Choosing the best light system is the key factor for those who want to go beyond daylight
When night comes, time to turn on the lights. In the market there are countless lighting systems, brands and lights, thanks to technology, both electronically and LED bulbs, there are more and more powerful lights and better lighting.
However, every lighting system requires an energy source, no matter how small and we can distinguish mainly the lights that are illuminated by direct current (batteries), or alternating current (hub dynamos).
To prove that the choice is not easy, the percentage indicates cyclists who use one type of lighting system or another: 65% battery light 35% dynamo light.
If we compare the differences between both systems, both have their pros and cons.
- It is cheaper (from a small budget, we can find decent spotlights up to just over €200).
- It is adjustable to our needs (within the market there are many brands and types, more powerful, with more autonomy, with external power, etc).
- They are lighter (if we are not going to need a very intensive use, in terms of power or duration), between 100 and 500grs.
- They are easier to install and uninstall if you don’t need them.
- The autonomy is sometimes limited, if they do not have sufficient quality, it is difficult for them to have autonomy for more than 1 or 2 nights, so it will be necessary to recharge them.
- To attach to the right position, orientation of the light focus is not always easy. Sometimes they vibrate, move or focus irregularly.
- Most are simple “flashlights”, and the focus of light is simple, without a reflector that directs the light in its optimal way.
- Practically unlimited autonomy (they can last YEARS on).
- Power/quality of the light focus is very good, designed and optimized for it. They are very specific lights and with a level of development with very little energy to generate a light that allows shooting at high speed even on the darkest nights.
- They usually have an automatic system, also for rear lights, so it is more comfortable.
- The current source flickers, since we are extracting electrical current from our pedal strokes. The loss is very small but measurable. We are talking about between 1-2w with the light off and between 5-9w with the light on. So 2-4% of our energy will be lost! In terms of average speed it means 0.3-0.5kms/h of loss!
- The installation is somewhat more complex, you have to place cables, connectors. Especially if you have a rear light, so installing and uninstalling the light is time consuming.
- The installation is more expensive, we are talking about having to install a completely new front wheel, so the price is more than €150 just for the power source plus €80 for a decent spotlight, so in case we are going to slightly more sophisticated systems we are talking about a minimum investment of more than €400.
- Climbing or in slow riding will affect to the light power, which result in blinking light or directly no light in case you stop for some minutes, in case you had to stop or had a flat, so you must have a second light or torch.
- The set is heavy. The dynamo and lights increase the weight by more than 400gr.