Four of the best front and back bike lights

Here’s a selection of the best bike lights to see you home.

Four of the best front bike lights

  • Saving money: Cateye HL-EL 130 (front and rear set for £19.11) – a set of lights that get the job done, don’t cost too much and will last for years. I had the same set of Cateye lights for around 5 years and only eventually changed them because I wanted to try the Knog lights.
  • Don’t want to have to buy new batteries: Blackburn Flea (£21.99) – USB chargeable, tiny and gives plenty of light for its size. Quick mounting strap means can be moved to whichever one of your bikes you are using. My current front light of choice. 
  • Spending money: Hope vision 1 (£79.99) – this bright light won’t leave you in the dark. At full power it pumps out 240 lumens. The light also comes with a helmet mount.
  • Looking for something different: Knog Boomer (£25.49) – said to be slightly brighter than the Flea the rechargeable boomer relies upon Knog’s textbook silicon cover to attach to the bike. Some people love Knog lights others hate them!

Four of the best rear bike lights

  • Saving money: Cateye HL-EL 130 set (£19.11)
  • Don’t want to have to buy new batteries: Blackburn Flea (£21.99)
  • Spending money: Exposure Flare (£35.99) – with its pulsating beam and continuous glow modes this light is perfect for attracting attention. The twisting motion switch also makes it less likely the light will turn on whilst in your bag.
  • Looking for something different: Fibre Flare (£26.99) – aiming to provide 360 degree visibility, the Fibre Flare lights are a good innovation in bike lights and have had plenty of positive reviews.

cool-bike-lights-smallWow, far out man! Gnarly!

Nicole has previously talked about a couple of other cool ideas for staying visible so I thought I’d give them a quick mention and add one more into the equation.

  • Reflective Spokes (£7.99) – these spoke add-ons attach to your existing spokes and provide good side reflection.
  • Bike glow ($25) – the easiest way to describe these lights is by imagining you are decorating your bike to look like a Christmas tree.

See also:

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20 Responses to Four of the best front and back bike lights

  1. Neil Illing 06/09/2011 at 10:48 am #

    My fave is still the Smart 1/2 watt rear light at around £15 – one on the seat post set to steady and another on my rucksack set to flash.

  2. TIW 06/09/2011 at 10:56 am #

    Also worth a look are Smart Lunar 10s. Very bright indeed. Planet X are doing an offer at the moment, £15.49 (inc postaage) for the 10 Lux front with half watt rear.

    • Henz 06/09/2011 at 3:37 pm #

      I agree. My Lunar 10s are sitting next to me on the desk in readiness for the commute home.

  3. thereverent 06/09/2011 at 11:13 am #

    The Cateye HL-EL320 and TL-LD610 light set is good. ALthough I’d always o for two lights front and rear. Also worth looking at is the Cateye TL-LD560 or TL-LD570 which have a large reflector as well (which is handy).

    I’d be tempted to buy a few Bike glows, just to turn my bike into a TRON style bike at night!

  4. David 06/09/2011 at 8:28 pm #

    The catseye Hl-el130 (White front light) is secured to it’s bicycle mount by a clip that breaks after about 2 year of use. Happened to the origional one i bought and its free replacement. Both broke in the exact same place. Also it switches on too easily whilst in my rucksack. Otherwise a nice light. My third front light is a White version of the back light that comes in the set you recommend.

  5. RoxyJimbo 06/09/2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Yep, DAVID, i had the same experience with the CATEYE HL-EL130 (and HL-EL135). I had three. It’s a good light until it breaks.

    CatEye were pretty arrogant in their response when I suggested it was a common fault. I took it back to Evans who said they would “send it away for assessment before I could get a replacement”! How would I get home?!

    A quick blast of consumer ranting about ‘not fit for purpose, I’ll have a refund, thanks very much, cash please’ and they gave up. Don’t accept poor quality crap gear/service!

  6. Daniel 08/09/2011 at 10:52 am #

    The Blackburn Flea is a good recommendation, it performs really well for such a tiny light, but I have gone through three sets now with faulty chargers or LEDs. I’m now using a set of Knog Boomer USBs (seem very durable) and a Niterider Minewt Mini 250 plus a little Knog as a spare rear. Agree with ‘the reverent’ on two lights at each end.

