What’s the best bicycle lights? – Staying Safe

Best_Bicycle_Lights

Just like a car on the road at night or in bad weather, lights on any vehicle aren’t just to enable you to see better, they are so you can be seen by others better and being on a bicycle, you are much harder to see, so it’s hugely important to ensure that you can be as visible as possible when cycling using the public roads during the night or bad weather.

If you have been searching the web and shops for what’s the best bicycle lights to buy, then I am pretty sure you are feeling spoilt for choice and unsure of which lights to go for and the value for money.

Yes you can pay high amounts of money for lights, but it’s important to know what you are buying to ensure you’re getting the value you need out of them.

I have done some research to try and help you out on this subject. I once bought a front light for my bike from China on EBay, it was 3000L so as you can imagine it was very bright and was fairly cheap, but I soon regretted buying what I thought was brilliant, the charger almost blew up while charging overnight and tripped out the electric! I then started to read bad things about these cheap bright lights from China and that huge fire risk they can cause. Let me tell you, it made a bang which certainly had me jumping out of my skin in the middle of the night!!

Different Types Of Bicycle Lights

On the market there are different types of bicycle lights available, but what are they? What do they mean? What type suits what cyclists?

Be Seen Lights – As mentioned above, it’s important that you can be seen by others users on the public roads. These will be more popular for someone who rides in busy cities where there is plenty of street lighting already to help you see. So to increase your visibility to other road users, you will need a light at the front which is white, and a light at the back which should be red.

To See Lights – These lights are purely for darkness. These are more for the riders who cycle out of the town or city where there is poor or no street lighting, therefore making your visibility limited to what you can see and delay reacting to any obstacles.

Flashing lights – Very popular with most bicycle lights. Most bicycle lights will have a flashing setting on them which catches the eyes and attention of other road users, but it is said that other road users can find it hard to judge the distance on how far away from them you are, so most cyclists like to have two lights at the front or two at the back or both, one that is on the flashing setting, and the other one is on a solid setting as the solid setting will help to be seen.

Side Lights – Many cyclists who cycle on busy public roads, certainly in towns and cities, equip their bikes with side lights. This improves your visibility to others as vehicles could be coming from all different directions, especially at cross junctions. These lights can fit to the side of the frame, or even to the spokes on your wheels. Having said this, there are lights on the market which have a 180 degree visibility on them, so you would only need a front and a rear light as these lights can be seen from the sides.

Helmet Lights – These lights are typically very small and lightweight and just simply click onto your helmet. These are used as more of a secondary light to be seen rather than the only light just to increase you being seen by others. These can also be good in a way that other drivers can see your head movements which might give them a slight indication that you intend on making a maneuver that they can prepare for.

Laserlights – These lights project a laser image onto the road in order to shine out other road users blind spots and giving you a bigger footprint on the road. Again these might be more popular where you are cycling in heavy traffic with plenty of junctions so they can increase the chances of you being seen by other road users before they make a maneuver that could put you in danger.

Daylights – The latest cars these days are now built with daylight lights in a bid to improve visibility on the roads and the same with motorbikes, they now have compulsory lights on whenever the engine is running. So it makes sense that cyclists should think about whether to have daylight lights on their bikes as well. These lights can typically use a day flash mode which are actually brighter than the flash mode used for nighttime.

Buying Guide For Lights

One of the things you need to understand when buying bike lights is how bright should my lights be? This is measured in lumens which is the measurement used for how bright a light is to the human eye.

Bike lights on the market now range from around 5 to 100 lumens for rear lights but for front lights, they can range from 10 lumens right up to the thousands.

If you do a lot of night riding in very poorly lit areas, whether that is on the road where you may want to be in the 100 lumens range or you may even do some cross-country or trail riding at night through the forests, then you would want a front light which can shine in thousands lumens as you would almost want to represent daylight as much as you can with all of those technical areas coming up fast in the dark!

Just be weary, that if you have a front light which can shine on the higher scale of lumens and you’re riding on the roads, not to have the light shining straight out in front of you as this could be dangerous to other drivers and may dazzle them. You would need to angle the light down to shine on the road but enough to give you good visibility as well.

So what are your options when it comes to batteries? The latest lights which you can buy can still run on disposable alkaline batteries, but on the markets now, you will see that lights with rechargeable batteries built in are becoming the more popular choice now.

The more common type of rechargeable batteries on market are Lithium Polymer or Lithium Lon, these batteries are lighter, smaller and more powerful than the alkaline batteries which make them a very good choice for those who do plenty of night riding.

Like most devices that require charging, these lights with built in batteries feature a USB type charging connection with some lights even featuring the built in connection wire. Of course charging devices up by just a USB port takes a lot longer, so some lights come with a mains’ adapter for faster charging.

Some lights even feature an LED indicator which will show you the battery life status so you know whether they need charging or not.

How To Fit Bicycle Lights

Most bicycle lights are very easy and simple to fit to your bike. They usually come with an attachment bracket which you would typically for a front light, strap to your handle bars and fr a rear light, mostly your seat post or the rear section of your frame.

Once the bracket is fixed to the bike, the light can be clipped onto the brackets and easily released using a quick release mechanism for when not in use or leaving the bike locked up somewhere.

The lights will always come with an instruction guide on how to fit the attachment brackets and how to work the lights themselves should they contain different light modes.

Top Front Bike Lights

So I have done some research to try and pick out what front lights I believe are the best out there to try and help you out in shortlisting some lights.

BERYL LASERLIGHT CORE

BERYL_LASERLIGHT_CORE

Maximum lumen – 400

Battery life – Up to 13 hours

Rechargeable? – Yes

This light has a bright 400 lumen LED light with a green laser which shines an image of a bike around 2m in front of you while riding to help alert other road users of your presence.

