Bike lights are one of the fundamental accessories to have when cycling, making it possible for you to see your path in dark conditions and most importantly be seen by others on the road, key to safety.
When judging a bike light you should first of all look at how bright it is, this is measured in “lumens”; consider that if you need a headlight for riding trails at night you’re going to need at least 1000 lumens, while on a normal city street with proper lighting already 300 is pretty good. For the taillight, you don’t need a very bright light since its purpose is to make you visible to others, and thus a light that produces between 40 and 100 lumens will do just fine.
Note that on city streets using a very strong or flashing headlight might be dangerous since it can confuse or blind oncoming vehicles; therefore is better to use a steady light and maybe reduce the intensity when needed.
After considering how bright it is, battery life is the second concern regarding bike lights, since it’s never cool to run out of juice when you most need it; for this reason you should pick lights that can be recharged by a USB cable rather than powered by regular batteries, allowing you to charge them almost anywhere, especially if you carry a power bank.
Ultimately ease of use and functionality are another thing to consider, meaning how easily are they to mount/dismount and if they have extra functions such as various power settings.
So let’s get to it and explore the best bicycle lights that are available today.
This company has a good reputation for creating good and easy to use devices; as said previously the objective of a taillight is not to light up your way but rather make you clearly visible from behind, and that’s what the Blinder Mob is great at.
It’s rated to produce 80 lumens, which are more than enough for riding on city streets and is supposedly visible from a mile away.
The battery life is 5 hours, which is not really good since many lights offer better performance; on the flip side the light can be recharged with a regular micro USB, so you can fill it up when you’re away from home. Moreover, the Blinder Mob is dustproof and water-resistant and comes with a silicone latch, making mounting and dismounting a breeze.
Overall, considering the price and the build quality, this light is worth it, especially for beginners, it will do the job at keeping your bike bright and visible.
- Charges with micro USB
- Easy to mount/dismount
- short battery life
This headlight had been largely recognized by many reviews as one of the best headlights, its distinctive feature is the two amber sidelights, which increase your visibility to vehicles coming from your sides.
The Urban 500 has been widely tested and the light produces 494 lumens at peak intensity which will go down with the battery, at this level it will last only 90 minutes, but there is also a medium, low and pulse setting that greatly increases the battery life, that can last up to 12 hours in the pulse setting.
As for most modern bike lights it can be recharged with a micro USB cable; the silicone cover of this charging port is reportedly a faulty part of this model, given that it can detach and get lost quite easily and therefore exposing the light to humidity and dust. On the bright side, it has a quick-release feature, making it simple to dismount and it’s so compact to even fit in a pocket.
With so many lights out there is not easy to pick the best headlight; but the Urban 500 with its sidelights, price to quality ratio and the two-year warranty surely make it a winner.
- features sidelights
- rechargeable with micro USB
- compact design
- charging port cover falls off
Those that love riding trails at night, can’t do it with a normal commuter bike light; luckily that’s what the Niterider Pro 1800 was built for, so this type of bike lights is a whole different category.
Many tests on this headlight have confirmed that it holds up to its promises, reaching 1720 lumens it’s actually brighter than most car headlights, the beam reaches beyond 170 meters with a 27 degree angle, so it will definitely light up the trail around you and ahead of you, reportedly turning night into day, thus enabling you to ride freely.
There are five modes: high, medium, low, walk and flash; which are quite useful to save battery since you won’t need the highest intensity all the time, for example when pedaling up the trail or when walking your bike. The battery life is 137 minutes when in high mode, there is an indicator showing how much juice is left, and when you’ll eventually run out of battery it’s fairly easy to swap for a full one.
In addition, the Pro 1800 built to last, the body is made from a fiberglass reinforced nylon and the lens from strong borosilicate glass.
In conclusion, this is an awesome product, with specs over the charts; given the price you should consider buying it only if you’re pretty serious about riding trails at night, if that’s your case you’ll definitely be satisfied by this amazing headlight.
- powerful beam
- solid construction
- interchangeable batteries
Finally, let’s talk about the Cygolite streak 450 combo, this set of bike lights has been praised by reviewers as an excellent product, especially when considering the reasonable price.
The headlight produces 450 lumens as the name suggests, reportedly the beam is surprisingly bright, even at a long distance, meaning that you’ll be visible and easy to spot from incoming vehicles, making this light suitable for riding the streets or dark bike paths; the taillight produces 50 lumens which are enough to be clearly visible
On one charge the lights can last up to 100 hours for the headlight and 200 hours for the taillight; both rechargeable with a mini USB cable (not micro, unfortunately), which is the common cable to charge cameras. Moreover, there is a warning light for when the battery is low, so you’ll make sure to charge them before your next ride.
The headlight features seven light modes: boost, high, medium, low, pulse, walking and the useful daylight mode which consists of very bright flashes that will make you more noticeable during the day. On the other side, the taillight has six modes varying in brightness and flashing frequency.
Both the lights can be mounted without tools and can be taken off easily, which is an important function for commuters and for anybody who locks their bike in urban areas.
This set of lights is truly a great a product from almost any point of view, the only downside is the choice of using mini USB instead of the more popular micro USB, hopefully, the company will change this in the next models, making this excellent lights even better.
- great battery life
- bright beam even at long distances
- daylight mode
- uses mini USB instead of micro
To sum up
We have taken a look at some of the best bike lights on the market, which more or less fit the needs of all types of cyclists; nevertheless, there are still many other products with different specifications and special features, we’ll discuss some of them in future articles, on the meantime you’re welcome to leave any suggestion about particular bike lights in the comments.
Have a GREAT ride!