DiNotte in Hampton, New Hampshire makes some very nice little LED headlights and taillights. They are battery powered, (for now) and take up very little space on your bike, or in your pack. They come on and off the bike easily, so if you're nervous about leaving valuable items on your bike while it's left parked outside, you need not worry about your DiNotte lights. You can remove them in seconds and reinstall them just as quickly.
The attachment to your handlebar couldn't be simpler. It just uses an "O" ring. You wrap it around the light and the handlebar. It doesn't matter that it isn't high security. It's small and lightweight so when you park your bike, just pop it off, drop it in your bag and go about your business.
You can also mount one on your helmet. Here's the Endurance Series Ultra 3. It's light enough that most riders won't notice it on a typical commute. Probably not recommended for long distance events though where every gram on your neck feels like a huge lead weight after 200 miles. ;-) But helmet mounting is probably the ideal place for the Dinotte, especially the 3 watt versions. It's light enough not to be an issue for all but the longest rides. And the light is always pointed exactly where you want it to be. A light mounted on your bike is only pointed where your wheel is pointed. That may not be the best way to light up road signs. And when entering an intersection, you can flash the beam across oncoming automobile driver's windshields, calling attention to your presence far more effectively than with any lights mounted on your bike.
The On/Off switch on the back glows green when the battery has a good charge, and then turns red when the battery is low.
Here's a taillight mounted on the rear of a racing bike. The battery pack is in the black nylon pouch. The LED inside glows red. The light doesn't have to be aimed straight back as the beam has a wide enough angle to be clearly visible even though here it's angled down a bit. This is one of the brightest taillights I've seen, and it's by far the brightest taillight I sell. It must be seen to be believed. If anyone runs into you from behind with this taillight turned on, they should be charged with attempted murder, as they have absolutely no excuse! This light is available now. See below.
Here's a full 3 watt kit with headlight, set of four AA NiMH rechargeable batteries, the battery pouch, a smart charger, the cable and attachment straps and extra "O" ring. The headlight itself is mounted on its helmet mount. This 3 watt kit is available now. It's the Pro Series Ultra 3.
Here's another picture of the Pro Series Ultra 3 watt headlight. The rear glows red for added safety. It's not a very bright taillight, but it's visible up to about 100 feet. For a very bright taillight, keep reading!
The ultimate helmet light.This bright 3 watt spot headlight with incorporated taillight mounts on a helmet. This is available now. $ 169.00
What's the beam like?
The DiNotte 5 watt has a large round beam with remarkably even illumination. It's not a small spot but more like a good sized medium flood light. At 30 feet, the bright center of the beam is about 12 feet in diameter. I can't stress enough just how even that center beam is. No hot spots or dark spots, just bright, even illumination. Two 5 watt DiNotte lights are all anyone should need for screaming fast descents on singletrack. But screaming fast on singletrack is quite a bit slower than a screaming fast descent on the road. While some people may disagree with me, I don't think the DiNotte headlights are bright enough for fast road riding when used alone. Not even with two of the 5 watt type. For my eyes, the light simply isn't bright enough to show you the road surface at a far enough distance that you'll be able to see things with enough time to react riding downhill. But if you have a good halogen headlight such as a Schmidt E6 which is good for those fast descents, and you want more light close to the bike for moderate speeds, the DiNotte is a great choice. It's wide beam will be plenty bright close to the bike enabling you to clearly see potholes and obstructions that you might miss with a single halogen headlight aimed properly for fast riding. So for commuting in an urban environment that's relatively flat, the DiNotte will work very well. And as a second light either mounted on the handlebar, or better yet on your helmet, it's ideal. And for mountain biking on narrow trails or back roads, the Dinotte is just plain terrific.
The DiNotte 3 watt headlight is about the same brightness as the 5 watt. The difference is it's a smaller beam, more of a spotlight. In general, the smaller spotlight might be preferred for helmet mounting, and the larger 5 watt beam might be preferred for handlebar mounting. But I want to stress "might" because everyone's night vision and preferences are different. So we offer both options.
