Do you have a bike light? If not, it’s time to invest in one. A bike light is an essential part of any cyclist’s safety kit and there are many things to think about when buying one. The good news is that today’s lights offer features that will help make your ride safer and more enjoyable! In this blog post we’ll review the best MTB headlights on the market right now so you can find the perfect product for your needs. Let’s get started!
Even if the streets you ride on at night are well lit, you need the best MTB headlights so that others can see you. More than half of all fatal bicycle accidents occur after 6 PM – with lights you’re more likely to avoid a potential mishap, whether with a pedestrian, another cyclist, or a car.
Modern bike lights are superb – not so long ago (5 years…?) we were using lights that barely lit up the trail in front of us, and ran out of batteries quicker than you ran out of trail. With modern lights kicking out up to a staggering 2000 lumens – it’s a bit of a minefield without knowing what all the technology really means.
Here are the top 10 MTB lights:
- Magicshine MJ-906B: High-powered, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 5400 lumens.
- Bontrager Ion Pro RT: Lightweight and compact design with a maximum output of 1600 lumens.
- Lezyne Power Drive 1100i: Compact, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 1100 lumens.
- Niterider Pro 1800: High-powered, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 1800 lumens.
- Exposure Six Pack MK13: High-powered, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 1300 lumens.
- Cycle Torch Shark 500: Rechargeable light with a maximum output of 500 lumens.
- Knog Blinder MOB: Compact, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 450 lumens.
- Hope R4: High-powered, rechargeable light with a maximum output of 1800 lumens.
- Cygolite Metro Plus 800: Rechargeable light with a maximum output of 800 lumens.
- Serfas Thunderbolt USB: Rechargeable light with a maximum output of 1000 lumens.
What should I look for in a mountain bike light?
The short answer: Look for light output. The brighter the better, but that doesn’t mean shit if the beam pattern is piss poor. Look for a balance between brightness and beam pattern.
Elongated Answer: If you plan to race or ride aggressively on rough terrain at night then the brightness of the light will be very important. Lighting power is expressed in lumens but most lights are rated for output in candela (cd), which is more useful for understanding how relative brightness changes with distance from a light source.
The following are some other recommendations for mountain bike lights:
- You’ll want an inbuilt flashing mode so you can signal your presence to cars; this is a legal requirement in some countries.
- The flashing mode should be as bright as possible and use white light, yellow light or amber light (depending on the law of the country you’re riding). Not just because it might make you safer but because it could also increase visibility of other cyclists – not to mention making it easier for other people to talk to and see each other.
- A high quality bike light can cost more than $100, but the investment is worth it if you value your safety. Invest wisely when purchasing your mountain bike light!
Top Bike Light Tips:
- Power and output performance are great, but it’s reliability that matters when you are stuck miles from home
- When cycling in a group you can get away with a poor light by following those with mega lights
- Don’t forget how good helmet lights are – and even better if you need to fix your bike in the dark
- Concentration is so important when riding at night – both on and off road – slow it down, take your time
- Remember to wrap all batteries, cables and mounts with tape to protect your bike – grit is evil!
This Buyer’s Guide is about pricing – and working out in simple terms what you actually get for your money. We have a few different guides with more detail on other pages. Such as Mountain Bike Lights, Commuters, Night Riding and 24h Racing.
If you are riding on a budget, (and by budget we mean less than £40 for a light set) then your options can be limited. However, many of the main manufacturers have superb deals on, which you can use to their best advantage.
Look out for sets such as the Cateye Light Sets which are superb value, great build quality and last for ages.
If you are paying between $50 and $200 then your options are massive. By paying over $100 you are getting into the rechargeable lights, LED lamps and long burn times.
If you are commuting in busy traffic then it’s well worth spending over $100 – not only will the light last longer, charge quicker and be more likely to stay in one piece over the potholes – but it will also illuminate more road and more importantly make you more obvious to bleary eyed motorists.
If you have a budget of around $100-200 – then your best bet is to spend most of your money on the front unit and buy a rear LED such as a Cateye one for $25 or so. The front lamp is where the power is, and it’s well worth investing in a good solid powerful front light. Rear LEDs apart from build quality and brightness don’t differ or make that much difference with the amount of money you pay.
