Posts Tagged ‘bike lights’

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New Bits For The Trek

Tuesday February 16, 2010

In preparation for better weather I’ve invested in some bits for the Trek.  I’m planning on some long rides this year and thought I’d upgrade the Trek to provide better performance/comfort for the longer road trips.

My last ‘long’ ride was to Hyde Park and back in one day, a trip of 77miles in total, last September.  During that ride, I got numbness and discomfort in my hands and the knobbly ‘tractor’ tyres fitted to the Trek weren’t ideal for long road rides.

So, as I said, in preparation for this year’s rides, I’ve purchased some new bits:

The current plan is to work on the bike this weekend, add the tyres and the grips, and then put in some local mileage prior to really hitting the roads for some long journeys.

More on these purchases and their installation over the weekend.

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NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB Tested

Tuesday July 14, 2009

These long summer days have been preventing me testing my new NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB on the bike, in the dark.  It’s still pretty light at 10pm but I ventured out last night with the NiteRider strapped to the Dahon and headed of for a ride of about 3 miles.

The light fixed easily to the Dahon’s handlebar using the smallest of the three rubber bands.  The battery pack strapped neatly to the handlebar upright.  Then I was off.

The NiteRider is significantly brighter than my Cateye HL-EL450 and gives a much brighter and clearer view of the road ahead – which will also aid visibility of me and the bike.  Once mounted, the light could be swivelled left and right to adjust the direction of the beam, however vertical adjustment was more tricky.

You have to set the vertical ‘aim’ of the light prior to fixing the band around the handlebar, once secured it will hold fast.  If you try and push the beam down after fitting, then the tension in the rubber band slowly pulls the beam back to its original position.

So, set the vertical orientation of the light and then pull the band tight and the NiteRider stays pretty much where you point it.

I cycled on roads and paths which ranged from ‘well lit’ to no lighting and the NiteRider’s beam was clear and steady throughout the test.  The beam was well defined and bright at all times and had a significantly longer  ‘range’ than the Cateye.

Don’t get me wrong, the Cateye is a good light and it will stay in my saddle bag when I’m out for the day in case I don’t get back before dark.  However, if I’m going out deliberately for an after dark ride then it’ll be the NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB that joins me.

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Knog Frog – Rear Light

Monday May 18, 2009

Two Knog FrogsTwo Knog Frog rear lights arrived today in the post from Tredz.

I decided to get these to improve rear visibility when cycling at night, primarily as I could point them to the sides.  Mounting them at the back of the bike with a sideways twist to cover the rear quarter approaches.

The other benefit of these little lights is that they are simple and quick to attach and remove and they don’t require any mounting hardware.  Simply place the rubberised body of the Frog against the bike and pull the integrated rubber o-ring around the frame and hook it over the Frog’s in-built hook.  That’s it.  Simple.  To remove just pull the o-ring and it’s off.  Quick and easy to move between bikes.Knog Frog - Mounted, Top View

The Frog has a super-bright red LED and operates via pressing the top of the light.  First press turns the LED on, second press switches to flashing mode and a third press turns it off.

The batteries are replaceable (CR2032) although they should last a very long time in flashing mode (160 hours quoted).

A great safety light to supplement your main lights, they’re only £5.76 each and come in a range of colours.  Need a front light too?  Don’t worry as there’s a front Frog too.  Need a brighter set?  There’s the Bullfrogs!

More pics over on my Flickr pages.

Knog’s website is here: Knog.com.au

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Bike Skulls – Reflect It

Friday January 2, 2009

Be seen at night with these reflective skull stickers from Suck UK.

For £10 you get three of these stickers, one large (21cm x 14cm) and two small (10cm x 6cm), to stick on your bike or clothing.

I think this is a pretty cool design but I’m not sure that I’ll be getting any as they don’t really suit my… image.  Perhaps they’re better for younger or ‘cooler’ people than me!

Suck UK make some interesting products so take a look at their full catalogue.

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Cateye HL-EL450

Thursday August 21, 2008

As mentioned in an earlier post, having fitted the Cateye TL-LD150 I was contemplating getting a ‘real’ front light for the Dahon.  Having been cycling now after dark, I decided to buy myself a Cateye HL-EL450.

Two reasons for this: 1) It’s brighter and intended as an illumination light as opposed to the LD150 which is more of a ‘safety’ light; 2) Some parts of my proposed* commute are dark and in part unlit by street lights.

[* Still haven’t actually commuted to work on the bike yet!!!]

I bought the light from Tredz, as I had done with the LD150, P&P is free, and before long it had arrived.  The box was very small and the light itself is only around 95mm in length.  It’s a very clean design with only a couple of Cateye logos and a rear sliding switch.

The switch slides to the right, where it selects the mode of operation, before sliding back to the centre position under the influence of a spring.  Sliding the switch once turns the light on, to the last selected mode – in the case this morning, constant light at full brightness.  Slide the switch to the right again and the it enters the reduced brightness mode. One more slide and the light starts flashing on and off.  To turn off the light, you slide the switch to the right and hold it there for three seconds. 

There’s a small red push button on the switch slider which, when depressed, allows you to slide the switch all the way to the left which ‘locks’ the light into whichever mode is currently selected (off/high/low/flash).  This is a good idea as your light won’t accidentally turn on in your pocket or bag during the day.

