Sunday, November 25, 2018

Riding at Night - Cheap Lights 2018

I have been night riding for 13+ years and doing it year round. The "Old Men" bike club (OMMBC) ride year round and we normally start at 8:00 p.m. Night riding adds excitement back into a local trail that you ride over and over. Some people think that is "crazy, but you drive your car at 70 miles an hour in the rain all because you have good car lights.  Mountain biking at night is no different. With good lights you can go just about as fast as you can during a daylight ride.

Now there are excellent light companies out there with excellent lights and great features, but they are expensive and I just didn't like the idea of taking something that expensive out in the rain and also the potential crash with it.  I'm also a realest (or in other words a cheap guy) so I buy cheap lights.  And I’m a fan of the cheap lights on Amazon.

I've seen the YouTube Videos and heard the "horror" stories, but I have to say I've avoided those problems and have had great success with these lights over the last 14 years.  The key I’ve found is to use an upgraded battery and not the default battery they ship with.  The batteries they ship with the lights do not hold up well in our (Oregon) winter weather and they don’t hold a charge long.  I’ve had the best luck using the upgraded battery (which used to be the standard battery back in the day).  I have batteries that I’m still using that are 7 years old being charged once to twice a week.  

I just purchased a new set of lights and while they are “bigger” I’m not sure they are that much brighter and I never believe the lumen's claim, but that is also half the "fun" of buy cheap lights.  I have never had a light fail from rain or weather. The most issue I have is with connections because of a crash, etc.  So I have had one or two lights fail over the years because of that (again why I like the cheaper ones because they are easily replaced).  

So hear are few links to the lights, the extended batter and the cord extender:
This is my newest light (it uses the standard connection that matches all my other batteries).  I bought two. $32
The model I have used for the last three years (which I have two of and they still work great) is no longer available.  So here are two “upgraded” models.  These will be a little smaller and lighter if you don’t want to use the larger one above for a helmet light.  

Weihao Bicycle Headlight, 10500 Lumens 7 LED Bike Light, Waterproof Mountain Bike Front Light Headlamp with 96000mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack, AC Charger
Here are some extended battery options:
Magicshine MJ-6092 Small and Lightweight 2 Cell Bike Light Battery, 2600mAh Li-ion Waterproof Rechargeable Bike Light Battery for MJ-900, Round Plug

Magicshine $24 (2 cell) this is the one I use
Magicshine $49 (4 cell)
Magicshine $61.00 (6 cell)
Battery Cable Extender $10
And because I like to put my battery in by jersey pocket or my camelback I use an extender.
Video of a night right on Mary's Peak using two of the $25 and $29 lights linked above.  The camera takes some of the light away, but you get the idea:

No go ride!

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