There is no escaping the fact that the summer is ending. Days are shorter, evenings darker and the weather is looking, well, a little more British! Is that going to stop us cycling? No way. Light up and ride!
We are gathering everything you need to enjoy autumn cycling to it's fullest, starting with a new range of lights. Lights that get you seen, lights that let you see more of the road ahead, and lights brighter than the sun for the deepest darkest trails.
Daytime running lights now come as standard on most cars and they increasingly popular with road cyclists and commuters who want to improve their visibility. Bontrager have been one of the pioneers of Daytime running lights and their new Ion 200 and Flare lights are visible from 2KM away during the day, which should be plenty of time for any drivers to see you.
The Moon Meteor Auto Pro/Arcturus Auto Pro lights come with super bright ‘daytime flash’ modes which will run for upwards of 24 hours on a single charge. They also have a built in light sensor so the lights can turn themselves on and off when needed. The Lezyne Strip Drive and Specialized Stix Sport Combo are both good options for minimalist lights that won’t spoil the lines of your bike. If even those are too big for you the super popular Lezyne Femto lights are some of the most compact around.
Urban commuting lights are all about getting you seen by other road users. The Cateye Volt 200XC and Rapid Mini light set are really easy to fit to your bike and come with enough power to get you seen with multiple flashing and pulse modes. The Lezyne Hecto 400XL/Strip Drive 150 set is another great option for all-round commuting. It comes with an ‘overdrive’ mode which turns the front light up to 400 lumens when you hit darker patches of road.
If you are more concerned about being seen the Moon Gemini lights are really eye catching. They come with two independent LEDs that can be set to flash and pulse at different rates so you really stand out. The Cateye Omni 3 lights are a favourite with lots of commuters because they are super simple and can be mounted your bike in lots of different ways.
To make yourself really stand out it’s a good idea to have more than one set of lights. The Cateye Duplex helmet light includes both a front and rear light which will sit securely on top of your helmet. Having a light higher up means it won’t get lost in the rest of the lights on busy roads. The Lezyne Zecto drive lights come with built in clips and straps so they can be fitted to your bike but can also be clipped to bags and jackets so you can make yourself more visible.
The Moon Meteor Auto Pro/Comet X Light Set is one of our favourite light sets. It has all the power you need to get seen plus enough to light your way on darker stretches of road or path. The front light can sit on standby for up to 500 hours and automatically turn itself on and off when needed. If you do hit a dark stretch of road then it can pump out 450 lumens to help you see where you are going. The Bontrager Ion 450 R/Flare R Set has a similar output to the Moon Meteor Auto Pro but gives an upgraded daytime running experience so it’s ideal for those doing long road rides.
The Lezyne Micro Front 500XL/Strip 150 Set gives you a little more power with an ‘overdrive’ mode that will put out 500 lumens for up to an hour at a time. If you want to get longer run-times then it’s best to go with a light that has more power than you need. The front light on the Lezyne Macro 1100XL/Strip Pro 300 set tops out at 1100 lumen but will happily sit at 650 lumen for 2 and half hours or at 450 lumen for 4 and a half. Making it a better choice if you are doing longer sections of dark road. Similarly the Moon Vortex Pro 900 tops out at 900 lumens but will sit happily at 700 for a couple of hours or at 400 for over 4 hours. The Specialized Flux 900 is another 900 lumen light but this one has a really wide beam for maximum visibility and sits neatly under your bars, leaving plenty of room for your hands (or a second light).
If you are going to be riding off-road at night then you will want as much power as you can lay your hands on. The Bontrager Ion Pro RT light can put out 1300 lumen for 1.5 hours or 800 lumen for 3 hours and comes in a small, neat package. The Specialized Flux 1200 is another small light with big power. It can do 1200 lumen for just over an hour or 600 for 2.5. If you need a slightly longer run-time the Lezyne Super Drive 1500XXL will do 1000 lumens for 2.5 hours or 600 lumens for nearly 4 hours.
All of the lights above are single units with an integrated battery. Once you start looking at really high power lights most move to having a separate battery pack. The Cateye Volt 6000 RC can put out 6000 luimens. More than enough to see anything you want on a night ride. But it does come with a pretty hefty price tag. For less than half the price you can get a Moon X-Power 2500 which will put out a maximum of 2500 lumens and happily sit at over 1000 lumens for a couple of hours. If you wanted to really light things up you could partner it with a Moon X-Power 1800 mounted on your helmet which would pump out 1200 lumens for over 2 hours.