With the summer solstice nearing a close, we’re all dreading the bitterly cold winter and darkness it brings. The squeeze of trying to ride your bike in daylight, and commuting in the dark.
However, winter doesn’t have to create havoc with your stress responses or provide you with worry about the darkness, because these days bike lights are top notch and are almost as good as car headlights in our opinion.
Copious amounts of research and modifications have gone into lights in the last decade, which includes the switch to LED bulbs to create brighter lights and the technology to increase battery life.
When to use lights
- See or Be Seen? Your first question should be – do you want to be seen, or do you want to be able to see? This will vary the strength of the lights you require and the cost. Although, it doesn’t harm to have the brightest lights you can get hold of, at some stage you might require them to be able to see.
- Always On: During the darker and colder months of the year, you really want to have lights on your bike all the time – front and rear – because sadly, it’s better safe than sorry!
- Always With You: You don’t want to get caught out or delayed at work without lights. Also, with the light falling on the roads in different ways, cars might see you a bit later, potentially risking an accident. We as a team actually have lights on our bikes most of the time, unless racing, because what harm does it do?
- Fully Charged: You should also try to make sure they’re always charged.
- Front & Rear: We’d always recommend trying to get hold of both front and rear lights, but at the very least you need a rear light – whether that be a blinker light or solid one, something is better than nothing.
- Bargains: You can often buy a set of lights for £20. Don’t be afraid to search online shops for a bargain.
- Bontrager Ion 200 Flare RT
- Bontrager Ion Pro RT
- Gemini Titan 4000
- Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XL
- Blackburn Dayblazer 800
- Exposure Sirius MK9
- Exposure Strada 1200
- Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
- Hope R2i LED Vision
- Knog PWR Road
- Topeak Redlite Aero 1W
- Bontrager Flare R City
We’d say 200 lumen is the minimum brightness and that’s for commuting in an urban lit area. However, if you’re riding in unlit areas you’d need a minimum of 400 lumen and we’d actually recommend up to 1000 lumen plus.
You’d also need to think about how you’ll be mounting the lights. Some aero bikes won’t fit your standard mount and will need a dual mount with the GPS and others won’t fit certain seatposts. Lots of bike brands have their own mounting system, so make sure to enquire about that before purchasing lights – you don’t want the faff of having to return and reorder lights.
You can also get helmet mounted lights – great for the commuter, but only if your helmet allows it and fits snugly – to stop the light moving around. They’re also great as a second light for off road riding to light the way!
Lights are quite literally a life saver, a must and an easy resolution to darker days. We would always recommend riding with them on the bike, especially as conditions can change so quickly, but we would highly recommend their use in winter months especially.
Be seen, be safe and get home.