If you have the light on solid mode, the battery life can reduce right down to 1.5 hours. The charging is fairly quick and easy through micro USB.

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CATEYE VOLT 6000

CATEYE_VOLT_6000

Maximum lumen – 6000

Battery life – Up to 12 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

6000 lumens is probably the brightest you can buy! So for this, this light is perfect for those who do trail riding in the dark, this light would almost create daylight itself!

It also comes with its own remote to control the different modes which can also be recharged but this can last up to 2 months before needing a charge.

This light is a very expensive piece of kit and I wouldn’t recommend you buy one of these if your just doing urban riding. This light is more for the serious rider who loves nighttime off-roading.

Only downside to this light is that it can take a long time to charge and the control unit is quite heavy.

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LEZYNE HECTO DRIVE 400XL

LEZYNE_HECTO_DRIVE_400XL

Maximum lumen – 400

Battery life – Up to 17.5 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

Great thing about this light is that it is light in weight and also has many modes to maximise battery life.

It is also very reasonably priced and is better suited to the more urban rider. Like most lights its very easy to set up on your bike.

The light features an integrated USB charging stick which makes it easy to charge without needing wires.

Great quality product for the price, but you may find that it isn’t as robust as others.

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Cateye Volt 800

Cateye_Volt_800

Maximum lumen – 800

Battery life – Up to 80 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

800 lumens is plenty of light for the unlit roads see. There are 6 different modes on this light and the battery can last between 2 and 80 hours of course depending on which setting you use.

The battery can take between 5 and 9 hours to fully charge.

The light is slightly on the heavy side. The price is very competitive with its quality. This wouldn’t be a bad light to buy for the urban rider or the rider who uses the dark country lanes.

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Top Rear Bike Lights

Here is my list for rear lights.

MOON NEBULA

MOON_NEBULA

Maximum lumens – 180 lumens

Battery life – Over 20 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

180 lumens is actually on the brighter scale for a rear light but brilliant for other drivers to see you. May not be ideal if you are riding in groups as it could dazzle a rider right behind you.

One of the modes features a day flash mode which saves on battery power but still offers a good level of brightness for other road users.

Because of the thin design of the light, there are different mounting options inside the box as not every mountain option may be available on your bike but you should find one of the mounting options will fit somewhere, this is the only downfall with this light you might find.

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CYCLIQ FLY6

CYCLIQ_FLY6

Maximum lumens – 100

Battery life – Unknown

Rechargeable – Yes

I had to add this rear light to my list, purely because it is a rear light, with a 1080p camera! These type of light/camera have been developed over recent years with higher resolution cameras being manufactured. The reason for the camera is just like dash cams on cars, they aren’t there to make cycling movies as the picture won’t be excellent quality, it is there should the worst happen in case of an accident.

The camera has a 135 degrees angle, full HD, 60 fps.

The light has 4 different modes, 2 flashing modes, 1 maximum full power mode at 100 lumens and 1 battery saving mode which the light will go into on its last half an hour of battery left, mainly to get you home.

Only downside to this camera is it has no night mode and rear camera footage isn’t usually very helpful.

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CATEYE RAPID X3

CATEYE_RAPID_X3

Maximum lumens – 150

Battery life – Up to 30 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

This is the most powerful rear light that Cateye manufacture. That makes this light excellent for daytime visibility, but on that brightest mode, you will only get an hour out of the battery life.

There are 5 alternative settings that will give you up to 30 hours of battery life.

The mount on this light can be attached to your seat post easily.

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KNOG BLINDER ROAD R70

KNOG_BLINDER_ROAD_R70

Maximum lumens – 70

Battery life – Up to 20 hours

Rechargeable – Yes

Another very bright rear light, you can be sure you will be visible to other road users with this light.

It seems to be on the bulky side, but it does come with a variety of clamps for your seat post.

You can have this light on the brightest flash mode and you will get a solid 4 hours of battery life which is impressive.

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Which Lights Should I Buy?

This decision really is down to they type of cycling you do, so whether you ride often during the night on urban roads or more on the pitch black country roads or maybe you’re an off road night time rider.

After reading this post it should hopefully give you an idea on the type of light you will need to suit your riding environment but also it comes down to how long your rides are too, so you will need to take notice of the battery life you get.

Then it all comes down to taste, like me, I like things to look smart on my bike so finding something I like the look of as well as the features I need. But that’s just me!

More options are available on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Please feel free to comment below or ask any questions. Also it would be great if you have your very own review on these lights, please feel free to share them also below.

 

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8 thoughts on “What’s the best bicycle lights? – Staying Safe”

  1. Really good info on bicycle lights. I for one don’t want to get caught out at night on my bike. Far too many times bikers don’t have sufficient lighting to make it easy for motorists to spot. The CatEye light looks like a good one too.

  2. Very useful article… I’ve recently had an op my knee to repair a ruptured ACL and I’ve been thinking about getting into cycling as part of my rehab. I’ll definitely be checking out your other posts too.

    1. That’s the exact same reason why I got into cycling, because I did my ACL also, twice!! It is definately a brilliant hobby that will help rebuild the muscles around your knee. If you need any help on anything for cycling or even around your injury feel free to be in touch.

  3. Hi Lee, I’m so glad that I bumped into this site. My husband likes to ride his bike and it scares me. First, because he’s not so careful and second because there are days when I’ve almost hit a bicycler because it was so dark and I couldn’t see them, and I’m afraid for my husband. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you mentioned different lighting. I’ll give them a try.

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