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A good bike light can be the difference of what saves you from being doored at night.

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AMAZING BIKE LIGHT LINK

@LookChicago

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Thanks. What high-end light do you think gives the most "bang for the buck?" It's always been my experience that more expensive isn't necessarily better.

This list ranges from a $40 to a $930 light.  Depending on what kind of rider you are your need may vary.

I know some training rides I have been on saw me riding 25mph + on main roads in the suburbs and when at the twilight hours I was SOO grateful to be near the person with the high end lumen power rocking.  

For regular city commuting you may be inclined to go with a more inexpensive option, but honestly with the bad mounts I have experienced and then bad lights overall, I have probably spent more than $250 over the past 3 years on lights alone.

My life is worth way more than that so IMO a really good bike light is priceless for someone riding at night.

Its a shame all cars come standard with headlights, but bikes only come with cheap reflectors that do nothing; especially when a front light is required by law.

In the city being seen is more important, but for our more country/rural/suburban riders you actually need illumination at times.  I know this from many Illinois Prairie Path rides at night. Again, the benefit of a high powered, higher end light can't be more emphasized.

@LookChicago

An MTBR reader, Benji, did the dollars per lux calculations for the 2012 MTBR lights "shoot-out", using the standardized test that Francois at MTBR conducts for brightness, rather than manufacturers' claimed lumens (some of which are simply wishful thinking on makers' parts). 

Magicshine seems best lumens per dollar here.  Of course there are other considerations: Magicshine is a cheap Chinese knockoff of the German Lupine Betty, which has had problems in the past with batteries that caught fire (there was a recall last year) and flimsy wires that tend to break.  But you could buy 9 or 10 Magicshines for what you'd pay for 1 Lupine Betty, which is a consideration if you tend to break or lose lights--the Chinese version is almost disposable and you could buy a new one each year for ten years for the cost of the German light.

Another consideration: this is based on manufacturer suggested prices--if you buy on discount, the numbers shift.

Other considerations: weight (particularly for a helmet mounted light), waterproofness, build quality (some folks prefer a well built light that lasts years--unless they lose or break it), heat handling (more or less heat fins), built-in/outboard battery, rechargeable or not, how many hours before the battery depletes, and on and on.  It's a trade-off all the way down the line. There's more to consider than just lux per bux. 

Me? I just bought the last Light & Motion Urban 500 on clearance (@ Ten 27) for $127.99, making my calculation $2.41 per MTBR lux.  Not the absolute best bang for buck, but OK by me. And of course, the numbers get even more squirrely once you figure in that I paid sales tax (but wouldn't from an out-of-state online shop), didn't pay shipping, and was able to help my LBS as it liquidates (karma points that are hard to quantify).

 

Benji says:

Here’s the 2012 list sorted by $/Lux:

$/Lux Price Lum Lux Light

$1.77 $110 1000 62 Magicshine MJ-808

$1.81 $185 1600 102 Magicshine MJ-872

$2.20 $110 450 50 Lezyne Super Drive

$2.47 $259 1200 105 Dinotte XML-3

$2.65 $559 2700 211 MyTinySun Sport2700x

$2.75 $700 3000 255 Niterider Pro 3000

$2.82 $200 800 71 Gemini Xera

$2.90 $90 300 31 Lezyne Power Drive

$2.93 $390 1500 133 Serfas True 1500

$3.00 $450 1800 150 Baja Designs Double Stryk

$3.00 $150 600 50 Niterider Minewt 600 Cordless

$3.02 $160 500 53 Light and Motion Urban 500

$3.04 $280 1300 92 DesignShine DS-1300

$3.04 $350 1500 115 Niterider Pro 1500

$3.07 $175 1000 57 Magicshine MJ-868

$3.31 $169 400 51 Dinotte XML-1

$3.49 $150 500 43 Serfas True 500

$3.55 $110 350 31 Cygolite Expilion 350

$3.75 $90 400 24 Magicshine MJ-858

$3.98 $350 1200 88 Dinotte 1200L

$4.05 $300 950 74 Baja Designs Strykr II

$4.10 $643 2100 157 Full-Beam Fusion*

$4.17 $250 750 60 Niterider Pro 750

$4.29 $930 2600 217 Lupine Betty 2600

$4.32 $350 750 81 Cygolite TridenX 750

$4.44 $600 1925 135 Exposure Six Pack

$4.55 $50 130 11 Niterider Mako 2

$4.59 $340 950 74 Baja Designs Strykr SL

$4.67 $70 150 15 Lezyne Mini Drive

$4.72 $930 2300 197 Lupine Betty 2300

$4.86 $549 1200 113 Lupine Wilma TL

$4.86 $549 1300 113 Lupine Wilma TL

$4.86 $549 1500 113 Lupine Wilma TL

$4.90 $700 2000 143 NiteFlux PMax 24

$5.00 $65 100 13 Cateye Econom Force HL-EL540RC

$5.00 $100 250 20 Cateye Nano Shot

$5.00 $200 700 40 Jet Lites A-51

$5.00 $50 100 10 Princeton Tec Push

$5.08 $300 975 59 Exposure Diablo

$5.13 $200 400 39 Philips SafeRide

$5.23 $209 400 40 Dinotte 400L

$5.24 $330 750 63 Lupine Piko 3

$5.26 $884 2500 168 Full-Beam Night-Nemesis*

$5.38 $930 2050 173 Lupine Betty 2050

$5.45 $550 1600 101 Cateye Sumo 3

$5.59 $391 1000 70 Hope Vision 4

$5.88 $500 1285 85 Exposure MaxxD

$6.06 $400 975 66 Exposure Toro

$6.15 $695 1200 113 Lupine Wilma 7

$6.15 $695 1300 113 Lupine Wilma 7

$6.15 $695 1500 113 Lupine Wilma 7

$6.25 $700 1400 112 Light and Motion Seca 1400

$6.33 $399 750 63 Lupine Piko TL Max

$6.72 $450 1000 67 Cateye Sumo 2

$8.00 $40 100 5 Niterider Mako 1

$8.06 $500 1000 62 NiteFlux PMini 12

$9.73 $399 550 41 Lupine Piko TL Mini

$15.45 $170 110 11 Light and Motion vis360

* price converted from GBP to USD using 10/15/2012 exchange rate



Mike Keating said:

Thanks. What high-end light do you think gives the most "bang for the buck?" It's always been my experience that more expensive isn't necessarily better.

And I agree with everything Aaron posted above here.  Especially this point: why are bike manufacturers and shops allowed to sell bikes without lights, when lights are required by law?  Cars and motorcycles are never sold without lights, why just bikes?  (This came out of the very good discussion at the last Chainlink "LookChicago" meeting--if you're not yet a member, please join us!)

Best guess is that sales of (new) cars and motorcycles must comply with standards set forth by federal law, whereas there is no corresponding federal standard regarding lights on bicycles.

Thunder Snow said:

Especially this point: why are bike manufacturers and shops allowed to sell bikes without lights, when lights are required by law?  Cars and motorcycles are never sold without lights, why just bikes?  (This came out of the very good discussion at the last Chainlink "LookChicago" meeting--if you're not yet a member, please join us!)

Couldn't agree more. I bought two cheap taillights on Amazon for the purpose of using them as second, extra lights. I figured for a few bucks each I could have some extra protection with an extra taillight. One fell off and broke. The other would turn on when I left for me ride, but when I would get home it would be out. Couldn't figure out what was wrong with it other than being cheap.

The old expression, "Penny wise but pound foolish" comes to mind.

Aaron Bussey said:

For regular city commuting you may be inclined to go with a more inexpensive option, but honestly with the bad mounts I have experienced and then bad lights overall, I have probably spent more than $250 over the past 3 years on lights alone.

My life is worth way more than that so IMO a really good bike light is priceless for someone riding at night.


@LookChicago

If you're going to shop for bike lights on Amazon, use the Get Lit commission linkWhat's Get Lit? It's a campaign to distribute bike lights to those without 'em on Chicago streets.

People who are thinking about any light that costs more than $100 should consider a dynamo light, powered by your biking (turns on/off automatically, never needs batteries). You'll need a bottle generator (not a fan), or a dynamo hub built into the wheel. 

Also consider using the power of magnets for a battery-free light, the Reelight.

Consider it done, Steven. Thanks for the work you guys (and Jim) do on this.

Anyone have experience with the Reelights?  I went to the web site and watched the installation video for the 770 set, and it looks like even I could do that.  Also seems pretty reasonably priced.  But not if they don't work, or fall apart easily, or . . .

Thanks for the reminder about the Get Lit commission link.  


I'd also be curious to hear about anyone's experiences with the Reelight.

Everyone should have lights on their bike, great holiday gift reminder Aaron.

Just remember when you install your light to angle them down, like on a car. Far to often I have had a super lumen light blinding me on the LFP and city streets.

I love this discussion. I didn't even think about light angle before.

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