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Old 05-26-2020, 12:56 PM   #1
Ratso
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Default A quality Bates-type headlight

I can't help it, I still think there's no better-looking headlight for a stripped-down bike than the Bates. Over the past (nearly) fifty years I must have bought eight, nine Bates-style lights, most of them bottom mount, most from swap meets, some new, only a couple genuine. And most of them broke. I mean the housings would tear at the mounting holes. A few bikes I sold or, well you know, with the headlight still intact; but I bet those proceeded to crack, too, with the passage of not very much time.

Has anybody got recent, first-hand experience of a source for Bates repros that are not so eager to let vibration get the best of them? U.S. or, okay, U.K. made is my strong preference. It would be okay w/me if the good quality extended to the light's innards as well.

If anybody feels like responding to this remarkably boring query, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
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Old 05-26-2020, 02:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

I've used EMGO lights on bikes. I like the 7" light, in a flat-black finish, and a chrome bezel.

Have you considered going to 'ears' on the downtubes, instead of the single-mount machine screw at the 6 o'clock position? Then you'd have two mounting points, at 3 o'clock, and at 9 o'clock. That would probably offer the support you need to prevent a failure typical of the single mount.

You could also try removing the riveted bracket at the base of the housing, and install one that's larger, and through-bolt it together. A thicker, larger piece of steel might give the mount the support it needs to avoid metal-fatigue cracking. A bit of heat, some time on an anvil, and you should be able to fabricate a better mount.

Last edited by Elektron; 05-26-2020 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Weight is not your friend. If you don't mind the look, LEDs are generally lighter than a sealed beam headlamp. Mounting the headlight so it sits above the bracket instead of hanging from it also cuts down on the weight the housing has to support.



I've also had good luck using a rubber grommet with flat washers on each side of the mounting bolt/stud. A "rubber mount" is a good way to protect the headlight from vibration.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Be nice to see a photo of this particularly bothersome headlamp. I have re-riveted the housing to the base with good success using buck rivets and a pneumatic gun.
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Take a look at Paughco:

http://www.paughco.com/2008-catalog/...3-lighting.pdf
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

I use a Paughco on my Shovel. Seems solid enough.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Haven't used or needed one in many many moons but damn those went up.
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Holy cats. They sure did go up; whew! -- But those look like they were designed by somebody who'd also had half a dozen Bates-types break on him. The riveted bracket support for the bottom-mount is way bigger than the lamps I remember, and the side-mount also looks like it has more going on in re support. Thanks for the Paughco link.

I now know what I should do: buy the Paughco. But that really is big money for a lamp. If I end up buying another swap-meet special I'll do as you've done, Stormin, and as you suggest, Elektron. Also, you're right about side mounts being more reluctant to crack than bottom mounts, at least in my limited experience. But I prefer the looks of the latter style.

Thanks to all o' you.
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratso View Post
Holy cats. They sure did go up; whew! -- But those look like they were designed by somebody who'd also had half a dozen Bates-types break on him. The riveted bracket support for the bottom-mount is way bigger than the lamps I remember, and the side-mount also looks like it has more going on in re support. Thanks for the Paughco link.

I now know what I should do: buy the Paughco. But that really is big money for a lamp. If I end up buying another swap-meet special I'll do as you've done, Stormin, and as you suggest, Elektron. Also, you're right about side mounts being more reluctant to crack than bottom mounts, at least in my limited experience. But I prefer the looks of the latter style.

Thanks to all o' you.
You’re welcome. Don’t forget the cost to produce in the USA. I bought one of their lights years ago, wasn’t what they’re priced at today, but I’d rather pay more for a USA made part.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

Yeah, I'm not complaining. Not exactly. At least I hope I'm not. Agree about buying American & trying to keep the money here.
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Old 05-27-2020, 02:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

I saw a while back W&W sell a shell and you can chose which lens/beam unit you fit (i deemed this expensive and bought a cheap one from Customchrome or somewhere im quite happy with it.)
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: A quality Bates-type headlight

I'm late to the party but Paughco is still the bates-iest light on the market. Especially the one where the bracket is riveted to the outside. Heavy gauge shell perfect looks. They are a copy of the light Bates sold in the 1960s. Note also the desirable Red hi-beam indicator way better looking than that blue euro lighting crap.
Unfortunately it is also the priciest. You can buy like 5 chinese lights for the same price.
Paughco model 1300 $135 well spent.
Pictures are from the W&W Website. In Germany Sealed Beams are illegal so they sell the lights without them.
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