Riding a bike in dim light or after dark is dangerous. Not only is it difficult for you to see what is ahead of you in the dark, but other vehicle drivers also face difficulty in spotting cyclists. This poor visibility often leads to collisions. Bike lights play a vital role to prevent such unfortunate accidents. The bike light is an essential bike accessory for all bikers. Especially if you do your bike riding in the early mornings or late evenings, it is of utmost importance to make sure that you pick the right bike light for your cycle and install them correctly.
Having the right set of lights can undeniably make your riding experience much safer and give you the confidence to keep racking up the miles even when the sun has gone. However, choosing the right one from the plethora of choices available is no cakewalk. Therefore, here’s a guide to walk you through the bicycle lights selection process for your bike. Continue reading!
Types of lights for bikes
There are two types of lights for bikes:
- High-output lighting system- If you often ride after dark, especially on trails with no or less ambient light sources, you need a high-output lighting system installed at your front to ensure you can see well ahead of you. These are rechargeable lights that offer maximum illumination. They are much brighter than their counterparts and make your path visible in nearly all weather conditions.
- Front, side and rear safety lights- The primary function of these kinds of lights is to make you visible to motorists and pedestrians. They do not offer high illumination; hence they cannot brighten your path or help you see where you are going. The safety lights are available in various designs; therefore, you can choose depending upon your mounting options, the number of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) you need, or whether you need disposable or rechargeable batteries.
Rechargeable lights versus battery powered
There are some bicycle lights that run on disposable batteries and some that come with built-in rechargeable batteries. The disposable ones are alkaline batteries that cannot be reused once exhausted, and the most common rechargeable batteries are lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. The latter ones are smaller in size, lighter in weight, yet more powerful than their counterparts.
Rechargeable cycle lights come with a built-in USB connector and can be recharged via USB cable conveniently any number of times. Unlike alkaline batteries that dim slowly over time, rechargeable ones deliver consistent light until they are fully exhausted. Most of these lights are fitted with battery life indicators (small LED indicators) that change colour to indicate low battery life.
Types of mount- how do they work?
When it comes to mounting, bicycle lights feature a variety of styles and options for both front and rear bicycle lights. Among them, the two most commonly used variants are clamp mounts and strap/ band mounts. For most safety lights and rear lights, strap/ band mounting is used as it can be easily wrapped around your seat post or handlebar without even the need for a tool. These kinds of mounts are easy to install and remove. On the other hand, for the high-powered front lights, which are heavier, clamp mounts are a more suitable option. These kinds of mounts are more secure and often feature a quick-release mechanism to remove the light unit with ease.
Hence, when choosing the bike lights, the first thing you need to consider is the lumen ratings of the light and how many lumens do you need (this depends on where you are going to ride your cycle). Secondly, consider the type of fitting you may need and the batteries that most suit your riding habits.