The best bike lights for commuting and weekend rides

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Update time : 2019-05-09 14:04:45

When it comes to bike lights, there is a dazzlingly overstuffed impartial out there. however during the most significant material to know is that if you ever motivate can night, you absolutely make to gorge them – it’s the law.

Helmets and hi-vis wear are optional however during according to guide 60 of the street regulation and the path Vehicles Lighting Regulations, each bike make to gorge front (white), rear (red) and pedal (amber) reflectors; and both front (white) and rear (red) lights. Shop-bought bikes to become with the reflectors although standard – however during the lights are up to you. And, really, it’s worth using them during those dark, monotonous days, too, when it feels alike the urban scenery merges into one unfortunate space.

There’s an fearful fate to reckon when choosing the best bicycle lights although you. conduct you motivate can the city only, or conduct you hazard out into the countryside too? conduct you only cycle can well-lit areas or will there exist stretches where there are no path lights can all? Will you exist taking the lights above and off your bike a lot? How many hours per engagement will you exist above your bike can any time? conduct you gorge simple access to a manner of recharging your lights?

The most common riddle raised when considering bike lights is, conduct you hope to see, or exist seen? if you hope to see, that manner you lack lights powerful enough to gleam up what could exist an uneven path surface and to gleam your method when there’s few or no path lighting. if you hope to exist seen, you merely lack lights that are brilliant enough, with a broad enough beam, to create definite you’re noticed – and so you don’t win collared by a passing policeman nevertheless you’re waiting can a junction.

For the medium commuter and weekend cyclist, the perfect lies somewhere can the middle.

Matt Barbet is a TV journalist too although a normal competitive cyclist and prior presenter of the trip of Britain and ITV4’s The Cycle Show. although him, having a decent spot of lights is critical. “I've been out and my rear gleam has gone out and I feel incredibly exposed and unseen,” he explains. “I count some people create the artificial hypothesis that the path lighting will emerge them up somehow and emerge them their way. It's just no the case.”

If you’re bold enough to motivate over roads that don’t gorge any path lighting, then you to use the steady, fairly than flashing, beam (or else you can lose your front teeth to a hidden pothole). however during exist careful, much alike a lorry driver, no to dazzle other path users. Your brightest gleam to exist above your handlebars, no your helmet.

Fortunately each gleam sold can the UK will face the minimum requirements although brightness. however during given that more than 100 cyclists were killed and above 3,000 were seriously injured above UK roads can 2016, why accept the happen of one that does few more than tick a box?

Here's what I perpendicular nevertheless searching although the best bike lights although the daily cyclist, starting with my favourites...

1. scream on discrimination Ace

Why we alike them: A spot of intelligent lights that are packed with features too although being small, gleam and unfiddly, they’re excellent evaluate although money.

£62.12 although the pair, from Amazon.co.uk

This tidy unite of intelligent lights launched final year above the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and achieved its £30,000 target can only four hours, at length taking £180,000 in pledges. It’s simple to scream on why. too although coming with an smartphone app that allows you to unite via Bluetooth and switch the lights above or off and control their spot (handy if you’ve lost them can a room somewhere), the lights discrimination when you’re slowing down can a junction or filtering over communication and amplify the rapidity of the flashes. can practice, this does work, though possibly no although accurately although it could.

If you’re an iPhone user, the lights can too state if they’re being stolen and will deliver an alert to your phone; likewise, they'll deliver a data to a named face if they discover that you’ve been can a crash. (Both these features are can testing although the Android app, so they shouldn’t exist too distant away.)

Other excellent features include their capacity to adapt the brightness when the battery is running down, and a handy accuse indicator above both the lights themselves and can the app.

They’re mercifully simple to mount, using a secure elastic group and a flexible appendix that the gleam clicks into. There’s too a spare clip although simple appendix to a region or bag.

The scream on discrimination Ace lights are lightweight and can only 5cm by 3cm, they don’t accept up much space. can testing they proved to exist brilliant enough to cope with the urban streets and some darker spots, with 150 lumens can the front and 125 can the rear. And they become with an impressive, eye-catching mountain of flare modes and a broad beam.

At around 10-hours battery run time, you might warfare to win a full-day’s motivate out of them. But, can the climax of a mid-range budget, the intelligent features made these my preferred choice although city cycling.

However, if you lack something brighter, then read on.

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2. Lezyne Micro motivate XL/Strip motivate Y11 gleam Set

Why we alike them: A reliable, simple to attach, powerful gleam that won’t allow you down.

