Tested: The Top Mountain Bike Lights
We’ve all been there: so enthralled by the excitement of an excursion that we continued to use daylight far beyond sunset. So the next time it occurs, be ready. Invest in a reliable Mountain Bike light and cycle light to assist you to see your home securely rather than relying on your phones or dim streetlights for illumination.
Our six top bike lights for road biking, trail riding, and other uses were chosen after we examined the finest bike lights offered at REI.
The Best Mountain Bike Light
Test Findings: Regardless of how you analyze the data, Light & Motion’s Vis Pro 1000 Trail Headlight comes out on top as our preferred choice. The headlight is small, light enough to illuminate both the road and trails, and it operates simply, which is why it remained placed on our testers’ bikes all day long, even during daylight hours. After enduring many soaking summer downpours to test its waterproof claim, several nights on shaky pavement to test its rubber mount, and a 6-foot plunge onto concrete, the Vis Pro 1000 got the highest accolade from our testers.
This little light has 1,000 lumens and can last up to 1 1/2 hours on high and up to 6 hours on low, so you should have more than enough time to go home before it gets dark. Alternately, use an external portable battery bank to power the headlight (not included). Regardless of whether the headlamp is installed on the handlebars or the (included) helmet mount, the cone-shaped inner reflector directs light where it is needed.
Road-riding test subjects valued the red side lights that provide drivers lateral view. While riding, several people, however, wished the battery-indicator light was more obvious. The bike light flashes to warn you of impending cutoff when you are severely low on juice (you have to swivel the light on your bars to see whether it is time to power down and preserve energy).
It is simpler with a quick-release attachment since you may maintain the rubber mounting strap on your handlebars while charging. But take notice of how little the rubber mounting strap is. This light won’t initially fit if your handlebars are broader than the typical 31.8 mm diameter. A lockout mode is a nice feature that stops the light from accidently going on while it’s in your bag or when it’s not in use.
Conclusion: The Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail offers ample battery life for most cyclists, is bright enough to light up singletrack, features flashers that are safe for use in traffic and are low-profile for road riders. The headlight secured a space on our handlebars that is almost always there.
650 miles were covered by bike.
Vermont is the testing state
Best testing story: According to one tester, a “casual road ride” evolved into a “all-out death march” with rain, a flat tire, and far more elevation than she had expected. But since I hadn’t bothered to take the Vis Pro 1000 Trail light off, I wasn’t concerned about getting home before it became dark when the going got rough.
Most Affordable Mountain Bike Light
Test Results: Give a light to a seasoned cyclist who cycles almost every day of the week to gauge its dependability and, in turn, worth. Our tester in Swampscott, Massachusetts, put the NiteRider Lumina 1000 through its paces over the course of six weeks, clocking an outstanding 1,300 miles and 100 hours. He gives the headlamp credit for steadfastly illuminating the path despite downpours, road grit, thunderstorms, fog, and wet, sloppy conditions thanks to its strong watertight seal, durable mounting mechanism, and fiberglass reinforced nylon housing. (Bonus: A lifetime guarantee from NiteRider covers any flaws in the product’s materials, craftsmanship, mechanical parts, and LEDs.)
The light also passed our value test for what reason? The Lumina 1000 has a good cash-to-lumen ratio, costing $100 for 1,000 lumens. the widely dispersed, uniform beam generated by collimator optics (a collimator basically makes pointy light sources into a parallel beam). The Lumina 1000’s considerable illumination of the road’s border and the sidewalk allowed our tester to remain visible enough for oncoming traffic. One drawback? Although we believe that this light is the finest value in our series, it lacks side visibility lights.
Our tester also liked that the standard mount is designed to fit a broad variety of handlebar widths and shapes and that it was simple to remove the light for charging.
Bottom Line: Choose the NiteRider Lumina 1000 Boost if you need a strong light that is dependable and offers great value for the money.
Bike distance: 1,300 kilometers
Tested states include Massachusetts
Best testing story: Our tester liked the Lumina 1000’s ability to set swift splits both during the day and at night when competing on a bicycle. I don’t feel the need to pause or slow down since the light is so strong and the covering is so extensive.
Mountain Bike Light: The Best
Even a slight depth-perception error may send you flying off-track or, worse, over the bars while you’re blasting down a mountain bike route in poor light. Therefore, only the largest, finest, and brightest singletrack will do when it comes to dark or tree-covered singletrack. A light saber-style torch with a maximum output of—you guessed it—2,500 lumens is the Light & Motion Seca 2500.
The Seca 2500 has four LED lamps providing a steady, consistent beam that can light a large area of the landscape (three with cone-shaped reflectors above and one oval-shaped frosted bulb below). Although the Seca does have a few limitations, one tester described it to be “the largest, brightest, and baddest light in this whole test.” He is not mistaken. The first drawback is the cost. Second, a large battery pack that is connected to the lamp by a 4-foot line serves as its power source. The large, heavy-duty hook-and-loop strap was nonetheless deemed by testers to be reliable enough to attach the battery pack to the top tube. The headlamp is also lighter thanks to the design, which is preferable for putting on a helmet. (If you’d like a cordless version, have a look at the NiteRider Lumina Dual Beam 1800.)
