I want to get my 29’er road-legal for night riding, and here in PA a “lamp” visible 500 feet away is required for the front, a reflector visible 500 feet from the rear, and orange side reflectors. I don’t think I’ll have any problems with getting reflectors, but I’m worried about a light:
How will it mount on the frame? most bike lights mount on the handlebars, and I don’t have a T7 so have no place for a light.
Size. I considered just mounting a bike light sideways on the neck of my frame, but the lights I found would hit the ground in a UPD. Also the lights I saw might get in the way of my legs while pedaling.
I have a Yuni (nimbus II style) frame with a 25.4 mm seatpost; I don’t know the diameter of the frame neck.
I am a night rider every day and I do the same. My helmet is an older one that is kind of flat and I can put a Petzl LED headlamp on the front, with an LED blinker on the back. The modern helmets are more sloped and to put a light on them, I would use some sticky-backed velcro on the helmet and light. That way you can tweak the alignment as needed. They work well and they won’t get broken unless you really smash your head into the ground at which point you may be less worried about the light.
There is no doubt in my mind that the best light answer for night-time riding is a light on the helmet…on the front to see, and on the back for others to see you.
I also wear reflective ankle bands which I use to gather my pants and shoelaces when I put them on. If a car’s headlights hit me, the ankle bands are moving rapidly up and down and they show up very well. The comfort of knowing your shoelaces aren’t going to get hung up and pitch you off on your nose is a nice additional benefit.
For lights on the frame, there are loads of LED ones that will fit on the frame, and not hit in a upd. Cateye are the most common brand.
I think it makes sense to have at least a rear facing LED on your frame as well, helmet lights are okay from a distance, but when a car is close to you, or you are looking to one side, your helmet isn’t in the driver’s field of view, and isn’t where a driver is expecting lights to be.
Also, reflective trim tape for cars (like this with red facing backwards, and white facing forwards (and sideways), put on your frame, is amazingly bright in car headlights. I have this on my frame, and when a car is coming up behind you, it is way brighter than any rear light. If you get the car stuff, it’s very easy to put on, and doesn’t rub off. It’s also super cheap.
On my unicycles that don’t have brakes on, I have strips of this tape on the side of my rim, which means that anyone coming from the side is confronted with a really bright spinning thing, the effect looks pretty cool too. I haven’t worked out a place to put it on the wheel for the ones with brakes.
For several night rides I’ve done on the local single track trails around my home I’ve used a 12 led petzl head lamp that uses 4 C batteries in a seperate battery pack. Kind of “rigged” but I removed the headlamp straps, wrapped the connected cord around the battery pack and sinch tied the pack and lamp to my 28" Yuni frame just at the cross bar. Turns out the crossbar worked great to secure the lamp facing foward and the seat post to secure the battery pack. Doesn’t wobble at all and stayed secure even during some pretty good night UPDs. I do get a little bit of “leg shadow” sometimes as my legs clip the sides of the light beam but to counter that I also where an equally powerful led headlamp on my helmet. So I’ve got 24 leds going, pretty good for lighting up the moderate single track around here; probably more than good on the road…
Oh yeah, for a cheap way to ride off road at night, get this http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.4238 and strap it to your helmet somehow (gaffa tape / zip ties etc.) it’s significantly brighter than a petzl head torch, and gives you enough light to ride with.
the 20$ one I posted is enough light to ride with. You can always buy two, they don’t weigh very much, and the batteries last quite long because they use the latest LED technology (well almost the latest - and if you’re really wanting the most light, you can always upgrade them with a soldering iron and a replacement LED).
The bats last months. I use one that straps to the seat post. You can twist it left or right , and it also pivots up and down, so it’s easy to put the light where you want it.
A helmet light would be a good second light IMHO. I prefer not to have all the light move every time I turn my head. So if you look to the right, you can’t see what’s straight ahead out of the corner of your eye anymore.
I like how it’s waterproof , and has a magnetic switch. Corrosion and rain are a problem in the tropics.
Brightness is fine for 99% of my riding. For places that are pitch black on the 36, I sorta wish it was a touch brighter. But the bats last for months. It is quite tiny, and sits under the seat where it is protected well. It is very tough looking, and I don’t worry about smashing it at all. http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=details&sku=LT4146
Sure. But looking at their page, the LED technology they’re using is about 3 years old, whereas the cheap china ones update the LEDs every year. The brightness of LEDs has doubled in the last 2 years for the same battery usage, so you’re better off getting a China/Taiwan built one, given the quality is so good nowadays. A big advantage of the cheap ones too, is that they’re typically built in a modular fashion, as they bring out new ones every 6 months when a new LED appears, and that means that you can buy yourself a new LED for $10 and easily solder that in, meaning instant light upgrade. I’m currently running a 2 year old luxeon torch that I upgraded.