Cycling - Gear/Equipment

Best Bike Lights 2017: Maximize your visibility for Safety

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As a regular cyclist, you would understand the need for bike lights, especially while riding in the gray autumn or foggy winters when the daylight is puny. Accessorizing your bicycle with bike lights is a necessary protocol that you cannot overlook. And the kind of bike lights you would require will depend on the kind of rider you are. We are here to guide you through the need as well as present you with a list of best bike lights available.

Before discussing the best bike lights at hand, let’s take a step back and understand the difference between brightness and visibility.

Often, we hear the terms, visibility, and brightness (intensity) in association with light, but do you grasp the meaning of the words in the true sense?

To begin with, brightness is light output measured in lumens. It is rated by how much light is streaming through an area per second.

On the contrary, visibility depends on light factors like focus, angle, and flashing phase of light. In real-life situation context, focus, light angle, and flashing phase matter along with the intensity of the bike lights.

This is because a bike light with excellent front-on brightness could suck at providing side-on visibility and thereby increase the risk of road accidents at turns. You need bike lights that allow you ‘to be seen’ on the road by other riders rather those that help you ‘to see.’

Do you get the point?

The key to selecting a bike light isn’t about the LED value alone. They should allow angled visibility as clearly as linear visibility, and the best bike light should offer you both.

The dichotomy of modern bike lights is split into road bike lights and mountain bike lights. These bike lights differ in four parameters- light output, run time, weight and expense. Now, here we shall discuss the types of road bike lights and the best of them available.

best bike lights
Bike Lights is essential for Cyclists

Road Bike Lights

If you are someone who uses the cycle more as a means of commuting than for recreational then road bike lights are an absolute necessity. These bike lights help you to see better in darker days or at night and assist you to reach home safely.

The road bike lights are again divided into two categories – front bike lights and rear bike lights. There are bike lights that provide enough brightness to enable you to see the road clearly, and there are lights that ensure your visibility to others on the road.

According to expert bike riders, it is more important that you, as the cyclist, are visible distinctly on the road rather than your vision of the road.

Riders, essentially, need rear light in red and a front light in white on their cycles. Rear lights have relatively a homogeneous light output while the light intensity of the front light ranges from basic to blindingly bright!

Now the question arises – What to look for in the best bike lights?

The Brightness, of course!

But how much is good enough for you to cruise through at night. So, let us first understand the brightness adequacy.

The Correct Brightness

How much brightness is sufficient or blinding?

Could over-bright lights be problematic to fellow riders?

Technically, riders need to be visible at 200 meters to comply with the road rules, but there are bike lights that will beam up the path ahead just like car headlights! And instinctively, we tend to choose bike lights that would deliver the maximum intensity, because why not?

But hold on a second!

Your quest for the brightest light could create a nuisance to other riders on the road. For instances, a bike rider/cyclist with maximum bike light luminosity comes towards you on the same path, will you be able to see? No, right! You will have to slow down in your track because you wouldn’t be sure whether you are going to ride off the side of the track or collide into them.

Therefore, to avoid road nuisance select a bike light that will suffice you with the correct brightness that allows you and others travel smoothly.

A simple traffic rule, isn’t it?

On that note, let’s review the best bike lights flooding the market of bike gadgets.

Best Bike Lights 2017

Here’s are some of the best bike lights recommendations. If you own any of them then you are a smart rider if not then buy these smart choices pronto! We categorized the best bike lights according to the two types of bike lights- Front light and rear light.

Front Bike Lights

Before skimming through the choices, remember that your goal is to choose the bike light that will perform well in real-life situations. Understand that good light power is required but a very high-power front bike is an inconvenience. Below is a list of the best front bike lights, take a look!

1. Am-Tech Cree LED front light

best bike lights
Am-Tech Cree LED front light

One of the best bike lights for the concrete roads. The light comes with three modes- full beam, half beam, and strobe. It also has battery life-saving feature. Price: $ 24.07

2. Blackburn Central 700

best bike light for night riding road
Blackburn Central 700

This waterproof bike light features shrewd optical and mounting tricks with three constant and two flashing light modes. It is compatible with any GoPro camera; the frosted lens edge and back-sloped lower section provide good peripheral vision with just-in-front-of-wheel awareness. Price: $99

