The clocks have gone back which means it’s only going to get colder and darker from here onwards! It is by law that all cyclists must have a front white light and rear red light when cycling in the dark, not to mention the obvious that it is dangerous to ride without them. Picking the right lights will help you be seen by others and will help you see what’s ahead – it is also suggested that a beam is used in the daytime too to assist with visibility. We have put together a guide on the best lights for your bike.
Front lights are your ‘be seen’ and ‘seeing’ lights, these are lights that have been designed for use on lit roads. With this being said, you can start with a seeing light of 100 lumens for front lights, but having 300+ lumens will allow you to see further ahead on the road. For rear lights, it can range between 5 and 100 lumens.
If you are unsure what lumens are, it is how to the brightness of bike lights is measured; cyclists will need anything between 700 and 1000+ lumens depending on where they are riding and for how long.
Some bike lights still run on disposable alkaline batteries, but most bike lights now have a built-in rechargeable battery which is lithium (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (Li-Po). Most of these lights charge via USB, some even have a built-in USB connector so you don’t need to charge them manually. More powerful front (seeing) lights take longer to charge through USB, so various lights come with an addition of a main charger.
More recent rechargeable lights are fitted with a battery life indicator, this helps you gauge how much battery you have left in your lights. Some lights have an LED indicator which will change colour to let you know how much power is left.
Urban and Rural Areas
When using your bike for commuting and urban use, cyclist’s priority should be to be seen, because the area will already be lit. Safety lights have one consistent light mode/setting, as well as the multiple flashing modes. It is recommended you have more than one light with a combination of flashing lights, as they offer higher side visibility.
If you are taking a commute in an unlit area, you will want a bright and powerful front light so that you can see where you are cycling as well as be seen by other motorists. Lighting over 200 lumens will reflect a good beam on the road, which will allow you to ride on unlit roads and paths at a sensible speed. If the route you are taking is likely to be rough and hazardous, then it is suggested to have a brighter light.
Knog Light Pop II Front Light – £19.99
A budget-friendly option for those who don’t want to splurge is the Knog Light POP II. This bike light has 60 lumens which are enough brightness on the roads. This light only requires AA batteries and offers cyclists a 180-degree side visibility.
Exposure Sirius Mk7 DayBright – £100
This light has a whopping 750 lumens, which makes it close enough to be used on unlit roads. It’s lightweight which is a bonus as it doesn’t weigh your bike down and has various light settings. This clever light has ‘DayBright’ technology that showcases a series of flashes and pulses that alert drivers in the daytime. The light takes approximately 4 hours to charge completely from the mains or USB, which is another perk.
Exposure Toro MK9 Front Bike Light – £294.95
If you’re looking to splurge on a good set of lights, then the Exposure Toro MK9 Front Bike Light is the one for you. This light has an astonishing 3300 lumens, this light runs at full power which can be lowered. Giving excellent visibility, the beam is tight and focused. The battery time is two hours and weighs 236g.
Cateye Rapid X3 Rear Light – £49.99
This rear light has 150 lumens and has a charging time of 3 hours. The Cateye Rapid uses two LED lights, making the flash setting bright. Not to mention it automatically goes into low power mode when the battery is running low. Winner!
Lezyne Laser Drive Rear Light – £57.99
This rear bike light is 250 lumen and has nine differing lighting modes. It has three modes that have a 40 lumen output and five giving it the brightest level. The Lezyne Laser Drive offers 180 degree visibility, but the downside to this light that it is bulky, weighing in at 74g. It is said to run between 2 and a half hours to over 17 hours depending on the mode it is used in.
Cycliq Fly6 Rear Camera Bike Light – £99.99
This light has 30 lumens and is a gamechanger with being able to record HD footage of activity behind you. If this wasn’t impressing enough, this rear light has a built-in accelerometer which detects if you’ve been in an accident, and so it automatically keeps the footage for you. Definitely worth the money!