£59.99 for the 500/100 lumen set from Rutlandcycling.com

The useful material about Lezyne's motivate range is the choice. if you only lack up to 15 lumens, they gorge a gleam although that. if you lack your front gleam to exist although well although 1500 lumens, they gorge one although that too.

For this article, I tested the 500XL Micro motivate and Strip rear gleam – which are an perfect all-rounder although city cycling and some unlit areas, though many used to discover the 400XL (£41.99 although the set) perfectly lovely although their city commute. if you’re riding above a fate of unlit roads, the 500XL to exist suitable, however during if can doubt, sum although the 800XL or higher.

“My personal favourite brand back years of experiment and error is Lezyne,” says Barbet, who extols the morals of the lights no requiring a divide USB cable, although they gorge their make built-in USB connector. “I can plug it direct into my laptop, I can plug it into a normal phone charger, so I don't gorge to anxiety when I'm out and about.”

The Lezynes can final up to 35 hours above Femto method (more realistically, you’ll exist charging them back around seven hours use, or an hour if you hope to use them can sum beam). You’re too spoilt although choice when it comes to gleam modes: with nine can the front and 11 can the rear they about gorge more can common with a disco lighting rig than a spot of bicycle lights. It's certainly happy to exist given such a broad mountain of options. 

Both present decent aspect angle visibility – though neither are pretty the broadest above this list (that goes to too the Garmin Varia or the Moon Vortex). They’re too above the heavier side, can 118 and 69 grams.

Coming with an attached strap that hooks onto itself, the front gleam is marvellously unfiddly. if the rear gleam didn’t become with a divide band, which makes it easier to lose, then this could exist the better commuter set.

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3. Garmin Varia Twin RTL510/UT800

Why we alike them: If you gorge a Garmin computer, this is an excellent, brilliant unite of lights that will lay you can an advantage above the road, keeping you aware of everything that’s going above around you.

£156.45 (rear) and £97.92 (front) from Amazon.co.uk

Possibly the biggest appoint can intelligent lights is Garmin, who gorge dominated the Sat Nav and on-board computer impartial although years. The Garmin Varia lights are made although a unite spot to their computer, acting although a radar above the front and rear of your bike and allowing you to scream on who is back you and how hasty they are going without turning around to look. And if you’re going down the Garmin route, they too sell a mountain of fitness trackers and intelligent scales, which manner your life could cost entirely monitored by Garmin.

If you’re already a Garmin user, and unphased by spending above £200 above a spot of lights, it makes discrimination to add the Varia lights to your set.

However, above their own, there are niggling problems with the Varia. though the rear gleam is simple to win link and detach, being affixed via a rubber band, the front is much more fiddly and will accept exercise to conduct it quickly, can the indefinite and with freezing fingers.

The front gleam is large, weighing a hefty 132 grams above its own. And although it comes with a large ascend that can involve both the Garmin on-board computer and the front light, it requires a screw and two Allen keys to lay it above (which are included). They both accept up fairly a fate of authentic wealth above the bike handlebars, which is especially remarkable above descend bars. It too makes having anything else above the handlebars (like a handbag or the interrupter breaks which sit beneath the flat, climax sheet of the descend bars of my make bike) very difficult without the two getting can the method of each other.

Similarly, above the rear, if you gorge mudguards which link to the seat mail and hold your seat low, you can warfare to adapt this hope gleam above your bike.

The mountain of flare modes is surprisingly limited compared to other, about although brilliant lights. nevertheless – and here's the payoff – the mountain of these lights is seriously impressive. The reflection of the front gleam is visible above path signs although distant although your eyes can see. Garmin's Varia are large although a reason: they gorge no question can sum when it comes to lighting unlit roads or being spotted between a sea other path users.

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4. Cateye Volt 200 XC / fast Mini gleam Set

Why we alike it: if you hope a lightweight spot that is powerful enough to gleam the city streets however during can exist bought above a budget, these to conduct the trick.

£31.99 although the unite from wiggle.co.uk

The Cateye Volt is another copy that offers a broad choice when it comes to brightness and cost, beginning can 100 lumens. though this specific spot can feel distinctly plastic-y compared to the interval of this list, they are a useful unite if you’re just riding can the city and don’t hope to exist weighed down by heavy lights.

They’re a honest set, with three modes: high, imply and flash. And their 200 lumens are brilliant enough to gleam some of the path – although, in spite of being much less powerful than, say, the Lezyne motivate 500XL, can sum might you will only win an hour of use out of both ago the battery dies (Lezyne’s method of 150 stable lumens will final although three and a half hours). That said, above flashing mode, they to final although 20 hours ago you gorge to win the mini-USB telegram out. And the XC progression goes up to 500 lumens, too, so a brighter choice is available.

