Tag Archives: Lights

The wait is over, two new wheels and a light #cycling

Finally, I’ve waited a long time for these wheels.

Firstly the lack of responsiveness, not replying to emails and forgetting to dispatch from bike24. They came good in the end, but beware if there’s a problem then you have to be patient and chase them up.

Supernova-Mavic MTB Front Wheel Infinity S – XM 719 Hub Dynamo Center Lock/Canti

Busch + Müller Lumotec IQ Fly RT Senso Plus LED Front Light with DRL 174QRTSNDI.

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First impressions without riding it, the dynamo is clunky, huge resistance to wheel rotation, however I doubt it’s a problem.

The light will have it’s own review after testing, but the hub with very little rotation has enough juice to drive the daylight function, so it’s looking good so far.

Then there’s my laziness in sending off the Rohloff to SJS for a wheel build. Amazing service from them, they got the built wheel back to me within the same week, given they got it late on Monday, wheel guy was not in on Tuesday, they built it Wednesday and I had it first thing this (Friday) morning.

Rigida Grizzly 26″ (559) MTB Rim – Black – 32 Hole with silver Sapim Race spokes

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The Rohloff sprocket was cracked, so I also had to buy a new one of those, it was only half worn, but better replace it rather than risk it.

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The grizzly rim has an impressively large braking surface
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But since I am a front wheel braker it’s neither here nor there.

So, tomorrow I put everything together, here’s looking forward to a rest ride in the dark.

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Rear lighting options, yep, commuting in the dark again #cycling

I’ve previously posted about my favourite rear light (Cateye TL LD1100), but a bike shop email reminded me why the others in the same price category don’t get my attention.
Here’s why I chose and repeatedly choose this particular light (in no particular order):

  • high battery life
  • fantastic rear visibility
  • side visibility
  • lots of modes with 5 or 10 LED operation (lasts a huge amount of time only using 5)
  • easy to attach and detach from bike
  • rack mountable (extra cost bracket)
  • anything with 10 LEDs must be good, right? OK, that’s not true, but they are 10 powerful LEDs!

I own four of them, two for my bike, one for the Burley and one for the wife’s bike. She gets the one with the broken button (repeatedly dropping by me over the years caused that rather than a manufacturing fault).

The only thing I do have to do is throw away the plastic sleeves that sit inside the battery compartments, else it is a too tighter fit for my batteries. The bag / belt clip isn’t very secure, so doesn’t get used either, I wish they provided a free rack mount instead!
A friend had lost one and blamed the mount, but I’ve been using them for four years, every ride, even in bright sunshine and I’ve not had any problems. I do gently wiggle a light once attached to check it won’t bounce off, maybe that is why.

I’ve tried cheap Chinese lights, waste of money, but filled a gap at the time.

I once bought a competitor, the Blackburn Mars 4, though the single LED was bright, here’s why it was replaced after a month of being patient with it:

  • poor battery life
  • high performance of LED only on fresh batteries
  • stupid AAAs when everything else is AAs
  • rack mount or post mount but required tools to change between them
  • small and inaccessible on off switch was annoying
  • battery cover required a coin or key to open – which you did often, so it was surprisingly annoying!

There are new lights similar to the Mars around at the moment, but their quoted battery life is an instant turn off even if they don’t have the same shortcut comings.

I hope to have a dynamo front light setup soon, that’s a whole different post that is, but until then I haven’t given dynamo rear lights any consideration. Sure, the batteries wouldn’t run out, but here’s the things that put me off already:

  • permanently attached, another thing to be stolen
  • lack of support for two rear lights
  • Burley light would still have to be battery
  • more cabling / wires
  • wires can fail etc
  • they aren’t my current light

I’m tempted to do a DIY job and wire up a standard light of my choice, but I’m not an electronics guru and the AC is a bit if a pain. Maybe a USB hub for the dynamo (e.g. the plug) then a 5v DC to 3V DC (i.e. 2 x AA) converter or some resistors / whatever wired up to achieve that. Hmmm, worth further thought.

Battery or dynamo hub powered front light, the big decision #cycling

At present I have an Air Bike P7 Ever Light (SCC P7 LED, 700 lumens) and it’s been working well for several years now but a while back the cat chewed the charger cable, so I patched it up, but the lamp cable has also been patched up, the lens is cracked and the reflector surface has bubbled in places too. Sure, it still works, but a replacement is overdue.