Another concern that testers never brought up was battery life. One test subject, who freely acknowledges that he “awful at remembering to charge things in general,” claims that he “didn’t even understand that the button on top checked battery life since I never needed to worry about running out.” It’s surprising that he wasn’t battery-obsessed: The Seca supposedly operated for 2 and a half hours at maximum brightness, five hours at medium, ten hours on low power, and twenty hours in flash mode.
The “racing mode,” which enables you quickly switch between high and medium power with a single touch, was also highly applauded by our testers. This convenient no-fumbling feature is especially helpful if you ride with the light placed on your helmet.
Conclusion: The Light & Motion Seca 2500 is a wonderful option for mountain cyclists since it offers the broadest, deepest, and longest-lasting beam of the lot as well as a simple connection method and helmet mount.
200 miles were covered by bike.
Tested states: Vermont
The Seca 2500 tester who saw the deer crossing the route in front of him said, “I lit up a deer crossing the trail in front of me with this light and it actually froze. I assume the animal couldn’t distinguish the difference between automobile headlights and this—that it’s bright.”
Mountain Bike Light’s Best Bike Light
Being seen is just as crucial to road riding as seeing. Because of this, our testers gave high marks to this cheap Bontrager kit that comes with a headlight and a taillight. The headlight, the Ion Elite R, pours out 1,000 lumens and can operate for up to six hours on low, providing plenty of time for commuters and road riders who can recharge in between usage.
However, even while our testers loved the Ion Elite R’s diffused beam on rocky singletrack, it truly shined over San Francisco’s congested streets with the city’s characteristic rain and fog. Bontrager says that the Ion Elite R’s attention-grabbing daytime visibility flash can be seen from 1.24 miles away (we didn’t test this claim, but it doesn’t sound ludicrous). The Flare R City, a rear flashing light that increases visibility without dazzling other cyclists, is connected with the headlamp. While he acknowledged that the Ion R felt fairly large on his handlebars, our tester appreciated the security and how simple it was to remove it during a foggy, early-morning ride from San Francisco to Mountain View. He felt “confident that I could see the road, not distract the other riders, and be clearly seen by cars.” It has a quick-connect mount that fits 35mm bars and above.
Our San Francisco-based tester has used this light for two years, and despite some customer reviews complaining that it doesn’t keep a charge well, it is still charging admirably and lighting up his rides.
Conclusion: For commuters and road cyclists who need to see and be seen, the Bontrager Ion Elite R and Flare R City bike light pair is ideal.
Bike distance: 75 kilometers
Test results from California
The best test case had a rider who put the Ion Elite R’s durability to the test. He claims, “While testing the light, I wrecked my mountain bike.” “I definitely should have had some coffee before getting up early to ride before work on my favorite path in the city. My knee was really badly messed up, but the light was perfect. Bike was OK as well. No, my ego wasn’t.
Top performer alternative for Mountain Bike Light
Looking for a light for your helmet? Take a look at the bike light from Light & Motion Vis Pro Helmet, which allowed our testers to see around turns before the bike did. The headlight is flush to the front of your helmet and is kept lightweight thanks to a hook-and-loop attachment of the battery to the rear of your helmet. There are three brightness levels on the 600-lumen light (plus a pulse mode). You may increase your visibility to oncoming vehicles and other cyclists with the power pack’s integrated rear light and amber side lights. On singletrack or really dark roads, a helmet light like this works best in conjunction with a real handlebar-mounted lamp.
Top performer alternative for Mountain Bike Light
We advise using a light that is at least 1,000 lumens if you’re tearing through singletrack or taking part in 24-hour events. But for the brave bike path users, the cyclists who realized it was becoming dark quickly, and the people who wonder why so many lamps are out? “Men and women, you may just need a 600-lumen light like the Cygolite Dash Pro to travel home securely. And even if you may out-ride your beam if you’re moving at 20 mph in the dark, there is a lot to be said for the safety features this torch has during the daylight. Alternate between a steady, flashing, and lightning-like setting; side lights also assist you in securely navigating junctions. Nothing you don’t need, and everything you need. Buy this.
Advice on Buying Mountain Bike Light
Important elements including brightness, illumination settings, battery life, and the mounting mechanism should be taken into account when purchasing a new bike light. Find out more about selecting a light for your bike.
Many Mountain Bike Light types
High-output lighting systems are recommended for use while riding trails after dark, in poor lighting conditions, or inclement weather. These lights, which come in front and rear versions, provide the most lighting and are often rechargeable. Although they are often more costly, they may often assist you see where you’re going on the road or path. This description applies to each of the lights we evaluated.
Safety bike lights: In the meantime, safety bike lights (front, side, and rear) let others see you in low light. The brightest ones also increase your daylight visibility. However, for the majority of nighttime driving, safety lights aren’t bright enough to assist you see where you’re going. Consider the quantity of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the mounting style, and whether rechargeable or disposable batteries are used when comparing safety light types.
