Bicycle lights are an essential accessory for cyclists, especially urban and road. Similarly, those who venture mountain biking or gravel at night or before the sun rises will need adequate lighting to enjoy the experience.
We’ve researched and tested all types of lights to help you find one that meets your needs. From safety lights that will make you visible, to lights that will help you face the darkest road during your night rides.
Meet our selection.
All the lights we have selected share the following characteristics:
- Water and dust resistant
- They use LED technology
- They have rechargeable batteries via USB
- They are easy to assemble and disassemble
- They are of excellent quality
Best Bike Lights of 2020
Knog Blinder Mini Bike Light
The Blinder MINI NINER set consists of a pair of lamps, very small, but with very good power to make you visible from 800 m away (20 lumens at the front and 11 at the rear). Their dimensions and minimalist design make them very well incorporated into almost any bicycle.
The NINER does very well with its function of attracting the attention of other cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, especially when used in one of its intermittent modes.
- Maximum light output: 20 lumen (front light), 11 lumens (rear light)
- Operating modes: 5 modes (1 fixed, 4 flashings)
- Battery: Li-po rechargeable via USB with a duration of 2 to 11 hours depending on the operating mode
Lumina 900 Boost Front Bike Light Sabre 80 Rear Bike Light Combo Pack
NiteRider has prepared a set of lights consisting of the Lumina Boost 900 and the Saber 80. This combo is designed for those who travel roads with low light and at considerable speed. The Lumina has a DVF (Daytime Visibility Flash) mode that allows the rider to be seen even during the day. This makes this light set ideal for road biking, gravel biking, bike rides, or long commutes.
- Maximum light output: 900 lumens (front), 80 lumens (rear)
- Operating modes: 7 modes in front light (5 fixed, 2 flashings) and 6 modes in rear light (3 fixed, 3 flashings)
- Battery: The Lumina has Li-ion rechargeable via USB and lasts from 1 to 18 hours depending on the operating mode. The Saber has Li-po rechargeable via USB and lasts from 1:30 to 10:30 hours depending on the operating mode.
Knog Blinder MOB Bike Light
The Blinder Mob Eyeballer Light is the big sister of the Blinder MINI. This 80-lumen headlight and a fairly large face will make you visible from 1.2 kilometers. The Eyeballer is designed to make you visible to other road users, especially when used in one of its intermittent modes.
- Maximum light output: 80 lumens
- Operating modes: 5 modes (2 fixed, 3 flashings)
- Battery: Li-po rechargeable via USB and lasts from 2.7 to 76 hours depending on the operating mode
LEZYNE Strip Drive Rear Light
The Strip Drive has 5 powerful LEDs and a flexible body that fits around or aero handlebars and will keep you visible even during the day. It is a good alternative for the urban or road cyclist who travels distances greater than 10 km in low light conditions, without ceasing to be an urban route.
This light is loaded with 10 modes and a maximum luminous power of 400 lumens so it will be able to make you visible and illuminate your way on paths where the lighting is not the best.
- Maximum luminous power: 400 lumens
- Operating modes: 10 modes (3 fixed and 7 flashings)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB with a duration of up to 2.5-21 hours depending on the operating mode
Cygolite Dash Pro– 600 Lumen Bike Light
This lamp is relatively light and compact, specially designed to be used both at night and during the day. It has a main CREE LED and a row of four lower power LEDs, which are active during all modes.
What makes this lamp special is its SteadyPulse mode, which maintains constant illumination while emitting a pulse of light that draws the attention of other people with whom the street is shared.
Like the rest of the lamps in this selection, the CYGOLITE Dash Pro 600 is waterproof and uses a rechargeable battery via USD.
- Maximum luminous power: 600 lumens
- Operating modes : 8 modes (5 fixed, 1 SteadyPulse, 2 flashing)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, lasts from 1:15 to 80 hours depending on the operating mode
NiteRider Lumina Micro 750
Equipped with 750 lumens, this headlight will give you the illumination you need to roll on poorly lit roads at considerable speeds. These characteristics make it ideal for those who practice gravel biking or cyclo travelers before the sun rises or after sunset.
- Maximum luminous power: 750 lumens
- Operating modes: 5 modes (4 fixed, 1 flashing)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, lasts from 1.5 to 18 hours depending on the operating mode
Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition
To get the most out of this light, you need to sync with a compatible Garmin cycling GPS like the Edge 520, 820, 830, 1030, and many others.
Its maximum luminous flux, 800 lumens, will make you visible at a distance of up to 1.6 kilometers. When paired with a compatible device, it will control the intensity of the light based on ambient light, speed, and usage profile. However, this light can also be used independently.
