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Even More on Lights

by Pamela Blalock with John Bayley


So how do we mount these lights? The lower the headlight is mounted, the more effective it will be, since road irregularities will cast long shadows from a light mounted well below eye level. A fork with lowrider bosses provides a great spot for mounting dual lights. Another advantage of having the lights mounted this low is one can use a rain cape without obscuring the lights. Finally fork mounted lights don't interfere with handlebar bags, or clutter the bars.

While most American lights are designed to mount on a handlebar, most of the European lights have a fairly versatile bolt through design and tend to come with clamps designed for fork crown mounting. Sadly most of those fork crown mounts fail after a bit of use. Hence the never-ending search for clamp nirvana!

The supernova lights come with a clamp that takes a 6mm bolt through the fork crown and threads into the mount. Of course none of my forks have this design, and I suspect most high-end American bikes are the same. Several of our bikes with cantilever brakes do have a threaded 5mm hole in the fork crown. Below you can see a Supernova E3 mounted on fork crown bracket that we ordered from sjscycles. This is a very sturdy clamp and great if you have the type of setup shown below - threaded hole and cantis. I have also drilled out the threading in the supernova clamp, so I could pass a 5mm bolt through to thread into the fork crown.

I mentioned earlier that an advantage of symmetrical beam patterns is the ability to mount a light upsidedown - handy if you want the light below the handlebars. This disadvantage is that water may get in through outlets for cables if the light is upsidedown. The supernova lefty clamp works well in this regard, since the light is still right side up, but can mount hanging, just by changing the orientation of the lefty. Below I am using the Schmidt R+M handlebar bracket. It is available from Peter White, Harris, and sjscycles. I have mated the Schmidt bracket with a mount from Terracycle so I can also use a handlebar mounted device, like the light shown, a computer or GPS.

The Ixon Speed IQ pictured is a battery powered LED light that I keep as backup on my commute bike. I highly recommend carrying a backup light and power source. We crashed and busted our SON front wheel on a double century once. We managed to acquire another wheel to complete the ride, but it was not a dynamo wheel. Given the time lost in th crash and other factors, we finished in the dark and had to borrow lights and battery, since we lost our power source.

I use narrow handlebars, so I don't have a lot of space to have lights and computers and such on the bars. Clamps like the one pictures below allow me to keep handlebar space for hands! I find that if I am using a single light, I prefer a central mounting (rather than side of fork).

Bar mount options like those shown above simply won't work with a handlebar bag. I have used Terracycle clamps to make a long mount that drops from the stem and gets the light below the bar bag.

The CYO (pictured above) is lightweight and the clamp that comes with it has proven sturdy. I altered the mount on the bag slightly to have it sit higher, clearing the light. This has worked quite well.

St John Street have a lot of options on their site.

A lot of what follows are options we no longer use, since we are now using a single center mounted headelight (no secondaries), but for folks still using dual lights and looking for mounting options, I'll include what we've done in the past.

My old brevet bike had both headlights mounted on the lowrider bosses. To prevent damage to the contacts while adjusting the angle of the lights, I had the light mounted to a short piece of stainless steel and this is mounted to the frame. I also found some short rack stays that worked well for this. The ones pictured below are actually for a tubus rack! To aim the lights side to side, I bent the stainless steel bracket. I've also found the washers for v-brake pads can work nicely for setting side to side adjustment.

You can also get a plastic gizmo, like the Cronometro NOB, designed for mounting computers on aerobars, that can be clamped to a fork and then used with a handlebar mount for the light. I've used these on a couple of bikes with carbon forks. Despite initial concerns about slippage, I have experienced none. But I will stress that if you mount lights anywhere a fork blade to take great care to tighten everything and check regularly for any loose fittings. Having a light slip and jam into the front wheel is not a pleasant experience! The design of the Cronometro NOB is such that it will adjust to almost any shape and size fork. And if your fork is carbon, I would recommend a protective layer of rubber and regular inspections.

Below is a photo of a clamp for STI computers that may also be used to mount euro style lights on a handlebar or round surface like the NOB mentioned above, or any sort of remote access bar. We had old unused aero bar clamps lying around and made remote access bars from them and chopped handlebars. One of the nice things about this design is that it is somewhat easy to move from bike to bike, or remove/replace when packing. There are some ready made devices like this, so you don't have to roll your own. I tried the Minoura Space Grip and was found the first generation version a pain to move from bike to bike and the second impossible to install at all. I've also tried the Sidetrack Excess Access. It is also a nice device, but may not work with some stems with a wide clamp, since it attaches on either side of the stem. All of these devices do take up some room on the handlebar, and may require some cable routing adjustment and retaping of bars. If you use narrow bars like I do, bar space is already at a premium.


Terracycle have a lot of different mounting options for lights with handlebar type mounts to go elsewhere.