Dark Days Early Lights
As we move into the winter months start to roll in the days get darker earlier and so you have to equip lights onto your bike but how do you know if you’re getting the correct light for you and what are the best lights to buy? We have made a quick guide to help you get the best lights to help you keep safe over when out on the bike whether it’s to help get you home from work or for the long days in the saddle this will help you.
Firstly, what do you look for in lights? Brightness (Lumens) and battery life are the two most important things to look into when buying lights. I recommend having 4 lights in total – 2 front and 2 back. Have your normal more expensive set and then a cheaper spare set just in case for those times when you forget to charge your light or it runs out of batteries on a ride. Your spare set is more to get you home in case of emergency then it is to help you go out and do long days in the countryside and typically you just put on the bike or in your pocket.
This guide will separate the lights into 3 different categories according to budget and then a special category which includes extras such as cameras and computer mounts.
Lower cost lights are usually used as spares, they usually have a low brightness and not a lot of settings but last a long time so are great to use a backup to help you get back home or are a great alternative if you live in a very well lit area. They are not powerful enough to light up the road but will step help you be seen by other road users.
Medium budget lights are your everyday use lights that have a great balance or battery life and brightness. They will light up the road in front of you and allow you to be seen and have a good battery life. These lights will also typically have multiple different settings such as strobing, flash, blast and other settings.
High budget lights are typically used for mountain bikes or in the countryside where streetlights may not be in certain areas so need the extra brightness in order to see the road. They act the same as medium budget lights however, are much bigger and have even more lumens in them. It’s very rare that someone will use them at max brightness because this will also drain the battery of the light a lot quicker but sometimes that extra brightness is necessary for being seen.
A small, reliable and rechargeable light that fits onto most handlebars. I personally use this as a spare because it’s small size you can easily fit this into the back of your pocket for those longer rides. At 130 lumens it won’t light up the road ahead of you but will allow other road users to see you.
Despite being a small light this lezyne 500xl can hold 500 lumens and has a max battery life of 20 hours which is perfect for those riders that are out multiple times a week and don’t want to worry about their light dying on them.
A market leader in quality lights. This bontrager light has an incredible 1300 lumen output – this allows you to be seen and light up the road in front of you. This is perfect for country lanes and trails when it’s dark. No matter the conditions this light can do it.
An excellent front light which you can also fit to the top certain helmets which is an added bonus. At 300 lumens at a max and a few different settings to scroll through this is a great light you can depend on as a secondary.
Another great choice similar to the 500xl but more powerful and a better battery life. Additionally, its rubber bracket allows you to use this on the handlebars with fear of scratching them. A perfect for those with the extra early morning starts.
Cateye has been making lights for a very long time and knows how to make a great light. 30 hours battery life and multiple different settings makes this light a great choice for the price. 800 lumens will keep the road ahead of you lit up.
Like it’s front being rechargeable is a great benefit and charges extremely quickly. This is the perfect spare light that you can leave in your bag or pocket and use in case of emergency when your first choice runs out of batteries.
This is the light that I use and it is very impressive, long battery life and bright enough for you to be seen. With over 15 hours of battery life you can put it on your bike and be good for the week. A great all round light for the price.
A 300 lumen back light with 270 degrees wide optics allows you to be seen from multiple angles and is bright enough to ensure that the other road users know that you’re there. Definitely a top recommendation for a reliable light.
This light is a front and back light built into one and is for your helmet rather than your handlebars. Pairing this with another stronger front light is a great combination because this light is not strong enough to light up the road but is bright enough for other people to see you and with nearly 100 hours battery life you won’t have to worry about it running out anytime soon.
Another great light which I use, with a built in speedometer in it when breaking the light gets even brighter to indicate this to other road users. Additionally, it sits in a neat place in between the saddle rails keeping it in a secure spot. With a great battery life you can use this light for a very long time before it needs to be charged again.
Taking over the cycling scene by storm the cycliq front and rear bike lights with an added camera is amazing and sits flush on any bike. With a 600 lumen front, 100 lumen rear it will keep you seen whilst traversing the road and with the camera being able to video in up to 1080p allows you to record your journeys and keep you safe.
Garmin upped their game by creating a light which when paired up with your gamin can give you alerts that traffic is coming up from behind so can stop that sudden shock when a car comes flying past you. Furthermore, with it’s 220 degrees of light spread it will make sure that you are seen from behind. Definitely a light to consider.