Well, I’ve had three really powerful bike lights over the last couple of years. First the Light & Motion Cabeza which was lightweight but too dim really. Then after getting hit by a car, I went whole hog and got two HID (high intensity discharge) systems one for the handle bars and the other for the helmet. They are 85 watts and literally brighter than the sun (technically 650 lumens). But, they use really heavy NiMH batteries and the whole kit weights 2 pounds per system. And now all the batteries either failed to hold charge or in another case, the case cracked. Also I’ve been using Xenon strobe flashers for backup. Again, these are getting old and have either disintegrated or cracked. Plus all of these only last about two hours or so. So what’s the solution now? LEDs.
“Mountain Bike Reviews”:http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/index_byrating.shtml has probably the best list of bike light reviews. As a calibration, the Light & Motion ARC has 125 rteviews and is top rated. They like the Stella but it is still new.
With high intensity LEDs, you get very bright (180 lumens) and long run times (5-6 hours) and very light weight (1/2 a pound). For instance “Light & Motion”:http://bikelights.com make the Stella 180-N. “Competitive Cyclist”:http://www.competitivecyclist.com/mountain-bikes/review-lights/Light—Motion-Stella-180-N-Light.222.html has a glowing review of it and it is just $199 from “Beyond Bikes”:http://beyondbikes.com/ or you can go to the REI.
Also, for my existing perfectly good HID system, you can get a replacement NiMH battery for $180 at the same place. Quite a choice. Get a whole lighting system for the same price as the battery. Plus the battery weighs more than a whole bike assembly. OTOH, there is nothing quite like a system that pumps out 650 lumens (or more than 2.5x the LED).
For rear flashers and side flashers, Xenon was great but ate batteries for breakfast even with rechargeables. Now you can get the “Blackburn Mars 3.0”:http://beyondbikes.com/BB/Items.asp?Cc=AC%2DLIG%2DBlackbur with seven LEDs and a 150 hour run time for $12 and “MTBR.com”:http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Lights/product_125385.shtml shows it is popular with 27 reviews and highly rated 4.45 out of 5.
As an amazing aside, someone has actually reviewed Flashlights at “Flashlightreviews.com”:http://flashlightreviews.com. It is now defunct, but still useful. Amazing what people will do.
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