Whether you just fancy an upgrade, or if you are a first time buyer, there’s a dazzling array of bike lights out there to choose from. There are a few things to consider that will make your selection a little easier.
If you are cycling only on-road in London then you don’t really need to light the ground in front of you and your primary concern will be others seeing you. However, if you use unlit roads on your journeys in the dark, then you will need something a little stronger to light the road.
If you are commuting through the winter regularly, it’s a good idea to purchase a USB rechargeable bike light. Rechargeable batteries now are smart – they let you give them a little top-up without being ruined. Many also hold a charge for an extended period of time. Alternatively, if you really don’t cycle in the dark much and don’t want to worry about the light working the next time you need it, regular battery power might be the way to go.
It is also useful to consider how long you need your selected power source to last. Do you have a fairly short commute or do you need the light to last all night. If you have a commute of an hour or less then you can pretty much pick any light currently available. However, for extended use such as an event, or in situations where you have no recharging options during the day, then ensure the light lasts long enough in the mode you are most likely to use.
Size matters in many things, and bike lights can be one of them. You may not have much space on your handlebars and need a compact light. Or you may be intending to keep them in your bag most of the time, just incase you get caught out in the dark. Of course, larger lights have bigger batteries, so if you need to use the lights for long stretches then bigger may be better.
Last but not least there is the cost of the light. Occasional use lights don’t need to break the bank. If you are regularly riding in the dark though, it is worth spending a little money on your lights. Cost determines features and construction quality, and lights can take a battering on a bike and in a bag through through the winter.
Here are a few of our favourites to get you started on the decision making process.
Raleigh Night Wave
The Raleigh Led Front & Rear bike lights are the perfect for the entry cyclist. They provide a decent amount of light, they don’t break the bank (£13.94) and they feature a durable, waterproof design.
Available from Amazon.co.uk – £13.94
Lezyne Femto Drive
The battery powered Lezyne Femto lights are great emergency lights. They are bright enough that you can be seen on the roads of London, although they won’t light up the road in front of you. They turn on with a simple push of the lease and have multiple settings. At £14.99 they are great value for money.
Available from Wiggle.co.uk – £14.99
Knog Blinder MOB Mr. Chips
The Knog Blinder MOB (£32 each) is a great little light. It is USB rechargeable and has plenty of power. The battery holds its charge for a good length of time while you are not using it. Available in a front a rear version, they are small enough to keep in a pocket and easily loop around your bars or post.
Available from Amazon.co.uk – £32
Lezyne KTV Drive Pro pair
Another Lezyne winner, the KTV pro set has a high powered front light and a very visible rear light. At £27 they are great value for USB rechargeable lights and work well in the city. Each light has several settings so you can flash away or have a bright beam. I have been using these for a year and get on well with them.
Available from Evanscycles.co.uk – from £26.24
Portland Design Works Lars Rover 650
Portland Design Works make really high quality products, and the Lars Rover 650 is no exception. This is a seriously bright front light, with its high beam setting clocking in at 650 lumens. It is USB rechargeable and will hold its charge for at least a few months when not in use.
Available from Amazon.co.uk – £57.56
The Blaze laserlight is a beautifully made, incredibly robust front light with a special trick: the LED is accompanied by a green laser image of a bike which projects a bike on the ground several meters in front of you. The aim of this laser is to increase your footprint on the road and alert others to your presence before they are directly next to you – perfect for London. The 300 lumen LED part of the light works independently from the laser and has two brightness settings and a flash mode. It is certainly bright enough to light your way across darkened paths.
Available from Amazon.co.uk – £125
Other options for secondary lights
There are of course other options for using lights to make yourself visible while on the road. Secondary lights in alternative positions are often very helpful for further increasing your visibility. They are the focus of a different post but in brief, the main options are:
Fiber Flare lights attach to your bag (or pretty much anywhere) and are visible from a good distance and range of angles.
Of course staying safe on the road is not all about the right bike lights, but it certainly helps.
What are your favourite bike lights?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.