Now enters a new bike into the mix: The Raleigh Crested Butte. I intend to use the Crested Butte as an everyday bike, and my other two everyday bikes, the Raleigh Wayfarer and the Surly Long Haul Trucker, have dynamo lighting systems. But the Crested Butte won’t “go dynamo” anytime soon, basically because of the expense of a dynamo system. Even if I did it on a budget, a dynamo hub system creeps toward $300. ($50 for a budget dynamo hub, $30 for a decent rim, $40 for spokes, $50 for a wheel build, $60 for the basic B+M light, $30 for a dynamo powered tail light.) Take out the new wheel and add a decent bottle dynamo instead, I’d save about $125 from the above price, but there are no decent bottle dynamos available locally (or for the most part anywhere in the US save for the B+M model available through Peter White.) Ordering from Europe gives me more options, and I may just do that at some point, but can you say expensive shipping? Not only that, but bottle dynamos have more resistance than a hub and can wear the tire.
So for now, a battery powered headlamp will suffice. Of course, since I’ve gone dynamo I haven’t bought a battery powered headlamp in at least two years. And most of the ones I had are MIA, leaving only one, my Princeton Tec EOS that is mounted on my helmet. But I want to keep it on my helmet, so a new light had to be purchased.
Thankfully in this highly technological world of 2012 we have good choices in the bike lights department. Pretty much any battery light you see these days are LED and each year they get better and better. Much better than when I started city biking in Portland in 2001. The basic battery light selection was very mediocre unless I wanted to spend serious cash on a high-powered battery pack system. I bought what many newbie bicyclists bought in that era: A Cateye halogen headlight that took 2 “C” batteries and went dim within one night of use. The next year Planet Bike released their ubiquitous “Spot” headlight, the beginning of the “blinkie” trend. It’s hard to think of it as such an improvement, ten years later, but it was. And like many other budget minded cyclists, I bought a few over the years. Heck, I still have a working one at the bottom of my parts bin.
|The VW Bug of the bike light world. Still available in 2012.|
So I could have gone with another Planet Bike light, I could have “kept it local”* and bought a Portland Design Works headlamp,** or maybe another Princeton Tec as my EOS is a great light. But upon the recommendation of Kim at North Portland Bikeworks, I got myself a Cygolite Metro 300.
And the Metro 300 has a lot of selling points.
- 300 lumens, 3.5 watts. It’s bright.
- Five modes. Med > High > Low > SteadyPulse > Day Flash. After the “its on or off” settings of dynamo lights, this one takes a little getting used to.
- Water resistant. Old battery powered lights sucked in rainy weather.
- Rechargeable via USB. No more worrying about disposable batteries, as long as you have access to a computer you can recharge easily.
- Made in the USA.
- Grant Petersen likes ’em. (Why do I keep on saying this?)