Posts Tagged ‘commuting’

Having had my Nitelights for a few weeks now I thought it was about time that I gave you guys some idea about what I think of these lights using them on a daily basis.

Up until recently I had always tended to use cheap LBS lights that were around 20 bucks and gave me as a cyclist the confidence that I will be seen by motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians. I have, over the last few years gone through more sets of these cheap lights than I care to remember. Recently my needs changed and my commute changed from mostly road commuting to local cycle track commuting. This meant as well as being able to be seen by other people I know also needed lights that were going to enable me to see ahead of me on a pitch black cycle way.

I pondered this decision for some time, maybe get a few more el cheaper lights from Wiggle, and replace them as and when needed or splash out on a set of rechargeable high-powered bicycle lights that would last me some time. I decided on the latter.

Thus the research began. I scrolled through all the usual suspects Wiggle, Chainreaction Cycles and Probike Kit. All of these stores offered a large selection of high quality, high-powered lights that would fit the bill. I then remembered that a few guys I know swear by a brand called Ayup. Australian manufactured, high-powered lights. I thought these would be the go for sure. However I was instantly put off by the price, after delivery etc would have been over $330 Australian.

FInding the urge to get these lights dampened by the cost I set about seeing if any other Australian company had an equivalent product without the hefty $$$$ attached. I then after a bit more research came across Nitelights, an Australian company, offering lights much brighter than Ayup at a much lower price, after reading the specs I was about to order $220 a steal compared to other costs out there.

I trawled eBay just incase I could get them cheaper and surely enough for $150 I found a set from a Australian buyer, $170 delivered to my door. Ordered.

The lights are awesome, so very bright, great battery time and also very quick charge. All in all they tick all the boxes of what I required in a light. The lights illuminate the ground in such a way that I can easily navigate my way through the paths in the dark mornings.

The fitting solution to the bike is also very good, a simple set of rubber hoops that go around the base and then clip back on themselves is very intuitive.  As is the helmet mount that is also included.

They would also be a great aid for any mountain biker that regularly does 24 hr enduro or night rides. I was happy. I managed to pick up lights in the price range and specs that I wanted. Another plus was my business was kept in Australia.

As you will know I am a big advocate for buying on-line, usually out side of the country as far better deals are to be had. So this really was a win.

However it’s here that my happiness will take a turn for the worse. Firstly I must point out that I am still happy with the lights.

Whilst doing more research for these lights after a bought them, to see what other people thought of them I stumbled across a website called Dealextreme. A US-based site offering electronics of all kinds, including torches and bike lights.

I quickly went to the Bike Light section, what did I find, the same lights, although packaged with a different name for a fraction of the price available in the Australian Market. Sure this had a US plug not the Aussie one mine did, something that could be rectified for a few $ in my local electronics store but apart from that Identical.

The lights retail in Australian Bike Stores for a$220, I paid $150 plus $20 postage. They are available from Deal Extreme for US$78.48 ( at today’s exchange rate a$90.20) delivered free of charge.

Am I pissed off, a little.  I love the lights and am happy to pay what they cost in my country, however as I have said before and will again.  Why buy things in Australia when we simply get ripped off time and time again.  In this case someone with foresight has had the initiative to import and market lights that can be purchased for MUCH less than half the price from an overseas store with free delivery.

I will send the owner of Nitelights a link to this post and invite him to explain how he arrives at the a$220 figure assuming as he is buying in bulk he would purchase for lots less that the us$78.48

UPDATE

I have recieved a response from the Australian Supplier.  It seems that he has had issues with a company ripping off his design.  This is very unfortunate for them.

Although I still find the price difference disconcerting this sweetens it a bit.  Although I guess the level of service cannot be confirmed unless I need to make a claim under warranty.

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Well, it never ceases to amaze me how weird some things that happen during my ride to or from work are. Tonight whilst riding down the PSP from the city towards Canning Bridge I had a cyclist say to me that my lights were to bright and that I was dazzling other cyclists.

