Front Bike Light Evaluation

I recently bought a new LED bike light to see by while riding - actually a MR16 halogen format 12V light from Jaycar (part ZD-0315) and wanted to see how it compared to my existing lights. While it's not as bright as a 20W halogen, it's definitely enough to ride with and a lot better than my existing LED lights. To give a reasonable comparison I put the camera in manual mode and kept the exposure constant.

The lights are: Jaycar ZD-0315 with a 10AA battery pack (home made), a 20W halogen rig (home made) running at 10W, a Cateye HL-EL100 with 3 LEDs and 4AA batteries, and two 2AA blinkies just labelled "Smart". See final photo for handlebar shot.

Click on any photo to see a larger version


All five lights - 20W halogen derated to 10W, 0.6W MR16 LED, 2x2AA LED blinkies, 4AA LED light. 4AA LED light one 2AA blinky on constant both 2AA blinkies on constant 20W halogen derated to 10W (so it's very yellow, and not very efficient). At 20W it blew out the photo to the point where I didn't think it was a useful comparison. Note that the difference in battery size between supplying 50mA and 2A is significant (300g vs 2.5kg, with the 2.5kg battery only good for 2-3 hours rather than 40 hours from the 300g pack). MR16 LED. It has as much scatter as the halogen, and a similar size centre spot. But it's white, not yellow. And the battery is much, much smaller. In practice I could ride reasonably fast with this, and the background city lights didn't bother me too much (they do with the 4AA LED i was using before). From the front - about half the exposure time, looking at all the lights. Note that the blinkies when flashing are more noticeable, and seem nearly as bright as the other lights. The test setup - all the lights on. The light on the grass and path is coming from the full moon which appeared over the trees as I was taking these photos. It is nearly as bright as the center patch of the 4AA LED light, but both "real" lights wash it out. Here's another front shot, exposed more for the lights. Top left and bottom right are the blinkies, bottom left is the 4AA LED, central the 20W halogen (yellow), and top right the MR16 LED light. They're all still overexposed, but I couldn't get a meaningful shot that was otherwise and it's very hard to see any more difference between them with the human eyeball anyway. In the big black thing is the MR16 LED light in an enclosure I got at Kmart, you can see the underside of the Cateye 4AA lED light and the two Smart blinkies. Also the white reflective tape that covers most of my bike ;-) And the 8 speed Shimano Nexus shifter - the new hub is great, light and efficient and very easy to shift. Not as wide a range as the Rohloff, but 1/3 the cost and about half the weight. Great for commuting, wouldn't want to do a heavily loaded tour though.