Top of the Range
As you might imagine, you can blow quite a lot of cash on a top set of lights (up to $1k) – so what exactly do you get for your money? Well the top systems are generally specifically designed for mountain biking – they are robust, long lasting, long burn times and more importantly highly powerful. The top systems force motorists to dip full beam with their glare.
In conclusion then, you don’t need to spend a massive amount of money on lights if you are cycling in well lit areas. However, if you are riding off road or in unlit areas, the need for lights to see with is obvious. Expensive light systems are worth the investment if you ride off road on a regular basis – after all getting stuck somewhere miles away from help in the dark isn’t much fun!
What kind of light you buy depends on what kind of riding you do at night, and, of course, your budget. For twenty bucks or less, a pair of blinking Vistalites will suffice for being seen in the dark. Get a red one for the back and a clear for the front.
You can spend fifty or sixty dollars and buy low wattage, battery powered lights that will be more visible and give you a dim patch of light to see the potholes by. Or you can drop $100 – $250 on a full strength system that is bright enough to illuminate your path on unlit roads or in the woods.
What’s the difference?
Blinking lights are low cost, excellent visibility to other roadway users, and the batteries last forever. But they don’t provide any light to see by, just so that others can see you. Most are waterproof and easy to clip to your bike, body, belt, or helmet.
Low-wattage battery lights
These range from $12 to $40, mount on the handlebars or the back of the bike, use AA or C batteries, and provide enough light to see what’s going on in a dark spot of road. The batteries will go dim within a few hours, and these models are rarely waterproof. If you buy one, spend a few bucks extra for one with a halogen bulb – it produces more light from the same amount of precious battery current.
No batteries, but you need a little electrical know-how to set them up. A generator gets its juice from one of the bike wheels, slowing you down slightly. Modern generator sets such as Union or Sanyo use halogen front lights and are bright enough to light your way on an unlit road.
High-wattage battery lights
Top-of-the-line models from Vistalite, Cateye, Turbocat and Night Sun have two bulbs (high and low beams!) which together are as bright as a single car headlight. They use heavy-duty rechargeable battery packs, and will give four or more hours of light (depending on how you use them) before needing a recharge. At a $100 – $250, they ain’t cheap, but you’ll ride knowing there’s no stretch of road or woods too dark for you.
There’s no excuse to ride in the dark without lights – every sane cyclist should buy something to help them stay safe on nighttime streets. Ride safe and enjoy!
Riding in the dark is so scary and creepy! To avoid all the creepy stuff, you need to invest in the best mountain biking lights. Of course if you are not careful, you might end up purchasing some shitty bike lights. Good news is that we are here to help you decide which one is the best.That said, here is a review of the top 10 best mountain bike lights.
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Editor’s Choice :Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Lights
- Sahara Sailor Bike Light
- Cycle Torch Shark 500
- Team Obsidian Bike Light Set
- Revtronic 1600 Lumens
- HeroBeam Bike Lights
- Blitzu Gator Bike Light Set
- Bright Eyes 1200
- Xtreme Bright Bike Light
- OKIANO Rechargeable Bike Light
- BV Bicycle Light
With these rechargeable bike headlights, you will find it easy to navigate through poorly lit streets and trails. Most of the MTB bike lights in this review are USB rechargeable thus, the need to buy batteries is eliminated. Grab one and enjoy your night rides or commutes.
Best Mountain Bike Lights for Night Riding
1. Sahara Sailor Bike Light
The Sahara Sailor comes with five high power LEDs, which makes it extremely bright. It emits bright that can illuminate up to 500 ft away.
The Sahara Sailor is designed to not only improve your visibility but also enhance your safety during evening commutes and rides. It has a maximum output of approximately 1500 lumens, which makes it ideal for long rides or mountain bike trails.
The Sahara bike light has a 3-switch mode that entails a single button that enables you to choose between the three different settings (High-Low-Flashing). The switch button also doubles up as the battery indicator. It blinks red to indicate low battery power.
A full charge can last up to 2 hours on the highest settings. The brightness levels are easily adjusted using the switch button, which allows you to choose between the three lighting modes:
- Strobe mode= 1000 lumens,
- Low =500 lumens
- High= 1500 lumens.
