I've exhausted myself trying to find a reliable light with zero luck. I've returned what will now be 7 lights to REI that I've tried over the last several months.
I bought a Nite Rider Lumina 750 which is definitely bright enough for my needs but after a single rain storm and not even 2 weeks old, the light is completely done, full of water and the electronics are all fried.
I can't even believe companies make lights for bicycles that can't get wet — especially in that price range, but this follows just a week before this having a waterproof head lamp being returned because it also got wet in RAIN and was completely destroyed.
I have been trying to find a light I can ride with at night without being completely disgusted with since July 2014 when I bought a light on the C&O canal trail that died within 20 minutes of mounting it (it was replacing another light that died about 2 hours into my trip when I left at 4am, with no warning for no real apparent reason).
I have found that trying to find a reliable light is impossible.
Looking to see if anyone out there has some solid recommendations. I don't need a MTB light but it looks like I am going to venture into the $500 range if I want anything halfway decent, but in that case it must have a GOOD lifetime warranty, because there's no way I'll ever trust a bicycle light anymore. I took 6 lights with me on the 600 mile trip I just went on and that was the only one that went bad this time, but my last 80 mile ride a week before that destroyed 2 lights because it rained.
I get especially irate when the box SAYS the thing is either waterproof or submersible and a single rain storm kills it.
Not to beat a dead horse, but if you're looking for a light to handle all weather, and you're willing to spend a few hundred bucks, you should seriously look into a dynamo wheel and lighting system. I've never had a dynamo-driven LED light fail, and the only hub failure I've experienced was after I let it hang untouched in a damp basement for two years.
I would not recommend the fancier systems with integral USB charger, as those have been reported to fail after heavy rain; but, if you just want reliable light in any temperature or precipitation, dynamo is a good option.
I've had hubs fail. They wear out, eventually. And they can't be serviced except by somebody like Peter White.
I suppose if you really wanted to knock out your problem you could get a submersible dive light and put it on the bike with a Twofish Lockblock;
a possible solution.
You might check out Peter White's website for more info on lights. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm
He has the most extensive discussion of headlights, comparing beams etc, that I've found on the web. And there are both dynamo and battery-powered lights there.
I like dynamo lights because they can be used without worrying about whether your batteries are charged, or fresh. You just hop on your bike and go. But I was disappointed in the durability of the SON hub -- the 5 year warranty is less than I would like, especially since you can't just take it to a bike shop when it breaks.
He seems to take waterproofing lights seriously, BTW.
I've had good luck with Light and Motion stuff. They make dive lights as well. The Gobe dive light can be purchased with a handlebar mount as well.
They also make stuff in the US, and will set you straight quickly if you have any problems.
I bought a Cygolite from REI well over 2 years ago and have had zero problems with it. The latest iteration is here:
it's 500 lumens (mine is only 350) and roughly the same price point as when I bought mine. I use mine year round for evening commutes and rides through areas that have no street lights. I've never thought that this light wasn't bright enough.
Great experience with both the Cygolite metro and Expilion. The metro is cheap, and works great for about 60 - 80 bucks.
Never failed to perform in wet weather. It's pretty well sealed. I use these for a lot of commuting, mostly in winter/fall/spring. The Expilion 850 I have tends to double as a helmet light for single track, and works pretty damn good at that.
Only issue I had was the power button falling off during a wreck, cygolite sent me 3 replacement power buttons at no cost, with no hassle.
Light and Motion makes underwater camera gear too, so they should know what they're doing as far as waterproof bike lights. My Busch Und Muller (from Peter White) lights have endured some water, FWIW.
Thanks for the suggestions!
I have this one in a bowl of rice for 3 days now and it's still full of moisture.
I've thought about a dynamo powered front light, especially something that would allow for device charging as well via a standard micro usb cable.
The funny thing is the cheapest lights I own have been the most reliable. The ones that aren't waterproof at all never conk out on me, but they aren't very bright either.
I really liked the brightness of this Nite Rider I picked up, especially for the size of the light but it needs to hold up in the rain. It was a lithium ion battery that used a standard usb charger, so maybe something like that (with better water resistance) with a dynamo that charges standard usb devices would be a good grab.
