Gear Guy

MiNewt.X2 Dual     Photo: courtesy, NiteRider

Q:

What’s the best lighting system for night biking?

Ever since a friend of mine announced that he and his wife wanted to do the next Paris-Brest-Paris bike race (in four years), I have been bitten by the bug and have decided to do it, too. I will be training a lot at night and will need a lighting system. What do you suggest? Gary Denver, Colorado

A:I suggest lights. Lots of lights. Lots of very expensive lights.

I have come to the conclusion that for night riding, you just can’t have too much lighting. With good lights you’re safer, better able to stay tuned in to the ride, overall much happier. But I warn you, it’s gonna add up in a hurry.

First, the minimum. NiteRider (niterider.com) has done the world a huge favor by bringing LED technology to cycle lighting. New for 2007 is the MiNewt.X2 Dual, a dual-light headlight system. It’s very bright, has an excellent run time of three hours plus, and is fairly compact. And it charges in about four hours. The cost is $230, which really is quite reasonable.

The next step up is to go with the somewhat older but still extremely good HID (High Intensity Discharge) technology. Light & Motion’s HID ARC NiMH light ($429; bikelights.com) comes close to car-headlight intensity. Burn time is 3.5 hours, and recharge time is about the same. Its battery is compact, and it mounts to a handlebar or helmet. OK, it’s $430, but this light is REALLY nice. Spent $100 more and get much lighter Li-Ion battery. Or spend $200 and get a second battery, which might come in handy (I told you this wouldn’t be cheap).

The next step: Get both helmet and handlebar lights. That way you can look around and throw light, plus have light straight ahead. Or, you can run one set until it runs down, and then switch to the other. Yes, I know, we’re getting close to the $1,000 mark. But you’ll love it.

Then again, you could simply go and have a nice lie-down. With luck, this entire urge will simply pass.

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