How to Choose Bike Lights - the Best LED Lights for Cyclists
Staying bright on your bike is not only important for safety, it’s a mandatory requirement if you’re on UK roads. To be compliant with road user regs, your bike needs a white front light and a red rear light. This, of course, is to be seen – but just how much illumination you need and how long for depends on your riding plans.
SEE – AND BE SEEN
Basic lights to be seen on the road begin at around 50 lumens (the most common measurement of bike light intensity), but commuters and urban cyclists don’t have to spend too much to get a 100 lumen light which will not only deliver good visibility, but provide some view of the road ahead too.
For a good view out front on poorly lit roads, look for a minimum of 500 lumens. The Exposure Strada 600, £199.95, is a front light built both to help you see and be seen. Its 600 lumen highest setting burns for 3hrs with a dip option lasting up to 36hrs. A small but powerful package – just 135g – it’s ideal both for road riders wanting to steer clear of extra weight and for commuters going for longer.
For brightness on a budget, the 700 lumen Moon Meteor X Auto Pro Front Light, £39.00, is a svelte 84g and runs for 90mins on full-whack or up to a massive 45hrs in flashing mode. What’s more, its Futuristic mode uses an integrated sensor; adjusting the light strength to the environment around you as you ride.
When lumens reach the thousands, they make for ideal MTB trail-illuminators and lights for road rides in rural, unlit areas. Exposure’s Diablo MK9 Front Light, £209.95, leaves no room for error unleashing up to 1500 lumens on trails or tarmac. It doesn’t compromise on weight at 120g and shines bright from 1hr at full power up to 24hrs on lower settings. Want brighter still? For the daddy of dazzle, the lumen mama , look no further than the Exposure MaXx-D MK10 Front Light, £374.95, which throws out a whopping 3300 lumens. Cable free, still relatively light at 310g and burning bright for up to 36hrs, this is the ultimate dark night rider companion.
Absolutely essential for cycling safety is a rear light and, for this, 100 lumens provides high visibility without dazzling other road users. The Moon Nebula Rear Light, £43.99 will lighten you up without lightening your pocket. The eight-mode 100 lumens rear light is just 44g, burns from 70mins to 20hrs and, unlike some rear light options, throws out a 270 degree angle of illumination, making it particularly good for urban rides.
Looking for a great deal? Then look no further than CatEye’s Volt 400 XC Front and Rapid Mini Rear, just £59.99 for both. The front sends out 400 lumens, with 25 out back. Both USB rechargeable and cable-free, together these lights are a great package for day-to-night cyclists about town.
Finding the right bike lights to suit both your riding style and your pocket, alongside a good set of winter cycling clothes is your ticket to enjoyable, worry-free year-round riding day and night, and to lightening you up – even when it’s gloomy, grey or even pitch black outside.