Friday, December 2, 2022
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Best bike lights in 2022

Two things make the best bike lights: they let you see and make you visible. For riding in low light conditions, at night or in adverse weather, you will need a front and rear light. This means that you will need two lights to choose the best bike light.

Many bike lights can be purchased as kits. A kit will include both a front and rear light, as well as a charging cable and the appropriate mounts. A front and rear kit will provide you with all the necessary tools to make your purchase. You can mix and match different options to get the best bike lights.

There are many bike lights that go beyond the basic functionality of lighting. Bike lights can be equipped with integrated video cameras and radar systems. Some even have Bluetooth capabilities that allow you to connect to your smartphone. How do you pick the best bike lights for your needs? You must decide where, when and how you will be riding.

We’ve tested the top-selling lights to help you decide which bike light is best for you. We evaluated how bright the lights were, how long they lasted, how fast they could be charged, and how easy it was to get on and off the bikes. You can read on to discover the best bike lights. While you shop, make sure to check out our best helmets as well as our best electric bike.

Which are the best bicycle lights?

Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL is the best overall headlight. The Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL was the best headlight overall. It lasted for less than three hours at the highest setting. You can purchase an optional remote switch that will allow you to control the light using the handlebars.

Overall, the NiteRider Sentry Aero 260 is the best taillight. It has superior side visibility and a long, aero-shaped lens that shines light in all directions. The silicone strap makes it easy to attach to any type or seatpost, and it held its place throughout our testing.

The NiteRider Lumina Micro 900 is the best value headlight for those on a tight budget. It emits a lot of light, has a great price, and has the most stable, convenient, and secure mount we tested. The NiteRider Sabre 110 is the best value taillight. It is super bright and easy to remove from the mount so you can clip it on to a backpack.

You can read more about what you should look for when selecting bike lights. Also, learn more about the rules around bike lights in the UK and how to install bike lights. These are the top safety tips that you should follow.

The best headlights

1. Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL

Overall, the best headlight

Specifications

Weight: 208g

Lumens : 1,300 lumens

Maximum run time: 148hrs; 2.5 hours at 1,300 lumens

Time to recharge: 3.5 hours

Modes light: 7

USB charger for charging

There are many reasons to buy

+Long battery life+Bombproof design+Solid mounting system+Easy use+Wide beam

Avoidable reasons

-Bulky

Lezyne’s Macro Drive 1300XXL narrowly defeated the NiteRider 1200OLED Boost to win best bike headlight. Both lights are excellent, but the Lezyne light is $70 less than the NiteRider.

At the highest setting, the Macro Drive shined brightly for less than three hours and lasted longer than any other headlight. The Macro Drive only lasted less than eight hours at the 450-lumen setting.

Mounts are stable and easily adjustable to handlebars of different thicknesses. The thick band seems to be built to withstand the test of time. It can be difficult to get it to the right length to attach to the hook at the other end of your mount. Once it is in place, you can adjust its position easily and the light will stay in place.

The beam casts a wide light in front of your eyes, with a concentrated light at the center. This beam is great for riders who are riding on dark roads or trails and need to see everything. You won’t run out of light with 1,300 lumens.

You can also add an optional remote switch ($15), which mounts closer to the handlebar’s grips. This allows you to change the pattern and light level on the go without needing to take your hands off the bar.

Lezyne MacroDrive 1300XXL’s only problem is its size. It weighs in at 208g, which is a lot for a light bike. Also, it takes up a bit less space on your handlebars than the mount on the NiteRider1200 OLED Boost.

This powerful light seems to have one drawback.

2. NiteRider 1200 OLED-Boost

The best headlight mounting system

Specifications

Weight: 172g

Lumens : 1200 lumens

Maximum run time: Up to 30 hours

Charge time: Between 3 to 6 hours

Modes Light: 9

USB charger

Additionals: Li-Ion battery, Water/dust resistance, OLED display

There are many reasons to buy

+Screen is simple to read and provides tons of information on the fly.+Excellent mounting system keeps it put better than any other+Strong beam+Lots battery life

Avoidable reasons

-Expensive

The NiteRider 1200OLED Boost narrowly missed the top spot on our best bike headlights ranking. Its price was $70 higher than the Lezyne Macro Drive 13300XXL.

You get a lot for your money. The mount is more secure than any of the other lights tested, except for the Cycliq Fly12 which is fixed in place. Mounts for the 1200 OLED Boost are better than others. They can be adjusted using the thumb-twist screws. You can also remove the light from the mount to charge or use it as an flashlight.

