Nights get longer and weather conditions can decrease visibility on the road and trail, but none of this should prevent you from riding. Bike lovers want to ride all year round and at all hours of the day. The good news is that the best bike lights have come a long way and offer increased visibility in all lighting conditions.
The technology that drives the best bike lights has gone through many revolutions in the design and manufacturing of top quality lithium batteries and super bright light emitting diodes (LEDs). Today’s designs are much smaller and more powerful than those available 5 years ago.
When choosing one of the best bike lights for keeping you safe while in the shadows you will want to consider how much light you will need to navigate your regular routes safely. This includes light that illuminates your path and lights that make you more visible to motorists, pedestrians and even other cyclists.
This article contains all the need to know info that can help you to make an illuminated decision concerning the best bike lights for seeing and being seen. There is also a great cost effective option for increasing road safety.
Key Features of the Best Bike Lights
Safety Lights — In the front, both sides and back of your bike, the best bike lights increase your visibility on the road. Being seen is paramount to personal safety. Look for lights that light in front of you for visibility but also spill light out the sides to make you more seen. Do not forget to use a taillight.
This is especially true for the city cyclists navigating the asphalt jungle where lighting conditions are constantly changing. Remember that bikes are small, silent and can therefore go unnoticed by larger vehicles until it’s too late. Don’t let it happen to you; you can never be too visible while on a bike.
Light Sources — A few years ago the best bike lights were chosen on the quality of bulb, but today LEDs greatly improve the efficiency of the best bike lights. LEDs feature everything a cyclist will want in a bike light, they are compact, cost-effective and last longer than any bulb you could find. They don’t heat up and they are also energy efficient offering twice and three times the running power of any conventional bulb.
Of course, to assume that all LED bike lights are created equal would be erroneous. There are LEDs like the sort you would find in a juvenile science set and then there are the high-spec LEDs designed for producing lumen counts normally found in automobile headlights. But what are “lumens”?
Lumens — Lumens are the units of measurement for quantifying the amount of light illuminating an object. In this case, the road in front of you. Lumens are measured over distances and describe the intensity of the lighting source. The lighting you will expect from a front headlight will be much higher than what you will find in the safety light. Headlights should be higher than 500 lumens for safe navigation; safety lights can be as low as 100 lumens and still increase visibility during the day.
Beam Pattern — The needs of your route will determine which beam pattern is better for your situation. Those who ride through the city and benefit from the ambient lighting will need a narrow beam that increases visibility directly in front of them. For those who will be riding through rural areas and off road trails will need a broader beam that illuminates their peripheral vision as well.
A rule of thumb for bike lights, the higher the cost the greater the output. Some of the top-end items feature a heavy-duty rechargeable power system and provide maximum illumination, like what you would expect from a car headlight. While these can be pricey the light provided allows for cycling in any riding condition. Dead of night? Thick Fog? Bring it!
Battery Life — traditional bike lights ran on those trusty double-As and triple-As, alkaline batteries emit less life as their energy stores begin to diminish; vanishing visibility being the only indication of battery life. Most of the options found today run off a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack featuring a low battery warning. Furthermore, the latest designs provide consistent illumination until all power is exhausted.
Mounting Options — Safety lights can be fixed to your bike on all sides with many innovative mounting systems, for safety’s sake go all out. For riding at night and illuminating your path, a bike light can be fitted on the handlebar or onto your bike helmet. Having both is the preferred option for increased visibility in all riding conditions. If you only want one light, the helmet mounted option will be the most versatile.
5 of the Best Bike Lights Review
NiteRider’s Lumina 750 Bike Headlight has been manufactured by a trusted name in bike lights. Like all NiteRider products the Lumina 750 has been subjected to rigorous testing to ensure top-quality, durability and functionality.
With an innovative multiple-intensity setting interface, cyclists can choose maximum output and lower battery life or reduce the intensity of the output for longer battery life. There are 4 lumin intensities and one flashing option for tactical security and increased visibility.
