Choosing the right lights is never an easy task. Mainly because of the thousands of options to choose from, each offering different features or accessories. After all, bicycle lights have different purposes, some for commuters, some for mountain bikers and others for road cyclists looking to squeeze in the miles after work. So here are the latest and greatest bike lights, no matter what cyclist you are.
A good set of lights are an important part of a cyclists kit, with it being a legal requirement to use them after dark.
Using them throughout the day is also remarkably effective, with a study from 2012 showing a 19% reduction in accidents with riders using daytime lights.
Investing in a good set of lights shouldn't be difficult or confusing, so we've picked the best of the best lights available in 2019.
So for this guide, we've made choosing the right lights as simple as possible, by choosing our favourite light from the following categories:
1) Commuting: To be seen by others
If you commute through the city or from one side of town to another, then a light's main purpose is to make you as visible as possible. Street lights will help you see, it's the light that keeps you visible to drivers and pedestrians!
2) Road Riding: To see and be seen by others
Winter sucks, plain and simple. Getting an hour of riding in before or after work is now guaranteed to be ridden in darkness, so you need a light that will both light up the road but not dazzle other road users.
3) Gravel, Cyclocross & Mountain Biking: To light up the whole trail
Riding off-road is the best way to get those winter miles in! As demonstrated on our Halloween ride this year, which was cold, spooky and awesome fun. To ride off-road you will need to brightest light possible so that the trail is fully visible.
4) All-Round Performer
Of course, we are all looking for the best do it all light that will work on the commute as well as the trail. So we'll also offer the best all-round option too!
The ultimate light for commuting around town. Used on many city bikes around the world, the Laserlight utilizes a laser to project a green image on to the road. The laserlight from Beryl recently featured in our Autumn cycling guide:
A laser light uses a laser to project an image onto the road. The Beryl Laserlight is the original bike light with laser projection. The light combines a white front light and a green laser projection of a bike on the road ahead of the cyclist to shine out of the blind spot and give cyclists a bigger footprint on the road. The increase in visibility was verified by an independent report from the Transport Research Lab in London, before the Laserlights were fitted to the London Santander Cycle Scheme. Our new version, the Laserlight Core, combines the green laser projection with a flashing or solid white LED.
Road lights are continuously evolving and see lots of ingenious innovation. The Lumaray from Fabric is a great idea, seeing as lots of handlebars are coming in different shapes and sizes, meaning lights aren't always guaranteed to fit.
Whereas everyone riding on the road is using a GPS device of some sort, meaning the Lumaray can be fitted to all Garmin and Wahoo mounts. The light comes with an adapter, meaning you can alter between Wahoo and Garmin compatibility depending on which device you have.
The light itself, is primarily intended to be used as a day-time running light, however provides 2 hours of running time on its highest beam making it also usable for riding in lowlight conditions. It also offers 270 degrees of visibility, whilst decluttering the handlebars, a great solution for those who want to stay visible whilst streamlining their setup.
Gravel, Cyclocross & Mountain Biking
These lights are generally the most expensive, providing enough lumens to light the darkest of forests.
This light is a whopper. 2500 lumens gives the best view of the trail yet along with a run-time of 2-36 hours, depending on which mode you're using. It's not just a big light, the MaXx D comes with Reflex technology that automatically adjusts depending on the terrain. For faster, technical terrain the light will become as bright as possible whereas for slower climbs and roads the light will become dimmer. This saves both battery life and mid-ride fiddling.
When looking at off-road light set-ups, it is down to rider preference. So we got in touch with Max Suttie, who recently won the 24-hour Mountain Bike Championships in Scotland, by clocking up 340-kilometres of off-road riding in 24 hours!
There's simply no-one better when it comes to riding technical trails in the dark on hardly any sleep.
Max: I use a combo of Exposure Six Pack / Maxx D (1 generation old) and Joystick and Axis headlights. My personal favourite is the Maxx D with a Joystick on the head.
View this post on Instagram
This feeling never gets old 😍 - Just want to say a big thank you to everyone who wished luck, and congratulations over the weekend while up in Scotland. Its been an incredibly long weekend, with a huge drive, and long race to contend so I've been kinda struggling to get back to you all... - So for now, here are a few photos from the race, including my awesome mum and dad, who have been there from the start in the pits pushing me back out there again and again. - A massive thank you to all my sponsors below who make it possible to run these events. - A full race report to follow and hopefully some footage from the opening lap carnage 💥 @hotpursuitcycles @specialized_uk @iamspecialized_mtb @fabriccycling @mtbstrapon @bigheartcoaching @ukxcnews #hotpursuitcycles #bikeglovestore #bikegripstore #specialized #specializeduk #specializedbikes #iamspecialized #iamspecialized_mtb #specialized_bikes #specializedepic #sworks #sworksepic #epicaxs #fabric #fabricscoop #fabriccycling #everybodyridesscoop #relentless24 #nevisrange #24solo #mtb24horas #endurancecycling #endurancexc #cycling #mountainbiking #24hrchamps #wembo #mtb #mtblife #mtbracing
The advantage of both head and bar mounted lights allows you two fields of vision (where your bike is pointing & where your eyes are looking), giving you the optimum coverage.
All Round Pick
This set from Exposure is a fine choice if you're searching for some do-it all lights. Whilst definitely not bright enough for full off road adventure riding, you will be able to skirt down darker lanes and the odd bridleway.
With 750 lumens on the front and 75 on the back, you're well equipped to be riding in early mornings and darker evenings. Compact and formed from anodised 6063 aluminium, this set is nimble enough for a smaller commuter/daytime light, yet packs enough of a punch to light the road ahead.
A reliable back light is essential for road riding and commuting. A red rear light is the number 1 way to make yourself visible from behind, with it being a legal requirement after dark.
Knog's Big Cobber produces an incredible 330º of light, so you'll be clearly seen from all angles. This bike light is brilliantly effective at attracting attention and helping keep you safe on the road, due to its wide field of vision. Packing 270 lumens this Big Cobber is seriously bright and looks great too.
Nifty features include integrated USB recharging, 100% waterproof and you can programme the settings using Modemaker.
If you are looking for the best rear commuter light of 2019 look no further.
Finally something a little bit different, not only is the Cycliq Fly6 a 30 lumen rear light, but it is also a camera capable of shooting HD footage of what’s going on behind you. A useful feature is that if the built-in accelerometer detects that you’ve been in an accident it will automatically keep the footage, providing you with evidence to give to the authorities.
Where accidents and collisions are becoming all too common, this light does some of the hard work for you, should you get unlucky.