As the days become shorter and the cold sets in, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your trusty steed for those wet and windy winter miles. That means dusting off the mudguards, reinstalling the gatorskins on your rims, and, probably most significantly, investing in a nice bike light to guide you securely through the darkness.
During the colder, darker months, bike lights are crucial gear. They not only keep bikers safe and visible in low-light settings but can also increase the number of rideable hours in the day.
Best Bike Lights 2023
The finest bike lights are much better than they used to be, thanks to improved designs, better materials, and, most importantly, more lighting available from the many options available. Choosing a bike light is also much easier, as evidenced by our selection of the top lights below, all of which offer a plethora of features and functions.
Apart from allowing you to see where you’re going and, more significantly, being seen by others, a set of bike lights is also a legal necessity in many nations for motorcyclists. Because of advancements in bike light design, many models, such as our examples, can now provide both a steady light and a flash.
Having a light with an intermittent beam makes you considerably more visible, which is a big plus no matter what country or area you’re riding in. That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the greatest bike light feature set because a new set of bike lights will be brighter and more efficient than your old ones.
Read on to learn more about the best bike lights to buy :
Lezyne Hecto Drive 400XL
- 400 Lumens Brightness
- Many Modes for Maximum Battery Life
- Integrated USB Charging
With the latest version of its Hecto Drive, Lezyne takes the urban night ride title from former chart-topper Light and Motion, thanks to substantially longer battery life and a flatter, more balanced profile.
Battery technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, and this latest model from Lezyne takes advantage of a Li-Poly setup to provide up to 17.5 hours of illumination at its lowest power level. It’s easy to assemble, with a simple rubber strap that fits most handlebar designs, and the easy-to-remove base is ideal for tucking into a bag when not in use.
It is made of heat-dissipating CNC machined aluminum and is built to last, though we have seen other models made of sturdier materials, so we wouldn’t recommend dumping it under a bus. But we’d never recommend something like that.
The integrated USB charging stick is a fantastic feature that eliminates the need for a charging connection. Still, it does imply that you’ll need to choose an external battery carefully if you ever wish to charge while riding. It may also be difficult to plug directly into a laptop or wall socket, so consider purchasing a male-to-female USB lead.
Beryl Laserlight Core
- 400 Lumens Brightness
- Good Battery Life on Lower LED Settings
- Up to 13 Hours Battery Life
- Bright Light
This light is the replacement for the Blaze Laserlight – due to a legal snafu, Blaze is now Beryl (it’s a long story), and this ‘Core’ version of the light is greatly improved over the original.
The Blaze – sorry, Beryl – combines a standard, max 400-lumen LED light with a green laser, which shoots the image of a bike approximately 2m in front of you as you ride, as seen on London’s fleet of on-street hire bikes (the ones with docks, not the ones that end up in the Thames or on fire). This attracts the attention of other road users more successfully than light or you shouting “gerroutathefugginway.”
This one is much lighter, better balanced, and easier to attach than the original, and it has a significantly longer battery life. With a flashing LED and flashing laser on, you’ll receive up to 13 hours of illumination, which we found to be plenty. If you absolutely must have a continuous, non-flashing light and laser, the time is reduced to just 1.5 hours. Thankfully, charging via micro USB is quick and simple.
Thousand Traveller Light
- 250 Lumens Brightness
- Magnetic Mounting
- Compact Stylish Design
- Three illumination Modes
Thousand is a hip American brand recognized for its retro-style bicycle helmets. The forward-thinking company has now expanded into bike lights, such as the Thousand Traveller Light, which is available in both front and rear variants. You can buy them as a pair or separately, depending on your needs and what you already have.
However, they look great when paired together if you’re searching for a continuous theme. They surely compete favorably with the best bike lights available right now.
These two lights may appear retro but are also functional, with the front one giving 250 peaks Lumen performance. Meanwhile, the rear one has a maximum Lumen of 80. Both come with everything you need to get started, including rechargeable batteries and a USB cord that can charge each light to 100% in less than two hours.
Knog Blinder Road Lights
- 400 Lumens Brightness
- Cool Looks
- Bright LEDs
- Easy to Mount
The Knog Blinder bike lights are more appealing than normal bike lights. Knog, an Australian firm, offers a unique take on bike lighting in the same way that Thousand, a quirky US maker, does with the Thousand Traveller.
The Knog Blinder Road 400 and, more recently, the Knog Blinder R-150 Road Rear are two of their most recent offerings. These two provide plenty of illumination, with 400 Lumens on the front and 150 Lumens on the back. On top of that, you get a sleek, attractive, and unquestionably functional design and build that should last a long time.
While the Knog Blinder Road 400 provides adequate illumination, those looking for even more light on the road can select for the Knog Blinder in a 600 Lumen form, which is much brighter.
Biolight Headlamp 425
- Up to 60 Hours Battery Life
- Powerful Beam
- Moisture-Wicking Fabric
- Just 78 Grams
BioLite’s tried-and-true ‘Goldilocks’ headlamp has been upgraded with several new features. The most recent model offers some useful design modifications, including a larger front button that is considerably easier to use on the fly. There’s also a newer back battery that’s slimmer than previous versions.
You also benefit from the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of USB-C charging. The light may run for up to 60 hours when fully charged on the low setting. Even better, there’s a handy one-hour reserve mode, so you can still get home after dark even if you haven’t charged the light as frequently as you should.