Make sure you use a headlight as well as side and rear safety lights for the best lighting. Like the Bontrager Ion Elite R and Flare R City Bike Light Set, many bike lights are offered in sets.
Shininess and lumens
It’s crucial to measure lumens while looking for a bike light. Lumens are, after all, the simplest unit to use to calculate the total amount of light that a light source emits. Brighter lights often have higher lumen counts. If you’re planning to put a light through its paces on singletrack or routinely ride the roads at night, we normally suggest at least 1,000 lumens (you’ll often find the lumen count in the light’s name, or product specifications). The Light & Motion Seca 2500 Enduro Front Bike Light has 2,500 lumens of light for optimum brightness. Meantime, the 1,000-lumen threshold was reached by the Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail, Bontrager Ion Elite R and Flare R City Bike Light Set, and NiteRider Lumina 1000 Boost Front Bike Light.
Although lumen production is crucial, being seen is just as vital as being seen. During a night ride, most cyclists will come across other vehicles or bicycles, therefore it’s important to think about how visible you are from the rear and sides. (In this article, we primarily examined high-output headlights; nevertheless, for optimal lighting, you should also take back and side lights into account.)
Mountain Bike Light sources
The majority of lights include a number of settings that enable you choose between steady and flashing modes as well as low, medium, or high brightness levels. An eye-catching pulse (either constant or random) is produced by a flashing light, which consumes less battery power than a steady beam. The daytime flashing pattern on each of the six lights we evaluated helps to keep you visible and safe throughout the daytime. Look for a light that also provides lateral visibility, such as the Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail, the Bontrager Ion Elite R and Bontrager Flare R City, or the Light & Motion Vis Pro, if you regularly ride in cross-traffic.
Mountain Bike Light Battery power
However, the battery life is another crucial factor to take into account since a bright light is only as good as the battery powering it. The kind of battery, system power, and LED type used in the light all affect how long it will last on a charge. The majority of bike lights, including our top six recommendations, utilize lithium ion rechargeable batteries because they provide exceptional power for their weight.
Consider a light that produces less lumens but operates longer if you require brightness and battery life. The Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail was bright enough for most tasks and had adequate battery life for most evening rides, according to our testing. Try the Light & Motion Seca 2500, which is our top choice for 24-hour races or persons who need to run their light at full blast for as long as possible, if you need to truly brighten the night for extended periods of time (about 2.5 hours on high, but up to 20 in lower modes). The battery life is specified in the product specifications for the light’s flashing, low, and high modes.
Headlights attach to your helmet or handlebars. The ability to guide a spotlight placed on a helmet by rotating your head is one advantage. Some mountain bikers and cyclists in metropolitan areas with low lighting choose to use both a handlebar light and a helmet light. You should think about use both kinds while trail riding at night. A helmet-mounted light will thus be the most adaptable if you’re riding on tight routes and simply utilizing one light. A headlight and rear light are provided by the Bontrager Ion Elite R and Flare R City Bike Light Set.
Meanwhile, rear safety lights may often be installed on a seatpost or rear rack, or they can be clipped to a pack, bike bag, or pocket.
To improve side visibility, side safety lights may be put on spokes or, if in a tube or string, wrapped around your frame.
How the light attaches to your handlebars or helmet is something else to take into account (and some do both). To ensure that the mounting system fits your handlebar or helmet, check the specifications. The finest lights, like all of the ones shown here, connect securely to your bars without scratching or harming them while yet being very simple to remove for charging.
Legislation governing bicycle lights
Federal laws and consumer safety standards mandate that all bicycles meant for use on the road be sold with a combination of reflectors. Typically, bicycles must have a colorless front reflector, reflectors on the back and front sides of the pedals, and a red reflector on the rear. But other than those reflectors, bicycles are not mandated to be marketed with lights. However, while riding, it’s a good idea to make sure you can see and be seen by others.
Is it prohibited to bike without a light in specific situations or at night? Check the relevant state and local legislation. Many states mandate that bicycles used after dark or in low-light situations have white lights that can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
16 bike lights from REI were put to the test by our team of 14 testers. The riders pedaled the roads from California to Vermont, tearing up singletrack, honing their cyclocross techniques, and clocking more than 4,500 miles and many taxing hours.
Brightness, battery life, durability, mounting options, and general use were taken into consideration while assigning each light a score out of 100.
In our test, the lights shown here earned the best results. The Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail (97), which won best in class, was praised for its adaptability and ability to satisfy the demands of the majority of cyclists seeking to ride at night. The NiteRider Lumina 1000 Boost (93) received plaudits for its exceptional price-to-lumen ratio and value. For mountain biking in poor light, the Light & Motion Seca 2500 Enduro (90) is ranked as the brightest choice currently available. Last but not least, the Cygolite Dash Pro 600 (80), Light & Motion Vis Pro Helmet Bike Light (83) and Bontrager Ion Elite R / Flare R City Bike Light Set (85) all received good marks in at least one category, placing them among our top performers.