I can’t afford a decent branded battery pack light (oooww Betty) or a SON dynamo plus a decent lamp. Given the price of the MagicShine lights I’m tempted to buy one, but I’ve also been thinking about a dynamo. Dynamos seem expensive, mostly lack a flashing mode for daytime use and quick release would have to be a DIY solution too. Why am I still interested in a dynamo? Well, the modern battery front lights have such poor runtime that I find it annoying to have to keep charging it, my rear lights last the week so they can happily be battery powered without getting annoying. Fortunately Busch & Müller’s IQ DRL lamps aren’t that expensive and have a Daylight Running (flashing) Light, so if I can keep the price of the hub and wheel down then the only issue is a DIY quick release bracket, I can deal with that. Another thing about a dynamo (in theory) is that I can upgrade or replace the lower costing lamp in future, so when the IQ2 is widely available I can upgrade (or just wish I’d have waited for it). Nexus and Bluebell have different wheel sizes, so I can’t swap it between the bikes, but then I’ll still have the Air Bike that I can use on the lesser used Nexus if I have to.

Finding somewhere that sells dynamo hubs laced into rims isn’t that easy either, some don’t, they only sell the components, some say you’re going to have to contact them with your requirements and they’ll create the custom order for you. A few people recommended Bike24, so I went there, they do sell the built wheel, but unfortunately the cheaper dynamos were out of stock, after some huffing and puffing I decided to just splash out a bit (no, not on a SON, I can’t splash out that much!), here’s what I ordered:
Supernova Infinity S dynamo hub laced into a Mavic XM 719 rim (center lock or rim brake) – €229.90
Busch + Müller Lumotec IQ Fly RT Senso Plus LED Front Light with DRL 174QRTSNDI – €49.90
Total = €279.80

The downside (there always is one) is Bike24 are based in Germany (hence the Euro price tag), so I’ve no idea how much it’s really costing, but I figure if I can afford it in pounds then it’ll be fine.

Wish me luck!

Cat chewed my bike light charger #cycling

This weekend was a lovely rest and gave me some time to spend on the garden and I didn’t do any cycling at all.
This is very fortunate because yesterday I noticed the cat had chewed through my Air Bike Ever Light SL1 battery charger and the battery no longer charges. This meant I had to do an emergency repair of the cable and I’m now searching out a replacement or alternative lighting solution.

I’ve posted up on the CTC forum hoping to get some advice from the beardies, I’ll keep you posted on what they come up with and what I eventually decide on.

To anybody who reads this: I’d love to know your suggestions too please.

10 Common Questions about Cycling #cycling

I stumbled onto a helpful Q & A from the CTC: 10 Common Questions about Cycling

Whenever somebody mentions safety I normally say “And people don’t die in car collisions or crossing the street?”. It always seems easier to make them feel less safe about their current travel arrangements than to defend the safety of cycling. I also sometimes ask them where they get the idea that cycling is unsafe from, are they quoting confirmed statistics or just because they can’t ride a bike safely? Generally I think this comes from their fear and I agree, I’ve never been on a horse, so in my head I’m going to snap my neck the first time I try and ride one, but it doesn’t mean horse riding is dangerous, err, is it?

The key to discussing cycling is to first know if the person is an idiot, don’t argue with them if they are, you know the saying 🙂

Another approach is that you can always agree with them… “yes, bloody tree hugging cyclists, I know, but this driver this morning, I was stuck behind him for miles as he was doing 29MPH in a 30MPH limit during rush hour, can you believe it, some people shouldn’t be on the road should they?”

More bicycle light beam patterns #cycling

I’m always drawn to bicycle light comparisons and beam patterns, mainly because you never know when your prized light will be lost, stolen or broken.

I liked this bicycle light beam comparison by road.cc, simple, yet good.

What happened to Stop, Look and Listen?

This past week I’ve fortunately avoided two adult pedestrians on separate occasions who appear to have forgot the Stop, Look and Listen method of crossing the road that they were taught as children (or at least I hope they were). Mainly they don’t stop or look and who knows if they are listening or not. For the most of it I’m safe enough and normally react comfortably, they narrowly avoid getting hit and the worst part is the shout (being whatever comes into my head first – normally “LOOK”, or “WATCH OUT”) that I give.

The funny one the other morning was me shouting “LOOK LEFT” when the lady was looking left but not right, which is where I was, but she got my point.

What worries me more than anything is that there are cars out there now doing 15MPH that don’t make any noise, those hybrid cars running on electric are practically silent just like my bike, so pedestrians relying solely on sound will get themselves killed sooner or later.

Only a week ago I managed to scare the life out of a teenager who walked out in front of me without looking, it was dark but a well lit area, after walking out he glanced (a bit late) to the right and my bright front light made him think he was about to be run down by a car. His surprised comment to his friends who were still on the pavement was “I thought I was ended then, god”. I replied “Indeed” and cycled on.

Gosh, the more I think on, the more times I remember teenagers (who are the majority of pedestrians I see in the evenings) stepping out without looking, then leaping out of their skins when they realise what could have happened. I do hope that every single incident is a lesson learned and none of them learn it the hard way.

Nobody stops anymore and I seem to come across people only looking one way assuming that the other is still clear because it was last time they looked (no matter how long ago it was).

There is a STOP sign I cycle passed twice a day, I’ve never seen a car stop let alone put its hand brake on. I’m yet to find out what the law on cyclists is, anyone know?