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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New member, here, but long-time Convicted Flashaholic over at CPF.

I'm sick and tired of the cheap LED blinkies, and would like to find a good quality rear bike light that won't break the bank.

I've been looking around and have narrowed it down to these:

Planet Bike BRT7
  • Multiple uses: arm band, leg band, dog collar & many more
  • 200 hour run time on (1) CR2032 battery (included)
  • Visibile up to 2000 feet
  • Flashing and steady mode
  • Waterproof design
Cateye TL LD-1000

2 AA batteries
  • 10 LED's
  • 3 flashing modes runs to 100 hours
  • Constant mode runs to 50 hours
  • 18 - 44 mm seatpost mounting
  • clothing clip included
Planet Bike SuperFlash (no info on the manufacturer website)
  • 1/2-watt power LED plus 2 red LED's for visibility up to one mile
  • Unique flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode
  • Up to 100 hours of run time on two AAA batteries (included)
  • Ultra-compact, vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable.
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options.
The BRT7 seems like an improvement over other blinkers I've used in the past (cheap ones from Nashbar), especially because of the added visibility (220º visibility claim). I'm not too hot on the AAA power source, but I can live with them.

The CatEye seems to have lots of potential. I like the 10x5mm LED's (two individual strings of 5, AFAIK), and how it illuminates almost omni-directionally.

The SuperFlash is the most intriguing of all. I'm drawn to it because of it being brighter than 5mm LED's. One reason I'm hesitant to jump on this one is that it only has 2 5mm LED's, and I don't know what their angle or brightness rating is. I e-mailed the company but they seemed clueless as to technical specs of their own product. :rolleyes: (Bear in mind that years hanging out on CPF means I am not prone to ask "basic" questions when I'm inquiring about a product.)

With all that in mind, I'd like to pick your brains as to what are your choices in terms of rear lights. If you could share your experiences using any of the above that'd be great, and if I'm totally looking at the wrong choices I'm open to any suggestions. The only caviat is that I'm on a student budget, so no Dinotte rear light for me (yeah, I see that one coming).
 

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http://www.amazon.com/Blackburn-Mars-Flasher-Bicycle-Light/dp/B000BNZ0M4

This light is SUPER CHEAP (around $15), it has a very unique flash pattern, and I think its brighter than any of the above. All my team mates are getting them since they saw mine flashing on one of our workouts. PLUS, lifetime warranty.

The clip works very well when hanging on my saddle bag "Loop" its easy to turn on while riding, easy to change between the 2 patterns available, and has YELLOW Side lights for vehicles to see you at intersections.

The mounting bracket is very adaptable to all types and sizes of posts as well.

The only NEGATIVE I have with it, you have to use a screw driver to replace the batteries. This is the way they maintain the water resistant properties.

Outside of that, I purchased one for each of my children's bikes, and my wife as well so when they ride though the neighborhood they are highly visible.
 

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I'm running the new Planet Bike Superflash. I suggest seeing it in person before making up your mind, it's deceiving to read about it. The 1/2 watt led on top acts as a strobe, with an erratic pattern on the two 5mm led's. The big guy also has it's own optic lens on top, and the sides of the light were left clear red so the light can be seen well from the side as well. It's basically set up with average to weak 5mm led's to flash a little and draw on lookers attention for when the big guy hits. It's a sealed case with no external switch, it has a flex spot on the outside to push the pcb mounted switch. I would take this light over a a BRT-7 any day! I've got almost 200 miles in on this light, and I feel confident that every car behind me has seen me easily as I haven't had any of those awkward moments with drivers since running this light.:)
 

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Hi, I use a sigma cuberider, is very little and very bright with 220º angle, but it use two LR1 batteries :( for my is a very good light, It's put and remove without tools :thumbsup:



Too I looking for the topeak UFO I seem excellent rear light this is visible from 360º



Greetings - Saludos

msxtr
 

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I run the SuperFlash on the back of my helmet for commuting and think that it is the best buy in tailights. I also used the LD1000 for a short while but lost it during a ride after hitting a bump. Of these two I would choose the SuperFlash as it is smaller, lighter and brighter. I have not tried or seen the BRT7 so can't comment on that one but I don't see how it could be better than the SuperFlash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback, guys!

Just by coincidence, this morning I realized a guy downstairs uses the BRT7. I played with it for a bit and the overall build looks sturdy enough. I can see how the LED's angled differently can enhance sideway visibility, but I wasn't too impressed by the brightness of the LED's. Maybe I'm biased towards brighter 5mm LED's (I've been using some extracted from a LED stoplight), or the daylight diffused the effect, or something. I guess I could perform an LED transplant...

