Best Mountain Bike Lights: Illuminate the Trail
Illuminate the path ahead with these bright mountain bike lights
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BY Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON October 15, 2020
If you’re an avid mountain biker or one that’s just starting out, you need the best equipment to get you through the day and night. Sometimes you will end up riding at night or in a dark forest, and having the best mountain bike light will help you see more clearly. It will also allow others to see you coming and can alert you to any dangerous obstacles that may lie ahead. Here are a few of the highest-rated mountain bike lights to consider for your next adventure.
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Benefits of Mountain Bike Lights
- Enhance your safety. As a cyclist, being visible while on the road is a top priority. The front and rear lights on your bike will allow other motorists to spot you easily, regardless of traffic conditions. Additionally, when riding at night or in bad weather conditions, the lights will help you see more clearly so you don’t run into dangerous obstacles.
- Ride in all conditions. If you commute to and from work while it is still dark, lights will enhance your visibility, making riding much more comfortable. With a mountain bicycle light installed, riding from a late-night adventure will also be convenient, since you can traverse those dark shortcuts with ease. Also, when the weather changes and your visibility is limited, bike lights will allow you to deal with such conditions comfortably.
- Fewer ride restrictions. Before installing mountain bike lights, there are places where you would avoid to ride due to poor visibility. However, you no longer have limitations when you have lights. You can confidently ride anywhere anytime if you install a quality bike headlamp.
Types of Mountain Bike Lights
Front lights are also known and headlamps and are specifically designed for mounting in front of the bike (mostly the handlebar). They throw a white beam, which makes it easy for you to see even when riding on dark roads. The white beam also makes it possible for you to be seen by other motorists. It is advisable to choose a front light with different beam patterns for different circumstances riding. For example, the wide beam pattern is for a wide-area illumination, while flashing mode makes it possible for you to be seen by other motorists.
These lights are located at the back of the bike. Its primary purpose is to make you seen by other motorists or oncoming traffic. The light usually throws a red beam, which is quite easy to spot even from a distance. The best bike light comes as a set of front light and red tail light.
Side Safety Lights
Sidelights are usually mounted on the side of the bike and they are basically for safety purposes. If you are riding in a highly concentrated road with pedestrians, this light ensures that everyone around can spot your presence. The laws in some states require a commuter to have amber side lights mounted on the pedals to allow other motorists to see you.
Wearable Lights and Helmet lights
These are designed to be attached mostly on your helmet, hence the name helmet lights. Their main purpose is to ensure you and your bike are visible while on the road. Additionally, helmet mount lights are more convenient, as they guarantee clear vision even as you turn. However, these types of light cannot be used as the primary source of illumination due to the fact that when you turn your head, the light turns with you.
NiteRider, Inc. Company
NiteRider was founded in 1989 with the goal of providing high quality and valuable lighting products. The company specializes in the production of bike lights and flashlights to ensure you have a clear vision for all outdoor adventures. With this brand, you are also sure that your ride lighting is secure even through harsh terrain. The company is best known for selling products such as the NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 Front Cycling Light.
Cygolite was founded by a group of engineers with cycling passion in 1991 in Irvine, Calif. Its first invention was blinking tail light, which was a huge success, and they later progressed to their first bicycle headlight. The company has a reputation in manufacturing and innovating high value and high-quality bicycle lighting systems. Some of their leading products include Cygolite Metro Pro and Cygolite Dash Pro.
CatEye specializes in manufacturing cycle computers, toe clips, reflectors, light, and other accessories. It was founded in early 1954 in Osaka, Japan and has since grown to be a top and reliable brand. Some of its best-selling products include CatEye AMPP500 Rechargeable Bike Headlight and Cateye Black Volt Front Road Bike Light .
As the name indicates, Bright Eyes is a company that specializes in lighting your path for a clear vision. Their main objective is to provide customers with reliable and affordable lighting systems for smooth rides through tough terrains. They are well-known for manufacturing all bike light accessories and flashlights for campers. This company’s best-selling products include Bright Eyes Fully Waterproof 1600 Lumen Rechargeable Mountain Bike Headlight and Bright Eyes 300 Lumen USB Rechargeable Water Resistant Bike Light.
