5 of the best selling bike lights

What is the best bike light?

I hear you ask! To answer, let’s take a look at 5 of the most innovative, best selling bike lights.

I’ll list them in order of entry level (highly affordable) to high end (plan a bank heist to buy one).

Raleigh Led Front & Rear bike lights

Affordable bike light by Raleigh

 

At just under £15 these Raleigh bike lights give you everything you need. Enough light to be seen, waterproofing to resist the bad weather and durable enough to not need to buy a new pair of lights for a few years. Unfortunately, they rely don’t have rechargeable batteries. That’s good for battery life, but bad for the environment and your wallet.

Cateye El130/Tl130 Set

I remember walking in to a bike shop with my Cateye light and the assistant was shocked to see them: “We haven’t sold these in 5 years!” he told me. Cateye lights are built for durability. The EL130 and TL130 are an excellent pair of lights, but once again don’t come with rechargeable batteries, which is a shame.

Available for £25.98 from Amazon.

Lezyne Zecto Drive LED Light Set

Lezyne bike light

This new small but powerful bike light from Lezyne has really caught my attention this year. It ticks all the boxes; rechargeable, 180 degree side visibility and easy to attach and remove to your bike. It can also be attached to backpacks, belts, clothing etc, which gives you good flexibility if you like to ride with more than one bike light. There is also a lot of comfort in how solid this light feels, despite the low weight. It feels like it can take some abuse and emerge unscathed.

The light set (£49.49) is great for those shopping for a front and rear light. However, there is also a a standalone edition (£40.49, Wiggle) which is rather brilliant as it can be set to a front of a rear light. This is great as a backup bike light, in case your rear light suddenly runs out of battery (which with lower duration rechargeable lights does occasionally happen).

Fibre Flare

Fibre flare bike light

On the rear of your bike you really want as much of a visibility angle as possible. After all, cars are going to not only approach from behind but also from the sides. That’s where the Fibre Flare comes in. This flexible bike light, has excellent battery life, is waterproof, durable and all round fun to use. The downsides? It is not USB chargeable and you have to be careful when its in your bag as if you bend it too far, it will crack.

Exposure Flash Front and Flare Rear Cycle Light Set

Exposure bike light

I can also highly recommend the very bright LED bike lights by Exposure. The set costs just under £80. For commutes that involve unlit country lanes, this is a great solution and will never leave you wondering whether you are about to disappear in to a pothole.

The flexible easy to attach mount should fit most frame sizes. The lights are rechargeable, so you won’t have to keep buying new batteries. To turn the light on and off, you simply rotate the head and you have a choice between continuous light or a flashing mode.

See also: 5 unusual bike lights

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35 Responses to 5 of the best selling bike lights

  1. Toria 03/10/2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Cree XML headlight. Can’t beat it for VFM, and it’s rechargeable (should seal the battery in a bag though). If the beam accidentally goes too high, I often have people coming the opposite way complaining it’s too bright.

  2. Vincent 03/10/2013 at 9:49 pm #

    It’d be interesting to compare how long internal batteries last and how bright the lights are as compared to models that take external (rechargeable) batteries.

  3. One gear & fourteen islands 04/10/2013 at 7:53 am #

    I’d add the Blackburn Flea 2 (front) in the list :-) Never failed me in over a year.

    • barton 04/10/2013 at 2:56 pm #

      My Flea’s have stopped taking a charge. You put them on the base and nothing. I took them to my LBS, assuming I was doing something wrong, and they tried charging it on 3 different bases they had in the store. Nothing. So, I have some extra chargers, including the solar charger, if you want them.

      The Fleas are easy, handy and bright, but I’m annoyed that I barely got one year of riding out of them.

      • Rob Eggleshaw 09/12/2013 at 1:20 pm #

        my flea somehow came off on the morning commute. Icommute around the hampshire and surrey roads so maybethat tells you more about the state of the roads as opposed to the longevity of the flea…

        • Dave 09/12/2013 at 1:43 pm #

          Hi Rob

          i don’t know the road in question (the Hampshire and Surrey roads) but I can help with the second part.

          A flea might live a year and a half under ideal conditions. These include the right temperature, food supply, and humidity. Generally speaking, an adult flea only lives for 2 or 3 months. Without food, a flea’s life might be as short as a few days. But with ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days.

          My flea sends her condolences

      • phil Hamilton 21/02/2014 at 4:51 pm #

        The famous Blackburn warranty should see you right.