It is powered by four 18650 batteries with the capacity to generate 8.4V, 4400 mAh. The batteries are rechargeable and are included in the package. They can last a whooping 12 hours on low mode, thus making it ideal for night escapades.
It is easy to install and detach with no need to use a tool. The detaching or installing process takes less than a minute. It fits easily on handlebars with rubber mounts, you simply hook your rubber o-ring on the plastic base and wrap it around the bar to the other end (lip).
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2. Cycle Torch Shark 500
Are you tired of replacing your batteries every week? Worry no more for with the Shark 500 you will only require a computer, laptop or any device that has a USB port. The Shark 500 comes as a set, which includes a tail light and a head light.
The Shark 500 is one of the best mountain biking lights for those looking for to ‘be seen’ light. It is powered by CREE LED with an output of 500 lumens. This gives you access to 4 power modes;
- high 500 lumens which can last up to 1.5 hours,
- medium 250 lumens which can last up to 3 hours,
- low 50 lumens which can last up to 15 hours and lastly,
- flash-daylight mode which can last up to 30 hours.
Like I said earlier, the Shark 500 comes with a LED tail light that is designed using high-grade aluminum to ensure to that you are seen from all angles. With the Shark 500, you can now commute safely whether it is during the day or at night.
It attaches in just a matter of seconds, it’s a universal fit and does not require tools. And with its redesigned mount, you are sure that will fit virtually all bikes; commuter city bikes, mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, and even oversized bikes. The Shark 500 has got you covered regardless of the type of bike you are riding.
The Shark 500 is water resistant and has a flat beam shape. The flat beam shape is specially designed for those whose trails consist of urban environments.
With this, you can now navigate through traffic without blinding pedestrians or oncoming traffic. You are also covered in case of a downpour as the Shark 500 is IPX5 rated.
It has a charging time of 4 hours with an automatic discharge cut-off system. The smart charging system facilitates the battery’s longevity. The Shark 500 is compact and lightweight as it weighs 100 g. It also has a 12-month warranty.
- It is very bright
- Does not blind oncoming traffic or pedestrians
- Holds charge for long
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3. Team Obsidian Bike Light Set
With Team Obsidian Bike Light Set, other road users will not only see you, but you will also see everything clearly especially at night. And even during the day, the flashing mode will grab the attention of pedestrians and motorists.
The head light is made of high-quality aluminum while the reflector is made of rugged ABS plastic. These two materials ensure that your bike light set does not rust or corrode.
It also lasts longer than most of its competitors, which makes it ideal for use in mountain trails and urban environments.
Just like the Shark 500, Team Obsidian uses CREE LED with 200 lumens and long lasting bulbs that are powered by 5 AAA batteries. From the 5 batteries, three are used to power the headlight while the other two power the flashlight. It has a water resistant case that is specially designed to withstand extreme weather conditions such as dust, rain, heat and snow.
It attaches in less than 5 seconds and manages to maintain its firm position even when traversing rocky trails. Both the taillight and headlamp holders are equipped with screws that are manually screwed without the need to use tools. Also included is a pair of adjustable rubber brackets that can be used on any handlebar regardless of its size.
The rear warning light is equipped with five LED lights combined with three modes for extra safety when cycling. Although it runs on 5 batteries, they are not included in the shipping package, which justifies its low price. As for the headlamp, it has three modes – Flash/Dimmed/High.
- Great price
- Decent lighting in darkness
- Decent build
- Easy to install
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4. Revtronic 1600 Lumens
The Revtronic 1600 has a respectable output of about 1600 lumens that allows you to navigate through the night without much hassle. It is ideal for cyclists who are in need of bright lights for traversing through poorly lit urban streets or dark cycle lanes.
It boasts of four different intensity modes: 480 lumens/ 800 lumens/ 1200 lumens/ 1600 lumens. The Revtronic bike light incorporates the use of a high-quality optical lens that allows for a smooth, excellent and comfortable beam throw. This means that you will not experience visual fatigue after long hours of night riding.
It has a super long battery life that not saves you on money but also time. The Revtronic bike light is powered by a 7.4V Rechargeable battery pack that runs for 12.8 hours on low mode and 3 hours on high mode. This makes it ideal for night riding. It also has a battery indicator that displays the remaining battery capacity where a red blink indicates low battery power.
