on tour I bring a USB powered AA/AAA battery charger to charge them up. They last a long time in blink mode, they are still bright after a week but I recharge weekly to keep them bright. If you are using disposable batteries, you might run them longer until one of your touring partners suggests it is getting dim.

Unfortunately, the lights I cited above do not have a rack bracket mount available. They do come with a seat stay mount for mounting on round tubing that is smaller than a seatpost, I wrap a strip of inner tube rubber around my rack tubing to make that thicker, and then use the seatstay mount on the rack. Put tension on the strip when you wrap it so that the rubber grips the rack tightly.

The photo is from 2012, at that time I used different taillights, but the photo is to show rack mounting which as not changed from what I currently use.



I can't remember if I ever used my dyno system lights when touring, on my last tour I only used my dynohub for charging, did not even bring dyno powered lights on that tour.

If I recall correctly you planned on being indoors once a week for an overnight. If you bring a big powerbank along to charge up things with a USB cord, you certainly could get USB rechargeable lights instead. And you could get your taillights fully charged up once a week while indoors. But touring, I like the ability to buy AAA in a store if I lose the ability to charge things up, that is why I use AAA lights instead of USB chargeable ones. I do not recall ever buying any disposable batteries on a tour, but I like having the contingency available.

If you bring lots of things to charge up from an outlet once a week, you will run out of outlets in your motel room, bring some 3 into 1 outlet expanders so you can plug more stuff into an outlet. Or USB chargers with more ports. In the photo I am using a USB charger with three ports to charge up two AA battery chargers and one Li Ion camera battery charger from one outlet. In Europe, many outlets only have one place to plug in.

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Old 04-24-21, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for the replies. It seems that most folks travel with a 2nd “just in case” light and I intend to do that as well, and the solar one mentioned above caught my eye - I didn’t know there was such a product but now I wonder why it isn’t more common.
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Old 04-24-21, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
Thanks for the replies. It seems that most folks travel with a 2nd “just in case” light and I intend to do that as well, and the solar one mentioned above caught my eye - I didn’t know there was such a product but now I wonder why it isn’t more common.
On my Iceland tour, one of my taillights died from corrosion, rain got into the switch.

If solar ones produced much light I am sure they would be more common.
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Old 04-24-21, 12:20 PM
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Planet Bike Superflash (2 of 'em), and spare batteries. This is with a dyno headlight (never had good luck with dyno taillights).
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Old 04-24-21, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Hit Factor View Post
I have a Garmin RTL515, https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/698001

Up to 16 hours of runtime, but the really neat part, is it has radar. The radar notifies you of cars approaching from the rear.

I use it with Ride with GPS on my phone. There are other options. It automatically links up with my Garmin Fenix 6 watch. This is micro-USB rechargeable.
I have used the Planet Bike lights and there is nothing wrong with them. But I like the Garmin with its radar feature. My only minor issue is on long rides, I need to put my Garmin handlebar mounted GPS 820 to sleep or it runs out of juice constantly communicating with the radar. However, it wakes up when the radar is contacted and I can wake it up at anytime to check what I want to check.
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Old 04-24-21, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by debade View Post
I have used the Planet Bike lights and there is nothing wrong with them. But I like the Garmin with its radar feature. My only minor issue is on long rides, I need to put my Garmin handlebar mounted GPS 820 to sleep or it runs out of juice constantly communicating with the radar. However, it wakes up when the radar is contacted and I can wake it up at anytime to check what I want to check.
I have a USB battery pack in a top bar bag. I can run a cable to my phone/lights/radar if their batteries are running low. I don't know if that would work for a 820.

Here is an example, there are many to choose from: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 04-25-21, 08:56 AM
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The 800 series edge gps models can be charged while riding. One issue with most bigger chargers is they turn themselves off if the draw isn't very big, and the Garmins don't pull much current when they are mostly charged.
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Old 04-25-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
The 800 series edge gps models can be charged while riding. One issue with most bigger chargers is they turn themselves off if the draw isn't very big, and the Garmins don't pull much current when they are mostly charged.
I have 6 or 8 packs for various uses and none of them turn off on low current draw. None of them are what I would characterize as bigger, not sure I would want or need one that's bigger on my bike. Do you have an example of one that does?
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Old 04-25-21, 11:05 AM
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I use a dynamo rear light as main light that has about a 10min stand time, and a Secula Permanent on the seat stay that uses AAA batteries as a secondary. I use rechargable, but AAA batteries are available just about everywhere.
Also use the Garmin radar which also has a light.
Peter White once told me that mounting the lights in different vertical planes helps drivers determine the distance from them to you so that's how they are mounted.
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Old 04-25-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hit Factor View Post
I have 6 or 8 packs for various uses and none of them turn off on low current draw. None of them are what I would characterize as bigger, not sure I would want or need one that's bigger on my bike. Do you have an example of one that does?
My powerbank has two settings, one works like most powerbanks and you plug something in and it works fine. The other setting is a battery save mode where you have to push a button on it to wake it up when you first use it, that one will shut off on a real low power draw, down in the 50 milliamp range or less.

The battery save mode is for long term storage, but I usually leave it in that battery save mode for all uses, everything I plug into it has a big enough draw that it does not shut off.

Mine is no longer made, the other models that they make now no longer offer the battery save mode.
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Old 04-25-21, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Hit Factor View Post
None of them are what I would characterize as bigger, not sure I would want or need one that's bigger on my bike. Do you have an example of one that does?
I have a zenduro that definitely does and I think that Anker linked above also does. I used to carry lipstick chargers and they didn't.

I bought the Zenduro because it will charge while charging.
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Old 04-26-21, 04:45 AM
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Looks like Garmin makes an external battery pack for the 820: Garmin Charge™ Power Pack PART NUMBER 010-12562-00
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Old 04-26-21, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jno View Post
the solar one mentioned above caught my eye - I didn’t know there was such a product but now I wonder why it isn’t more common.

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Old 04-28-21, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Hit Factor View Post
Looks like Garmin makes an external battery pack for the 820: Garmin Charge™ Power Pack PART NUMBER 010-12562-00
Thats quite convenient but $$$

I'm using a Magicshine RN900 as my backup headlight and battery bank. It keeps my garmin charged.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001041143551.html
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Old 04-28-21, 11:40 AM
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I was going to get the garmin battery pack for my 830, but it really requires their out front mount, which I don't use.
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Old 05-01-21, 08:26 AM
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I mount two rear lights. A planet bike superturbo flash and cygolite Hotshot. I run the turboflash on steady using lithium batteries and I did have to replace them once on PBP. I never run the Hotshot with other riders near as it is run as a blinky. On bad roads and depending on what intensity one has it dialed up to, it gets motorists' attention. Of course, you have to aim any rear light correctly.

I know this is a controversial statement but the dynamo rear lights are not very bright and I have come up on hundreds of riders who use them, I would mount a blinky in addition to one of those for times on less than optimal roads like narrow ones at sunrise or sunset.
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