Y-Wrench said:
I'm running the new Planet Bike Superflash. I suggest seeing it in person before making up your mind ... the sides of the light were left clear red so the light can be seen well from the side as well. ... average to weak 5mm led's to flash a little and draw on lookers attention for when the big guy hits.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing. My 2 concerns with the Superflash were the sideway visibility and the intensity of the LED's. After reading your description, I'm thinking it wasn't outside lighting making me think the BRT7 was dim. It sounds like the 0.5W LED (whatever type it is) works well together with the 5mm LED to attract attention (and I can always try a LED transplant).

I called Planet Bike yesterday and "Dan" told me the blinking went something like POW-POW-blink-blink-blink (big LED - little LED's). He didn't know what type of 0.5W LED was in there, but did mention that the light had basically the same visibility angle as the BRT7. Without LED's pointing outwards (or a wide-angle optic on the 0.5W LED) I'm not sure how that'd work.

Run1stRide2nd, I've seen those blinkies in action but decided to skip them because of what I considered to be a flimsy attachment (the one I used was "Trek brand" - rebadged/clone?). They are indeed beefy and an improvement over the brittle plastic that other blinkers use.

msxtr, saludos para tí también! I've never seen those in person. I do remember reading poor reviews on the UFO one, though.

jz19, after reading your comments, I'm pretty much set on the Superflash. Would you see lateral visibility on it is as good as on the LD1000?

If any of you are into DIY and stuff, we're also trying to come up with a home-built tail light on CPF. I'd love to see what you have to say there too.

Edit to add:
I just found these two on bikeforums:
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-227770.html
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=239827

There's a link to the video on the first one. It looks to like the LD-1000 is brighter than the Superflash, but later on it's mentioned that the Superflash's beam looks brighter on a wall (and I'd expect it to be being some type of "power" LED). I think I'm hooked.
 

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I'll give a shoutout for the cateye, I've had the LD 1000 about 6 months. Very bright, the side led's are undeniably good and the beam pattern is wide.
2 downsides, weak bracket (name one that's not though) I modified mine after it broke.
Also turning it on and off while riding is a pain. I would rather not have it in 2 separate circuits with 2 switches.

I have dropped it several times, not just on concrete but on those old asbestos tile on concrete floors, rockwell hardness 60+.... survived without a scratch, and works fine with rechargeable AA. If you are a student I hope tuition covers 2032 cells.. if you leave it on... Paid $23 on ebay.
For a bargain the Performance bike flasher that goes on sale for 12.99 often, was damn near as bright as the Cat. Breaks on first drop though. Little bitty pieces kind of break. Little bitty pieces on the grocery store sidewalk oh **** it's friday night what are the odds of someone drinking away their paycheck and whacking me from behind kind of break.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As it turns out, a local bike shop has both the PB Superflash and the CE LD1000 (and cheaper than buying online). I'll be stopping by over the weekend to pick up... both.

I'll dissect them and write a comparative review, since not a lot of people seem to have both. I don't have a video camera, but I can take beamshots quite easily. I hope to have more info for you in a week or two.

Kind of a funny related story, the owner of the bike shop I called told me he used sell quite a few LD1000's. He was driving around a neighboring large city one day when he saw this *really bright* bike light ahead of him. He was able to catch up with the biker, inquired what that light was and ordered a bunch for his shop... He now sells more Planet Bike Superflash lights than any of the other blinkers. :)
 

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(note that 4 of its 10 led's are side lighting on the Cateye when evaluating the two)

that was a large factor in my decision.
 

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I have the Mars 2.0 on all my bikes. They cost only $9.99 at the Dick's Sporting Goods/Galyan's around here. Once you see one flashing, you will see what I mean - very blinky, spinny and the side yellow lights also dance. Plus, it is triagular shaped, like an SMV (slow moving vehicle, e.g., tractor, Amish buggy) symbol, which makes it more noticable.

Plus, the surface area of the reflectors is a lot larger than most rear lights.
 

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greenLED said:
Thanks for the feedback, guys!

jz19, after reading your comments, I'm pretty much set on the Superflash. Would you see lateral visibility on it is as good as on the LD1000?

I think that the lateral visibility probably goes to the LD1000 because of those leds that it has on the sides. Mind you that I could not do a straight side by side comparison becuase my SuperFlash replaced my LD1000.

Both are good tailights but the SuperFlash is IMO a slightly better value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Welp... I stopped by the bike shop on my way back home. The guys there are really cool and they let me turn all of their tail light blinkers on at the same time and walk around the store trying to assess their relative brightness, sideways visibility, etc.