So, what’s the first thing that we all do when we’ve bought a new torch or light?  Turn it on and point it at our eyes to ‘see’ how bright it is!  The HL-EL450 is bright!  As it’s an LED light, it produces a beam with a slight blue tint, appearing ‘cleaner’ than an incandescent bulb beam.  When you’re selecting a Cateye light, their Beam Comparision chart is a useful aid to the selection process, although the HL-EL450 has not yet been added.

Build quality is very good and the light feels solid and reliable.  The small size and sleek design mean that it’ll easily slip into a pocket or bag without too much inconvenience.

Now, the only negative thing I’ve currently found.  The handlebar fixture was rubbish.  The light comes with Cateye’s H-35 quick-release bracket, which can be seen fitted to the light on Cateye’s product page.  When I tried to fit this to the D7HG’s handlebar it just wouldn’t hold.  The quick-release lever kept popping open and it just didn’t seem to be able to grip the handlebar tight enough.  As a result, the light just wobbled and slipped.  The H-35 bracket was removed and discarded.

Back to the trusty Internet and this time to Wiggle to purchase the optional H-34 Flex Tight Bracket (again free P&P).  This bracket is a more permanent fixture and its design ensures a tighter grip on the handlebar.  Fitting it was quick and easy and it holds the HL-EL450 securely in position.  My photos of the bracket below and on Flickr show that I have yet to cut off the excess ‘flex’ and once I’ve finalised the positioning I’ll get rid of it as suggested by the fitting instructions.

The light slides easily on to the H-34 bracket and clicks securely into place.  Once on the bracket, the light can be rotated left and right to 90 degrees if you need to fine-tune the direction of the beam.  Removing the light is simply a press of a button and off it slides.

This is a great commuting light offering brightness, quality, small size and affordability.  If you cycle long distances after dark then you may be after something even brighter with a wider beam, but for shorter commutes on roads with street lights, then this is a good option.  Also, being LED technology, the flashing mode gives you that additional safety option.  As for my bike, it now has the the bright HL-EL450 and the LD150 – the latter operating in its flashing mode.

HL-EL450 - in the box

HL-EL450 - in the box

H-35 Bracket

H-34 Bracket

H-34 Bracket Fitted

H-34 Bracket Fitted

HL-EL45 Fitted

HL-EL450 Fitted

More photos on my Flickr account

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Lights and Fittings – Part II

Saturday August 2, 2008

The Cateye TL-LD150 arrived this morning from Tredz.  Quite a small light, shown in the photo below next to a 10p piece.  The light fits easily into the Cateye bracket I fitted to the Dahon earlier this week.

As with most LED lights these days, it offers a number of ‘on modes’, constant and a few different flashing modes.  A good light to replace the front reflector, it’s light, small yet still warns other road users of your presence.

It should be noted though that the box has a UK notice sticker on it stating “When used for cycling, the enclosed light(s) should be used in conjunction with (a) British standard 6102/3 cycle light(s)“.  The sun is setting around 9pm at the moment so lights on the bike aren’t too important, but as winter draws in they will definitely become a requirement.  As I’m planning on using the Dahon for commuting the three miles to/from work I have been thinking about the above statement and the laws relating to bike lights.  The entire route is on roads which have street lights so I don’t necessarily need a light to ‘see’, but what exactly are the legal requirements???

At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp. 

[Law RVLR regs 13, 18 & 24]

Taken from the Highway Code, sections 59-82 Rules for Cyclists

Right, so I do not need to buy another light!  But my plan is to see how things go, I may invest in a Cateye HL-EL450 over the winter.

Cateye TL-LD150

Cateye TL-LD150

Supplied Brackets

Supplied Brackets

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Lights and Fittings

Thursday July 31, 2008

Due to the hot weather and other commitments, I’ve been going out quite late in the evening for some ‘quiet time’ by the river and in the parks.  As a result, it begins to get dark on the cycle home so I’ve been thinking about getting some lights for the Dahon.

I managed to find my Cateye TL-LD600 rear light which I bought about three years ago and barely used.  This light is in ‘as new’ condition so there was no need to buy a new rear light but I had to order a front light so I opted for the Cateye TL-LD150 front light (not delivered at time of writing, order from Tredz).

The next thought was how to mount these lights.  Fortunately these two lights use Cateye’s quick release system so all I needed were the correct mounting fixtures.  The two lights do come with their own mounting fixtures but I didn’t think they’d be suitable for the Dahon (and I’d lost the mount for the TL-LD600).  So, onto the Wiggle website for some Cateye Spare Parts.

Fortunately, the reflectors already fitted on the Dahon D7HG are Cateye so all I needed to do at the front was remove the reflector from the reflector bracket (one screw) and attach the Cateye LD120/500…1000 Tail Light Bracket.  The front reflector bracket on the Dahon is in two parts: the part attached to the Dahon frame and the part attached to the reflector itself.  This means that you can remove the reflector and easily replace it with the Light Bracket.

To fit the rear light, I removed the rear reflector and used a Cateye Rear Carrier Mount in its place.  This was, due to the nature of the Dahon rear reflector mount, secured with two black cable ties.  Although not as great as screws, the ties seem to be good enough – after all they were included with the Cateye mount.  The slight flexibility in the cable ties enables the mount to move forward slightly to facilitate insertion and removal of the light, it’s tight but it does work.  If the mount was fastened with screws then it would be impossible to remove the light in the way intended.

So, the D7HG is now ready for some night riding – the nights are already drawing in.

Front Reflector

Front Reflector

New Front Bracket

New Front Bracket

Bracket Fitted On Original Mount

Bracket Fitted On Original Mount

Rear Light Fitted

Rear Light Fitted

Rear Light

Rear Light

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