Lights: Because The Night Belongs To Us

Those in North America were struck by the return of standard time over the weekend. Those of us in fair Britain have already been oppressed by its tyranny for more than a week. Because of our northerly latitude I’ve been riding with lights quite a bit for a month now–and with the return to Greenwich Mean Time, our sunsets are almost as early as the earliest sunset in the Lower 48 states–affording me a chance to try out some new purchases.

For a taillight these days, I’m sticking with the DiNotte taillight that has served me well so far. On the front, for simplicity’s sake, I’ve put aside the DiNottes–which require me to faff about with recharging AA batteries all the time–and have gone to the NiteFlux Vision Stick Photon 4 Enduro. It’s a fairly ingenious design. The rechargeable lithium-ion stick battery attaches to the frame with a bracket that screws into your water-bottle bosses, like a mini-pump. The bracket can hold two of the stick batteries, one on either side of your water-bottle cage. A partially-coiled cord then runs up the downtube to your light on the handlebars. And if you need it, you can screw the stick battery directly into the light, making it a very useful flashlight.

At its brightest, the four-watt LED lamp has a claimed runtime of six hours. With a second battery, that would be easily enough to get a rider through a full night of riding, making it a useful light for events up to 600K. I plan on using it in the 250-mile ultras-sportive I’m entered in next July, when the night hours will number only seven.

It’s a sad fact that winter nights curtail our riding so much. The good news is that we get to test out theproducts that make summer playtime so much fun.

6 thoughts on “Lights: Because The Night Belongs To Us

  1. I am going with a dyno hub on my new wheel being built today. As a daily commuter and future randonneur (just getting started) it feels worth it to me. The new edulux light is amazing.

  2. I think that in a year or two, there will be dyno hubs that have even lower rolling resistance than the ones made now, because they will be designed around the lower wattage of LED lights. A year after that or two, these high performance LED lights will become cheaper. Then you’ll have a very low rolling resistance hub with a lot of light output, virtually no bulb failure, and no reason to mess with batteries. Pretty sweet!

  3. A couple of decades ago Bill Machrone, then at PC Mag, came up with “Machrone’s Law” regarding personal computers, “The machine you want costs $5000”, which remained true for a very long time. It seems to me that we’re about there with lighting at the moment – the stuff keeps getting better, but what you want still costs a bomb.

    And as with computers, it’s not paying the money that hurts so much (although it’s no fun) it’s the idea that having done so, in six months you’re going to be looking at something much better for what you just spent, wondering whether you should spend it again, and if you do, what to do with the old stuff.

    So the question is, if you’ll pardon putting it this way, has Carl identified the light at the end of the tunnel?

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