If you are out cycling early or riding home late, it’s time to start using bicycle lights. Lights are obviously there to help you see. They are very helpful in spotting a pedestrian or cyclist with no lights and reflectors. A rider should be clearly visible to oncoming vehicle drivers; otherwise, they can bump you. They can be for warning or to provide proper visibility by providing a beam.
Front lights are the main lights you’ll be using on your bicycle; they make up the vast majority of bicycle lights out there.
Available at different price-points, the price, determines how bright they are and how long the battery lasts. Most of these will have a plastic bracket that attaches to the frame, and the light slides on and off this. Some companies sell replacement brackets and parts which are handy if you break the bracket or want to move the lights between bicycles.
A few years ago we had a choice of different bulb options to consider, but with the introduction of LED lights, which are of improved quality and low price, old bulbs are no competition. LEDs tick all the boxes for a bicycle light; they’re tiny, they cost low to make, they last forever, they’re rugged, and they run fairly cool. No wonder everyone’s using them these days!
Things to consider while buying
- You need to consider how much light you need, and where you need it to be put. Brighter is often better but look for lights with good side visibility if you’re riding a lot in town.
- If you’re mixing up your road, riding with paths and single-track, light with a wide beam that has lower-power modes for use in traffic may be the one to go for.
- Battery life of the light is also important especially if you commute longer than the battery life. Think about when you’ll recharge the light and how long that will take.
- Many lights have low-power options that will extend battery life.
- Many lights have fuel gauge displays to let you know the state of the battery.
The final thing to think about is mounting. It’s always surprising, and incredibly frustrating that many lights fall because of a poorly-designed mount. What you’re looking for is a mount which provides a secure hold so the light won’t keep bouncing down the road when you hit the road bumps.