So, after my 6:30 AM one-mile commute down the street last week, I headed out to the LBS to look for a new headlight. They had a couple, but it’s obviously ten years later than it once was. Bulbs and batteries are better, but materials are cheaper.
My old VistaLite 10-watt halogen that I got for around $89 back in ‘97 has a nicer bulb housing than do most current $189 models with three-hour smart chargers and NiMH batteries. My old NiCD charged overnight (I was sleeping, who cared that it wasn’t finished in three hours?!) and the 10 watt halogen serves my commuting needs well: it lights up the road. Cars notice me and give me space. I’ve survived in fine shape for nearly 10 years without NiMH batteries and three-hour smart chargers...
...but I don’t know how I did it without two bright white LED bulbs! I walked out the door swinging my bag that held the cool black box...which cradled a headlight of quality aluminum housing...which held two bright white LEDs...that could be mounted on handlebar or helmet...paired with a three-hour smart charger and NiMH batteries that would provide nearly five hours runtime. A CatEye Double Shot!
And a receipt with some big numbers on it!
But, three days of a head cold gives a person time to hang around the house and really think. I didn’t plan to think, but things ping into my head when I’m not expecting them ... let’s see, whites, darks, red workout pants in with that purple top? ... $280, ARE YOU KIDDING? ... red, though, you know what red can do... SO, THE THING YOU’VE BEEN USING REALLY CAN’T BE SALVAGED AT ALL? ... I’ve got those red and pink towels, but towels in with my good workout gear will make them all pill-y ... YOU SAID WHAT YOU HAVE IS BETTER THAN SOME OF THE NEW STUFF OUT THERE ... maybe in with that pile of black tights ... AND DO YOU REALLY NEED 5 HOURS RUNTIME WHEN ALL YOU’VE DONE IN THE DARK LATELY IS COMMUTE? ... black lycra sheds everything except cat claws and mtb biffs -- hey! did you have to go there?
Damn the internet anyway -- who ever heard of rebuilding a proprietary battery shaped like a water bottle? Who knew a bottle-shaped housing really holds five D-cell sized rechargeable batteries?! This girl had no clue about soldering and hot gluing rechargeable batteries, stuffing them into a water bottle and jamming in some sprayable foam insulation! The guys at down the street at Batteries Plus know all this. Me? I’m of the that’s-cute-I’ll-take-it-home ilk. Hip new adorable product innovations...that I know.
So yesterday...I...rode...back...to...the LBS......with the same box cradling that aluminum housing which holds those two bright white LEDs paired with a three-hour smart charger and NiMH batteries providing nearly five hours of runtime * sigh * and in return I got a receipt with a zero-balance.
In the end, it was Dad in the back of my head: buy quality, but first check the garage. I’m willing to pay an extra $80 for quality workmanship over a lighting system housed in cheap plastic for $189 -- after all, a headlight will keep me safe and sane on the commute -- but, I’ve got to really think about quality at $270 vs. $60 for a simple battery rebuild on a system I already own (even cheaper if I do it myself), bulky as it may be because it’s suited my needs fine up to this point. ARG.
Although I really would like a longer run-time.
I found the bauble-influenced one still within, however. I found DiNotte. Relatively new and waaaaay cool. It’s got a machined aluminum housing and a bright LED, a simple attachment for helmet or handlebar, and it uses four plain old rechargeable AA NiMHs for 1:45 of 120 lumen run-time (twice as long using the low setting -- TWO SETTINGS!). For the cost of carrying four more AAs in a jersey pocket, one can easily and cheaply double its run-time; and in a pinch it can even use lithium batteries lithium batteries are everywhere... and the battery pack is so tiny that it can hang off the stem or on the helmet. All to the tune of around $190. Nothing proprietary. An LED with 10,000 hours burn that has the lumens of a 12-watt halogen. Longer run-time than what I’ve got currently.
All in the justifiable range. Oh man.....
- Lactic Acid Threshold is going to be testing and posting headlight results this week.
- MTBR forum thread on the Dinotte.
- The Bag likes shiny things....