The OLED screen at the top of your unit provides key information that you can use while riding. You can see how long you have before your battery runs out. You can also see what light mode your screen is in at any time.

The NiteRider 1200OLED Boost’s bright beam casts evenly and wide. Although it is slightly brighter than the Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL but has 100 more lumens, the Lezyne is still brighter. In practice, it was difficult to distinguish between the two lights; they both provided enough light to my front and sides.

NiteRider claims that you will get approximately an hour and a quarter of your battery life on the highest setting. It was set to medium which gives you 550 lumens. NiteRider claims that you will get approximately three hours of battery life with this setting. It lasted me five hours and ten minutes.

This headlight is a great choice for those looking for a high-quality product in the headlight market. It has a long battery life, excellent mounting, strong beam and a handy screen. Although it is a bit expensive, it is well worth every penny.

3. Knog PWR Trail 1100L

The most versatile headlight

Specifications

Weight: 230g

Lumens : 1100 lumens

Maximum run time: 300 hours in Eco flash mode; 1.7 hours at 1,100 lumens

Charge time: 3.5 hours

Modes Light: 6

USB charger

Extras: Doubles as power bank

There are many reasons to buy

+Can be used to light up a torch, power bank, lantern and many other purposes.

Avoidable reasons

-Mounting system requires streamlining-Heavy and lengthy

Knog’s PWR Trail 1100L is more than just a light source. It can also be used as a powerbank to charge your phone or GoPro. You can pop it out of its mount and use it for a flashlight, or swap out the lighthead and power other PWR accessories like the PWR Sound speaker and the PWR Lantern. The PWR is the only light that can be used in this test.

It’s easy to turn the light on or off by twisting the head. This system is great because it eliminates the need to use buttons. If you wish to use the battery for power banks or to charge your unit, you can press the red release button.

On the maximum mode, the PWR Trail 1100L casts an even beam. The light ran at 600 Lumens in the Mid mode for 3 hours, 40 minutes. This was more than the advertised time of just over an hour. The battery life indicator is indicated by the small lights at the PWR Trail 1100L.

The downsides of Knog’s large light are few. The mounting system was the least favourite among all the test lights. Although it seems complicated, it allows you to easily run the light under your handlebars.

This light is named Trail and seems to be targeted at mountain bikers. The mount can only hold handlebars of 31.8mm or less. Modern mountain bikes are now equipped with 35mm bars.

It’s also heavier and longer than the competition. This is a minor issue if you are interested in the PWR Trail 1100L’s light beam. This light is ideal for adventurers, such as bikepacking, camping and long adventures.

4. NiteRider Lumina Micro 900

An affordable headlight

Specifications

Weight: 130g

Lumens : 900 lumens

Maximum run time: 60 hours, 2 hours for 900 lumens

Charge time: 2.5 to 4 hours

Modes Light: 5

USB charger

Additional Features: Fits handlebars up 35mm

There are many reasons to buy

+Excellent mount+Strong light beam in a compact package+Lightweight+Good price

Avoidable reasons

– Battery life appears to be short

The mount used by the Lumina Micro 900 of NiteRider is the same as the 1200 OLED Boost. The mount is sturdy and adapts well to various handlebar sizes. Additionally, the light can be removed from the mount to easily store it in a pocket, or as a handheld flashlight.

The OLED screen and 300 additional lumens make it far cheaper. This button acts as a low-battery indicator. It lights up blue when there’s a lot of charge, and turns red when there’s not enough.

The light’s body feels sturdy and long-lasting. You can use the beam to illuminate your mountain bike trails with its full power.

Our testing revealed that the run time was not too bad but did not reach the advertised two hour operation time at 900 lumens. It also fell about twenty minutes short of this.

The Lumina Micro still produces a lot of light and is a very affordable mount. It also sits on one of the most stable and comfortable mounts in our test. If you love the mount and build of the 1200 OLEDBoost, but don’t want the information screen, this is a good choice.

5. Cycliq Fly12

The best headlight for camera

Specifications

Weight: 195g

Lumens : 600 lumens

Charge time: 2 hours

Modes for light: There are three light modes and three brightness settings.

USB charger

Additional Features : Record 1080p Full HD video at 30fps or 60fps, Image Stabilization HDR, 135 degree viewing range, Stereo audio recording and Audible alerts. Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible

There are many reasons to buy

+Camera integration is useful in cases of accidents and altercations+Mount can be super stable

Avoidable reasons

-The most expensive Bulkiest headlight we tested. -The light beam is narrower than the competition.