It is a very light headlight with a slim body that makes it ideal for those who love speed. You can easily mount it on the handlebar or on your helmet.
- Maximum luminous power: 800 lumens
- Operating modes : 5 modes (3 fixed, 2 flashing)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, lasts from 1.5 to 25 hours depending on the operating mode
NiteRider 6802 Pro 2800 Enduro Remote
Equipped with two CREE LEDs and highly specialized reflectors, the NiteRider Pro is capable of generating up to 2800 lumens. Its beam of light is wide, which allows you to see in advance the obstacles that lie ahead.
The lighting system consists of an 8-cell external battery equipped with USB for charging other devices, a remote control, the lamp, and a mount. The battery attaches to the top tube of the frame and the remote control to the handlebar so there is no need to release your hands to operate it or change modes. In addition, its mount allows you to fix the lamp, centered in the central part of the stem.
- Maximum luminous power: 2800 lumens
- Operating modes : 5 modes (4 fixed, 1 flashing)
- Battery: 8-cell Li-ion, rechargeable via USB, lasts from 1:30 to 56 hours depending on the operating mode
Best Bike Tail Lights
KNOG Blinder Road R70 Rear
The Blinder Road R70 as well as being super powerful, it looks great. Make your night rides safer with a light that is also 100% waterproof. With its 70 lumens and 5 modes, the Road R70 will make you visible to other road users.
- Maximum light output: 70 lumen
- Operating modes: 5 modes (1 fixed, 4 flashings)
- Battery: Li-po rechargeable via USB, duration 3.5 to 20 hours depending on the operating mode
Bike Tail Light USB Rechargeable by Apace
This light offers very good illumination at a fairly affordable price. It is fixed with elastic bands so it is compatible with almost any bicycle. In addition, it is water-resistant so you will not have to worry about more than enjoying your ride.
- Maximum light output: 100 lumen
- Operating modes : 6 modes (3 fixed, 3 flashing)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, duration 4 to 12 hours depending on the operating mode
LEZYNE Zecto Drive Taillight
The Zecto Drive offers 80 lumens and a circular face that houses 3 high luminosity LEDs, which will make you visible even on roads with little light.
In addition to its silicone mount, this lamp has a hook that allows you to attach it to backpacks, saddlebags, and frame bags when it is not possible to attach it to the seat post. This feature makes it very versatile and ideal for those who usually travel by bicycle.
- Maximum light output: 80 lumen
- Operating modes : 6 modes (1 fixed, 5 flashing)
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, duration from 2.75 to 7 hours depending on the operating mode
LEZYNE Strip Drive Pro Bicycle Taillight
The new Strip Drive PRO has a flexible body that allows it to adapt perfectly to any type of seat post, be it aero or circular. This feature will allow you to mount it on almost any bike.
This taillight is loaded with features that make it ideal for road riders who need to maximize their visibility for hours on the road. It has a 270-degree beam of light, 2 daytime modes, and a duration of up to 53 hours.
- Maximum light output: 300 lumen
- Operating modes: 11 different lighting modes and memory mode
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable via USB, Lasts on high: 3 hours; low: 53 hours
CAT EYE, Rapid X2 USB Rechargeable LED Bike Safety Tail Light
Best light to roll in traffic
The X2 Kinetic is one of the taillights with the best side visibility, even during the day. It has an accelerometer that changes to a constant light when slowing down. This feature makes it ideal for driving in the city or in a squad.
- Maximum light output: 50 lumen
- Operating modes : 3 modes (1 fixed, 2 flashing)
- Battery: Li-po rechargeable via USB, duration from 5 to 30 hours depending on the operating mode
What to look for in a good light for your bike
How bright the light should be based on the particular needs of each cyclist. In the case of urban cycling, in which you generally travel on paved and illuminated streets, the main objective of the lights should be to make you visible to other users. In these conditions, any light between 20 and 200 lumens can be sufficient.
On the other hand, when your routes will be on poorly lit roads, not paved, with too many potholes or other risks, a light of between 200 to 600 lumens is recommended.
In cases where the roads are darker and you are traveling at higher speeds, such as a road cyclist would do when you hit the road early, brighter light is suggested. To be able to perceive potholes or other obstacles at high speed it is a good idea to opt for lights between 600 to 1000 lumens.
If your tours will be off-road this is a very different story. If you practice mountain biking or gravel at night, you will need maximum light to be able to see the many obstacles and accidents on the terrain. For your night off-road trips, it is suggested to look for bike lights with a minimum of 1,000 lumens.
