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Bike Lights Buying Guide

Words by Balfes Bikes

on 21/10/2020 10:00:28

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Why do you need Bike Lights?

Lights are an important safety measure to ensure you are visible when cycling outside. There are several reasons why you need bicycle lights which can differ based on the style of riding you are doing:

- To be seen: It is important that other road users can see you in low-light conditions, and bicycle lights help to enhance your presence and be seen.

- To see: You might be cycling in an area without street lighting and you will need to rely on your own lighting to illuminate the road / trail / path in front of you to avoid an accident

- Law-abiding: Lights are required on a cycle between sunset and sunrise/

Are Bike lights just for riding in the dark?

In recent years additional developments in lighting has led to Daytime bike lights proving popular and effective. With a flashing, disruptive light which runs at the same time as a standard light beam this allows for cyclists to remain visible on the road in bright daylight conditions.

With plenty of studies and research panels giving positive feedback on daytime lights including Bontrager who claim that a flashing light is 1.4 times stronger and more effective than a steady beam  there has never been a better time to purchase a light set for daytime cycling in mind.

What type of lights do I need?

There are lots of different types of bike light to choose from an this can often become overwhelming. It’s best to consider the type of riding you will be doing and then assess the lights best suited to this riding. Here are a few options:

- A short commute in an urban area with street lighting: Here you would be best opting for a simple pair of front and rear lights designed to be seen. They should be easy to fit and remove and be maintenance free.

- Weekend riding to the local cafe with your friends: Here you probably don’t need a powerful front light abut you might want to consider a light set with daytime running modes to remain visible, including a rear light which a low pulse setting to avoid blinding your friends!

- Dark commutes down country lanes: Here you will need a high-power light set with around 800 lumens or greater for the front light and a powerful rear light to remain visible from behind. A CREE LED front light would be a good option, with USB recharging functionality to allow for easy and simple use, with an internal battery and a narrower beam spread to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers.

- Night time trail riding: You will want to have a super powerful front light with a wide beam spread to help illuminate the trails as you race down them. This will most likely have an external battery pack and pump out over 2000 lumens for great visibility as you ride.

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What are lumens and how many is the right amount?

In simple terms lumens are the unit of measure as to how bright a light is to the human eye.

The total number of lumens you might need can differ between brands as their use of lenses can change the beam spread and quality.

0 – 500 lumens: This number of lumens is ideal for cycling in poorly lit urban areas where there is also street lighting. The light will be able to light the path ahead but not much further and it will be visible to oncoming traffic to ensure you are visible.

500-2000 lumens: This number is ideal for darker night riding, particularly down country lanes where more power is needed to ride safely. With more power becomes more battery usage so expect just over an hour of full beam use for most powerful front lights with internal batteries.

2000+ lumens: Here are the real powerhouses and designed for off-road use. They will often have an external battery to allow for better run times and the beam spread will be wider.

Which brands are best for bicycle lights?

Here at Balfe’s Bikes we stock a great range of lights from the best light brands in the world. These include:

Lezyne: Lezyne's LEDs feature advanced programming, the best materials, lenses and electronics and they’re quality tested.

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Bontrager: Bontrager's ultra-bright, all-weather headlights and tail lights provide visibility at night and help you stand out during daylight hours

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Cateye: From powerful front rechargeable lights to efficient white LED's, Cateye's lights put more light where you need it - on the road.

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Knog: Bike lights to see and be seen. Check out Knog’s range of innovative bike lights to ensure you’re safe on the roads and trails.

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For our full range of bike lights click HERE

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