This is how I make my favourite front bike lights currently.
I use these LED torches:
These are quite bright enough for riding without street lights (even with my dim eyes), giving a good pool of light ahead. They take one AA rechargeable battery and last over 1 hour. This way they last for any of my normal trips, and a spare AA is easy in the pocket. I always recharge after a night ride. We’ve been using these torches for a couple of years now with very few problems.
I use these brackets:
They are very cheap and once modified, very easy and reliable to use. They allow adjustment up and down, and side to side (not all front lights allow this). It is really easy to clip the light into the bracket, even while riding. That way you can keep the lights in a pannier or your pocket and mount them when you want them. They also come off easily for looking elsewhere.
They do need a little modification to be useable.
Here is a photo of the modified bracket:
See the wire yoke is now in a new hole I have drilled in the plastic lever. The original hole is in the wrong place and just doesn’t hold – it doesn’t go over-centre.
Also note the string which is wrapped, tied and sealed with a drop of glue, which holds the rubber liner in place (a very small ziptie can do this as well). If you don’t do this, the rubber liner will fall out when you are moving or installing the bracket. This isn’t a big problem until you lose it in the long grass on the side of the road on a wet night …
The final part of the modification is to change the self-tapper screw which holds the torch bracket to the handlebar bracket. This screw here:
The screw supplied is too short and thus holds the bracket too weakly. It takes a bit of searching (thru your boxes of saved screws) to find just the right screw with the right sized head. I drill the hole deeper (right thru) and usually heat the screw up slightly with a small flame before screwing it in, just to soften the plastic on the way in.
This gives you a bright, good quality, front light for about $10 plus the cost of the rechargeable battery.
I’ve recently tried some clone/generic tail lights, which are almost exactly the same as the “Smart” ones I’ve been buying from Chainreaction, but much cheaper. They each take 2 x AAA batteries. I’d really like a source of good tail lights which use AA batteries, so I don’t need to keep 2 different types of battery and so the batteries last longer, but I can’t find any so far.
So far the generic lights are working just as well as the branded ones – no failures so far.
In my experience the most frequent way of these tail lights failing is for the light to get bumped and the battery + light section of the unit falls off. This has happened to me a few times, sometimes on the road at night. I now put 2 strips of strong tape on them to provide a backup to keep them together.
Here are the 2 tail lights: