cycle lights

Best Mountain Bike and Road Bike Lights 2018 For Night Riding!

It’s hard to deny that mountain bike lights have come along away.

If you compare what your grandpa considered as the best mountain biking lights decades ago and what we currently have at the market, you’ll agree with me that these lights have evolved for the better.

The today’s lights are characterized by compactness, lightweight, and extreme brightness.

They’ve longer run time and better technology as well—making it possible for you to ride your bike anytime, anywhere.

We chose a total of 17 bike lights that had garnered good ratings and compared and analyzed them against each other to find out which ones are the best for you.

Using our selection criteria (which we’ll be sharing with you in this guide) we were able to choose the best 10 lights for you.

Find out what we learned about these lights below…

Why You Need Commuter Lights?

It’s quite obvious that even if you’re riding the best of the mountain bikes, you’ll need a light installed on it when riding in the dark.

Statistically speaking, 40-60% of the injuries resulting from bike-vehicle collisions occur during the darkness hours.

As you can easily guess, the MAIN cause for these collisions is motorists not seeing the cyclists clearly.

The general idea of the bike light is to help you see where you’re riding at night, increasing your safety while out there. But that’s not all…good bike lights will also make it easy for other road users to easily see you for even more safety.

These lights aren’t confined to night use, though;

Let’s say you commute to and from work with your mountain bike early in the morning when there’s low light or after sunset. In such cases, you’ll also need lights on your bike.

As we’re talking, the market is flooded with varieties and varieties of lights, which means you’ll be spoilt for options when buying your MTB lights.

Most of these modern lights use the LED technology (which is brighter as hell) to give you just the right amount of brightness, enabling you to see your surroundings clearly.

The lights will even enable you to toggle between various brightness settings to suit your lighting needs (depending on where you’re riding).

In our next section, we take a closer look at the 10 top-of-the-line MTB lights that are currently available on the market today…

Our Best MTB and Road Bike Lights:

1. BLITZU Gator 320 USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set

Blitzu is one of the top manufacturers of quality outdoor products, including bike lights. They consider durability, efficiency, and aesthetics in all their products. And when you look at BLITZU Gator 320, you’ll totally agree to that!

The affordable, stylish-looking headlight is designed to offer you reliable performance. It’ll make it easy for you to commute at night by increasing your visibility and safety.

If you’ve been using battery-powered lights, then you know how annoying it feels to run out of batteries unexpectedly…not to forget the cost of replacing batteries every week. With this Gator 320 bike headlight, however, things are completely different (and better) as it comes with smart USB charging technology. You just charge it from any device with a USB port, saving you money and frustrations.

When it comes to performance, this headlight boats of insane brightness output which makes you easily get seen or commute in confidence. The secret to its ultra-brightness stems from the latest LED technology with up to 320-lumen output!

You don’t have to worry about the installation part. Why? Because it’s pretty simple and you don’t need a single tool. Dismounting the light is also a breeze. Just press the light’s quick release button, slide it forward, and it’ll detach in seconds.

Thanks to 360-degree swivel ability, you can easily focus this light to where you need it. Other noteworthy features include IPX-5 waterproofing, weather resistance (can be used in all conditions) and up to 4 light modes (Low/Mid/High/Flashing).

Highlighted features:

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    Ultra-bright LED bike light   
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    USB rechargeable light
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    More than 2 hrs. run time
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    Free tail light included   
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    360-degrees swivel
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    Tool-free installation

2. Bright Eyes 1600 lumen Rechargeable Mountain, Road Bike Headlight

Next up in our top mountain bike light reviews is the Bright Eyes Mountain, Road Bike Headlight. This is a long-lasting, top-quality headlight ideal for both mountain and road bikes.

After studying the features and performance of this light, we understood why it enjoys an insane amount of popularity from cyclists all over.

First, we noted that it has a powerful output of up to 1600 lumens when on High mode—thanks to CREE T6 LED Technology. This is an extremely bright light that will make you travel with the ultimate confidence (and increase your SAFETY). If you set the light to Medium, it’ll output 900 lumens, and for Low mode, the output is 450 lumens.

The light draws its power from an 8.4V 6400mAh battery (included). We really like the fact that this battery is an external rechargeable and the charging unit is included for hassle-free charging.

Installing this light on your bike isn’t hard as it easily fits on handlebars of all mountain and road bikes. FREE diffuser lens, FREE velcro ties (for securing headlight and battery wires), and FREE LED silicone taillight are also included in the box.

Highlighted features:

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    Extremely bright (1600 lumen)
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    Fully waterproof headlight
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    Lasts for 4 plus hours on High mode
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    Fits all handlebars
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    External rechargeable 6400 mAh battery
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    Lifetime light guarantee

3. Te-Rich Waterproof Super Bright Road/Mountain Bike Light

If you’re hunting for the best mountain bike lights under 100, the Te-Rich Super Bright Road/Mountain Bike Light is a sure bet!

This particular light comes equipped with advanced LED technology with a powerful output of 1200 Lumen. This is sure to soak your cycling path with a glorious, consistent, and dependable beam of light so that you can see every bump and obstacle on the road. It’ll make your presence on the roads seen and felt, no matter how dark it looks like.

The super-bright light not only lights your surroundings but will also project its beam as far as 300 meters, ensuring you become visible miles and miles away.

Keep in mind that this fantastic headlight produced the natural white light which is perfect for outdoor activities.

Like our previous light, this model too is powered by a rechargeable battery with slightly different specifications (5V 4400mhA rechargeable battery). Interestingly, the battery has a pretty long runtime of over 4 hours on the High mode.

As a multi-function light, you can also mount this headlight on the included headgear to act as a headlamp for both indoor and outdoor lighting.

Installing this headlight is simple and straightforward. You don’t need a single tool. You only need to turn the hardware until it becomes tight and secure on your bike handlebar. This is a universal fitment light that will attach to all handlebar designs with a diameter of up to 28mm.

Highlighted features:

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    1200 lumen bike light
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    Easy, tool-free installation
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    Extended run time
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    5V 4400mhA rechargeable battery
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    360-degree rotating ability
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    Universal handlebar fitment

4. TeamObsidian Bike Light Set

TeamObsidian Bike Light Set is the best commuter light for cyclists on a limited budget. But don’t equate its affordability for inferiority. This is a well-built bike light that will make you easily visible to other motorists on the road. It can be seen hundreds of yards away regardless of the weather conditions.

The light also boasts of high-efficiency CREE LED technology which enables it to output a cool 200 lumens of bright enough to help you find your way when riding in the darkness. The light set is powered by 5 AAA batteries—3 for the front headlamp and 2 for the backlight.

Since it comes with a water-resistant casing, you can rest assured that this it’ll hold up to the most extreme weather conditions, including heat, snow, and dust.

Even better, the light is constructed with heavy-duty materials that will withstand all kinds of abuses…the front light is made of durable aluminum while the reflector is made from rugged ABS plastic.

Attaching this light set on your bike is probably the easiest part. Both light holders come with a screw that you can manually handle to ensure the lights sit tightly and firmly on your bike.

Highlighted features:

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    Solid aluminum construction
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    CREE LED technology
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    Powered by 5AAA batteries
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    Water-resistant casing
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    Easy and quick to set up
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    100% No-hassle lifetime guarantee

5. BLITZU Gator 390 USB Rechargeable LED Bike Light Set

At number 5, we feature another popular BLITZU light set by the name BLITZU Gator 390. Unlike the previous Gator 320 model, this set outputs a bright light of 390 lumens with a beam length of up to 300 feet. This makes it one of the best LED mountain bike lights on the market for safe night riding.

Like Gator 320, this light is also powered by a USB rechargeable battery, saving you the frustration and cost of batteries. You can charge it from your computer or any other device that has USB cable. The battery will get fully charged in 2 hours, after which it’ll grant you an extended runtime of up to 2 hours or more (on the High mode).

As a complete set, the package also comes with a rechargeable tail light which further enhances your visibility to other motorists and road users, increasing your overall safety.

The incredibly durable bike light has a waterproof rating of IPX-5 plus a weather-tight design to enable you to use in the most extreme weather conditions. Above all, it has a compact and lightweight design to ensure it doesn’t add unnecessary weight to your MTB or road bike.

Highlighted features:

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    USB rechargeable lights
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    Extremely long runtime
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    Bright 390-lumen output
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    Versatile and easy to install
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    Durable, lightweight, waterproof
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    100& satisfaction guarantee

6. SecurityIng Waterproof 1200 Lumens LED Bicycle Light

If you’re looking for a bike light that you can mount on your bike handlebar or as a headlamp, this SecurityIng LED Bicycle Light is one of your top options.

One of the best things we liked about this particular light is the incredible amount of brightness of up to 1200 Lumens. It can throw a gracious beam over 200m into the darkness, taking your safety and visibility to a whole new level.

As it’s the case with most of the top-end LED bicycle lights you’ll get on the market today, this model is also powered by a rechargeable 8.4V 4000mAh battery. When fully charged, this battery will power your light for 2.5 hours or more (on HIGH mode).

Like all the other lights we’ve featured on this list, this bike has a durable construction of anodized aluminum plus glass lens. It’s 100% waterproof and weather resistant, making it perfect for use in extreme outdoor conditions.

Highlighted features:

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    Super-bright bike headlamp
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    Up to 4 light modes
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    Rechargeable 8.4V 4000mAh battery
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    Long battery life (2.5+ hours)
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    Durable and waterproof design
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    Easy to install and use

7. Cygolite Metro 500 USB Rechargeable Bike Light

Cygolite Metro 500 is a high-end bike light with a slightly higher cost than most of the lights we’ve outlined in this list. But the cost difference is nothing compared to the unique features of this light and a perfect balance between safety, performance, and versatility.

As one of the best road bike lights, this Cygolite lets you experience the undeniable power of 500 lumens, fully optimized through its cycling-tuned optics for maximum line of sight (with unpatrolled brightness and clarity).

Unlike most of the lights which come with only 3-4 modes, this light provides you with up to 6 modes. These include 3 steady, 2 flashing, 1 walking modes—all of which ensure you get covered day and night.

As if that’s not enough, the light offers you another mode… the SteadyPulse mode. This is engineered to alert other motorists with attention-grabbing flashes, making your night cycling SAFER than ever before!

The sturdy quick-release handlebar mount enables you to easily and securely mount the light on your bike when cycling through rough terrains…detaching the light when not in use is also quite easy and fast.

Above all, the bike light has a tough, water-, and weather-resistant construction to enable it to withstand all sorts of abuse and harsh weather conditions. The light is assembled in the USA and taken through rigorous quality tests for outstanding performance and longevity.

Highlighted features:

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    Powerful 500 lumen light
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    550-lumen Day Lightning mode
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    Patent pending Steady Pulse mode
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    Up to 6 powerful light modes
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    Tough, weatherproof construction

8. Bright Eyes 1200 lumen Rechargeable Mountain, Road Bike Headlight

If you’re on the market for the best mountain bike light for night riding, this Bright Eyes 1200 lumen will fit your needs. The Newly upgraded headlight promises you nothing but mind-blowing performance and unmatched reliability. And not many of its rivals come close to it in comparison.

With a brightness output of up to 1200 lumens, this is one of the brightest headlights you can find on the market today. This incredible amount of brightness will shine far and wide, doubling your visibility and safety in the darkness.

It’s powered by external rechargeable, 100% waterproof battery. If you’ve used other lights before, you know that most of them last for 1-2 hours when on High mode which isn’t a really long time. For this particular headlight, it can last for more than 5 hours on High mode and over 26 hours on the Low mode.

Believe you me, this is the longest runtime you can find in the industry!

Just like the other Bright Eyes light we discussed earlier, this model is also easy and quick to install. It fits all handlebars with different designs and diameters. A FREE taillight is included in the package for maximum safety.

Highlighted features:

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    Rigorously UL tested and passed      
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    Fully waterproof
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    1200 lumen brightness
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    Fits all handlebars
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    Rechargeable, waterproof battery
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    Extra-long battery life
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    Lifetime bike light guarantee

9. Ascher USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set

In our second last position, we take a look at the Ascher USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set. Featuring pocket-friendly pricing, this set comprises of a super-bright front headlight plus a FREE rear LED light—both of which increase your visibility on the roads for maximum safety.

The LED front light features a built-in 650mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. This acts as the source of power for the light, enabling it to output up to 160 lumens. While the lumen rating might seem small compared to other models in this list, it’s more than enough to offer you good visibility on dark roads and terrains. Seriously!

With up to 4 brightness settings, you can choose the level of brightness to use, depending on the situation you’re cycling in. These modes include the slow flashing, fast flashing, half brightness, and full brightness.

We can’t fail to mention that this light set is waterproof (with IPX4) rating. This is good news for you if riding in winter, where the light will get exposed to bad weather elements.

Fixing this light on your bike is the easiest part. It comes with silicone mount straps which come with 2 openings that tightly nearly all handlebars, helmets, seat posts, seat risers, etc. You don’t need any tools to install the light.

Apart from cycling, you can also use this highly versatile light for camping, hiking, or any other outdoor activity.

Highlighted features:

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    Rechargeable Li-ion battery
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    IPX4 waterproof rating
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    Up to 4 light mode options
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    Easy and quick installation
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    Multifunction bike light
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    18-months product warranty

10. Sahara Sailor Bicycle Light-800 Lumens Bike Headlight

Our last spot on the top mountain bike light reviews goes to the Sahara Sailor Bicycle Light. This particular headlight is great for mountain bike trail, daily commuting, and short journey rides.

The headlight also comes with a powerful output of 800 lumens and floodlight angle of 85 degrees. This is sure to eliminate all blind spots on your way, make you highly visible to other road users and keep you safe.

In addition to the main light, this headlight is designed with sidelights which help make you even more visible to others at cross intersections or in bad weather.

The entire body of this headlight is waterproof (rated IPX6 waterproof) and has sealed aluminum alloy body. This means that it can withstand heavy rains and extremely high temperatures, so you’ll never have to worry about unexpected weather conditions.

The headlight is powered by 2600 mAh Lithium Battery, which you can easily recharge using any device, including your PC, mobile power bank, wall charger, etc.

With a New quick release mount, you’ll just need to press and slide this light out of your bike without necessarily removing the entire mounting bracket. This translates to easier installation and extra convenience.

Highlighted features:

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    Powerful 800 lumens light
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    Up to 5 lighting modes
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    650 feet beam distance
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    USB rechargeable battery
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    IPX6 waterproof battery
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    Premium construction

How To Buy The Perfect Bike Light?

We made a promise at the beginning of this post…to share with you our selection criteria for the best road bike lights and MTB bike lights.

Remember?

Well, these are the key factors that we used to pick the best lights:

Type of Bike Light

First, you’ll need to determine the type of backlights that will work for you, depending on the type of bike you’re using.

That said, we can divide the bike lights into two major categories below:

1. Main bike light: these are incredibly bright, high-output light systems that will be ideal for off-road cycling to help you easily find your way in the total darkness. Most of them are extremely versatile in that you can either mount them on your handlebars or on your helmet.

Lights under this category are usually larger and come with external, rechargeable batteries. The number of lumen output for the main lights start from several hundreds to even thousands.

2. Safety bike light: unlike the main lights, lights in this category aren’t that bright. They’re compact, LED lights that you put in your saddle bag. And their main job is to allow other road users (cars and pedestrians) to easily see you for safety purposes.

Performance

When talking about the performance of the bike lights, we’re referring to the lumens output as well as the quality of the beam produced.

To ensure you get a high-performance light, this is what you should look for:

  • LEDs: the reason why we advise you to go for LED bulbs is that they’re durable and energy-efficient. There are also multiple brightness level options for you to choose from.
  • Lumens: lumens refer to the amount of falling on the object you wish to illuminate. As we’ve seen from our top 10 lights above, different models come with different light intensities. And the more the number of lumens, the greater the light intensity.

NOTE: We noted that some manufacturers tend to exaggerate their lumen rating, which can be totally misleading for bikers. Going through the previous users’ feedback will help you establish whether a given light indeed produced the amount of brightness indicated by the manufacturer.

  • Type of beam: lastly, check the type of beam projected by the light you wish to buy. If you’re commuting on a street full of streetlights, consider getting a headlight with a narrow-focus beam for darker roads and trails, however, a wide-focus beam will offer you better peripheral vision.

Battery Type and Run Time

Majority of bikes are powered by two types of batteries—rechargeable or disposable batteries.

We suggest that you get lights with rechargeable batteries (mostly the lithium-ion batteries). These lights allow you to charge them repeatedly, making them cheaper and more environmental-friendly than the disposable ones.

The only advantage of using disposable (AA or AAA) batteries is when you’re taking on a longer trip, and you have no access to electricity to recharge your battery.

Other than battery type, you should also check the life of the battery…

The battery life usually depends on the type of battery, system power, and the type of LEDs used in the light. As you might have noticed, all the lights featured on our top 10 list have a runtime of more than one hour.

Ensure the bike you buy come with different brightness modes to enable you to use just the right amount of brightness depending on the riding situation. Low and flashing/strobes modes will consume less power, making your battery last longer than on when High mode.

While still on it, ensure the light you buy delivers a consistent beam brightness even as the battery continues discharges…not one that dims or fades after some time.

Weather Protection

Because you’ll be using your lights in winter or the weather might change unexpectedly when out there, they can easily get exposed to harsh weather elements.

For this reason, it’s important to check if the lights you wish to buy are waterproof and weather-resistant.

The lights should come with sturdy, rust-resistant casing and proper sealing of all the wires and cables to enable you to use it in all weather conditions.

The two most common waterproof ratings for bike lights are:

Lights with waterproof rating IP64 (means they’re fully sealed from spray getting in) and IP67 (means the lights are waterproof up to 1m).

Mounting Style

The front lights can be mounted on the handlebar or on the helmet.

For handlebar mounting, you need to check how robust is the mounting hardware. Some lights come with velcro strap/rubber or simple elastic O-ring which might not hold them securely. These can work for compact, lightweight lights for city riding.

When riding off-road, however, you should look for lights with more secure clamp mechanism to ensure the light doesn’t loosen or tilt due to jolting and rattling of your MTB bike.

As for the rear safety lights, you can mount them on your pocket, pack, or seat post. Some can also attach to the back of your rear back rack. The side safety lights usually attach to your bike spokes or frames.

Mountain Bike Light Setup: How To Do It?

Now that you’ve finally bought good lights for your MTB/road bike, the next thing you need to learn is how to install them on your bike correctly.

Thankfully, the setup process is not hard, and you can do it on your own, without any professional help.

However, the process slightly differs as you move from one light to another…the manufacturers usually include a user manual to help you easily install your lights.

Below is a generalized video showing you how to install a mountain bike light…

Basic Maintenance Guide:

Just like any other part of your bike, your bike lights love to be taken good care of. They come with a battery, internal cabling, circuitry, etc. And if you don’t take good care of them, they might develop problems sooner.

Below, we’ve outlined a brief guide on how to maintain your bike lights and keep them in good working conditions:

  • When storing your light, make a habit of disconnecting the head from the battery
  • Charge your light battery with the right charger. Modern lights use either Li-Ion or NiMH battery. The two need different chargers for proper charging…mixing them up will only ruin your battery.
  • While you might think it’s a good practice, it’s not always advisable to let your battery run flat so that you can recharge it again. Repeated full discharges can cause long-term issues
  • Make sure you store your light in cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight…the NiMH batteries will be fin in a cool cupboard, but the Li-Ion models should be stored in a fridge. This practice will help slow the aging process
  • Inspect the light wiring regularly. Avoid pinching or kinking them as this can easily damage them and force you to make repairs.
  • Regularly clean your bike light. Use a soft toothbrush to remove any mud bits and debris that might have stuck on the lights. For the batteries, ensure their business ends do not come into contact with moisture…wiping them clean is all you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the word Lumens in bike lights mean?

When looking for good lights for your bike, you’ll come across the word lumens multiple times. And if you’ve never heard this word, you might have a hard time interpreting it.

Here’s what it means:

Lumen is a measure of the total luminous flux or the output of a light source in all the directions that it points. The more lumens a light comes with, the more brightness it outputs.

2. When should I use my bike light flash mode?

First, it’s important to note that flashlight mode is designed to grab the attention of other road users easily and faster.

That said, we recommend you to use the flashing mode during daylight. At this time, there’s a lot of ambient light and the steady light might not get easily noticed by motorists.

The flashing mode will stand a better chance of grabbing the attention of drivers—enhancing your visibility and safety.

3. What’s better— a handlebar or helmet mounted bike light?

The handlebar mounted light is considered as the standard headlight. However, we believe that pairing it with a helmet light can significantly increase your visibility on the trails.

You just need to make sure the helmet light has a narrow beam and isn’t too bright to enable you to concentrate the light on your path without blinding everyone on the road.

4. Is it illegal to cycle without bike lights at night?

In the United States, there are no federal rules requiring you to equip your bike with lights. This means that the decision of installing the lights will be upon you.

However, it’s important to note that all the bikes sold in the US MUST have reflectors installed on them, as per the Consumer Products Safety Commission specifications.

Apparently, we don’t need any Law to remind us to fit lights on our bikes. Remember you’re doing it for your own safety.

Not installing bike lights on your bike when riding on limited visibility conditions is like signing your own death warrant.

5. How many lumens should a bike light come with?

Most of the modern headlights range from the basic 10 lumens all the way up to several hundreds or even thousands for off-road cycling.

For the rear light, anything between 5 and 100 lumens will do the job.

Final Verdict

If you’re a bike commuter and usually find yourself cycling before sunset or after the sunset, installing a front headlight and a taillight on your bike is a MUST.

This will enhance your visibility to other motorists and increase your safety.

Likewise, if cycling on unlit roads or taking on nocturnal MTB bike adventures, you’ll need a powerful bike light to grace your path with exceptional brightness and clarity, while being able to last you throughout your adventure.

The light should also be solidly built to hold up to various weather conditions and the tough outdoors.

In our just concluded guide above, we’ve discussed the 10 BEST mountain biking lights you can find on the market today.

This is our list of the top ten and the market has more lights in store for you.

If you decide to do your own searching, therefore, make sure you follow our buyer’s tips on the key things to look for.

As long as you’re night riding or commuting before sunrise or after sunset, just fit your bike with a good light.

Better safe than sorry!