Beam me up!

Fellow blogger Niall posted about his night riding experiences this week on his blog The Idle Cyclist.

A great read talking about the differences between night and day riding, road conditions, the weather etc which I could relate to but he omitted a key part and that is what lights does he use! You see I’m a bit of a nerd and love to know what kit fellow riders use and why.

Anyway this prompted me to say I’d talk about mine if he talks about his oooeeeerrr and here we are. This is my light setup.

Up Front

Up front I used to run a 600 lumen light with a separate power pack. It was cheap, about £30 off Ebay. This was fine for commuting on lit roads but if I wanted to ride into the darkest lanes then it struggled. The light didn’t penetrate far enough ahead to safely see what was coming while riding at normal speed.

It came to a head last year when I stayed down in Bristol for work and took my bike on a night ride. The light just wasn’t bright enough for narrow, unlit, unknown lanes and it got a bit sketchy in places so I decided to buy something brighter.

Rather than the faff of a separate power pack slipping up and down my top tube I researched a light that was obviously brighter and had a big battery built-in. In the end I found my Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL on offer and its really good.

I don’t need the max 1600 lumens it can do, 1000 is enough and this enables the battery to comfortably last 2-3hrs. It has a host of modes but with the Lezyne Ally app you can program and use what you want instead of having to go through them all. Its quite a small footprint too with the battery built in and the mount and rubber make sure it doesn’t move.

Beam wise its bright enough to light up the darkest of lanes comfortably so I can see the road and I always have a higher mode in reserve if I need it.

So far it’s been a great piece of kit even if the model is a few years old now. Bargain. I think I paid about £75 for it last year.

Light up, light up!

Out Back

I usually run a couple of rear lights both flashing in different patterns. My main light, for years, has been a Lezyne Micro Drive but coincidentally it looks like it gave up the ghost last night as I couldn’t turn it off when I got back.

At 180 lumens it is (or was) super, super bright and compact too. I’ve had it about 10 years so it owes me nothing.

most reliable bit of tech I’ve owned

My other light I attach to my rear stay to offer some visibility from the side which my Lezyne struggles with. It’s a Cateye something that I somehow acquired as if by magic. I don’t even know where it came from, I just found it in my cupboard one day. It’s bright and has a good lateral beam spread of about 270 degs so it can easily be seen from the side.

it appeared by magic

So this morning I found myself googling reviews for rear lights and the Exposure TracR looked like a good bet so I’ve gone for the MK1 @ £33. The latest MK2 version has some fancy features like automatically dimming if you ride in a group. I don’t need that so the reduced MK1 will do me fine.

nice and compact

Over to you now Niall 🙂

4 thoughts on “Beam me up!

  1. Nice! I use a similar setup to you although I rarely night ride these days, but did used to commute to/from work in the dark in the UK. The beefy Lezyne 1600XXL up front, then both the Lezyne Micro Drive (seatpost) and Cateye Rapid X (seatstay) on the rear. I really rate all three products highly.

    I did also have a second front light as an emergency, the 1600XXL on big lumens could really drain a battery! I think it was a smaller Lezyne one, it might have been bought as a pair with the Micro Drive rear light.

    Liked by 1 person

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