After doing a few weeks of casual research, I just bought a LED light for night trail riding. The light I’m using is a HiFlux 200 B*ke Light which I bought from REI for $130 + tax. Cygolite claims it is equivalent to a 10Watt Halogen in brightness, but I don’t have a halogen light to verify this. However, I done some preliminary rides and the beam provides plenty of light for the trail.
For mounting on my stock Torker DX, I used a 1/2" x 1/8" x 3" piece of aluminum, a hose clamp, and a few tie-wraps to mount the light to the seat post. This arrangement could use a little improvement, but didn’t come loose after several UPDs onto asphalt. The battery is easy to mount (if you have enough seat post length) using a water bottle cage which is also attached to the frame with two hose clamps.
The beam is a little narrow, so I need to find a lens that can widen the beam to 30 degrees or more. With the beam as-is, the center bright spot has an annoying wobble side to side as I ride. I believe this would be much less noticeable with a wider beam.
I am curious about using frame mounted lights for muni. From night biking I really prefer bar lights to helmet lights (depending slightly on twistyness), because you get shadows and the like. My concern is wether enough light gets to the trail given the different angles the frame will be at between steep uphills, and in particular steep downhills (leaning backwards so light points upwards, trail is going downwards = not much light on trail). I suppose a wide beam helps though.
Looks very good. Would like to hear how it goes for proper muni rides.
Looks kool! but I also think the waddle of the uni would be distracting and often not lighten needed areas. I bet it would be great for mellow XC or road though.
My light has a helmut mount, but it also focuses most of the light in one spot. Every time I hit the slightes bump or have to make any correction the spot moves which is too distracting. The guy at my LBS said they don’t make a wider lense for my light, but might make a wider bulb, he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.
If that doesn’t work I’ll get a 12 wat bulb and/or tape a small piece of alluminum foil to the inside center of the lense and maybee cover the outer edge also. (My light sheds a fair amount of light outside the needed area.)
I found that the shadows produced from the low-mounted light made it much easier to interpret the details of the trail. However, the shadows could be a distraction for a rougher trail with more obstacles, such as rocks, to negotiate. I have only tried it on relatively easy-going terrain, which is probably what I intend to stick to for night riding anyway.
For rougher terrain, perhaps a combination of frame-mounted and helmet-mounted lights would help.
It may be awhile before I attempt a “proper muni ride” at night.
I’m thinking there’s probably a lens that could be attached (somehow) to the front of the light that would do the trick … I’ve just started looking and it will probably require some experimentation. The problem I’ve found with aluminum foil reflectors is that they tend to create bright spots (and dark areas) which are very distracting for interpreting trail details. I’m hoping for a wider beam with smoooooooth light over the viewing area.
By the way, I’m finding that night riding is a blast! I actually prefer it to day riding on those days where the daytime temperature it too hot for comfortable riding. I think my ideal temperature for riding is around 60 degrees F (16 deg C).