BIKING

Best Bike Lights: Lighting Up Your Path

bike light featured
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

You have to agree that taking your bike with you on your hike can be a wonderful experience. You get to burn even more calories, go much further than walking, and challenge yourself to traversing those difficult terrains. But, you also have to agree that the sun doesn’t shine forever, and if you’ve gone too far, you need some way to get back in the dark. That’s why having the best bike lights can make all the difference in the world.

However, you can’t just go to the store and pick up the first one you find. They have a wide range of features that need to be considered, such as whether the light can even be mounted on your bike. Or perhaps, you don’t know which ones are better for only city use or for off road trails. But worry no more! We are here to help!

In this article, we will go into detail over the most relevant features to consider on a bike light. Then, we will go over the best models, so that by the end of the read, you will have a much better idea of which bike light you should buy.

Product Name WeightSize Best Use LumensPrice
Cygolite Expilion 800 10.4 oz4 x 1.5 x 1.5 inAll terrain800Check price on Amazon
Niterider Pro 1800 17 oz3 x 6.4 x 8.2 inAll terrain and even in daylight1800Check price on Amazon
Niterider Lumina 5505.6 oz1.6 x 2.5 x 7.9 inAll terrain550Check price on Amazon
Light & Motion TAZ 120012 oz3.4 x 4.5 x 7.2 inAll terrain1200Check price on Amazon
Cygolite Metro 360 4.8 oz1.7 x 5.1 x 5.5 inAll terrain360Check price on Amazon
Knog Blinder 4 Dots4.8 oz2.1 x 2.5 x 3.1 inCity use80Check price on Amazon
Light & Motion VIS 360 Plus 4.64 oz3 x 3 x 8 inCity use250Check price on Amazon
Nightrider Lumina 70010.4 oz2.1 x 5.1 x 7.5 inAll terrain700Check price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying 

Looking for bike lights isn’t much different from looking for a flashlight. The features that you have to keep in mind are basically the same, save for how you intend to mount it on your bicycle. Here are some of the important features you should keep in mind when you are going to buy your bike light.

Lumens

This is the measurement of brightness of a light. Many modern headlights now use LEDs, providing you with a bright white light that makes it easy to see what’s in front of you. Thankfully, with the increased use of them in the market, they’ve gradually gotten cheaper in price, so cost is no longer that much of a concern as it used to be.

A good headlight to go for should be between 250 and 1000 lumens. However, if you plan to use your bike only to go riding at night in your neighborhood, less than 250 lumens can still be enough. For longer rides and in off road trails, more than 400 lumens is a better idea.

Battery

Look at the kind of battery that is powering your light. Are they simple button batteries, large DDs, or can your headlight be solar powered? The majority of headlights now, use rechargeable batteries, so not only do you save costs on having to buy batteries over and over again, you’ll be helping the environment as well.

bike light

If you can’t find headlights with rechargeable batteries, go for those that use smaller batteries that you can easily fit into your backpack as backups. Also, always keep in mind the possibility of having a spare battery with you and keep it charged. You never know when an emergency might arise.

Function

Some headlights come with a variety of functions to choose from. Some only have steady beams, while others allow for flashing modes to make you more visible to other people in dim light. Keep in mind that some of these flashing modes may drain your batteries more quickly.

Amongst the more useful features are those lights that can adjust the length or reach of the beam. For example, if you are riding in a neighborhood where there may be cars coming from far away, you will want a strong beam with a longer distance reach so that cars can spot you from far away. If you are in the city, a shorter distance beam is fine as there are other lights around you.

Usability

When it comes to your headlamp, you want to be able to attach it to your bike. Check to see if the one you’re interested in comes with a mounting bracket. If not, you may have to look for a separate one to attach to your bike that’s capable of holding your headlamp.

Orfos-Flare-Bike-Lights

You also want to check and see that the headlamp is suitable for your model of bike. Not all mountain bikes are built the same, so it’s important that it can be attached to your bike in the first place. Also, you might want to check how easy it is to attach it, or if it stays in place.

Quality

Quality does mean more money, but if you want a headlamp that is durable, you’re going to have to be willing to spend a little bit more. On the other hand, if you’re only going to be using your headlamp once a year during a camping trip, there’s no point in going for the most expensive model that you can find. An affordable and good quality light is all you need.

