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I currently own a Cygolite Hotshot which I use with a rack mount in flashing mode. I also have a PDW The red planet which I keep on steady burn. I wanted something brighter than TRP so I ordered a Niterider Sentinel 40 (which seems to be just like the Solas 40 just with laser lanes), the difference between that and the Hotshot is the diffusing lens on the Sentinel allows for a much larger light spread.

I ride at night on the shoulder (except when I go through intersections, then I'm in the right lane) of a semi-lit intercity 2-lane road where traffic goes at 80-110kph (~50-70mph).

Now I'm not sure which light I should use on steady burn and which in flashing mode. Would it be better for the steady burn to be the focused beam and the flashing to be spread out? Or the other way around?

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    Wars have been fought over this topic. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 26 '15 at 12:11
  • I really dislike any sort of blinking lights on other bikes. It grabs my attention and I'd wish they would just use normal lights. – Martin Ueding Nov 25 '16 at 22:02
  • Martin Ueding, I think that grabbing attention is the idea. I'd rather grab a driver's attention so that he knows I'm there than have him run me over. – Avi Poss Nov 26 '16 at 15:52
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    I have several rear lights, and stacking them at different heights seems to help. One on the rear of the helmet, one on the backpack, one on seat post, and one on the rear rack. I also have a red LED torch/flashlight that is strapped to the seatstay or rack stay and it illuminates down at the rear cassette - the movement is highly visible at night. – Criggie Sep 3 '17 at 19:58
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I run The Bike Light Database (which started from a series of blog posts on this very Stack Exchange site). The Cygolite Hotshot and the NiteRider Solas are actually two of my top recommended lights, and I specifically recommend a setup similar to what you're describing.

From the recommended taillights page:

Putting the Cygolite Hotshot on your rack or stay and the NiteRider Solas on your seatpost is a perfect combo. The Solas has better side-visibility, and on the seat post it can be better seen by traffic on your sides. In flashing mode the Solas serves as the attention-grabber and the Hotshot - which has better straight-on, long-distance brightness - is on steady burn.

A steady light is easier to judge distance by, so it's better to have the longer-distance light be the steady one. The more attention-grabbing flash is good to have on the wider angled light, so that you are more likely to catch the eye of drivers who are closer to you at an off-angle.

Here's an image from the page showing one of the recommended configurations, with the Hotshot below on steady and the Solas above flashing.

Hotshot and Solas 2W

As an aside, I don't personally believe that laser lanes are effective at increasing safety. They seem like a real gimmick to me. Given the extra cost of the Sentinel taillight, you might be better off returning it (if you can) and just getting the regular Solas taillight, and then spending the money you saved on something different.

  • First of all, your site is amazing I've used it multiple times in the past for both headlights and tail-lights, so thank you very much for all your effort! The Sentinel 40 was only 5 USD more than the Solas 40 at the time I placed my order so I decided to give I it a whirl otherwise I would have just gotten the Solas 40. Would you recommend running the Hotshot on the brightest when in steady burn or do I need to worry about blinding drivers? Do you have any idea when you'll review the "40" versions of the Solas/Sentinel on your site? – Avi Poss Jul 26 '15 at 6:27
  • I also forgot to mention that I can't use the seatpost mount because my seatpost is hidden behind my Topeak MTX trunk bag, so I plan on using the mounting loop on the trunk bag which is where I mounted The Red Planet. – Avi Poss Jul 26 '15 at 6:35
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    Glad you found it useful. I do use the Hotshot on its highest setting and I don't think it's a problem. If you want to get longer battery life though, knocking it down a notch or two is fine. I've tried to contact NiteRider about borrowing some of their new lights for a review but my old contact there retired, and nobody's responded to my emails. If I can't get through I'll see if I can get one elsewhere. – nhinkle Jul 26 '15 at 7:46

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