The Revtronic is one of the best mountain biking lights. It incorporates the use of NEUTRAL WHITE LEDs, which is arguably the best for outdoor activities. The bike light also has digitally regulated output that allows you to maintain a constant brightness throughout the ride. It also features an overheat protection that protects your bike light.
It is constructed using aircraft-grade aluminum and is water resistant.
- Neutral White LED
- Has a helmet mount
- Wide, smooth beam
- Easy to attach and detach
- Has no mounting instructions
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Budget Mountain Bike Lights
5. HeroBeam Bike Lights
For less than $30, you get to enjoy the perfect mix of functionality and safety. The Deluxe double pack is ideal for two bikes; however, you can also use them on one bike.
This way you get to have two front lights, two taillights and two wheel lights. When using the double pack on one bike, you can direct one front light to cover the area in front of your bike and the second set to cover the wider road ahead for an optimal coverage. There is no doubt that the HeroBeam is among the best mountain biking lights in the market.
The HeroBeam bike light is designed using military grade materials, which includes solid aluminum billets that are super strong yet very lightweight and weatherproof. It features 3 modes, which includes Strobe Flashing, Medium and High mode.
It is easy to use and install, as it does not require any tools to mount it on your bike. The HeroBeam bike light can be fixed on street, kids and even mountain bikes. It takes only a few second to dismount it. The front lights are not only ideal for use as bike lights but also hand flashlights.
The front light can illuminate up to 200 ft depending on the zoom. It is zoomable, which means that you can easily balance between the beam spread and brightness. Each tail light contains 2 extremely bright LEDs thus allowing drivers to see you easily.
As for the wheel lights, they wedge easily into your wheel spokes. The wheel lights create a bright circle on each wheel as your ride for an amazing side visibility. They have three modes; slow flash, fast flash and steady mode. They are arguably the best wheel lights on the market. And for less than $30, it is good deal considering that you will get batteries for the wheel lights and tail lights.
- They are economical
- Can be used on two bikes
- Doubles up as hand flashlights
- Great illumination
- Easy to install
- The package would have been fancier if the wheel lights were four; two for each bike
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6. Blitzu Gator Bike Light Set
Like most bike lights on this list, the Blitzu 320 is USB rechargeable and only requires a computer or any other device that’s equipped with a USB port. It only 2 hours to charge it to full capacity and on its highest settings it can last for more than 2 hours. It is arguably one of the best mountain biking lights for night riding.
The shipping set comes with a free tail light allowing for 360° visibility, which increases your safety even in low light conditions. Both the head light and the tail light are super bright. With these two, you will not only be seen with ease but you will also commute with visibility due to increased visibility. Both the head light and the tail light incorporate the use of the latest LED technology.
The Blitzu 320 is highly versatile which means that it can also be used a flashlight. Therefore, you can keep it in your car, emergency kit, basement or attic for use whenever you want. You can also use when running, camping, jogging, walking your dog, hiking, night activities and most importantly, cycling.
Other than being versatile, the Blitzu 320 is also highly indestructible, durable, reliable and practical. It has a 360° swivel ability that allows you to turn it in virtually any direction you please.
The Blitzu 320 features a One-Touch Quick Release Button that allows you to detach the light without having to dismount it from it bracket. It takes about 10 seconds to mount and dismount the Blitzu 320 without the need of tools.
The front light is constructed using military-grade anodized finish, which makes it resistant to heavy impact. It is also IPX5 rated thus making it water resistant. With the Blitzu 320, you are sure that you light is protected from splashing water regardless of the angle.
- 4 lighting modes
- Water resistant
- It is ultra bright
- Some users find the turn/off button hard to push
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7. Bright Eyes 1200
Bright Eyes is one of the top manufacturers of bike lights and with the Bright Eyes 1200; they were able to deliver quality and unrivaled brightness. The manufacturer claims that it can last up to 3 hours on its high mode. It has a 6400mAh battery that can last up to 5 hours on medium and 26 hours on its low mode.
Bright Eyes features one of the highest quality LED which assures you of a bright illumination during your night rides. It also gives you access to two extra settings: S.O.S pattern and strobe mode. With the Bright Eyes, you are assured of 3000 ft of visibility and 500 ft of pure brightness.
