My wife recently complimented me for keeping all our bicycle lights more or less in order. Sometimes something breaks or a light bulb burns out, but most of the time, all lights are operational.
She sees the difference when cycling to school with the kids: a lot of other kids are missing lights.
In Ye Olde Days, you’d have a regular dynamo and light bulbs. The light bulbs would burn out twice a year or so. Replacement was in order then.
I tried battery-powered lights, but I’ve had limited success with them. The battery’d run out. Mostly because my son forgot to switch it off. Oh, and the switch of the lights that I bought (not the most expensive ones, but not the cheapest either) were a constant point of failure. I can hardly switch off my rear light. My son’s front light would switch between “off” and “mostly off”. Not “really off”. What the…. Rear battery powered lights are often a bit more reliable, but not totally.
The best setup: dynamo hubs. At least, I think it is. But that’s quite expensive and means new wheels or respoking the lot. Not right now.
What I did an hour ago was to fix up my son’s bike:
A good dynamo (axa HR). I’d have preferred a “nordlicht” dynamo, but it was out of stock. Well, the axa is a bit easier to switch on, which is an advantage when my son has to operate it. So it is probably for the best. The axa has a big head, making it pretty much slipping-resistant.
A LED rear light with standlight. It stays on for a while when you stop: important when stopping at a crossing. And it is a LED: it doesn’t burn out.
A halogen front light (with a LED backup). Cheaper than a really good LED front light, but still good.
Double electric wires. I also wire up the ground connection, I don’t rely on the frame and on the connection-to-the-frame. Double wires makes for a much more reliable connection.
It all costs a bit more than the average 10 Euro set, but it lasts longer. And it is more reliable. And it is less hassle. And it lasts longer. And it is much safer. What’s a few Euros when you can help prevent an accident?
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
Most of my website content is in my weblog. You can keep up to date by subscribing to the automatic feeds (for instance with Google reader):