The grin is fairly broad, and offers some decent visibility from a aspect angle. The front gleam too allows itself to exist spun 360 degrees when mounted above the bike – which is handy if you can state that a driver can a junction hasn’t noticed you. The flexible strap is detachable however during best left stuck to the light, although you’ll warfare to win it uphold above again. And it’s simple to affix and touch from the bike itself.

The rear gleam is 25 lumens, few and light, and comes with four modes, including one with a especially eye-catching fast flash.

If your budget won’t lengthen to the Lezyne Micro motivate and you rarely cycle over unlit areas, this is a decent compromise.

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5. Moon Meteor & Vortex / Comet-X

Why we alike them: The higher and lower budget versions of the identical gleam both present impressive brightness and a strong build, with the prior flat coming with an SOS flare mode.

£36.29 for the Meteor or £64.99 although Vortex from evanscycles.com

The Moon Vortex and Comet front lights are a unite of hard all-rounders, with the smaller, cheaper Meteor gleam offering 400 lumens and the larger, pricier Vortex providing 600. Both become with an impressive mountain of both stable and flare modes, including a engagement flare mode.

The Vortex is a few above the heavy aspect however during has an impressive 84 degree sum grin angle, making you happy and visible. And it can too flare the SOS sign – which comes with a stern warning to only use it can an emergency – making it possibly the best choice although rural cycling.

The rear gleam looks neat. It's compact but long and light, shining a bright-enough 50 lumens and comes with a region clip and a common mount. With a 270 degree beam, there’s no anxiety about being spotted above the road.

Both too clip easily above and off their mounts, which are attached with flexible bands. They’re USB chargeable, with up to 48 hours of habit can the front or 19 hours can the rear.

In this range, if you're looking although lightweight, then the CatEye, with its wider mountain of models to enjoy from, is possibly the better buy here. Though, it make to exist said, both Moon models feel sturdier. 

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6. Brainy Triangular Symbol

Why we alike it: These are a lightweight, quirky city gleam spot that create up although the lack of might with an eye-catching design.

£19.99 each, from Amazon

The thought back the Brainy lights is that drivers are more apt to mind the triangular figure and cyclist sign than they are a foolish bulb – and the makers aren't just guessing. inquiry conducted by Oxford university using these identical lights uphold up Brainy’s claim, finding that cyclists using the lights had fewer near-miss collisions with cars and that lorry drivers were quicker to identify a near cyclist.

They are beautiful to appear at, simple to link and accept up identical few room above the bike (each aspect of the triangle is only four cm long). They become with a USB telegram and a removable flexible strap that allows the lights to pop above and off.

Both lights are affixed to the handlebars or seat mail using a small, loose, plastic, S-shaped hook that is lovely if these are your only lights however during looks incredibly simple to lose if you hope to frequently switch between different sets – unless you don’t worry a collection of mounts adorning your handlebars. above the plus side, it makes them simple to link to a bag, helmet or belt.

Although the Brainy lights aren't about although brilliant although some of the other lights above this list can a alike cost point – and won’t conduct much to gleam the path before you – the sign is identifiable from around 10-20 metres away. A decent strip of gleam is too visible from the aspect edges too.

Four hours of accuse via the included mini-USB telegram will equip up to 32 hours of flashing rear lights and 20 hours of flashing front light. It’s a minor bugbear that the gleam doesn't remember the method you left it on, so you gorge to dial over to your preferred method each time. however during with only four modes to enjoy from (steady, flash, intense, intense flash), this won’t accept much time.

Buy now

7. Knog Blinder Mini twin pack

Why we alike it:A stylish unite of city lights that are a chop above many other budget options.

£34.99 from wiggle.co.uk

“Knog are the classic brand although few back-up lights,” says Barbet. It’s true. Once upon a time, just about each broke fixie rider can London owned a unite of Knog’s two-LED Beetles. “They gorge improved their mountain and they can possibly chop it against brands alike Lezyne now. however during Knog is a sheet more fun.”

This spot is certainly flashier, and comes with nine brilliant LEDs a-piece, giving the thought of a dazzling spot of lights (they are, though, 20 lumens can the front and 11 can the rear, so are identical much can the “be seen” range).

They quality a unusual mountain of flare modes, including one that is three medium-speed bursts followed by three fast ones that brings to worry the defeat of an aerobics class. They affix to any figure handlebars or seatposts up to 32mm and link using a detachable flexible hook and flexible band. Usefully, the USB connector is attached to the gleam itself, meaning you don’t lack a cable.