It fits easily on handlebars especially those with rubber mounts. It has an external rechargeable battery that is mounted together with the head light and the battery cords. The external battery is waterproof, which makes it ideal for running, hiking, mountain biking, and camping.
The shipping package includes a free tail light and a free head harness mount for camping, hiking and running.
- Super bright
- 500 ft of pure brightness
- 3000 ft of visibility
- Waterproof external battery
- Durability is questionable
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8. Xtreme Bright Bike Light
The Xtreme LED Bike Light has one of the best blend of functionality and safety. It is compatible with all types of bikes from mountain bikes to street bikes to kid bikes. It is super bright, has a low contour design combined with a light weight construction.
Xtreme Bike Light is easy to use and does not require tools to mount. It takes roughly 30 seconds to install or detach. It has 3 light settings which include full strength, flash mode, and 50% power saving mode thus, allowing for an improved battery life economy, and added safety.
The Xtreme Bike Light is super bright, zoomable, and waterproof. It shines up to 500 ft thus lighting up your path for an improved vision at night.
The package also comes with a rear light that is encased in rubber thus making it easy to mount wrap around the rear frame.
It is easy to use as you simply press the top switch, which allows you to choose between a solid light and a flashing light. The head light is zoomable up to 1000 times thus keeping your path well illuminated.
The headlight is also detachable which makes it easy for you to keep it safe especially in outdoor activities.
The Xtreme Bike Light is mainly recommended for children’s bikes as it is light, easy to mount and doubles up as a recreational or tactical light. And since it is waterproof, it is ideal for use in any weather conditions and also works well as an emergency flashlight thanks to its emergency settings.
It is powered by 3 AAA batteries and features a military-grade construction that is designed using high quality aluminum components. It also comes with money back life time warranty.
- Great value for money
- It converts to a flashlight
- Has a brilliant build quality
- Has no instructions
- The rear light uses non rechargeable batteries
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9. OKIANO Rechargeable Bike Light
OKIANO Bike light is super bright as it has an output of 400 lumens and comes with a 120 lumen tail light. Both lights are USB rechargeable, which means that you will not be required to replace your batteries every time they run of power.
Being super bright, the OKIANO lights will not only illuminate your path but they will also make it easy for oncoming cyclists to see you.
The reliable USB charging ensures that you will never run out of battery power as long as you have a working USB port. It takes about 2 hour to fully charge the OKIANO bike light and manages to stay on for several hours even on full brightness. Its beam offers optimal visibility that stretches up to 300 ft, which makes it ideal for early morning and evening commutes.
It has a 360° swivel that allows you to rotate it in virtually any direction you please. It is designed using a sturdy anodized finish that is water resistant as well as highly durable. The manufacturer claims that this model is an improvement from the previous model, which had 100 lumens tail light and 350 lumens headlight.
The OKIANO light has multiple brightness modes that allow you to choose depending on your preferences. It is easy to mount and dismount. It also features and easy-switch mechanism that gives you access to 4 brightness modes and 5 additional modes for the tail light.
The OKIANO light also features the convenient one touch dismount button that makes it easy for you to dismount your bike light without necessarily using tools. It is a universal fit which means that you can mount it on literally any handlebar with a diameter of 4cm. In addition, you get a custom kit case for easier storage.
- It is economical
- Custom kit case
- One-touch dismount button
- Water resistant
- May not be as powerful as its competitors
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10. BV Bicycle Light
The BV Bicycle light is one of the best budget mountain bike lights for night rides especially in areas with poorly lit streets or trails. It can be seen from as far as 1500 ft away and its headlight can light over 40 ft, which is not bad for less than $10.
The headlamp is powered by 4 AAA batteries while the tail light is powered by 2 AAA batteries. With these batteries, you are sure to enjoy outdoor activities in low-light areas. These activities include dog walking, running, hiking and biking. The headlight boasts of 5 LEDs and includes an easy-to-use handlebar mount.
Once you mount it, you can easily dismount it using the quick-release system. It incorporates a cut-away design that allows light to pass through its sides thus increasing visibility. As for the tail light, it is also removable and angle adjustable. The BV Bicycle Light fits most seat posts and handlebars.