Although the Fly12 by Cycliq can be used as a light, that’s only a small part of its primary purpose. The Fly12 can also record video to capture ride highlights or altercations. The Fly12 records video of any incident, including a collision or crash. It also ensures that the footage is not overwritten. The Fly12 records in loops if necessary.

The Fly12’s video capabilities are amazing. The Fly12’s video capabilities are great. You can record specific events with a wide viewing angle and stereo audio, and image stabilization keeps the footage looking smooth.

The Fly12 is not as bright as the other headlights tested. The Fly12 offers only 600 lumens. The light beam is also quite narrow.

The battery life is good. The Fly12 died after 20 minutes of recording with the light on medium and the camera moving. Cycliq claims that you can record up to 7 hours with just the camera rolling, the light off, and the light on medium. The integrated “HomeSafe” mode can be used to make sure you have lighting for at least 30 minutes even if the battery is low.

Because you must bolt it on using an Allen key, the handlebar mount is extremely strong. The Fly12 can be mounted on top or under your bars, but adjustments are required once it is in place. The 3/4 turn mount makes it easy to remove the light from your bars or pocket, and you can also store it in a bag.

If you are more interested in the camera features, this light is for you. The Fly6 is Cycliq’s rear-facing light/camera combo.

6. Bontrager Ion 200 RT

A compact headlight that emits a strong beam.

Specifications

Weight: 40 grams

Lumens : 200 lumens

Maximum run time: 1.5 to 30 hours, depending on the mode

Charge time: 2 hours

Light modes: The integrated light sensor adjusts to the ambient light

USB charger

Additional Features: Bluetooth and/or ANT+ capabilities, Waterproof

There are many reasons to buy

+Small enough for you to slip into your pocket+Deceptively powerful beam+Long life battery; great mounting strap

Avoidable reasons

Lights this small and limited are expensive.

Bontrager’s Ion 200 RT is a powerful light for such a small size. Bontrager says that the beam is extremely focused so it doesn’t give you a broad view but can be seen from very far away — as much as two kilometers (1.25 mile). The Ion 200 RT casts light forward so that you can see what is right in front of your eyes, but its primary purpose is to make sure you are seen and not able to see.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Ion is its small size. The Ion is small enough to fit in your pocket and can be mounted almost anywhere. It is very simple with just one button to switch it on or off, and adjust the modes. Bontrager has done an amazing job making it as simple as possible.

The Ion 200 RT can be purchased individually or in a set that includes the Flare RT rearlight. Combining the two lights ensures that you are visible from both the front and rear, even in the daylight. However, visibility is limited to the front and rear.

This tiny light has the biggest problem: its high price. The price of $65 seems high for a light that does not have enough lumens for you to see well ahead at night. The Ion 200 RT is a small, portable, and always-on visibility light that will not take up too much space on your handlebars. This is not the best choice if you are budget-conscious or need as many lumens possible.

7. Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop

Simple, lightweight headlight

Specifications

Weight: 121g

Lumens : 1000 lumens

Maximum run time: 12 Hours (SafePulse mode); 90 Minutes at 1000 lumens

Charge time: 2.5 hours

Light modes : 4 light levels, including SafePulse

USB charger

Additionals: Includes a handlebar, GoPro mount and waterproof/impact-resistant handlebar

There are many reasons to buy

+Compatible with an external battery for longer lasting life+ Good mount

Avoidable reasons

-Short runtime when you are at your maximum power

The Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop by Light & Motion weighs in at just 121g. Its sleek design makes it easy to use. The Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop from Light & Motion is a great choice if you are looking for a light that can save weight.

You will feel the beam is more focused than other beams in the test. If you prefer a wider beam, then look elsewhere. The Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop provides plenty of light for both city riding and trail riding, particularly at the 1,000-lumen settings.

Light & Motion claims that you should be able get around 1.5 hours on the highest setting. The Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop performed better than that number in testing. It lasted just under two hours at the highest setting. Other lights tested had longer battery lives, even though they have higher lumens.

The Vis Pro includes a handlebar mount as well as a GoPro-style mounting. With a rubber band, the handlebar mount can accommodate different handlebar widths. The mount can be left on the handlebars, and the light can be removed to use as a flashlight.

Light & Motion’s quick-release’ system doesn’t work very fast or easily. To remove the light from the mount, you need to first loosen the dial. For a more intuitive and faster use, this system could be improved.