DiNotte makes two categories of lights. The Pro series are powered by AA batteries. If batteries are provided, they are NiMH rechargeables. They are installed in a nylon case which you can attach to your bike with the provided straps. The case is always included. The Endurance series of lights are powered by Lithium Ion batteries which provide for longer run times than the 4 AA NiMH cells. The Li Ion battery packs are also available as spares. The Pro series use a wiring harness that utilizes the connectors you see on the tops of 9 volt transistor batteries. Endurance series use a different plug connector. Components of the two series are not interchangeable.
Pro Series Basic 3 Headlight
The DiNotte Basic 3 headlight includes the 3 watt spot headlight and battery case along with the attaching straps and O rings you see here. It doesn't include the 4AA batteries you'll need, nor is there a charger. Many people already have batteries and chargers so this set is ideal for them. $ 119.00
Pro Series Ultra 3 Headlight-Taillight
The Ultra 3 (also pictured above mounted on a helmet) is perhaps the ultimate helmet light. It has a very bright 3 watt spotlight and a glowing red taillight facing the rear. The taillight is not nearly as bright as the dedicated Taillight (see below) but it's easily visible at 100 feet. And the spot headlight is simply wonderful. Flash an oncoming driver who hasn't dropped his low beams. Look each way at an intersection showing any cars you're there. See road signs from 200 feet. The kit includes the headlight-taillight and the helmet mount, the 4 AA NiMH batteries and a smart charger. When the batteries get low, it won't run at full power so as to get you the longest run time possible, and get you home.
Pro Series UltraLight (5 watt)
The UltraLight is the original DiNotte headlight. It's a 5 watt LED floodlight and comes complete with handlebar mount as well as a helmet mount. You also get 4 NiMH AA batteries and smart charger. Unlike the Ultra 3, this doesn't have the rear glowing red taillight built in. It's just a headlight. But it's a wonderfully large floodlight that's ideal for singletrack mountain biking, or for commuting in urban areas. At moderate speeds, there's plenty of light for seeing the road and more than enough for oncoming drivers to see you by. And it's a great light to augment a dynamo powered system that goes dark when you stop. $ 199.00
Endurance Series Ultra 3
Up to 15 hours run time on the low power setting. Mount on either your handlebar or helmet.
Endurance Series Ultra 5
Looks the same as the Endurance Ultra 3 doesn't it? The only difference is the 5 watt LED instead of the 3 watt LED. Otherwise it's identical. The 5 watt LED has a flood type beam, wider than the 3 watt. Brightness is about the same. There's more light, but it's spread out.
Endurance Series Dual
The Dual uses two 3 watt spot headlights and a long lasting Lithium Ion battery pack. Both lights can be mounted on your handlebar, or on an accessory bar light the Minoura Swing Grip.$ 369.00
I stock extra battery packs and spare parts. Call for a price. I'll have parts prices posted here soon.
The aluminum case that contains the LED and circuitry is the heat sink for the LED. LEDs get hot and the heat has to go somewhere. It can't be open to the air because when it rains the electronics will be destroyed. The little LEDs we're all used to don't have a problem with heat simply because they are low powered. But the DiNotte is a whole different beast! At 5 watts, the Dinotte is generating quite a lot of heat.
Why am I telling you this?
Because since the aluminum case is the heat sink, it gets hot. The case is what's carrying heat away from the LED and the necessary circuitry inside. It transmits the heat from the LED to the air outside. But in doing so, the case gets pretty hot. But don't worry. It can't possibly get hot enough to burn you. It will only get hot enough to be uncomfortable holding it. I'm telling you this so you won't be startled the first time you touch the light, and so you won't think there's something wrong with it. It's supposed to get hot. If it doesn't get hot, the light's not on.
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This page updated: Monday, December 3, 2012
Peter White Cycles