Interested in buying a bike light so that you can see and be seen? I’ll share with you what to look for and suggestions on picking the right bike light.
When you’re first starting out cycling you will be eager to buy almost anything and everything to get started right. But here is the mistake many new cyclists make – buying too much too soon on items that lack quality or durability.
I know it’s important to have a front and rear light for your bike as most cities require it. But all too often we buy lights that are cheaply made or cheap period and they don’t last long. I’m a huge fan of Blackburn bike light products when you’re first starting out cycling. I’m also biased towards bike lights made by Bontrager as the name speaks for itself along with the fact that it’s Trek’s bicycle gear brand.
For years I’ve used the Blackburn Local 75 and Local 15, front and rear, bike lights because of the price and combined package deals. But over those years of using them, I have had some headaches. The flexible silicone mount causes the light to rattle while on the handlebars when can be annoying when you’re cycling fast. Also depending on your type of handlebars, the mount may not fit snug to the bars.
The lights are not that bad but after having to replace the AA batteries multiple times due to the light running out quickly and difficulty opening the battery compartment, I’ve looked elsewhere for bike lighting.
What To Look For When Buying A Bike Light
- Brightness is important. What matters is the number of lumens the light emits. The greater the lumens, the greater the brightness. A good range for a bright light is between 800 to 1000 lumens.
- Mounting is another factor not to ignore. There are 3 common bike light mounts: 1) velcro strap, 2) bracket and screws, and 3) stretchable rubber or silicon strap. Just check for compatibility between your bars and the bike light mount.
- Battery. Many of the lights on the market require removable batteries. More modern bike lights are USB rechargeable and will save you money not having to buy replacement batteries. If you prefer a rechargeable battery, which is sometimes bulkier, just make sure you have the real estate on your bars for it.
- Light Duration. This one is especially important if you’re going to be night cycling. When a light is fully charged, the burn out time will vary based on the beam you use. So consider if you will need to burn a light at it’s brightest and for how long.
See chart below for an example of duration times for the Lezyne Power Drive 1100XL light.
Beam Patterns. Some bike lights don’t have the correct beam pattern that best suites road biking. In many cases, the lights must be pointed slightly downward to prevent blinding oncoming vehicles and pedestrians.
Budget. It will be important to know whether or not you want to pay the sticker price for a specific bike light. As mentioned before, cheap lights are not always better. Bike lights today can range between under $50 dollars to over $250 dollars depending on brand and features. Before making a final decision consider looking at all the aspects of the bike light and determine what features are a priority for you.
It may come to a surprise to some, but in my opinion, some of the best bike lights to buy are flashlights. There is a flashlight called the Fenix BC30, Available on Amazon.com that is highly recommended.
Why this Fenix flashlight?
First, let’s consider the quality of the Fenix brand and then the facts. Fenix is a company that came out in 2005. they became the go-to source for affordable high-end lighting and flashlights. Stand by their goal to provide the best lights for the best value, without compromising quality. Fenix also prides themselves with having the latest in cutting-edge flashlight technology and the best customer service.
- Burst Feature. Allows you to program a light setting to revert to with a push of a button
- Made of aluminum casing around the lights and plastic cover for the batteries
- Light is both durable and bright up to 1800 lumens
- Neutral white emitter makes for a nice contrast
- Great beam distance and spread
- Doesn’t overheat as some flashlight do
- Doubles as a capable flashlight
- Low battery indicators warn you before dimming
- Excellent battery life. Exchangeable batteries
Here is a great clip of the kind of beam and coverage you can get using the Fenix flashlight…