The light has a front profile of approximately 10mm and weighs only 78 grams, making it ideal for laying flush on your brow without being bothersome. The moisture-wicking fabric also keeps you cool and dry, which is a plus.
Cateye Volt 6000
- 6000 Lumens Brightness
- Up to 12 Hours Battery Life
- Remote Mode Switch
- The Brightest Light Money Can Buy
We couldn’t avoid including this massive beast of a front lamp because it produces a mind-boggling 6000 lumens, enough to turn a farmer’s track at midnight into a summer day in California.
The Cateye Volt 6000 is designed for extreme endurance racing and comes with its own unique remote control, which is likewise rechargeable and lasts about two months before needing to be plugged in.
The remote may switch between modes, ranging from full 6,000 lumen brightness for one hour to a more sedate 500-lumen all-night bulb. The Volt 6000 is just too powerful and expensive for a normal urban commute. It also requires an external battery, which can only be charged and drained about 300 times before performance degrades.
Garmin Varia UT800
- 800 Lumens Brightness
- Up to 20 Hours Battery Life
- Tech Adjusts Lights Based on Speed
- Connects to Garmin Ecosystem
This is near the cutting edge of headlamp technology and is ideal for individuals who prefer Lycra and speed. In short, the faster you go, the brighter the Varia UT800 will be, but you must be a member of the Garmin ecosystem of cycling computers and sensors to receive the full effect.
For properly outfitted people, the Varia and its rear siblings readily sync with the latest Edge computers and use GPS speed to automatically alter the headlight’s beam’s strength. It will also turn on and off automatically when the computer is started or shut down.
It’s visible in daylight from more than a mile away, and its slim and lightweight design ensures it won’t interfere with your expensive road bike’s precisely designed aero advantages.
Cygolite Metro 400
- Bright Beam
- Great Value
- Quality and Portability
While not a high-scoring light, the Metro 400 provides adequate brightness for the price. It’s simple to charge and quick to go on and off the handlebars.
The 1.7-hour battery life is relatively short, necessitating frequent removal of the light from the handlebars. While not a major hassle, it is more complicated than the Light and Motion Urban 350. While the battery life on the 350 is even shorter, it is faster and easier to remove from the handlebars to charge. Both lights have comparable street prices. Choose the 350 if you value beam quality and portability. Choose the Metro 400 for maximum brightness.
Exposure Strada SL
- 900 Lumens Brightness
- Up to 36 Hours Battery Life
- Superb Build Quality
- Powerful Enough for Unlit Roads and Trails
The Exposure Strada SL has a maximum output of 900 lumens, which is powerful enough to illuminate dark country roads. In fact, for the majority of riders, this is all the illumination they’ll ever need. Furthermore, the Strada SL features a road-specific beam pattern and emits a spread of light meant to provide maximum illumination while not dazzling other road users.
The Strada SL offers seven settings in total, including a daylight flashing option, with a battery life that ranges from two to 36 hours. It’s also a clever piece of kit, with the rear display showing how much burn time is available for your chosen mode and additional traffic light-colored LEDs.
There’s no denying that the Strada SL is expensive, even for a 900-lumen light, but what distinguishes Exposure’s design is the build quality. The CNC-machined unit is beautifully polished and has a high-quality quick-release bracket. It is made in the United Kingdom.
Bontrager Ion 200 and Flare RT Set
- Great Visibility
- Can be Controlled from a Cycling Computer
- Good for Day Time
The 200-lumen Ion 200 RT (front) and Flare RT (rear) daytime lights carry a lot of punch for such little lights—Bontrager claims they’re visible from 1.25 miles away. They’re also the most user-friendly lights on this list, with various steady and flash modes and the ability to control them from your riding computer. The Ion’s rubber straps attach tool-free to practically all handlebars, making it simple to remove or change to another bike. Depending on where it is mounted, the light can also be rotated to be better orientated.
It’s a pricey set, but it’s built to last. The taillight clip is tilted to match your seat tube angle, reflecting the light straight back rather than slightly downward, and the USB charging outlet has an IPX7 classification, which means it can be submerged in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. When withdrawing the light from the charger, make sure to slide the rubber charging port cover firmly back into place. In the event that you forget, road spray can enter the USB connector and short out the light.
Consider how much visibility the lights genuinely provide when choosing the best bicycle lights for you. This is especially true for tail lights; the ideal bicycle tail lights will provide ample side visibility in addition to rear visibility. And the best tail lights have multiple modes — from constant light to flashing and a combination of the two — to ensure you’re visible both during the day and at night.
Most importantly, the greatest bicycle light is one that you will actually use. Make sure the one you choose is easy to install, simple to use, and small enough that you won’t mind taking it with you on even the shortest travels.
Are 1000 Lumens Good for a Bike Light?
1000+ lumens: If you’re riding on country roads at night, you’ll need a light with more than 1000 lumens to ride confidently. If you’re going off-road at night, you’ll want to be as bright as possible. The on-road bike lights will have a bright beam that will illuminate a large area in front of you.
What are the Best Lumens for a Bike Light?
Cyclists traveling in well-lit regions should use a light with a brightness rating of 100 or 200. Anywhere from 200 to 600 lumens is ideal, particularly for commuters. A larger lumen count is required if you are riding through unlit areas and need to boost visibility.
Is Flashing Bike Light Better?
The flashing light was found to be considerably superior on straight roads, allowing the detection of the rider from three times the distance of the constant light. On average, this resulted in detection 82m earlier.