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The Best Bike Lights 2021

Words by Cycles UK

on 09/09/2020 14:59:55

2017_Trek_City_164_HR

We've gathered everything you need to enjoy your ride through autumn and winter on and off the road. Lights that ensure you can see and are seen we've covered the recommended lumen output for the type of ride you are doing, we've even covered the legal lighting basics when riding on the road.

What lights are legal?

  • It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors.
  • Legally you need a white light attached to the front of your bike and a red light attached to the rear of your bike. Both lights can be a flashing or stationary light.
  • Flashing lights must be at a rate between 60 and 240 times per minute (1 – 4Hz).
  • When in use, lights and reflectors must be clean and working correctly.

Most bike lights are rated in Lumens. A Lumen is a measure of the total visible light emitted and is commonly used for all kinds of bulbs. If you are used to buying light bulbs in the old Watts measurements, a quick guide is:

  • 40 Watt Bulb = 450 Lumens
  • 60 Watt Bulb = 800 Lumens

There is no fixed agreement on how many Lumens you need for a bike light as it depends on the type of cycling you are doing. As a rough guide we say that:

  • Daytime running lights to be seen in daylight = 100+ Lumens
  • Urban commuting lights to be seen in town = 50 to 200 Lumens
  • Rural riding lights to see where you are going = 400 to 600 Lumens
  • Trail riding lights to see everything = 600+ Lumens

One thing to worth noting is that most lights advertise their headline rate. They may say they do 1000 lumens, but if you read the small print, they might only do that for an hour. The same light will probably work at 500 or 600 lumens for 2 or 3 hours, so it's worth buying a light with more lumens than you need to get decent run times.

Typically you will want a brighter front light than rear light. It's common for a 500-lumen front light paired with a 100 lumen rear light because you need a lot more power to see where you are going than to be seen.

Daytime Running Lights 100+ Lumen

Bontrager Flare Ion 100R_Flare R Light Set

Daytime running lights now come as standard on most cars, and they're increasingly popular with road cyclists and commuters who want to improve their visibility. With most lights now coming with daytime modes, Bontrager has been one of the pioneers of the range and still stand out with the Flare rear light offering visibility from a whopping 2KM away. Intended for daytime use only, possibly being it's only negative the Flare would make a great addition to a light set. Below are some of the standout daytime lights of 2021.

Moon Nebula cycle light set

Bontrager Flare Ion 100R/Flare R Light Set

Niterider Sentinel 250

Urban Commuting Lights 50-200 Lumen

Moon Nebula cycle light set

Urban commuting lights are all about getting you seen by other road users. To make you stand out, it's a good idea to have more than one set of lights.

The Cateye AMPP 400 is perfect for urban riding; the compact, lightweight AMPP 400 offers impressive functionality and visibility, securely held on your bars with the Flextight bracket. 220% larger side lens for a significantly wider beam and enhanced side visibility coupled with daytime running for between 200 to 400 lumens for 6 hours this light ensures you're visible any time of the day.

The Moon Nebula cycle light set, both lights feature Memory mode which stores the last mode used, making it easier to set up for your ride quickly. Low battery indicator ensures you do not lose light mid-ride with a quick 2.5 hour recharge time. Day flash mode and side visibility ensure you're visible at all times from all angles. Four steady modes and four flashing modes, quick release. The Nebula achieves a maximum of 220 lumens for just over an hour at the front—one hundred lumens at the rear for just over an hour. With excellent side visibility, day flash mode and water resistance, quick 2.5 hour recharge time and multiple mounting options with quick release. The Moon Nebula is bursting with features perfect urban commuters.

Specialized Stix Sport Combo

Specialized Flashback Rear Light

Rural Riding Lights 400-600 Lumen

CatEye AMPP 500 (1)

We said this last year, but it's true again the Moon Meteor Auto and Comet set is an excellent choice for rural riding The Moon Meteor-X Auto Pro is ready for anything from daylight to rural night-time riding. The Day flash mode and side visibility ensure you are visible to those around you. The powerful 600 Lumen with a run time of 2 hours means you can ride in a rural area and have enough visibility to ride safely. The Comet X with daylight modes and ability to run 25 Lumen in Flash mode for over 9 hours ensures you are seen both during daylight hours and on rural roads.

The Cateye AMPP 500 uses the Opticube lens technology for supreme light distribution, to light the way ahead, whatever the terrain throws at you. Features include robust matt polycarbonate body with enhanced scratch resistance. The ability to run at 500 lumens plus for 1.5 hours, large side lenses for coverage at all angles, making it great for rural night time riding.

Niterider Swift 500/Sabre 80 Lightset

Trail Riding Lights 600+ lumen

MOON METEOR STORM PRO 1700 FRONT LIGHT

If you are going to be riding off-road at night, then you want as much power as you can get.

We fell in love with the Moon Meteor Storm pro. It provides phenomenal output for the RRP. A feature-rich front light is ideal for all cycling uses. A popular choice last year the 2020 model sees improvements such as VLS (Variable Lumen System) which allows you to set the appropriate lumen for your ride. Memory mode ensures you're able to set up for your ride quickly. Optimal charge time using USB Type C ensures you're not running low on Lumens when low on time. Lock mode enables you to prevent accidental turn on or off, Waterproof, helmet and handlebar brackets. Daylight Flash Mode ensures you're more visible during the daytime. Matrix LED System makes operating the light easier. Add to that the impressive Lumen output in Mix mode: 2000 lumen for 2 hrs or wide or narrow mode: 1000 Lumen for 4.5 hrs.

Cateye AMPP 1100 Front Light uses a compact twin-LED design to powerfully light the way ahead, whatever the terrain throws at you. With features to help you identify the battery life Power button constant runtime indicator. The ability to run at 1110 lumens plus for 1.5 hours, large side lenses for coverage at all angles. A robust case and scratch-resistant lens ensure this light stands up to anything while illuminating the terrain around you.

Moon Canopus

Moon Meteor Storm

Specialized Flux 800 Helmet Light

Niterider Lumina 1000 Boost