I've not used a USB charger attachment for a dynamo, so can't speak directly from experience.
That said, the B&M Luxos U is a dynamo-powered light with a remote switch and USB charging port(http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m-hl.asp
). I don't know how reliable the current generation may be; I do recall several early complaints of the USB charging functionality shorting out after several hours of steady drenching rain, but haven't seen any similar complaints in the past year or two.
There's also several separate solutions to add USB charging independently of your headlight, such as Supernova's The Plug
, which is a replacement for your stem cap. If I were to add USB charging, I'd go that route, as I'd rather replace one cheaper component than have to replace an integrated light-and-charger unit.
I'd suggest a good Shimano dynamo hub, rather than the Schmidt...you'll save $100 or more, and I can't tell the difference between the two. Dynamo wheel, plus headlight and wired taillight (I like B&M's dynamo-driven lights such as the Lumotec IQ Premium CYO, but Supernova makes nice ones too), and you're good to go.
I've had very good luck with a Cateye Volt 300 (http://www.rei.com/product/859435/cateye-volt-300-front-bike-light
Mine is coming up on being 2 years old and has performed flawlessly in heavy rain, snow, cold, and heat. I've also dropped it hard probably 300 times.
I know some people don't like the Cateye mount, but they make replacements. And when I had unrelated problems with a Cateye back blinky, they sent me multiple replacements. You can also buy an extra battery for long trips.
I currently have a Sinewave Revolution
on my touring/daily commuter bike. It's plugged into a Sturmey Archer XL-FDD (extra-large, front drum, dynamo) hub. So far, I've had no issues other than some squealing brake sounds after riding through wet conditions.
If I plug my phone directly into the Revolution, it seems to start charging once I hit >9 mph and it continues charging steadily until I drop to <5 mph. Eventually, I'll get a weatherproof USB-chargeable battery that I can use to store electricity from the hub while riding. Then I would use that battery to charge my phone & light (I'm still using the Cygolite from my earlier post) as needed.
Using a bike-mountable, weatherproof battery is the recommended way to deploy the Revolution (and similar products). It ensures you give steady power to your electronics, regardless of the dynamo's (or actually your own) power output. Some of the external battery packs can actually store and send power out at the same time, but generally the price scales with the battery's storage capacity & ease of mounting.
I have a Cygolite metro as well. I get rained on all the time, no problem.
Are you mounting these lights in a non-standard way by chance?
I've used my Expillion for several years in all weather with zero problems. Liked it so much I bought two more for the other bikes. I also got an Orfos, which is sealed in silicone and 100% waterproof. Haven't had it long enough to say if I like it better yet or not.
I moved the discussion here because I noticed that I was helping hijack the Bikes Stolen thread again. Maybe others will follow. We were discussing dynamo lights again.
In reply to Mick, I was thinking bottle dynamo, which is a lot cheaper than the hub type, BTW, and you don't have to buy a new wheel. Also no drag when you aren't using it, since you turn it off by rotating the dynamo off the wheel.
Peter White sells them, too. All the dynamo lights and dynamos bolt on to your bike. You could of course make them a little harder to remove using theft-resistant bolts.
And I was never happy with the brightness of the standlight in the dynamo lights when I was using them. Much dimmer than the light when I was moving.
I see lots of folks out there with super-bright lights and think they're overkill. You don't become twice as safe with a twice as bright light. I admit they make sense in the rain at night, though, or probably when mountain biking.
Lance Kennelty, of the WPW, recently installed a bottle dynamo. He was pretty happy with it, from what I recall.
Wow, I use the NiteRider 750 all year long and in total downpours and never had a problem. The top button does need to be secure. I can't imagine using anything else. Maybe you got a lemon? Don' know, but I will never buy anything else at this point. I use it on the lowest setting unless off road. Great light. Good luck though.
I've been using the Light and Motion Urban
line of lights for a couple years and have been really happy with them.
One thing I highly recommend, regardless of light, is to pay attention to the current output of the usb charger that you use. Most lights can take advantage of more than the 0.5A your computer's usb port puts out. This can make a huge difference in charging time.