  7. fotochap 09/09/2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I also always run two lights at each end – the amount of times I have found a light turned off for no apparent reason justifies this.

    I have two bright smart LEDs on the handlebars – 1W and 1/2W. I had 2 1/2W but one was destroyed in a night off-roading crash. The 1W is blimmin’ bright. I also have a little white LED from Decathlon on my helmet.

    At the rear, there’s a saddlebag-mounted Niterider Cherry Bomb (extremely bright and lasts a looong time), and a Mars 3.0 mounted on the back of my helmet.

    Over the years I have gone through a lot of lights as they tend to break over time. I have found that Cateyes tend to have very brittle plastic that shatters easily, so I avoid them. Blackburn are pretty good, although they are going for much smaller lights with less endurance now so I am going off them. I considered a light system but they are so expensive, and generally you can’t replace the batteries with shop-bought ones in an emergency so I am sticking with little semi-disposables.

  8. Peter C 09/09/2011 at 2:55 pm #

    I bought a Cree Q5 900 lumens LED torch from ebay (from China) – the best torch I have ever owned .
    Wow it’s bright – it lights up everything.
    Cycling down the old railway line at night you can travel at full pelt as the Cree lights evey leaf from the ground to the trees , every branch – no last minute swerving to avoid things.
    The only down side is if it’s pointing too high you get flashes from the oncoming car drivers – but at least they’ve seen you!!! Something to be said for that you won’t be ignored with this

  9. Patrick 09/09/2011 at 7:26 pm #

    The price for the Cateye looks wrong or out of date the amazon link is showing as
    £24.35 + £1.99 shipping

    not 19.11 – where did that price come from?

    • Andreas 11/09/2011 at 5:30 pm #

      Amazon regularly tweak their prices. Therefore, price I posted a few days ago can easily change.

      • Tinker 08/11/2011 at 7:24 pm #

        Yeah Amazon(US) seems to have marked pretty much everything in my Wishlists as no-longer-available, but when I find my way back to the page (by the RATINGS!, they removed the photos!) They still sell every damned one! So much for using Amazon for Christmas Shopping this year.

        (And another coffee brewer in my Shopping Cart, has been toggling from 15-20 dollars, every 12 hours or so for the last week and half.)

        What is the point, do they think I’m too stupid to notice? Or will pay 33% more, because it’s Tuesday?

        And they have the nerve to nag me to say no friends can see my shopping lists.

        Well, I deleted my public lists, there was nothing there! Color me ANGRY!

  10. Patrick 11/09/2011 at 10:06 pm #

    If you buy form Amazon directly yes, they do but the link is not directly from Amaxon but from an external supplier who usually have fixed prices.

  11. James 16/09/2011 at 2:56 pm #

    What about bar end lights? Small, cheap and make the bar extremely visible especially when coming out of a junction when front and rear lights could be inadequate.

    We have 3 very short clips showing how they work and fit to you bike:

    • Andreas 09/11/2011 at 3:01 am #

      I’ve seen these – cool idea!

  12. JimF 16/09/2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Love exposure lights. Best thing ever. Worth their weight in gold… Have flares front and back, alongside smart lumar 1/2watt on the back and another exposure joystik from memory on the front.

    Am very well lit!

  13. Shreds 25/11/2011 at 1:16 pm #

    So Bike Glow is only available (like so many US products) in the US and Canada ? So useful for the London cyclist.

    Back to DIY lighting then, as this one seems like quite a good idea. But of disco rope and a battery 😉

  14. bicycles 14/01/2012 at 4:41 am #

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  15. bicycle 14/01/2012 at 4:50 am #

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  16. John Somers 06/07/2012 at 10:34 pm #

    I use the Exposure Flash & Flare set for both day and night riding nowadays with a Joystick on the lid and Enduro Maxx on the bars.

    I did find after several months of experimenting on my regular 40mile (round trip) commuting run that by just having the Flash & Flares lit even in daylight I reduced the near miss incidents, doorings etc by about 20-25%.

    OK, doesn’t always work but anything that helps reducing this figure (other than carrying around a loaded gun!) is better than nothing – though the helmet camera seems to have worked as well, motorists see this on the lid and tend to react differently!

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