Cycling at night is as thrilling as cycling during the day. Just that it’s cooler and quieter; no loud crowds, no suffocating gases from cars, and no heat from the sun. It’s no doubt the best way to release stress and relax after a day’s work. Cycling through the neighbourhood that was bustling with life just a few hours ago, you can feel your senses tingling with the feeling of unexpected encounters on your next turn. While night cycling is fun and all, it is still dangerous and is wise to invest in bike lights.
Bike lights are vital bike accessories and are categorised into two types, for normal night road cycling and night mountain biking. Off-road biking lights are more powerful than normal ones. As mountain biking is more intense and involves more bumps, uneven grounds and various obstacles, lights that don’t burn out easily is something you should look for if you are into mountain biking at night. Off-road bike lights are indeed more costly compared to road bike lights.
If you are looking for something that suits road cycling at night, here’s a number of bike lights that are worth the time to look into. You would have to consider the different factors when choosing bike lights. Factors like battery life, weight, size and visibility is something to ponder about. You can get good bike lights for a reasonable price.
BEST FRONT LIGHTS
Xtreme Bright LED
Given the name ‘xtreme’, doesn’t make it extreme at all. This waterproof Xtreme Bright LED is a common and normal bike light that can be both bike lights and also a flashlight. It pumps out 130 lumen worth of power and throws up to 500 feet of light – enough for you to see where you are going and not quite enough for extreme bicycling like mountain biking. Being able to double as a flashlight, it is portable and easy to be removed from the frame. Also, you won’t need any complicated tools to fix that bike light onto your bike frame. The Xtreme Bright LED runs on standard AAA batteries, so it’s easy to bring spare ones on your bike trip. Unfortunately, it has no helmet mount capability. For only $31, you can get it at Amazon.
Lezyne Super Drive 1250XXL
Lezyne is one of the pioneers of manufacturing LED technology and their latest bike light, the 268g Super Drive 1250XXL is one of their best product with its bright white light. A lot brighter and stronger than the Xtreme Bright LED, the Lezyne Super Drive can put up lumens up to 1250 and does it without needing a separate battery. You can choose the brightness and battery life as well as having the Super Drive running at 150 lumen flash or pulse mode. Sized at 110 x 45 x 30 mm, it is big but offers you intensely bright ‘overdrive’ mode that is just the perfect front light you’ll need. Purchase this for only $119.99.
The Dinotte XML-3 is all you need for a bike light. It isn’t just a single bike light; it is an entire package of bike lights you need from the front to the back. The packages includes an XML-3 handlebar bike light that combines three LED XML-2 lights that provides up to 1,200 lumens! This gives you great lighting you’ll need when going on night cycling on the road where there are no streetlights and help you see even the tiniest gravels clearly and distinguish potholes and bumps. You can even read a good book with those lights. The kit also has a quad-cluster of red bike tail lights that can be seen easily by oncoming cars. An extension cable for the light as well as chargers (AC and USB) is also provided in the kit. Get your hands on quick for $389.
Blackburn Central 700
The Central stands out with its beautiful design and mounting tricks. The double tab and thumbscrew mount works on both bars and stem, and is compatible with any GoPro camera mount as well as its own rotating silicon strap. It can also be mounted onto the helmet. It is rechargeable and replaceable, and battery life can be controlled with three constant and two flashing modes. On the side of the Central 700 are two tall gills that increase your visibility when on the road. It is called so because it has a high lumen power of 700 which can light up up to 131m (430 feet) of path in front of you; also, it can be controlled to a strobe mode of 150 lumen. Buy here for $99.
BEST TAIL LIGHTS
It is vital to have a rear bike light when you plan to cycle at night, or even during the day, because almost 40% of bike accidents involves car hitting bikes from behind due to lack of visibility. I’d recommend a total of two rear lights when heading out for a night cycle. Get one that’s bright and flashing, because humans tend to notice moving objects and even lights, and get another backup just in case your main one burns out.
This affordable rear bike light can definitely increase your visibility in the dead of night. The Hotshot has five different flashing modes that can be adjusted based on your preference and riding conditions, which is steady, zoom, triple flash, single flash and random flash. You are also able to change the brightness as it can give you up to 2 watts of lighting power. It has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery, so you wouldn’t have to worry about it dying in the middle of a ride. The light can also be snapped onto your clothing and can act as a safety light when you plan to go for a night run rather than cycling. The beam provided by the Hotshot is very direction specific, which means it allows drivers from every direction to be able to notice you at once, whether it’s from the side or back. Get it for only $33!
Moon Arcturus Auto Pro
Having 30-chip rectangular ring COB LED (50 lumens) for every obvious wide-angle visibility, the Moon Arcturus is very powerful with three steady and three flashing modes. It has auto light sensor that switch itself on for you safety and an alloy body to help keep it cool during warm summer nights. You can keep the light vertical with the rubber strap seatpost clamp together with the built-in strap clip slots. It even comes with a saddle rail clamp. Although the battery power when on high mode is short (1 hour 30 minutes), there is a built-in capability that has a low-power hour of safety reserve. Buy for $45.
The Vis 180 allows other road users to notice you even at long distances, and even at the sides. Most bikes lack side lights, which also increases the chances of being hit from the side. The 180 has bright red lights mounted on each end to help supplement the basic red light. The main light is 50 lumens, which can be set to be lower of you are afraid of blinding other cyclists or drivers. The only problem when mounting the Vis 180 is that the mounting bracket only supports the light on a seatpost rather than on a rack. And if you want to save money, you can get the 180 micro, although it is plastic and less sturdy compared to the aluminium Vis 180. Purchase the Vis 180 for only $100.
Exposure Sirius Mk5 & TraceR
Exposure’s UK-manufactured twin pack is a versatile and function-rich kit. It consists of a front light and a back light. There’s a programmable settings menu that allows you to control brightness and light modes, which includes three modes: constant or pulsing. The Sirius directs 550 lumens and shines wide and far into the darkness of night. You will definitely be able to see and be seen easily. You are also able to be seen from the sides. It also has an optional remote switch, auxiliary battery and USB device charger. Get it for $139.