It doesn’t matter if you ride a road bike or a mountain bike or even something in-between, if you hit the roads in the dark you are going to need a good set of bike lights. Bike lights are split into two types; those that allow you to see the road in the dark and those that let other road users know you are there. So what are the best bike lights? With so many different types of bicycle lights like LED, lumens, rechargeable, and the list goes on so choosing the best light for your bike can often leave you scratching your head.
When buying bicycle lights ask yourself this, do you want to be seen or do you want to see where you are going? When it comes to the front light I recommend to see where you are going sand when it comes to the rear lights use these to make yourself visible to others.
In this guide I have picked out some of the best front bike lights that are powerful and will enable you to see where you are going on roads and cycle paths. I have then picked out a few of the best rear bike lights that will ensure that you are highly visible and seen by other road users.
Best Bike Lights Some of my Favorites
As technology improves bike lights keep getting lighter and smaller while offering a brighter light for better riding safety. So when it comes to choosing the best bicycle light brand getting the best bang for your buck along with the latest technology should be your main priority. Brands such as Cateye, Cygo Lite, and Bontrager offering some of the best buys as far as I am concerned. Below I have picked out some of the best rear and front bicycle lights. Lets take a closer look.
Best Front Lights
The best bike light allows you to ride your bike at any time and opens up the door to night-time riding. Below I have picked out some of the best front lights for your bike.
✓ Cateye Volt 700
The Cateye Volt 700 is a great front bike light, even though it is small in size it more than make up for that in its performance. The Cateye provides a 700 lumen output with a high intensity white LED.
The rechargeable bike light can run for up to 100 hours and can be conveniently charged via any USB interface.
The beam produced by the Cateye Volt 700 is very tight focused offering a reasonable reach along with a decent middle distance fill that is perfect for both street light roads or off road trails.
✓ NiteRider Lumina 750 Headlight
This bike light really impressed me; NiteRider Lumina 750’s rounded beam provided a lot of light around the lower edge that made it the best bicycle light for spotting pothole and any road debris. The light also offers a very long reaching center strip of light that make riding a speed a breeze illuminating the road clearly ahead of you.
Once fully charged the NiteRider bike light will last for roughly 1.5 hours at 750 lumens, 3 hours at 350 lumens, and around 5.5 hours at 150 lumens. Just like the above Cateye the NiteRider utilizes a USB charger allowing you to charge your bike lights almost anywhere. A nice bonus in the box is a helmet mount along with a quick release handlebar bracket.
✓ Moon X-Power 780
The Moon X-Power 780 is a very underrated light in my opinion, I’m not sure why? It might just be more popular in the United Kingdom than the US. The beam’s output is powerful with a mid-fill strip that stretches a good distance down the road ahead of you. This makes it perfect for riding at a confident speed on unknown roads.
The Moon X-Power 780 comes with an integrated Li-ion battery pack that is fully rechargeable via a USB connection. One of the features I love about this bike light is the 7 lighting modes such as standard, over-drive, high, low, flashing, SOS, and strobe.
Best Rear Lights
Without a good set of rear bike lights, you are just asking for trouble if you ride on the roads at night. Below I have picked out some of the best rear bike lights to ensure you are clearly viable to drivers and other road users.
✓ Knog Blinder Road R
If you are looking for the brightest bike light for the rear of your bike the Knog Blinder might be the one you’re looking for. I’ll be honest – The Knog Blinder Road R is a seriously powerful little light. The casing house for bright red LED’s and the Knog can throw out up to 70 lumens of intense red-light with its 5 built-in lighting modes.
Installation is super easy and no tools are needed. The provided “bungee” and clip make swapping over to different bikes a breeze, plus fitting to almost any seatpost shouldn’t be an issue.
Just like the front bike light the Knog can be charged via any USB output, you can plug it into your laptop at work or even a power-bank or portable solar panel.
✓ Lezyne Zecto Drive Taillight
The Lezyne Zecto Auto is a solid-feeling rear bike light that offers many functions that many of the other best rear bike lights don’t. for example, it features an accelerometer allowing the light to turn itself on and off when you are/aren’t moving, pretty cool, right?
This neat power saving feature means that your battery lasts a whole lot longer because there is no chance of leaving the light on by mistake.
The Lezyne Zecto Auto produces 20 lumens of light with its three rear LED’s which are bright and clear. A smart feature of this rear bike light are the colored LED lights on the side window that tell you the current charge level of the light.
✓ Cateye Rapid X
This is my personal favorite rear bike light and with a low price tag you really cannot go wrong with this. The Cateye Rapid X provides excellent rear and side visibility and on constant mode at full power this rear bike light is super bright.
One of the downsides of operating this rear light on full power and in the constant setting it that the battery will only provide roughly 1 hours of run-time. This shouldn’t be a problem because you can opt for one of the other setting and use the light for up to 30 hours.
Fitting the Cateye is super easy using the supplied O-rings and rubber backing (which also provides protection for the USB port). If you are looking for a rechargeable rear bike light that is light weight and can be charged almost anywhere take a look at this.
How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Lights?
Not all bike lights are equal, some will perform better than others so its important that you choose the best bike light for your needs.
When buying a bike light, the brightness is one of the most important features for safe night bike riding. It doesn’t matter if you want to be seen by other drivers or light up the road in front of you a bright, wide, evenly light beam is going to be your best bet.
✓ Beam Quality
The best bike lights with have good optics which will produce a beam that is evenly lit, wide, and projects far into the distance. This is important for both safety and seeing what’s ahead of you.
Choosing how portable your bike light is really depending on your needs. For example, if you are locking up your bike at night being able to remove the bike light is going to be beneficial. Some key features to note when buying a bike light are: –
- weight and size (can it fit inside a pocket?)
- ease of removal
- pivot (portable to different mount)
- ease of moving (from one bike to another) and installation
- is it helmet compatible?
✓ Battery Life
The best bike lights come in various types such as USB rechargeable and those that use regular batteries. in my opinion rechargeable bike lights are the most convenient because you can charge them almost anywhere. Plus, an added advantage is that you don’t have to carry additional batteries are better still wasting your money buying new set of batteries.
Different Bike Light Types
LED’s: LED bike lights are one of the most popular choices for today’s riders. Their durability, energy efficiency along with a wide range of brightness levels make them the best bike light in my opinion.
Lumens: a lumen is a unit of light measurement that quantifies the amount of light falling on the object you want to be illuminated. The best bicycle light manufacturers will actually provide a lumen rating indicating the light intensity of each light.
Beam Pattern: if you regularly cycle on roads with street lights on your best mountain bike 2016 opting for a front bike light which has a narrow focus beam is going to be best bike lights for commuting at night. For those of you that tend to ride on trails or dark roads a bike light with wide focus allowing for better peripheral vision is going to be perfect.