A good mount for cycling is one that allows you to quickly and easily mount and remove the lights, while still holding the lamp firmly during rides.
Some mounts are attached to the bike with screw clamps (many without tools), and the lamp is attached via quick release systems. Others hug the handlebar or seat post using silicone saddles.
A good switch is one that allows you to easily turn on, off, and change modes. It also prevents the lamp from turning on accidentally when in your backpack and wasting the battery.
The beam of light
The width of the light beam to select, as well as the brightness, must be chosen according to the use and conditions of your journeys. In general, for those who practice urban cycling or road cycling, a focused beam may be recommended. This means that the beam is narrower, which avoids dazzling other cyclists or drivers.
On the other hand, if you plan to use the light in low light conditions and unpaved roads it will be better to opt for a wide beam. This is especially suitable for mountain biking, where a wider view will allow you to navigate more technical trails during those night rides.
An important point that is sometimes not considered is lateral visibility. This refers to how visible the lights are to someone who is not in front of you, for example when you are at an intersection. In certain cases, a fixed mode light can be complemented with another in intermittent mode to increase the possibility of being seen.
Guide to choosing the lights for your bike
Nights and poor visibility conditions should not be an obstacle to cycling.
Placing a good pair of lights on your bike, front and rear, is essential if you want to travel on sidewalks, highways, streets or paths, but especially if you transport yourself by bicycle around the city.
And while it is perfectly legal to ride a bike without lights during daylight hours. Carrying lights on your bike in conditions of limited visibility will be one of the best decisions you can make to keep yourself visible and safer. For example, when pedaling on a rainy day .
In many countries the law states that cyclists riding after dark must have a white headlight and a red tail light to avoid a wake-up call. But, let’s be clear, it is more for common sense and your safety: if you travel at night, or at dusk / dawn, have a light of adequate power that helps motorists and pedestrians to perceive you from afar in case you practice cycling as a means of transport, and if you do road or mountain biking, that same light will serve to adequately visualize the path you are pedaling on.
In this guide, I have simplified the range of bike lights available to all cyclists by dividing them into three categories: urban, road or road, and off-road or mountain biking. I will clarify the differences and explain what to look for to acquire the best lights for your bike.
Different types of bike lights
Bike lights for commuting and urban use
- When pedaling through an urbanized area, the road or road is usually well lit, so your main priority should be to make sure that other users, especially motorists, can see you in advance.
- “Safety lights” generally have at least one constant lighting mode, in addition to the multiple flashing modes. They also offer higher levels of lateral visibility.
- With a light of 20 to 200 lumens it will serve to face the road through the city and be seen by others. If you drive on poorly lit roads, lights of 200 to 600 lumens are recommended.
Lights for the more adventurous and mountain bikers.
- Riding a bike off-road, and at night, offers a new dimension to your riding experience. Those familiar trails will feel like new routes that will inspire your adrenaline to travel your entire body in a matter of seconds, since under the cover of darkness, they will be very different.
- The mountain biker or all terrain rider needs a really powerful headlight to be able to detect dangers such as: holes, branches and roots getting in your way that will make that trail a mined road. Urban lights will not be enough, and although they can look really bright, even on unlit roads, in the forest you will be surprised how dark it can get.
- The adventure rider needs a powerful headlight, ideally with an output of over 1000 lumens. These off-road lights will also have a wider beam pattern, so they can illuminate the entire trail in front of you.
Bike lights for road and road cycling
- When your riding takes you on unlit roads, at a fast pedaling pace, you should seriously think about improving the light output of your bike.
- In these cases, a powerful headlight is vital to illuminate the road ahead, and thus avoid potholes, animals crossing your path, and cars in advance. And, as you approach the city, the occasional pedestrian and other vehicles.
- Likewise, it is important that you keep in mind that the use of the rear light is important to reduce the risk of suffering a collision from behind. Since it will allow other users to spot you from a distance without being dazzled. And if you are concerned about the extra weight, remember that many high-end rear safety lights are now compatible with aero seats thanks to longer and more flexible rubber band mounts, as well as day modes.
- For this category, we are talking about powerful headlights mounted on your handlebars , ideally with an output of 600 to 1,000 lumens.
The characteristics of the lights
The power of bicycle lamps or lights is measured in lumens, which in general terms is the measure by which the total amount of visible light (with the naked eye) that a lamp emits is calculated or light source. The higher the number of lumens, of the bike light or lamp, the brighter it will be.
But to give you a clearer idea, keep in mind that for example, a bicycle light with a power of 800 lumens is visible up to a distance of 1.5 kilometers.