  4. BikeMeUp 04/10/2013 at 8:43 am #

    Those new Lezyne lights look great! We’ve been a fan of the Femto around town but might have to upgrade :)

  5. Ian 04/10/2013 at 9:40 am #

    Just wondering if anyone has experience with the aforementioned Cree XML but in a cheapy Chinese light such as this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CREE-XM-L-XML-T6-LED-1800-Lm-Bicycle-bike-Head-Light-Headlamp-Rechargeable-Head/261260152779

    • Derek 04/10/2013 at 11:12 am #

      Yeah i have one. They are amazing.

    • Paul 11/10/2013 at 8:27 am #

      Ian

      A mountain biking friend of mine has the same light battery last about 3 hours on the highest setting and steps down the brightness rather than switching off altogether (would probably last days on the flash mode) I bought a ‘cheapy chinese’ Magicshine MJ-872 3 years ago and its still going strong.

      Lets face it £20 doesn’t buy you much now a days ;)

      have a look at this one also 5000lm doubtful but good value

      http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.X5000Lm&_nkw=5000Lm&_sacat=0&_from=R40

  6. Ignatz 04/10/2013 at 10:50 am #

    Have to disagree about the durability of the Cateye front light. The little plastic tab that secures it in place broke within a year on both mine and my partners.

    • MJ Ray 10/10/2013 at 1:29 pm #

      Are you cycling in a cold place? I hear the plastic becomes brittle in the cold. I wonder if you could rig up some alternative fixing.

      I upgraded a very old haolgen cateye with a new LED and it’s still going fine – it was a BS-approved light, so it has a nice A-shape beam, whereas a lot of even expensive lights seem to have rude O-shape beams that easily dazzle oncoming riders.

  7. john 04/10/2013 at 11:27 am #

    The comments about “not being rechargeable”…. this is not a problem at all. It just means that one would use rechargeable batteries. These can be replaced as and when they no longer hold a charge…
    Built in ones cannot.
    Go for AA bateries everytime.

    Cateye – maybe they used to be good. I have one that has a problem with the switch after just over a year. I did not have the receipt and the shop was not going to play ball with a replacement.

    Best value? Aldi lights (under a tenner) – as long as they are the ones with even numbers of AA or AAA batteries.

    • Mik 08/10/2013 at 10:29 am #

      Agreed, it may be unfounded, but I prefer the idea that if my lights run out of power I can just put another battery in them, rather than meaning I’m stuck cursing the fact that I didn’t plug them in to a USB socket in time.

      At the moment I run Cateye front and back with a pair of Knog lights as back ups. I think that makes me paranoid and tight :-)

    • MJ Ray 10/10/2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Buyer beware – the cheap German supermarkets seem to sell both good German-legal lights (which I think are legal here) fairly cheaply and rubbish ones too.

  8. AP 04/10/2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I want to bring Philips LED-based bike lights to people’s attention (no, I’m not being paid by Philips to post this). I was surprised to hear that they make bike lights but they are experts in lighting generally so it’s no surprise.

    Having just specced a high-end custom bike and looking for good lighting solutions (battery or dynamo) I came across a very exhaustive review of bike lights where the Philips front and rear ones were rated as better, as in more useful, for anything except for night time mountain biking / off-roading / cross-country:

    Battery-powered version of the front light:
    http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#Philips_LED_bike_light

    Dynamo-powered version of the front light:
    http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#Philips_saferide_led_dynamo

    Rear light (dynamo-powered, but battery-powered version also available):
    http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html#Philips_saferide_lumiring

    For an overview of all this guy’s reviews, testing methodology, etc., see:
    http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/index_en.html

  9. Ed 04/10/2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Surprised or maybe not that no Smart Lights are in there.

    Front lights have a lifetime warranty & the rears are the best bang for buck you can get IMO. R2 but any of their 1/2 watt plus.

    I used to buy Cateye but after finding Smart about 10 years ago haven’t looked back. Cateye are completely overrated as a company.

    • Rossi 04/10/2013 at 2:46 pm #

      I’m inclined to agree about Cat Eye. They’ve let themselves slip of late.

      The EL130 and EL135 has a design fault in that the little strip of plastic that acts as a spring to keep it on the bracket is weak and becomes cracked with normal use. Cat Eye dispute this but I’ve had it couple of two of these lights.

      I do have their 12 LED rear light (the one that looks like a spaceship!) and it’s excellent. Very good side visibility too.

      Generally go for their Japanese made units rather than Chinese made…quality seems better.

      • Ed 04/10/2013 at 3:03 pm #

        “Cat Eye dispute this but I’ve had it couple of two of these lights.”

        Their “service” is utterly useless. I’d never buy Cateye ever again.

        They are from the Kryptonite school of thought. Your brackets are completely not fit for purpose – please rectify?