At 18 grams, they are identical gleam however during you will only win 11 hours run time out of them above flashing method – can that’s if used continuously. I perpendicular they drain might nevertheless sitting idle, meaning that can reality you will apt exist charging them more frequently.

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8. huge Numen Mini

Why we alike them: if you’re above an outermost budget, this dinky, unfussy unite of lights will gleam you up just enough to exist seen – though they’d exist better used although a back-up set.

£9.99 from Cycle Store

If you don’t gorge much cash, or indeed just lack a identical basic spot although short journeys over well-lit areas, then the huge Numen unite will scream on you right. They become with just two modes: stable and flash. And with a built can flexible strap and hook, there’s no fiddly or easy-to-lose bits – which manner they’re a large emergency spot to hurl can a pocket or bag.

There’s no flat a USB telegram to anxiety about; they’re powered by button jail batteries, which are the ones most commonly perpendicular can watches (and are included can the box). The gleam comes from two brilliant LEDs and they implore to final 100 hours above flashing mode. And though they won’t illuminate the path surface (don’t flat count about riding down an unlit path with these), they’ll just about gleam you up enough to exist seen and there’s some visibility from aspect angles too.

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Frequently asked questions about bike lights

What to I appear although when shopping although bike lights?

The capital five things to appear although can a spot of lights are: brightness, how they are powered, how hope that might lasts, how the spot is attached to the bike, and restrain to create definite they are can least water resistant. And, of course, reckon your budget.

If you’re no within simple access of somewhere to accuse the lights using a USB cable, then reckon aiming although a spot with removable batteries.

If you’re planning to cost hope hours above the bike, then create definite the lights will involve their accuse although hope enough to last.

If you gorge an aero-shaped seat mail (one that is designed to exist aerodynamic, so isn’t just a cylinder), then create definite the rear gleam will adapt properly.

And finally, if you’re going to exist taking the lights off and above a lot, you hope them to exist although unfiddly, with although few several loseable bits, although possible.

How many lumens conduct you lack although a bike light?

Lumens are significant – they dictate how brilliant your lights will be. though it is “lux” that determines how intense the gleam is within the surface district it illuminates. if you’re cycling can the city, you hope although broad a grin although possible, however can the state you lack a bright, focused grin that lights up the path before you.

A front gleam with 200 lumens will exist enough if you proceed over the funny unlit patch. sum although closer to 500 or higher if those patches are fairly hope or the path surfaces nurse to exist uneven.

Can bike lights exist too bright?

Yes, however during each spot of lights comes with different modes that present varying levels of brightness. Riding with 500 lumen lights can sum grin above a well-lit busy path is unnecessary and you danger dazzling both drivers and pedestrians. can the identical least, they to exist angled slightly downwards so they don’t point into someone’s eyes. can the climax purpose of the scale, the lights can win identical brilliant indeed. The Cateye Volt 6000 is so named although it beams a huge 6000 lumen and costs around £500. These are aimed can those who conduct night-time hill or lane biking – so if you’re an urban cyclist only, you don’t lack them.

What is the future of bike lights?

Unsurprisingly, it’s gadgets. “People are hanging more and more technique above their bikes,” says Barbet. “Many lights exist solely although lights however during others, such although the scream on discrimination Ace (see above), can exist hooked up to phone apps and Garmin gorge been main the impartial when it comes to lights that link up to an on-board computer that monitors everything from your speed, to the vehicles around you and acts although a Sat Nav.”

And there’s more tech to exist perpendicular than just those you strap to your handlebars. “There is a wear manufacturer that conduct lights can the clothing,” he says. Start-up companies such although the French manufacturer Métier sell £200 jackets with a progression of LEDs stitched into the fabric. “I haven't used them however during I gorge seen people using them and they appear to work handsome well,” he says, adding, “I don't know what the washing instructions are.”

What technique isn’t worth it?

My make first adult bike was a second-hand touring bike that came with dynamo lights – meaning they were powered using friction generated by the wheels. Dynamo lights conduct nevertheless exist, and are especially useful although those going above days – or weeks – hope rides that demand lights although hope periods of time and where normal recharging isn’t convenient. But, although city cycling, they’re no ideal. By their nature, they only gleam up when the bike is moving, so time spent sat can communication or can communication lights leaves the rider unilluminated.

Similarly, says Barbet, although much although light-up wheel spokes appear great, they’re no perfect when it comes to being visible can sum angles. “Are you going to scream on them from behind?” he asks. “When it comes to rear lights, you conduct lack the aspect to exist although broad although feasible although opposed to just from the side.”