Battery type and life
You can still buy bike lights that run on disposable alkaline batteries. However, in addition to being unsustainable by disposing of the battery when it has run out, most lights today have built-in rechargeable batteries.
The most common rechargeable batteries today are: Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) or Lithium Polymer (Li-Po). These are smaller, lighter, and more powerful than disposable alkaline batteries, making them perfect for bike lights.
Most rechargeable bike lights charge through a USB connection, and some even have a built-in USB connector, so you don’t need a cable to charge them.
But, the more powerful headlights take longer to charge through a USB connection, so some models come with the additional option of a special charger for the equipment.
More and more rechargeable lights are equipped with battery life indicators, so you know exactly how much power they have left. Some lights have small LED indicators, which change color to indicate how much power is left.
The average life time of rechargeable batteries is 500 charge cycles (from being completely empty the battery to being fully charged, that is one cycle). And the battery life time in operation varies from 2 to 24 hours, but it depends a lot on the mode of operation, use and care you have of the equipment. However, there are models that even provide up to 200 hours on a single charge.
Likewise, the charging time of the equipment varies from model to model, but an estimate is from 4 to 7 hours, depending on the power of light and the technology of the equipment.
The beam of light
Define the area that your lamp can illuminate based on the distance to the light source. Keep in mind that bicycle lamps are more focal than other types of artificial lighting, and therefore, you must pay attention to this value. The smaller the angle of the light beam, the more concentrated the illumination on a point, the greater the angle, the wider the illumination area.
Although most of the models on the market withstand rainwater and even heavy rains very well and remain outdoors for the rest of their useful life, keep in mind that only those models that are specified by the manufacturer may be submersible in water.
Generally, bicycle light models have mounting systems that are very easy to handle, and are based on mounts that are installed on the bicycle (preferably on the handlebars) such as plastic brackets and clips on which the lamp slides to install it on the bike or remove it from it, but there are also models of lights with mounting systems integrated into the body of the lamp that are usually based on rubber bands or tension attachments made of industrial grade silicone.
There are also screw-based mounting systems that have been expressly designed to be screwed in or unscrewed without the need for a tool (by hand). All these systems were thought to make the lights easily transferable from one bicycle to another.
But also, although they are currently the fewest and are not practical, there are lights so that they remain fixed to the bicycle.
What kind of lights do you need
Urban cycling lights
Since most of the roads you drive through will have some type of public lighting, these types of lights are to keep you visible to other road users. For this reason, it will be desirable that they have the following:
- 20 to 200 lumens are more than enough.
- Built-in USB rechargeable battery (no cables) and a short recharge time (although this will shorten the operating time to a few hours).
- Water and weather resistant.
- With a frame integrated into the body that makes it easier to remove and put the light every time you secure it on the street and thus avoid being stolen.
- A narrow angle of light to avoid dazzling other road users.
- At least two modes of operation (one fixed and one intermittent).
Mountain biking lights
Mountain biking requires a more powerful light source, because here what you need is to illuminate the path you are traveling on.
- At least 1,000 lumens of power.
- USB rechargeable battery, but keep in mind that increasing the lumens power will increase the charging time and therefore it is possible that the lamp has its own charger. However, it is desirable to have a light with a dual charging system, that is, it can be charged through a power source or fixed outlet or, through a dynamo that you have to install on your bike, these They are more expensive, but so on the way or in unpopulated areas you can always have a light source.
- With a selection of light intensity modes, which will allow you to adjust the light output to your environment and thus manage energy reserves for long trips.
- A 100% against water (submersible) would be ideal, these are also more expensive.
- With a rigid mount, it is not necessary to disassemble it frequently and in this way, being firmly fixed to your bike, the irregularities of the road will not move it.
- With a wider angle beam to illuminate a larger area of the road.
Road cycling lights
When it comes to pedaling at night or in poor visibility at speed and on roads, it will be essential to increase the number of lumens of the headlight on your bike, to help you see the road clearly and giving you enough time to act with anticipation of an obstacle or route changes on the road (a sharp curve, etc.).
- 600 to 1,000 lumens of power.
- USB rechargeable battery.
- With a selection of lighting modes, allowing you to adjust the light output to your environment and thus manage energy reserves for high-mileage trips.
- Repellent to water and the elements.
- Silicone frame, as it is lighter and almost does not add weight to the bicycle.
- With a beam of light of about 90 ° it will be more than enough.
Bike light technology has developed significantly in recent years.
Rechargeable batteries are cleaner, lighter and faster to charge, and LED technology is more powerful and at a lower cost, so there is no excuse for not having a good light that allows you to see the road and be seen by others users in low light conditions.