You may have to compromise some features in order to meet your needs, but it’s more important to find a headlamp you’re more comfortable with, than to get one that has more functions than you need. Plus, having a good quality and a durable light, is always ideal. It doesn’t matter if it has all the light modes possible, if it breaks in a month, it’s no good for you or anyone.

Top Products on Today’s Market

It is time to dig into the best bike lights available. The following section contains the reviews of the best models. All of them are excellent, but different. That’s why it’s important to take a close look at all of them, their features, pros and cons, in order to decide what is the model that suits you best.

Cygolite Expilion 800 Bike Light Cygolite Expilion 800 Bike Light 

Price: Approx. $90 

Lumens: 800 

Weight: 10.4 oz 

Dimensions: 4 x 1.5 x 1.5 in

Specific features: Wide beam spread, swappable LI-ion battery stick, battery indicators, 8 different light modes (medium, high, boost, low, steady pulse, day flash, walking, SOS), 22 hours on a single charge, water resistant, USB rechargeable, lock-tite handlebar mount, helmet mount.

Best use: All terrain 

Description: If you want a headlamp with a great beam diameter to help you see everything in front of you, then Cygolite Expilion 800 Bike Light is the one for you. It has plenty of brightness modes to choose from, so you can always have the right amount of light for your ride, and you can save on power when you don’t need that much light too. For its size and weight, this headlamp is pretty decent for the amount of brightness it provides.

And you won’t have to worry about setting it up either: installation on your handlebar takes less than a minute, with the easy to use Lock-tite mount. In fact, you may have more difficulty trying to remove it, meaning it is very secure, but it can be a struggle for those who just aren’t that strong.

The strength of the light is also excellent, so this is a light that will not only illuminate well any path in the city, but it can also work off the beaten track when there are trails covered by many trees or bad illumination.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Very strong light
  • All terrain use
  • Good battery life 

CONS:

  • Mounting it isn’t an easy task
  • It tends to come off because it’s hard to mount it properly 

Related: The Cygolite Replacement Battery is almost always bought alongside this light. It is a replacement battery to be kept charged and that way it can be quickly replaced during emergencies.

Check the price on Amazon

Niterider Pro 1800 Race Light Niterider Pro 1800 Race Light

Price:  Approx. $260

Lumens: 1800 

Weight: 17 oz (including mount and battery pack) 

Dimensions: 3 x 6.4 x 8.2 in 

Specific features: Helmet mount option, 25 hours on a single charge, battery indicator, 5-hour charge time, universal handlebar mount, nylon storage pouch, 8 different light modes, AC adapter.

Best use: All terrain and even in daylight

Description: This NiteRider Pro 1800 Race Light is bright, so there’s no way you’re going to have a problem seeing what’s in front of you.

Running on four lithium ion batteries, the beam is wide enough to cover everything in your periphery, so you won’t trip over anything in your path. It has five different brightness settings (ranging from 80 to 1800 lumens) and 3 strobe settings (flash, SOS and beacon).

This is one of the strongest lights available, with a beam that pretty much will illuminate everything in your way. Not only is it suitable for more adventurous riders and off road trails, but to use during the day just to be noticed better. The strength of the beam will even help other bikers and cars notice you during the day.

If you’re willing to shell a little extra money for a great quality headlamp that’s designed to last, then this is the one for you as it is an excellent item.

PROS:

  • Incredibly strong
  • Great illumination
  • Very durable 

CONS:

  • Very pricey
  • For more advanced riders 

Related: The Thorfire Taillight is a very cool item that can be bought with this and any other bike lights. It is USB rechargeable and very easy to spot during nighttime.

Check the price on Amazon

Niterider Lumina 550 Bike Light Niterider Lumina 550 Bike Light

Price: $60 – $120 

Lumens: 550 

Weight: 5.6 oz 

Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.5 x 7.9 in

Specific features: USB rechargeable, handlebar swivel mount, illuminated power switch, 18-hour battery time.

Best use: All terrain. 

Description: Affordability may be what you’re going for, and you’ll get a lot of great value from this headlamp. The NiteRider Lumina 550 Bike Light is affordable, but still durable enough to take any licks your biking trip may have.

For its price, the beam is pretty strong and wide enough to cover most of your field of view. The slide-on mount makes it very easy for you to mount your headlamp, and to remove it as well.

