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I've had my front light mounted on the handlebar for the last 4 years or so. I never liked the bulky look and more importantly, how it jumps around in a response to my handlebar movements (if I'm on a rocky road avoiding obstacles and people are walking in front of me, it unnecessarily scares them).

So to have the front light point in the general direction of the bike instead, I'd have to mount it to the front of the frame somehow, like this:

Quick sketch

Problem is, I can't find any lights on sale that'd be compatible. I even found wheel axle mounted, but not frame mounted. Is there a reason? Is this a bad idea?

This discussion mentions how frame direction lags behind where you're looking at, but I won't be cornering this fast in these seemingly extreme conditions, so shouldn't be a problem.

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    +1 for the artwork. A thousand words right there.
    – Criggie
    Oct 8 '20 at 9:52
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    Why do you think the light's movement is what scares people? Why do you think a light that moves less is going to be less scary? A helmet mounted light is somewhat "stabilized" by your head and moves a lot less than a frame mounted light. Try that instead and check if it really solves the issue. I've had complaints from fellow MTB riders that my light's movement causes dizziness on them and the helmet light does not.
    – Jahaziel
    Oct 8 '20 at 16:18
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    Anyway, if you want to make an experiment to check and decide whether a frame mounted light solves the issue: tie a short length of pvc or other plastic tube to the frame near to or on the head tube. Use strips form inner tube to protect the frame. The tube can be tied with a lot of loops of inner tube zip ties or duct tape. Position the pipe so you can use a regular handlebar mount on it and use it a few times. If that works, continue your search or go for a more elegant DIY solution. (maybe 3D printed)
    – Jahaziel
    Oct 8 '20 at 16:24
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    unsolicited 2 cents: I have a bike that came set up like this OE and it was terrible to ride in the dark.
    – Affe
    Oct 8 '20 at 19:14
  • The issue with a helmet mounted light is that if they aren't designed properly they can compromise the helmets function.
    – Turksarama
    Oct 8 '20 at 22:38
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The light is better on your handlebars or fork than on your frame - the frame lags and always points at some tangent to where you're going while turning, so either you need a really wide beam, or you have to ride into the dark.

Fortunately there are solutions, and some of them are pretty vintage.

  1. Steerer mount. In the days of threaded headsets, there was a stack of anti-rotation washers needed. It was common for one of these to be extended out the front and upward, to support a "bicycle lantern"
    As time went on these changed from oil lanterns to battery powered by two D cells.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here
this last one is a particularly vintage unit, but shows how it is mounted on the bike, below the threaded stem's retainer nut.

  1. A variation on the above is to mount the lamp from the front wheel's brake bolt. enter image description here
    Downside of this is its getting quite low and can be obscured by wires. Also many brakes don't have bolts long enough to go through more thickness. However if your bike has a cantilever, V, or disk brake, then this hole is either spare or used only for a mudguard/fender. Worth considering.

  2. There are a ton of options for mounting things under the bars too, which helps clean up your working area. Risk here is that some lights are built with a certain intentional beam pattern, and flipping them will light up other road users in an non-legal manner.

If you have to mount your light to your frame, there are two ways to do it.

  1. Secure a longer flashlight/torch to the side of your top tube, such the front lens area is forward of the head tube. Downside, a torch makes for a bad headlight because the beam pattern is wrong.

  2. Get a gopro handlebar mount, and put it around your headtube with the clamp between the top and downtubes. This will let you use some kind of gopro to your-light adapter.
    I use this for my gopro on an older road bike, and the footage is really directional, makes me look quite pro while riding.

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    In non-rural settings your light is mostly there so that other people see you, and should not directly point at them anyway (but to the ground as to not blind them). That (main) function of the bicycle light is not significantly compromised by a frame mount. Oct 9 '20 at 9:13
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica True. But when you happen to ride a forest path at night, you'll be extremely happy for a fork/handlebar mounted light. Oct 9 '20 at 14:13
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The lag is an issue, even at low speed (even more, I would say, because your wheel and handlebar will turn, while at high speed as in the video you posted the bike is going as a whole in a certain direction).