To provide visibility for both sides of the rider, the Vis Pro has amber lights at the sides. These lights don’t appear to be very useful and aren’t very bright.

If you are looking for a powerful flashlight and want to reduce weight, the Vis Pro 1000 Blacktop is your best choice. If you want a broad beam, long runtime, easy removal from the mounting, then look elsewhere.

The best taillights

8. NiteRider Sentry Aero 260

Overall, the best taillight

Specifications

Weight: 65g

Lumens : 260 lumens

Maximum run time: Up to 30 hours

Charge time: 2.5 hours

Modes Light: 6

Visibility: 260 Degrees

There are many reasons to buy

+Side and rear visibility+Plenty flash patterns options+Good mounting strap+Good batteries life

Avoidable reasons

Despite the high lumens, other lights can be seen from a greater distance.

During testing, the Sentry Aero 260 was set to the setting that I use most often: a solid light at the sides and a flash at its rear. The light lasted seven hours and 45 minutes at that setting. This time would be shorter for certain settings. However, I’ve owned the light almost two years and use it almost exclusively in this setting. This was the best way to test it.

With its aero-shaped lens that casts light in all directions, the Sentry Aero is better than any competitor in side visibility. The silicone strap is easy to attach to any type seatpost and holds it in place. The original silicone strap did break, but thankfully, there was a replacement. This one has been in use for over a year.

The Sentry Aero 260 is the most visible of the lights in the test, especially in daytime. However, other lights are less visible from farther away. The Sentry Aero 260 is a great value, thanks to its sturdy design and solid mounting system.

After a few years of usage, and in comparison with all the lights in this test. The Sentry Aero 260 is still my favorite light because of its reliability, visibility and durability.

9. Topeak Taillux 100

Runner-up in the Best Tail Light Contest

Specifications

Weight: 30g

Lumens : 100 lumens

Maximum battery life: 30 hours

Time to charge: 3-4 hours

Modes Light: 4

Charging: USB C rechargeable

There are many reasons to buy

+USB-C chargeable+Solid build quality+Easy mounting system+Good side visibility+Great price

Avoidable reasons

-None

Topeak’s Taillux 100 provides a lot of visibility, but in a compact and convenient package. This is one of the most powerful taillights available.

One-button operation turns on your light. You can choose from four modes. You can switch between blinking and constant light, or one of both. Topeak claims that you can get three hours of battery life with the constant 100-lumen setting. This was tested almost to the minute.

Topeak claims that you can see up to 220 degrees from the rear and side, which means vehicles will be able to see you. Visibility is excellent from both the sides and rear.

Taillux’s mounting system utilizes a thin, but strong silicone band. This allows it to work with different sizes and shapes of seatposts. To best fit most seatpost shapes, the adapters slide onto the back of the light. Clip mounts are also available so that you can attach the light to your backpack or pocket.

The Taillux is very close to the top of the tail light test. It was only beaten by Niterider’s Sentry Aero 260 which has more lumens and better visibility. However, the Taillux is lighter and less expensive than other options.

10. Garmin Varia RTL515

Rear light that is safe and effective

Specifications

Weight: 71g

Lumens : 65 lumens

Maximum battery life up to 16 hours in day flash mode

Not specified: Charge time

Modes Light: 4

USB charger

Additional Features: Bluetooth and/or ANT+ capabilities, Waterproof

There are many reasons to buy

+Radar integration provides information about surrounding cars+Easy three quarter twist mount+Long life battery

Avoidable reasons

-Small rear beam-Even smaller side beams

Garmin’s Varia feels more like a rear radar with a light embedded into it. You will be alerted to cars approaching your rear via visual and audible alerts. The radar can be paired to your Garmin headunit or your smartphone to alert you to cars approaching your rear. This will allow you to make better decisions about your road position.

The Varia RTL515 is not the right light for you if this sounds too boring. Although the light is very small, Garmin claims it can be seen up to a mile away. The radar function is the rest of the light’s body. It measures four inches long, so if your seat is too low, it might be difficult to mount this light.

Although there are a few smaller lights embedded into the Varia RTL515 light’s sides, they aren’t as prominent than other lights in the test. Although it’s nice that the lights have been integrated into the radar, they don’t appear to be the main function.

You can remove the light easily and quickly using the quarter-turn mount. The light will stay in place once it is inserted. However, the mount itself is held in position by thin silicone bands. These bands could break or wear faster than the thicker ones on the lights in this test.

The Varia costs $200. The Varia is worth the money if you are interested in it. If you want the best taillight functions, consider looking elsewhere.

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