Its light weight, makes it very easy to take with you, and its small size means it can fit into the pocket of any backpack. NiteRider makes it easy for you to find an affordable bike light that won’t break on your first biking trip. On top of that, add the fact that this light is pretty strong, making it an affordable and ideal object to use on off road trails or more adventurous rides. You can use it even in places where illumination is bad and it will work out fine.

PROS:

  • Affordable price
  • Very strong for the size and weight
  • All terrain use 

CONS:

  • Durability can be a concern
  • Battery life isn’t great 

Related: The LED Safety Lights are the ideal taillights to buy with this or any other bike lights. Buy the package, which includes three, in order to make sure that you will be visible to other riders and cars during night.

Check the price on Amazon

Light & Motion TAZ 1200 Bike Light Light & Motion TAZ 1200 Bike Light

Price: Approx. $130 

Lumens: 1200 

Weight: 12 oz 

Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.5 x 7.2 in

Specific features: 6 lighting modes (low, medium, high, race high, race low, pulse, flash), GoPro mount, micro USB charging cable, mount pad for larger handlebars, foam grip strips, waterproof, battery indicator, impact resistant.

Best use: All terrain. 

Description: Worried about those large battery packs that take up too much space and add too much weight to your gear? It will no longer be a concern for you, as this Light & Motion Taz 1200 Bike Light is designed to be so small and charge so quickly that the external battery fits into the palm of your hand.

The manufacturer understands what it means to travel light and have what you need without the inconvenience of extra weight. It only takes four hours to charge, and you’ll have a bright luminosity in no time.

Some have considered this little light to be as strong as the headlamp of a motorcycle, so you know that’s bright. It also comes with an amber light on each side so you’re always visible, even to those who aren’t in front of you. This is one of the best lights, if not the best, for those who are more adventurous riders. Sure, it is a bit pricier than others, but the luminosity, strength and durability of this item make it ideal to use on off-road trails.

PROS:

  • Incredible strength
  • Luminosity is fantastic
  • Durable 

CONS:

  • Pricey 

Related: The Park Tool Adjustable Torque Rider is commonly bought with this and other lights. It is a handy tool that will help you screw, unscrew and perform other common bike repairing tasks.

Check the price on Amazon

Cygolite Metro 360 USB Bicycle Headlight Cygolite Metro 360 USB Bicycle Headlight

Price:  Approx. $60 

Lumens: 4 x 360 Lumen LEDs

Weight: 4.8 oz

Dimensions: 1.7 x 5.1 x 5.5 in

Specific features: 6 light modes (low, medium, high, steady pulse, day lighting, and walking), 10-hour run time on a single charge, water resistant, USB rechargeable, charging cable, lock-tite handlebar mount. 

Best use: All terrain. 

Description: The Cygolite Metro 360 USB Bicycle Headlight is another affordable light you should add to your list. This durable product ensures that you always have the bright light that you need when you’re biking at night, offering a wide beam and side illumination so that you can stay safe.

It’s easy to snap on to your handlebar and is guaranteed to stay in place. Not enough the toughest jostles will wiggle it loose.

For this price, the Metro 360 illuminates as much as 136 meters ahead of you, so that’s something to be impressed about. As a matter of fact, amongst the lights, this is one of the most powerful. The 360 lumens are quite a lot, and the light itself illuminates a lot, which means it isn’t only a city light, but it can be used also in other places, such as off road tracks, for more adventurous riders.

It’s a perfect bike light for those who are shopping on a budget, since it has such an affordable price.

PROS:

  • Strong illumination of 136 meters
  • Very affordable 

CONS:

  • Durability is a concern 

Related: The Hotshot Rechargeable Taillight is the perfect item to buy alongside this bike light. With the Hotshot you will be able to add a safety feature to you bicycle for nighttime and eve daytime ride, as you will be noticeable much easily.

Check the price on Amazon

Knog Blinder 4 Dots Headlight Knog Blinder 4 Dots Headlight

Price: $140 – $200 

Lumens: 80 

Weight: 4.8 oz 

Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.5 x 3.1 in

Specific features: Waterproof, USB charging, 5 different light modes (Steady, Fast Flash,Organic Flash 1, Organic Flash 2, Eco flash), 3 hours of run time on constant; 50 on flash mode, battery indicator, metal housing, silicone backing.

Best use: City use 

Description: This Knog Blinder 4 Dots Headlight is so small, you’ll have no problems packing it away in your backpack.

