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General question about front lights

Old 09-19-22, 07:04 AM
  #1  
sigster
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General question about front lights

Howdy,

I am wondering what a good front light set up looks like. What kind of lumens should I be looking for? What's overkill? What's underkill? Is a light built with bikes in mind an absolute necessity? etc.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:58 AM
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If you want to be seen, then these

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...t-set/p/23710/

If you want them so that you can ride in the dark, I don't know.

Glenn
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Old 09-19-22, 08:15 AM
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Assuming you want to see (and not just be seen), I have a 650 lumen NiteRider light that works pretty well to see where I am going. Cost around $40. If I had to do again, I would go for a 800-900 lumen light, primarily because it has a bigger battery (rechargeable), so I could get longer run time on medium setting.

To simply be seen by cars and not to use the light to see the road, a 100-200 lumen el-cheapo light is fine for that.
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Old 09-19-22, 09:47 AM
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I think 200 to 300 lumens is good for many purposes. In case you're ever caught in the dark and have to cycle through park trails to get home, it'll light up everything in front of you. 90 lumens won't cut it in that situation.

As for city night riding, it will get drivers to notice you more than just a twinkle in their eyes including not so well lit neighbourhood streets.

90 lumens are only good for campsights and home maintenance like plumbing under the sink.

Last edited by Daniel4; 09-19-22 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 09-19-22, 10:03 AM
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I hadn't come across any bike light I thought was so bright to be extremely annoying until Saturday night. I was in the right lane of a multi-lane road with three e-bikes approaching me with them riding on the sidewalk. They were poorly aimed and so incredibly bright I would have like to run over the cyclists. If you are going to use lights like those, have the courtesy to make sure they are aimed at the ground somewhere in front of the bike. If you blind a driver as these did you are asking to get in an accident.
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Old 09-19-22, 10:32 AM
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My personal experience riding audax in the dark - 200 lumens is the bare minimum to see where you're going at reasonable speeds (e.g. 25-30kph), 800+ to overcome the glare from oncoming car headlights.
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Old 09-19-22, 03:09 PM
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Whatever you do, do not use a flashing headlamp at night. If you want a flasher during daytime when drivers won't be blinded, go ahead.

The better lights have a fairly flat and wide beam to project the vast majority of the light on the pavement and not in the eyes of drivers coming towards you.

That said, if you are riding on gravel or dirt trails, then a flashlight type of beam may be better for you.
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Old 09-19-22, 03:45 PM
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Daytime: Single flash modes last a long time and catch driver's eyes instantly. 400 lumens or more --- it'll be effective even at noon.

Night: 500 lumens or more. An easy control for adjusting brightness while riding is very helpful -- dial down as needed to extend the run times.

Lights that can run a lot more than an hour at 500-1000 lumens start getting expensive. Under an hour lights are tiny and affordable.

For night riding in the city with some traffic, I want 1000 lumens to compete with car headlights.
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Old 09-20-22, 06:30 AM
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If you are riding when it gets dark and want to see the road ahead, I highly recommend one of these:

Bontrager Ion Pro RT Front Bike Light | Trek Bikes

They are very bright, so watch the aim of the beam. You can use a low intensity flash for daylight visibility mode.
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Old 09-20-22, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
If you are riding when it gets dark and want to see the road ahead, I highly recommend one of these:

Bontrager Ion Pro RT Front Bike Light | Trek Bikes

They are very bright, so watch the aim of the beam. You can use a low intensity flash for daylight visibility mode.
I've got that. Very good light.
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Old 09-22-22, 01:39 PM
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I do like bike specific lights
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Old 09-23-22, 08:05 AM
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It's complicated. Some cheap lights have sky-high lumens but terrible optics and are not very good. The fancier bike-specific lights are more likely to have better optics. There are lots of reviews online but much depends on your needs in terms of on-road vs off-road (which needs more light), burn time, budget, etc.
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Old 09-23-22, 11:15 AM
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I have Sigma Aura 80 headlight, which has a cut-off beam so it does not blind oncoming traffic. No idea about the lumen output; it has the stated illumination of 80 lux, although I haven't been able to find at what distance it is supposed to do that. One source said the light output of it to be rather low, around 200 lm or thereabouts, but it projects all of it where it should go, and illuminates the road about as well as my other 700 lm light without a shaped beam that is better suited for offroad riding in the dark.
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Old 09-23-22, 01:07 PM
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I'd love to video tape all the bike lights I see ppl using, then decide which brightness & flash pattern I like best, then try to figure out which ones they are. of course I'll never do all that!
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