Updated on October 10th, 2018
When you buy a car, you will get the lights already fitted, and you do not need to do much when trying to replace them as you can just get one with similar specifications.
This is not the case when it comes to bike lights as one needs to select the lights depending on several factors carefully.
You will come across several models on the market, and it is vital to know how to choose the most reliable one.
Luckily, we have put together an extensive guide that will take you through some important aspects regarding bike lights and help you to find the best one for you.
What Do You Want?
This is a primary question that you should ask yourself before buying any light and it can be broken down into whether you want to see or to be seen.
Bikes are not very huge machines and it is easy to pass them, something that can be of great risk to the owner. Lights that are installed for you to see with have a greater brightness and larger battery.
They are also designed with a narrow beam angle to enable them to look into the distance. The lights that are used for you to be seen have a focus on being seen from more angles with features such as side illumination and wide beam.
Before you even look into anything else, you need to know the types of lights you are shopping for. In some cases, you might need to have all these lights installed on your bicycle.
1. The Basic Differences
Bikes are used for various applications, and these dictate that their lights be different to suit the specific needs. Riding on the road and off-road riding require varying approaches to lights.
If you look at the way people ride on the road, they do it in straight lines as there are minimal obstacles along the way and the most suitable light should be one that focuses straight ahead.
Off-road riding is different since it is not done in a straight line and one might require a light with a broader beam to illuminate the entire area and enable you to see all the rocks and other obstacles that are close to you.
2. Factors To Consider When Selecting Bike Lights
Depending on your application, it is vital to look into a couple of factors that will help you to determine the best bike lights for you. Read on and find out;
Brightness in bike lights will be usually described by the lumens, and while this does not give an explicit description, it offers a great place to start off from. It is plain simple; the more lumens a light has, the brighter a light will be.
It has been mentioned that this is not an exclusive description but with all the other factors affecting the brightness held constant, the more lumens a light has, the brighter it will be. You will come across lights with lumen counts of between 30 and slightly above 2000.
Well, you cannot just pick the brightest lights that you find in the stores as you should be concerned about other commuters.
You need to find a light that is bright enough to illuminate your way but not too bright that it blinds other commuters during the day and at night. If you settle on a light with a high lumen count, ensure that you tilt it downwards so that it is not directly pointed towards the other road users’ eyes.
You could also have two sets of lights so that you turn the brighter one down when you are approaching traffic and leave the other one in flashing mode.
Mounting is not a big issue as most of the lights you will come across will easily mount on the handlebars and seat posts. However, those bikes with unique bars will make the mounting of these lights more complicated.
You will secure your lights with a Velcro which is a screw that tightens the bracket around the bar. You could also use a rubber band to attach the light and make it more rigid.
When analyzing your options, ensure that you find a light that can fit naturally on your bike and you won’t have to worry about it falling off when riding.
5. Power Source
Today, you will come across lights that have rechargeable batteries, but you cannot miss out the ones that use disposable batteries.
It is better to opt for the ones with rechargeable batteries since you do not have to spend a lot of money buying the ones that cannot be recharged. Some of the high-power lights require extra-large battery packs, and you need to have a mounting that can hold both the light and battery pack.
If you already have other things such as a GPS computer mounted on the bike already, it might be difficult to have more room for extra batteries, and you will be forced to carry them separately. In a nutshell, the higher the light capacity and requirement, the larger the batteries will be.
6. Run Time
This gives an approximation of the time that a light will last from the moment it will be fully charged to when it will be flat.
Ensure to look at these times and understand that they have a direct correlation with the amount of light produced for each. It is always wise to get a light with a relatively long runtime so that you do not have to charge it now and then.
Bike lights from Outbound Lighting come at varying prices, and you need to set a budget before you even begin shopping for one.
Your price range will limit the options you have to pick from, and this will help you to pick the most suitable one for your bike quickly.
Note that you need to do some research before setting a budget as putting one that is too low can limit you to the low-end lights that might not be very suitable for you.