3. Lezyne Super Drive 1250XXL

 lights for a bicycle
Lezyne Super Drive 1250XXL

Slightly bulky, the Super Drive emits 1250 lumens to help you see you better while riding. The brightness and the battery life can be managed in 150-lumen flash or pulse mode. Lezyne’s Super Drive 1250 XXL reaches its ‘brightness potential’ in ‘Overdrive’ mode. Price: $119.99

4. Gemini Xera LED 950

best bike lights
Gemini Xera LED 950

Gemini’s Xera LED 950 is an upgraded version of their Xera 850 model. Xera LED 950 is designed in the shape of a torch that brightness intensity at 950 lumens. It has two light mode- steady and flash, and the brightness can be reduced according to preference. Price: $105.80

5. Blaze Laserlight

top rated bike lights
Blaze Laserlight

True to its name, this bike light is your ultimate front light that gives off 300 lumens per area which mean a lot of brightness! The LED light has projection capability which projects a silhouette of the bike onto the tarmac six meters in front of you. Thus, making the other riders aware of your presence six meters ahead!

Isn’t it amazing?

Made of aluminum and steel, the Laserlight is pricey but equally effective as well. Price: $200

6. Cateye Volt 800

powerful bike light
Cateye Volt 800

For poorly lit country roads, the Cateye Volt produces 800 lumens output for perfect vision. You can reduce the intensity mode to 400 lumens and 200 lumens. The battery runs up to 8 hours. Weather-proof and fits securely onto the handlebars so no scope of getting displaced on a bumpy road.

The only drawback is its weight- 134g! Price: $132.26

7. Guee Sol 700 Plus

best light bike
Guee Sol 700 Plus

Compact and heavy, the Guee Sol 700 is one of the best bike lights that provides quality light to help you “to see” on the road.

Once attached to its mount, the Sol 700 can be rotated up and down. This feature comes in handy when you want to dip the light on the narrow lanes. It can be used with the GoPro camera as well as others. The Guee Sol 700 Plus is a smart bike light that can adapt the light power according to the light conditions, thanks to its ambient light sensor. Price: $72.75

8. Bontrager Ion 700

powerful bike light
Bontrager Ion 700

If you like your front lights slim then Bontrager Ion 700 is for you. With a maximum output of 700 lumens, it comes with two more brightness levels (450 lumens and 200 lumens) and two flashing modes. However, it is not suitable for wider diameter bars. Price: $145.49

9. Hope R4 LED

best usb bike lights
Hope R4 LED

This front light has multiple power settings with an external battery that has a great life. Hope R4 Led produces a measured 1000 lumens output and sustains battery life up to 2.5 hours. Price: $330.68

10. Cygolite Metro 750

bike headlights reviews
Cygolite Metro 750

Revered as one of the best, Cygolite’s Metro emits brightness of 750 lumens. Its battery is rechargeable via USB and offers 90 minutes of runtime on the highest setting. Price: $72

11. Exposure Switch

best bike lights
Exposure Switch

The Exposure Switch is a first-rate commuter light that provides enough brightness you require to see and be seen in an urban environment. It emits 375 lumens, with some side illumination as well by utilizing the 360 lenses. A standout feature is the pulse function that ensures you never see dark spots between flashes. Price: $104.10

12. NiteRider Pro 1800

lighting for bicycles
NiteRider Pro 1800

This is one front light that could give competition to car lights in brightness. For super-bright and long-lasting light go for the NiteRider Pro 1800 as it is suitable for long trail rides. If you really need a front light as bright as the NiteRider Pro 1800 then you shouldn’t find the cost and its huge body. Price: $350

13. Light & Motion Urban 350

top rated bike lights
Light & Motion Urban 350

With 350 lumens of brightness and runtime of one hour-and-half at the highest settings, the Light & Motion Urban 350 is an excellent bike light for the average commuters. It is durable, waterproof and has amber lights on each side that further increases your visibility. Price: $50

14. Lucas KOTR City 500F

rear led bicycle light
Lucas KOTR City 500F

Pumps out 500 lumens brightness output which make the Lucas KOTR City excellent for dark areas. It has a rechargeable battery with a USB output that can be used to recharge other gadgets. Price: $92.59

15. Light and Motion Urban 650

bike headlights reviews
Light and Motion Urban 650

This one is a powerful light with 650 lumens on the front, and side lights with good visibility. The front beam covers a wide area with uniform brightness. The battery is rechargeable with a micro USB connector and the battery indicator helpfully updates you the battery life status. Price: $70.00

Rear Bike Lights

There shouldn’t be much difficulty in selecting a good rear bike light. These bike lights emit a minimum output of 30 lumens or more, and typically have modes in steady light or flashing or a combination of both. The flashing mode helps to save battery life. On a cautionary note, double the power in the day time.