If you are on rocky road, you will soon discover how annoying is trying to avoid rocks/ruts that are partially in the shadows.

I had some luck in searching the internet with for the words "Bike Stem front Light" in finding some less bulky solutions that may appeal you.

If you wear a helmet, putting it on the helmet may be a solution (no diy solutions, if you know the rumours about the skiing accident of Michael Schumacher you may imagine what can possibly happen, having an object that can penetrate the helmet attached to it ... nail and hammer ... and you are the anvil).

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    I ride with handlebar lights and a helmet light together. I find my head tends to stay in line with the frame but my eyes move with the handle bars. If my handlebar lights are dead and I only have my helmet light it is awkward to rotate my head to sufficiently illuminate the road/trail.
    – Brad
    Oct 8 '20 at 16:52
  • @Brad I guess the benefit of your set-up is "handlebar light = check the obstacels right in front of me, helmet light = check the direction". May I ask why did you start using two lights?
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 9 '20 at 8:09
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    Many thoughts. I felt I got better illumination and there was always light where I wanted it whether that be from my head or bike. PLUS a really bright light is quite expensive but I felt good about using multiple less bright lights (which I have slowly amassed over the years). I actually use two on my handlebars and one on my head. When I was commuting to work pre-COVID I had a long stretch of trail that had zero lights and was pitch black in the winter. Maybe it's overkill for roads but I like the setup.
    – Brad
    Oct 9 '20 at 16:52
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This is a product that Peter White Cycles calls a "nob." It's an accessory mount that can fit around a fork blade (something like this is also often used on aerobars). Which is not what you want, since the fork obviously turns. However, it might fit around the head tube, or give you an idea for a homemade equivalent with PVC and zipties.

nob on fork

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    Very good suggestion. On some bikes and depending on the product's specific dimensions it may be placed on the headtube o very near in the top tube or downtube, solving the installation issue very easily.
    – Jahaziel
    Oct 8 '20 at 16:28
  • And if you're concerned about shadow from the rim/tyre, just add a second nob and light on the other fork leg/tine.
    – Criggie
    Oct 9 '20 at 9:25
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What I would do is braze on a rack-mount lug. Or you could braze on a water bottle type of boss, and a short bolt, and the light would mount using the standard mount for a fork crown.

I mean to braze a lug onto the head tube of the bike. Brazing would only work on a steel frame. There's no need for anything to intrude into the head tube if you braze a lug on. I am considering this solution myself because I also don't like the light wagging back and forth, especially while climbing.

I already have a helmet light for curves, and my front light also hits the front fender and leaves too much shadow. The other idea is to 3D print a mounting block.

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  • Might need a picture to describe - do you mean to braze to the frame or to the light ? How would you arrange a water bottle boss (a rivnut) so that it doesn't impact the fork's steerer inside the headset ? (BTW you're so close to 1k rep this could put you over.)
    – Criggie
    Oct 9 '20 at 9:27
  • I meant to braze a lug onto the head tube of the bike. Brazing would only work on a steel frame. There's no need for anything to intrude into the head tube if you braze a lug on. I am considering this solution myself because I also don't like the light wagging back and forth, especially while climbing. I already have a helmet light for curves, and my front light also hits the front fender and leaves too much shadow. The other idea is to 3D print a mounting block. Oct 9 '20 at 14:41
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this is what I found, it allows to move my hadlebar light (Fenix BC30R) to the frame of the bike.

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Rixen-Kaul-Light-Holder-Bracket/dp/B00INTRNN2/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=klickfix+lampenhalter&qid=1615755807&sr=8-2

or

https://www.amazon.com/Front-Light-Extender-archmount-Extension/dp/B01GMK5D7Q

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  • Hi, welcome to bicycles! It appears that both of these mount the light to the fork, which is not what the question is looking for.
    – DavidW
    Mar 15 at 3:57

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