The BV Bicycle Light can last a whooping 80 hours; however, the shipping package does not include batteries for both the tail light and the head light. You also have to make sure that the batteries, cover, and body are aligned for the lights to function. An additional feature is the water resistant feature that allows you to use the BV Light in any weather.
- Easy to mount & dismount
- They are cheap
- Water resistant
- Easily noticeable from far
- The lights are ideal for visibility and not to illuminate during night rides
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Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you make an informed decision.
Lights to see vs. lights to be seen
Before buying any MTB headlights, it is advisable that you factor in your intended use. Do you want your lights to be seen or to see? Are your headlights for seeing with or for pin pointing your location? Once you figure out what you want, you can now go on to the next stage.
Typically, lights designed to see with are generally brighter, have a narrow beam angle, and a larger battery. On the other hand, lights to be seen with will have additional features such as side illumination and a wide beam. Also, the number of lumens reduces, as the priority here is not to see far but to be seen. As a result, ‘to be seen’ lights are much lighter than their ‘to see with’ counterparts. They also have wide beam angles, smaller batteries and cost less compared to ‘to see with’ lights.
It is also crucial to note that the best MTB headlights are not only ideal for use at night, as a report conducted in Denmark indicated that the use of bike lights during the day significantly reduced accidents. This mostly applies to taillights as they help identify the cyclist. Preferably, a flashing tail light will work best as it will make you 2.4 times more noticeable than those with no taillights in steady mode.
Choosing the best Mountain Biking Lights
For most riders, bicycle lights are one of the most important features on a bike after the wheels and the brake. The right way to choose the right night mountain biking lights is to think about how you use your bike and where you ride.
You can choose front and rear safety lights which make you more visible to those around you or a high beam headlight which helps you see where you are going and avoid obstacles in the road or trail.
Many bikers, especially those who commute by bike, like to use all three in order to increase their own safety. Even if you know where you intend to place your lights, though, the decision isn’t quite made yet. You also have to think about the type of lighting you want to employ on your bike. This quick guide can help.
Types of MTB Headlight Lighting
- Halogen: When most people think of best cycling headlights, they picture the old fashioned halogen lights that are still one of the bicycle light workhorses today. These are bulb lights like a standard flashlight might use that are inexpensive, can handle bumps and falls, and offer a lot of illumination. Like most standard lights, they can get hot to the touch and eat up battery life. Despite the drawbacks, though, halogen lights remain the most popular bike headlight on the market.
- LED: A light that more people are beginning to picture when they think of bicycle lights and other evening pastimes like running and dog walking is the LED style lamp. LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are cool to the touch, inexpensive, put out lots of light, and last a long time. Most newly manufactured bicycle lights today use LED based technology. One of the main benefits of LED bicycle lights is that they can increase visibility by blinking or emitting different color lights.
- HID: Unless you are an experienced nighttime biker, you probably haven’t heard of HID lights, or High Intensity Discharge lights, which are used in many new car headlights. HID lights produce more light than either Halogen or LED lights, but they are more expensive and less resilient.
- Reflective Coating: Although not technically a type of lighting, reflective coating increases rider visibility using the light sources around a biker. Many bikers and runners choose to wear reflective vests or clothing at night or use reflective attachments on their bike. When used together with bicycle lights, it increases your visibility and safety. It is particularly good for visibility if you fall off your bike.
- Detachable Lighting: If you plan leave your bike parked out of your sight for any length of time, you might consider a detachable bicycle light or headlamp that you can put in a small case and carry with you. This prevents theft and also the chances that someone near the bike will accidentally smash a headlight.
As you begin to look at the best bike light for night riding, you may have one more choice to make – whether to choose rechargeable batteries. While some people prefer rechargeable batteries because they save money and are more environmentally friendly, some MTB headlights such as many rear lights don’t use rechargeable batteries, so this is one aspect you’ll want to consider before you make your purchase.
Choosing the right bicycle light is a lifestyle choice because you need to find a light or combination of lights that fits the situation that you bike in or your activities. If you are unsure about your options, talk with someone at a local bike club or bicycle store or read online reviews to help you make your decision.