It’s a handy device that can be strapped on easily onto the handlebar of your bike, and provides a lot of illumination for such a tiny package. Nonetheless, the Lumens are only 80, and despite providing a good amount of light, this is not suitable for off road dusk or night time rides. For that you will need better and stronger lights, and hopefully more than one.

The strap is completely adjustable too, so you’ll never have to worry about it fitting your model of bike. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a charging cable, but because it uses USB, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a cable lying around to power it up for you. On top of that, it runs or 3 straight hours, which is a good battery life, and it charges quickly enough.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Has 5 different light modes, which come in handy depending where you are and at what time of the day
  • Has a USB rechargeable feature

CONS:

  • Not very powerful
  • Pricey 

Related: The Light & Motion Vis Taillight is the ideal add-on to this light. It will perfectly complement your bike illumination, with a light at the back easily noticeable by cars and other cyclists.

Check the price on Amazon

Light & Motion VIS 360 Plus Light Light & Motion VIS 360 Plus Light

Price: Approx. $150

Lumens: 250

Weight: 4.64 oz

Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 8 in

Specific features: 3 lighting settings (medium, high and pulse), 3-16 hour run time (depending on mode), micro USB charging cable, built-in tail light, side lights, easy and fast attachment.

Best use: City use 

Description: If you’re looking for the perfect helmet light that isn’t too expensive, you could consider the Light & Motion Vis 360 Plus Light. You can attach it to your helmet quite easily, and even features a taillight so that you’re noticed by people behind you.

That’s perfect for avoiding accidents and injuries from occurring, especially if you’re traveling in a group. And with the light strapped to your helmet, it moves with you so you can see what’s around you wherever you look.

This product is so useful that it’s also perfect for riding your bike in your area, as the sidelights help drivers to notice you more easily. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the Lumens and the strength of this light do not make it suitable to be riding off the beaten tracks. This is exclusively a light for city or better, neighborhood use.

Another excellent features, is the fact that it is waterproof. This increases the durability of the product, as it is at less risk of getting damaged. Plus, it means that if you ever get caught under the rain going for a ride, nothing bad will happen to the light, instead you will be able to turn it on for safety.

PROS:

  • Waterproof feature
  • Has a 360 degree movement feature for better lighting and for being noticed

CONS:

  • Not very powerful
  • Not ideal to use outside cities

Related: The Knog Blinder 4 Circle is a good add-on to buy alongside the light. It is an additional light that can be added to your bicycle in order to have much better visibility, it for others to notice you better.

Check the price on Amazon

Nightrider Lumina 700 Headlight Nightrider Lumina 700 Headlight

Price: Approx. $150

Lumens: 700

Weight: 10.4 oz

Dimensions: 2.1 x 5.1 x 7.5 in

Specific features: Helmet and handlebar mounts, USB charging cable, 6-hour charge time, 5 lighting modes (walk, low, medium, high, and flashing), water resistant.

Best use: All terrain

Description: Versatility is key in selling a product that appeals to more people. This NightRider Lumina 700 Headlight offers the option of mounting it to your helmet or your handlebar, so that you can have the light exactly where you need it.

Its lightweight design makes it easy for you to pack it away and carry it around, and won’t weigh you down when you ride.

The water resistant element means that you won’t have to worry about it malfunctioning when the weather starts to get rough, and can even help on those humid and foggier days when you really need to see what’s in front of you. This means that you can take it also on any adventure ride. If for example you decide to go bike riding in some dirt or off road track and it starts raining, this will help you guide your way through tougher tracks and conditions.

PROS:

  • 5 lighting modes
  • Water resistant
  • Helmet mount is extremely useful

CONS:

  • The brightness isn’t very powerful

Related: The Nightrider Helmet Mount Strap will help you keep the light in place when putting it on your helmet.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up 

Bike lights are more than just another accessory to consider when you’re mountain biking out in the wilderness. It could mean the difference between life and death, and should be considered a must-have on any cyclist’s list. Especially having the best bike lights possible can make a huge difference in safety and quality of the ride.

bike light in the dark

Even if you never plan to take your bike on a camping trip with you, these lights can offer plenty of benefits while riding in your own neighborhood. If you feel like a dusk or night ride, they will keep you safe as well as illuminating your path. Remember, on the road it’s not just about you seeing your path, but others noticing you too.

Have an interesting story about your bike light that you’d like to share with us? Feel like we’ve left out a few amazing products that need to be mentioned? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Foster

Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.