For years I bike commuted using halogen bike headlights with an external battery in a water bottle. I never liked dealing with a separate external battery and the hassles of recharging it, but back in the day what else could I do? (Generator lights weren’t bright enough for my suburban commute.)
Self-contained LED lights with batteries came on the market about five years ago or so, though most of them weren’t bright enough for my needs. The Cateye HL-EL500, which used 4AA batteries, was the brightest of the bunch. Using a pair of them was just bright enough for me to ditch my older lights. For the past few years, I’ve been using a pair of the Cateye HL-EL530 lights (the newer version of the HL-EL500), which I modified to replace the LEDs with brighter ones. Although I’ve been happy when both lights are running on fresh batteries, it seems like I’m always changing the AA alkalines in one light or the other. Furthermore, despite improvements in LED technology, I really haven’t seen CatEye’s product line keeping up. True, the Cateye website is saying “new for 2010, 50% brighter” for the HL-EL530, but I think I’m already getting that level of brightness with my three year old LED modification.
Now I’m starting to see some good one piece rechargeable lights. One of them coming out later this month is the Cygolite ExpilOn 250 light. I like the small size and the USB charging capability (perfect for charging at work). Did anyone see it at Interbike?