1. Moon Arcturus Auto Pro

Best combo bike light sets
Moon Arcturus Auto Pro

This rear bike light uses a 30-chip rectangular ring COB LED that provides wide-angle visibility. It has three constant and three flashing light modes. The auto light sensor helps the Arturus to self-assess your safety. Short full power life but has a built-in, low-power hour of safety reserve. Price: $44.27

2. Cateye Rapid X3 100

bike light reviews
Cateye Rapid X3 100

A convenient rear light with 100 lumens brightness and more. Cateye’s Rapid X3 can be used during the day and the battery is rechargeable via USB, takes three hours to reach the full battery. Rapid X3 features six light setting, some in constant mode and some in flash with variations. Price: $54.88

3. Blackburn 2′Fer

lights for a bicycle
Blackburn 2′Fer

Primarily a rear light, the Blackburn 2’Fer can be converted into a front light with just a click! You can change the red LED taillight to a white LED headlight which makes it a versatile bike light. This one pumps out 65 lumens. Price: $20

4. Knog Blinder R70

Best bike lights 2017
Knog Blinder R70

The Blinder R70 is an all-rounder that scores perfectly as the best rear light. Efficient brightness with multiple modes, good battery life, USB rechargeable, and fits the aero seat post effortlessly are some of the stellar features of the Blinder R70. Price: $50.25

5. Exposure TraceR

low profile bike light
Exposure TraceR

This one is relatively cheaper and compact than most rear lights available. It emits 75 lumens and the mounting is tool-free. Price: $66.07

6. Cycliq Fly6

 best bike lights
Cycliq Fly6

A hi-tech rear light, the Cycliq Fly6 not only pumps out 30 lumens of light but also features a camera that shoots HD footage of scenes behind. Price: $132.26

7. Bontrager Flare R

best light bike
Bontrager Flare R

With 65 lumens of output, Bontrager Flare R is a good rear light for both the daytime and night. It features 23 hours of battery life in night-time flashing mode. Price: $59.51

Combination Set Bike Lights

As the phrase suggests, this is not a type of bike light but refers to those set of lights that provide both the front and the rear bike lights in one set.

1. Niterider Lumina & Sabre

best bike lights
Niterider Lumina & Sabre

Front light, Lumina has embedded LED so, zero sideways visibility. The front light brightness varies from 450-200 lumens with a beam runtime of 3 hours. Rear light, Sabre uses single COB LED strip with three steady and three flashing modes plus side LEDs. Price: $76.74

2. Exposure Sirius Mk5 & TraceR

best led front bicycle light
Exposure Sirius Mk5 & Trace

The Exposure Sirius Mk5 & TraceR is a compact and powerful set of bike lights with three brightness modes in constant or pulsing beam. The brightness output- Sirius: 550 lumens, TraceR: 75 lumens, and the beam runtime- Sirius: 2 hours, TraceR: 3 hours. Price: $114.64

3. Lezyne Femto Drive LED Light set

best bike lights
Lezyne Femto Drive LED Light set

At $19.77, the Lezyne Femto Drive is a set small and affordable bike lights which switch from a constant to four different flashing modes. These bike lights are made of aluminum so they are light and easy-to-easy. However, the batteries are non-rechargeable.

4. Specialized Stix Sports Combo Lightset

best lightweight road bike
Specialized Stix Sport

This set of lights will enable you to be seen on the road. The front light output is 70 lumens, good for urban streets but not so suitable for the dark alleys. Batteries are USB rechargeable. Features beam settings in steady and flashing modes. Price: $46.28

5. Cateye EL135 Omni 5 Set

 lights for a bicycle
Cateye EL135 Omni 5 Set

Easily removable from the mounting cast, EL135 Omni 5 has a front light with three LEDs and a rear light with five LEDs. The front light casts a wider beam while the rear light can be switched among three light modes- static, flashing, and rapid. Price: $39.67

So, those are the best bike lights available. In addition to selecting the right bike lights, it is advisable to wear clothes with high visibility. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wear apparels in Lycra because you aren’t out to win the Tour de France. You can opt for something in fluorescent hue to garments with reflectors which would make you enough visible.

Now that you know about the Best Bike Lights, also read and know about Cycling Gear (Essentials) Guide

Let us know which Bike lights do you prefer for your bicycle?

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