In most cases, we tend to judge the brightness of a bike light by its lumens, and while it does tell the story, it doesn’t say it all. The more lumens a bike light has, the more the light it emits. However, Sam Moore of Knog once said that there is more to brightness than the number of lumens. But he also pointed out that if all other factors remained constant, the number of lumens would directly affect brightness. Bike lights start from as low as 30 lumens to even 2000.
What amount of brightness is ideal for you?
For regular commuters, it is advisable that you choose a bike light that is visible during the day and night. However, it is also crucial to remember that you will be using it in traffic thus its light should not affect other riders or oncoming traffic. As a result, it is recommended that you tilt your bike light downwards especially if it has a high lumen count.
You can also choose to have two sets of lights instead of one, one that is powerful and another one that is less powerful and bright. This way, you can turn off the bright one when approaching traffic and remain with the less bright light for easy navigation in traffic.
In most cases, the best mountain biking lights are easy to mount since most seat posts and handlebars are almost identical. However, mounting becomes a little bit difficult, especially when dealing with aero seat posts or aero bars.
You can either secure your bike light using a rubber strap or Velcro fasteners, which are very easy to mount on the standard circular bars. But when it comes to bars with large diameters or double wrapped handlebars, it becomes harder, and due to this, it is advisable that you choose a bike headlight that is compatible with your handlebars or seat post.
Preferably, choose a rechargeable bike light that is easy to adjust for a much secure hold. You can also opt for a light with interchangeable straps, as this will be vital for mounting on different handlebars and post diameters.
Lastly, you should consider the material used to make the seat post or handlebars. For example, carbon frames tend to crack when over tightened, which makes Velcro or rubber straps much safer than the bracket method or screws.
Most mountain bike lights for night riding will either use batteries or be USB rechargeable. And from an economist point of view, you can say that USB rechargeable lights are economical as you will not be required to buy batteries every now and then. However, if you decide to use battery-powered lights, it is advisable that you confirm that the batteries are readily available at service stations or supermarkets.
Some of the high-powered lights will often require you to carry a battery pack for the lights to work. If you come across such, be sure to confirm that you have the capacity to either carry one item or mount both (battery pack and light).
Also known as, burn time, run time gives a clear indication of the amount of time your light will take to run out of charge after a full charge. Some lights will start at a high lumen count and gradually decline as the battery drains. While others manage to maintain a certain lumen count for a set period before activating another option with a lower light output to save your battery life.
LED bike lights are more efficient than their halogen counterparts are as they use less energy for the same light output. Some time back manufacturers introduced high-powered HID bulbs but just like luxury cars, they didn’t get much attention and were phased out by the LED lights.
In most cases, lights will have varying weights, which will mainly depend on battery size and brightness. However, if you compare ‘see with’ lights and ‘be seen’ lights, the former tends to be much heavier than the latter. To ‘see with’ lights can weigh as high as 150g while to ‘be seen’ lights can weigh as low as 15g.
Front lights will also weigh more than their rear counterparts will, as they are generally brighter and powerful.
Your choice when buying most products will always be affected by your budget. How much are you willing to spend on a particular product? The same principle applies to bike lights, as some will cost below $50 while others will cost as high as $250.
How many lumens do I need for MTB?
You should aim for 300 lumens or more. However, the truth is that the amount of lumens required for Mountain Bike Riding varies widely. The average rider should get around 200-800 lumens, but if you go off road a lot and need 200+ hours to charge the light it might not be enough.
A good estimate is 1000-1500 lumens total with several points focused or dispersed throughout the beam. This would take into account riding on flat ground, climbing up steep hillsides, descending down steep hillsides, and going over obstacles on trails such as roots or rocks.
If you’re going long distances then 2000-3000 might be necessary due to always wanting visibility ahead when it’s dark outside. With this many lumen’s riders can feel confident they will see any fallen branches.
In a nutshell, the lumens you need on your MTB headlights are dependent on the trail, time of day, and your distance above the ground. For this reason, it is best to visit a bike shop to test bikes of different luminosity levels for the specific conditions under which you will be riding.
If riding at sunrise, you need no more than 500-1000 lumens, while 1000-3000 is ideal for riding about midmorning and late evening. Anything higher than 3000 will likely blind other drivers when you’re driving through less-populated areas or roadways with curves in them.