Mountain Bike Lights Pricing
- Under $30: With this budget, the battery life is slightly lower, making it a challenge to ride for long periods. Most of them use disposable AA batteries. Although they have a lower light output, lights in this price range meet basic lighting requirements.
- $30-$50: Lights in this price range have higher lumens and can light up to a maximum of 400 yards. Most of them use rechargeable lithium batteries and they have enough light output for highway and off-road biking. Also, they have a higher battery life than cheaper lights. They are designed with a durable casing and are resistant to various weather conditions, such as water and dust.
- $50 and up: Apart from the high price range, the lights in this category are worth your investment. They come with a long-life guarantee and use reliable rechargeable lithium batteries. They have multiple lighting modes for enhanced comfort and safety in various terrains. Additionally, these lights are water-resistant, dustproof, and shockproof, making them the best bike lights for a safe and comfortable night ride.
Battery Run Time and Rechargeability
This is an important consideration, as it determines how long you will keep the battery without replacing or recharging. Battery life depends on the light’s brightness and how often you use it. A mountain bike light with rechargeable batteries is slightly expensive, but it eliminates the hassle of replacing the batteries after a short while.
Number of Lights
It is essential to be aware of what you are buying beforehand. Some brands offer additional lights at the price of one, while others offer a rear light in the deal. Therefore, before making your final decision on which light to buy, ensure to check out what is in the box first.
Your riding terrain determines the type of beam required on your bike lighting. For instance, if you will be riding on rough surfaces, a wider beam is recommended, while narrow beams will help you cycle faster due to their ability to illuminate long distance.
Not all bike lights are convenient for rainy weather. Therefore, if you live in places with heavy rains or snow, water resistance is a feature worth considering. Ensuring that your light has a high resistance to weather conditions guarantees that you have a long-term investment.
- Ease of Installation. In case the light falls off while you are on the road, one that is easy to install can be quite helpful. A light that doesn’t require any tools to install makes it possible for you to quickly set it up anywhere.
- Durability. Durability is a critical consideration as far as mountain bike lights are concerned. It gives you an overview of what to expect in every investment. Durable lights are designed with a casing that is usually scratch-resistant, rust-resistant, dustproof, and impact-resistant.
- Versatility. Some bike lights can also be used as head torches or flashlights. Therefore, if you want to buy a light that has more than one uses, find one that is not permanently attached to the bike. In this case, a helmet light would be a great choice.
Best Mountain Bike Lights Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- To conserve the battery life of the mountain bike light, consider removing the batteries when it is not in use.
- Check the mounting system before and after each ride to make sure it hasn’t loosened. More strenuous terrain can loosen the bracket, causing the light to drop.
- While most mountain bike lights are waterproof, you want to make sure it is completely dry before charging it. This way you will avoid any potential fire hazard and prevent damaging the device.
- Avoid shining the light directly in someone’s eyes. Mountain bike lights are designed to be extremely bright to let you see the path at night. If someone else is ahead of you or passing you, try your best to avoid pointing it directly at his or her face.
Q: What type of batteries does a mountain bike light need?
A: That will depend on the type and brand of light you purchase. While many mountain bike lights will need AAA or AA batteries to power them due to their small size, others will require more robust lithium-ion batteries. These can range from 9V batteries to rechargeable ones. Make sure to check before you buy replacement batteries.
Q: Is it better to mount a mountain bike light to the handlebars or my helmet?
A: This depends on the style of riding you do and the rider’s preference. While the handlebars are a more stationary place to mount the light, it will still bounce around while you go over rough terrain. Mounting it on your helmet may give you a better field of vision because the light source is closer to your eyes. However, it may also move around more frequently as you move and bob your head.
Q: Can I strengthen or improve the mounting system to hold a mountain bike light in place?
A: If the mounting hardware seems too flimsy or falls off constantly, you can use a strong adhesive to hold it in place. You should be able to find tape or glue designed for bikes in bike stores or online.
For a powerful and long-lasting mountain bike light, consider the Bright Eyes Fully Waterproof 1600 Lumen Rechargeable Mountain Bike Headlight.
Or you can use the budget-friendly Victagen USB Rechargeable Bike Light, which features five different settings for a wider range of light.