Lemme tell you, the Planet Bike Superblash is by far the brightest tail light blinker of the dozen or so I saw today! Keep in mind that the store was fully illuminated, and yet I could clearly see the Superflash from across the shop (around 60 feet). The flashing pattern on the 0.5W LED is very unique and there's no way you'd miss it. It reminds me a little bit of the flashing pattern on emergency vehicle lights. According to the guys at the shop, you can even see it in broad daylight. If you look at it closely, you'll see "dalmatians" (spots) in your eyes. :D

The LD1000 may have 10 LED's and a bunch'a different modes, but it's nothing, nothing compared to the Superflash. There were actually other tail lights that looked brighter than the LD1000 (long trasparent red casing, 7x5mm LED's - I forget the make/model).

Sorry to disappoint you, but I ditched my plans to get an LD1000 for comparison. After comparing both side-by-side, I saw no reason why I would spend $30+ in what seems a subpar blinker (in terms of visibility, at least).

Now comes the fun part where I actually get to play with the blinker and report back on how it performs in the real world.
 

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my blakburn mars works great. i got it for like 15 and its good quality. no problems yet. ive had it for about 10 months so far. There is also a nice gap between the guy behind you becouse its blinding on the trail.
 

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p97z said:
DiNotte... No tail light can compare! $$$ but worth it!
You will probably never buy another...
DiNotte gets my vote (that's why we sell 'em - we use them).

Incredibly expensive but worth every penny for what you get in visibility and reliability. The folks on the roadbike forums know tail lights and they buy the DiNottes like candy.

Here are the MTBR reviews.

Ride on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I took some pics for y'all's enjoyment. With a hand for size comparison:



Here's the PB Superflash compared to an AAA cell:



This blinky does not use a Luxeon LED as some people have mentioned on the 'net. It's some sort of SMT, high-flux LED (check out the 4 leads around the center of the optic on this pic:



and here's a side shot for y'all to see how the optic rides directly on top of the LED. Incidentally, that is not an NX-05 optic either. The curvature on the top reminds me of an NX-01 or a FraenLP, but the optic on the Superflash doesn't have the indexing tabs present in other optics I'm familiar with. I any case, it's definitely not a Luxeon setup:



I'm a bit hesitant to open the Superflash, as the dome is sealed onto its base, and I'd probably have to break the whole thing to dissect the components. If it breaks eventually, then I'll dig into the components, etc.

Now, off to some rudimentary beamshots (this thing is hard to photograph while on!).

Sideways shot (high-flux LED set to constant on) - notice the sideways reflection; I am not as concerned now with this light having a limited angle of view:



The 2x5mm LED's (left) and the hi-flux LED (right) - I kept the camera on the same settings for both pics:


There is almost no comparison between the brightness of the 5mm LED's and the hi-flux beam! The strobe is bright and annoying enough that it gave me a headache as I tried to take the pics. The hi-flux LED flashes in a burst, and it does so twice at every second mark. In the mean time, the 5mm LED's are rapidly blinking on/off - I couldn't determine what the flashing rate was.

I hope to have some time in the next 2 weeks or so to fix my other 5mm LED blinkies, and I'll try to take pics side by side. Also, day- and night-time visibility assessments coming.
 

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I have the DiNotte. Sorry, it breaks the bank, but after trying many, many, different blinkies and not being satisfied with any of them, I took the plunge. There's nothing, but nothing in the same league. It can attract attention in the daytime. It puts out more red lumens than an average car's brake light, and the DiNotte web site isn't joking when they say you can read by it. Actually, you can read by it on its middle setting 10 feet away. The nice thing about it is that it has three non-blinking modes- two of which can't be ignored, and there's some evidence that drunk drivers steer at blinking lights.

Previous to the DiNotte I used the Cateye TL LD-1000. I'd say it was OK for night use, not for day use. What I didn't have faith in was its ability to get the attention of the distracted driver trying to read a map, dial a cell phone, or put on makeup, and only glancing at the road every few seconds.

That said, the DiNotte isn't a shield. My closest call happened on the road at night with the DiNotte blazing. A bus decided to 'thread the needle' and missed me by about a foot. Of course it could have been worse if he didn't see me and decided to give the car a bit more room.

The only 'bad' thing I have to say about the DiNotte is that's hard on batteries. Naturally it uses rechargables, but because of the high drain in the high mode they wear out more quickly than in other applications. I ride every day, about an hour a day, and have been through 4 sets in about 9 months- admittedly, two sets of those were BatterySpace el cheapos. Energizer (NiMh) seem to last the longest. It averages out to a few cents per ride, which is more than fair for the amount of light it puts out. (Oh, and if you want to carry spare batteries in a battery carrier [the carrier is about $1.50 at Radio shack] make sure to cover the contacts with electrical tape or a dummy snap. I accidentally stuck one in a pocket with keys. The short circuit was spectacular, and I've got the scars to prove it :) )
 
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