Latest Secret Weapon to Fight the Night

Readers may remember I modified a vintage headlamp by inserting the guts of a modern LED light.  I wanted better light with a vintage look that blended with my 1936 Raleigh.  I wish I could leave well-enough alone, but that light just didn’t cut the darkness like I am used to.  My other primary commuter bike has a modern very bright LED headlamp.  I do believe it is my responsibility to be seen at night, but I want to do it while maintaining the look de jour I pulled from my wardrobe that day (read no hi-vis yellow), which means relying on the headlight and tall light, as cars and motorcycles do. I realized that I was not riding my Raleigh at night because I felt the light wasn’t bright enough.

Mounting the E3 was simple. I used a file to widen the slot next to the existing mounting bracket and sisterred in a second bracket to which I bolted the E3. The wiring runs out the same way I had it after the last transplant.

My solution was to pull the modern guts out I had only recently transplanted and insert a 300 lumen, dynamo powered Supernova E3 headlamp, intact, inside the housing of the vintage headlamp.  It worked pretty slick.  This mean I no longer had access to the on-off switch, so I left the E3 switched on to function as a daytime running light as well.  I left the glass off the front of the old light to allow air to cool the LED while riding. What do you think? 

All buttoned up, in the daylight nobody will notice what power lurks beneath that vintage chrome.

In the dark, the E3 is impossible not to notice in urban traffic and bright enough to ride on unlighted trails or streets.

I have yet to decide on a vintage looking dynamo powered tail light for the venerable Raleigh. In the meantime I have been clipping a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie to the Carridice Lowsaddle Longflap that is my carry-all.  Anyone have any suggestions for a BRIGHT vintage looking tail light or directions to a DIY project someone else did? Right now my only thought is to insert the very small, but very bright E3 LED tail light into some old housing. Should I put an E3 in an old Raleigh reflector housing?

The classic SAE reflector on the Raleigh fender works as you can see, but I like the comfort of an added tail light. The trick is adding something that doesn't look out of place.I could slip one of these in almost any vintage housing.


About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in Equipment, Lights and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Latest Secret Weapon to Fight the Night

  1. KevinL says:

    Looks cool Dave. I’d like to hear how you like that E3 – I’ve been looking at them myself.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      I’ve had the E3 for a couple years on my Waterford. It is super bright, and super expensive. There are other bright lights out there for less. The new B&M Lumotecs are great. That said, it is probably the brightest light outside of the E3 triple. See all the beam patterns here:

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