        Kryptonite’s response “we have never had a complaint and the bracket is perfect”!

        Really? I’d be more willing to accept the hundreds of independent reviewers who say it’s uselss!

        • Rossi 05/10/2013 at 9:01 pm #

          Apologies for my poor grammar. Yep, Kryptonite brackets are awful….hence I now use and endorse the excellent ABUS X-Plus 54 230mm with EaZyKF bracket. Proper design.

          Cat Eye are lagging like Krypto. A real pity as some elements of their design is pretty good but they’ve become complacent.

  10. Dave 05/10/2013 at 11:49 am #

    I am looking for generator / stand lights combo

    Anyone have any comments or suggestions please?

    • Phil 08/10/2013 at 8:41 am #

      I have a Nexus generator hub on my front wheel, powering a B+M Toplight D Plus rear light ( four minute standlight ) and a Basta Sprint front. I would recommend the hub and B+M light. The Basta ( while functional and bright ) does not have a standlight and when pedalling slowly it flickers rather than putting out a steady beam- I will be changing it for a Phillips Saferide 60.

  11. Beth 05/10/2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Yes, Exposure is expensive but really the *best* lights from the ones that I have tried. I hate having to fix on pieces onto my bike – exposure uses a rubber band.. why do not other lights do this more.. are small, easy to carry and bright. The main downside other than cost is that you need a special charger and batteries.

  12. Fritz 07/10/2013 at 11:58 am #

    I am looking at getting a pair of these beauties….

    http://fortifiedbike.com/collections/bike-lights/products/the-defender-bike-light-black-2-pack

  13. theconvertedcyclist 07/10/2013 at 12:02 pm #

    It’s a shame Cateye quality has been on the downward spiral lately…They used to make a top quality product, I remember always defaulting to Cateyes, ever since I was a kid :)

    Those Fortified lights look pretty menacing!

  14. Helen 11/10/2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Those exposure lights are great – I was behind somebody with them at E&C a few years ago, and raced after them to see what they were because they were the brightest lights I’d ever seen. Perfect for unlit roads, and pretty good for unobservant London drivers too.

  15. Jack 14/10/2013 at 8:43 am #

    Can anyone recommend a rear light that can clip onto my trunk bag (it has a clip for that purpose) but can also be fitted to seat post, and doesn’t cost the earth? :-)

    • MJ Ray 14/10/2013 at 9:09 am #

      I think the cateye light above comes with both clothing and flextight post clips.

      Also in the bargain basement, there’s the Topeak RedLites which usually come with an o-ring mount that looks a bit like the Exposure ones, plus a strap clip, but it uses annoying non-rechargeable CR2032 batteries and won’t break any visibility records.

    • Huey 28/10/2013 at 11:47 pm #

      Another vote for Smart over Cateye – I have the Smart R1 rear light – comes with a clip that fits into a (supplied) seat post bracket, and currently on special offer from those ace folk at Tredz:
      http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Smart-Lunar-R2-Rear-Light_39274.htm?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=AdwordsProductAds&utm_campaign=Adwords&gclid=CLyK293auroCFbLLtAodpGcAVw
      I have a couple of these myself and they take a lot to beat, they also have some interesting and attention grabbing patterns including ‘frantic’ and ‘glow’. Ace rear lights.

      • Huey 29/10/2013 at 12:18 am #

        I mean R2 (two 1/2 watt red LEDs). I have the R1 too, but why use that when the R2 is better?!

  16. Asher Jacobsberg 25/10/2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I’d really recomend these ones for a tenner from Wilko/Wilkinsons: http://www.wilko.com/bike-accessories/uni-com-wind-up-bicycle-light-set/invt/0281906

    The best bit is the hand crank. You’re unlikley to need to use it, as they charge from USB and the charge lasts for ages, but if you do find them running low you can wind the crank for 30 seconds and they’ll be charged for at least half an hour.

    They’re easily bright enough for London. The only problem is that the battery for both lights is in the front light so there’s a cable running between them. It does mean you only need to remember to charge one light though.

  17. Ed 29/10/2013 at 7:47 am #

    Those Wilkinson lights look like the biggest pile of garbage I have seen for a long time!

    • Asher Jacobsberg 29/10/2013 at 11:58 am #

      On what basis? They’re bright, cheap and don’t run out. Perfect for the city. What’s not to like?

  18. MJ Ray 02/05/2014 at 12:34 pm #

    “Your search – jcb aaa – did not match any documents” but Maplin do some Hybrid (also known as Low Self Discharge) rechargeables which is what I think you are talking about and they were on a 50% discount recently.

    Still not as good as dynamo power, but Hybrids are very useful for seldom-used backup lights.

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