Being concerned that this was the case I made sure that my lights were appropriately positioned and were not blinding any of the on-coming bikes/runners.  My concerns were immediately put to rest when they really were positioned well, facing the ground and not causing any issues.  I then said to the cyclist that I was happy with them and I was satisfied that no problems were being caused.  He then told me I was a wanker and to get off the path.  Surprised by this statement I asked him to explain this to me, obviously the foul mouth he had confirmed that he was not able to hold up or substantiate his argument.

He then also went on to tell me that I was also very irritating for using my bell to warn pedestrians and other cyclists that I was approaching.   I found this all very difficult to stomach, as if anything I am very anti bad behaviour on the cycling paths, always using lights, warning approaching people and never going through red lights, something I cannot say for lots of cyclists.  I might also mention that this cyclist only had a single LED light on the front of his bike.  Not exactly what I would call safe.

Unfortunately this is were I slipped up a little bit, instead of acting like the better person I also called him a wanker, something I really should have not done.  Dropping myself to his level was not a good thing to do.  However being told your a wanker for having lights and a bell, both of which are a legal requirement in Australia was quite a surprise.

I really am starting to find the quality of behaviour on our roads and bike paths very upsetting.  I am getting to the point were I am becoming embarrassed to admit to being a cyclist, something I have always been proud to tell everyone.  Is it really that much to ask to obey the road rules, be curtious and keep themselves and those around them safe.  It seems so.

I also took this very small video of a bunch of cyclists once again ignoring the red lights

So I have had my Tioga Panniers for some time now, they have been awesome.  Putting up with daily commuting, day rides in all sorts of weather and have lasted really well.  These panniers are good looking, low price and for the best part pretty waterproof.

However there time has come for me to retire these units and move onto something new with the winter rapidly approaching.

Its time to order the daddy of all Paniers, manufactured by Ortlieb, these are considered one of the best brands of panniers in the world today.  They have seen many a world trip and have held strong throughout for lots of people.

They also look pretty nice which is a big plus.  I have decided to order from UK website Wiggle.  Which as lots of you know I love shopping at.  The savings that can be made ordering online with free delivery over the standard purchase price here in Australia is staggering.  I managed to secure this set for a$130 including postage. The cheapest I could find locally were over a$200

The order has been placed for yellow, mainly due to visibility during commuting in the dark and wet weather of a Perth winter.

If your keen to find more details on these panniers you can check the link for Ortlieb

4000km on the Surly

Posted: April 16, 2010 in cycling
Tags: , , , ,

Today I clicked over the 4000km mark on my beloved Surly LHT, by far the favourite of my current bikes.  I thought I would just share a few thoughts with you guys after spending a fair amount of time on the bike over the last few months.

If you want to read a very early initial review it can be found here.

The bike remains the same component wise as when I first picked her up, the only thing I have done is de-badged it.  IMO it gives the bike a much more dignified presence than the tacky Surly decals.

I have run the bike in all weather conditions, from severe storms to heat over 42’c and she has never let me down.  The fenders keep lots of the water away from my shoes and clothes in wet weather and the frame geometry works a treat for both comfort and longevity during a ride.

The brooks saddle has settled down over the time I have owned it and altough initially it was not that comfy on extended rides I am happy to say that it now fits like an old pair of shoes that you do not want to throw out.

The components have behaved exceptionally well, wheels have remained true and run freely even after carrying some large loads, gear’s shift and behave as they did the day it left the bike store.  The only noticeable sign of wear is on the bar tape, which although I probably shouldn’t change what works well I am looking to maybe get some moustache bars for the bike, which I hear are very comfy.

The bike mainly gets used for commuting to and from work, thus it takes a fair amount of luggage on a daily basis, work clothes, plus food and drink.  Doesn’t sound like much but when you add up the weight on a few diet cokes and your lunch box it is.

I have also done a few metric centuries on her with no issues.  I find the bike adapts really well to how YOU want to ride her, I can average 30km/h  on a morning commute loaded up, with no issues.  However its equally at home on a 18km/h average ride down the coast.

All in all a great purchase and a great bike, the add ons although not much take the machine to the next level and I really look forward to many many more thousands of KM on my great Surly.