At a low setting of 30 lumens the Lumina 750 can last for a full 18 hours, but this lighting is only suitable for walking. At the highest intensity, 750 lumens, this bike light will last an hour and a half. The two happy medium settings of 300 and 200 lumens are still very bright and can last for roughly four to five hours.
Power comes from a top-quality Lithium Ion battery pack featuring the IntelliCharge option that can achieve full battery power in just three hours, using a charger with over 500mA (milliAmps), or 6 hours with a charger less than 500mA. The Lumina 750 attaches to the front handlebar of the bike with a snug fitting mount that won’t slip even on the roughest terrain.
The innovative Lumina 750 provides versatile intensity and power saving options. Energy efficient, versatile and very bright, the Lumina 750 is the best bike lights for trail riding and city cruising.
The CygoliteExpilion 800 provides 800 lumens and a top battery supply of 22 hours from a single charge. Power is provided by an innovative lithium ion pack that can be swapped on the fly, allowing extended power for covering great distances.
Mountain bikers on the trail will enjoy greater illumination in their peripheral vision thanks to a cunning TIR optical design that creates a greater spread. The Cygolite Expilion also comes with Lock-Tite attachments for handlebar and helmet mounting. Helmet mounting provides the best illumination to your field of vision, and at a mere 140g you will hardly notice the difference.
8 different lighting modes including high to low, S.O.S. and Day Flash address all the lighting needs you could think of. This is one of the best bike light for all kinds of cycling.
The CatEye Volt 700 (or 800) has gotten consistently positive feedback from an excited multitude of international cyclists. The 700 lumens are effective at increasing visibility during low-light conditions and also applicable for being seen.
The USB connection featured here allows the lithium ion power source to be conveniently recharged alongside your mobile device. You will never be left in the dark with a full 100 hours of operating power.
Some comments have been made on a lack of weather resistance, which would be something to consider if you live in a particularly wet climate. Of course, this can be addressed personally with the application of “Magic Seal”—available from your nearest watchmaker.
Best Cheap Bike Light
The Blitzu Gator 320 comes in a cost effective package providing the cyclist with all they need to address visibility on the road or trail. The Gator 320 provides 320 lumens of brilliance which is more than adequate for riding through most low light conditions. You will be surprised how far 320 lumens can light up thanks to the latest CREE LEDs.
Convenience is a big selling point here, the USB style recharge connection can be connected just about anywhere and reach a full charge in just five hours. The lithium ion batteries will provide two hours of power at the highest setting or 6 hours on low, meaning you will have more than enough time to get most places before darkness falls. A rear safety light is included in this package to perfectly round out the value of the Gator 320.
The Blitzu Gator 320 is a great option for those who will be moving about in the dark. It’s even weather resistant. The powerful little light provides enough lumens to take on a trail. For anyone on a budget, this is the best bike light on the market.
Best Bike Tail Light
The Cyborg Bike Light by Blitzu is everything you would want in the best bike tail light. With a full 168 lumens this safety light can be seen from considerable distances alerting all motorists to your bike and direction.
Convenient and durable, this bike tail light contains no wires or external batteries. Just hook it up to a USB port and 2 hours later you will have a full charge. A water-resistant and shatter proof design make this a good option for kids bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter cruisers and just about any bike that needs to be more visible. A handy attachment even allows for helmet mounting.
Those looking for a powerful bike tail light for improved safety on the road will find all they need in the Blitzu Cyborg.
|PICTURE||BIKE LIGHT NAME||LUMENS||PRICE||RATING
|NiteRider Lumina 750 Bike Light||750||$$||4.8|
|Cygolite Expilion 800 USB Bicycle Headlight||800||$$$||4.6|
|CatEye Volt 700/800 Headlight||700||$$||4.6|
|Blitzu Gator 320 Super Bright USB Rechargeable Bike Light||320||$||4.5|
|Blitzu Cyborg Ultra Bright Bike Light||168||$||4.5|