i am in the market for a light for my bicycle and need some input. i am currently looking at the Cateye HL-EL500. www.cateye.com/en/products/viewProduct.php?modelId=17&catId=7&subCatId=2 this seems to be one of the brightest battery powered lights available. anyone have any experience with these or any other brand. also, what about the rechargable lights. are they worth the money? thanks
It really all depends on what you want to do with the light.
Are you doing some kind of aggro trail riding in the dark or do you just want to be legal and safe (relatively) while tooling around at night in the neighborhood.
Compared to many of the higher end lights, that Cateye you linked to is a joke.
There are many LED, halogen and HID commercial bike lights out there that will blow that one away.
HOWEVER, I am not dissing the Cateye. In fact, I would look very carefully at it, because it is compact, and would be a legal constant white light with which I can ride on the streets after dark.
Off the cuff, I like the manufacturer that allows you to peg a rear LED red flash array into the same rechargeable as the front halogen. I believe it's manufactured by Nite Sun, but it might be Night Rider.
The advent of stronger LEDs within the last 7 years has really made a difference with respect to visibility.
I have two J.E.T. rechargable lights (jetlites.com). IMHO, they're the best money can buy, but you get what you pay for.
Here in Iraq, I'm using a Phantom with the optional 20W bulb. The light is bright beyond belief -- I never NEVER want for more light -- and I get 2 hours+ per charge.
I lived in Germany for 5 yrs (the second time) and rode a lot. I worked in a bike shop for the last 3 years, and rode home many many times in the dark. I lived in Bitburg - think rural farm area and zero street lights except in towns. I knew most of the tractor tracks (as we called them) between Bitburg, Trier, and Speicher. Wasn’t a single street light out there, and the NightSun was more than adequate.
There’s a hill leaving from - crap, I can’t remember the name of the town - going up into Bitburg after Spanghdahlem. It’s about 1km and not real steep, just a steady climb. I was flashed by oncoming cars many times if I had the high beams (both lights) on. That sucker was bright.
NightSun products were the best. I purchased mine in 94, and used it until I left in 98. It never let me down. The one I have looks like the Nightsun Team Issue Dual Beam.
That being said, the shop I worked in carried NightSun, and the NightSun folks were complete *ssholes to deal with.
I’d buy another one of their products in a minute.
I was on a budget and I built my own halogen system.
It's a 12vdc, rechargeable system. I used a lamp assy (mr-11) from Lowes from thier low amp yard lighting system. They are 12v. It's a metal housing and I got a regular handlebar clamp and mated it to the lamp housing. I then got a sealed lead acid battery, stuck it in an under seat pouch, wired it to a switch housing with an led indicator (not really needed, but it's blue and looks cool!) then put quick disconnect power jacks on the switch housing and wired it for dual lamps if I want. Make sure you fuse the battery. It's a 20 watt bulb and really bright. You can get 10 watt bulbs as well. With dual 20 watts, your battery will die quicker.
Before I made this sealed system, I was almost hit nightly in Phx. I was using a flashing white led along with a steady burn white led facing forward, flashing red led array facing rear. It was crazy that people would pull out in front of me or pull up and block the road denying me right of way.
Here is a "how to" for doing your own light system. Lots of pix and ideas.
I just can't understand why these people want $150 for something you can do yourself for $50. But then again, maybe you want to spend that cold hard cash for a cool looking light head.
I have pix of mine I can post tomorrow.