LAST UPDATED: October 3, 2019
Best Mountain Bike Lights: Illuminate the Trail
Illuminate the path ahead with these bright mountain bike lights
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 3, 2019
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
With up to 16 hours of operation, riding in the dark will not be an issue if you choose this Bright Eyes headlight. It comes with a free lens diffuser to ensure you have a clear path both during the day and night. It also comes with a one-year warranty on the battery and a lifetime warranty on the headlight.
The battery can be mounted anywhere, thanks to the extension cable addition. It also has an aluminum tail light, which guarantees you are seen by other motorists on the road.
However, the recharging process is a little complicated, as you have to remove the battery from the light completely. It also takes more time to recharge the battery, which can limit your riding time.
Apart from its attractive price, this Victagen bike light is super bright, with up to 200 lumens lighting up approximately 300 yards. The light has five different light modes for maximum comfort and safety. It has powerful built-in batteries and does not require any additional accessories to install.
It is easy to install and can be detached in seconds to ensure safety against theft. It is also easy to recharge with the provided USB charger. The body is made of strong aluminum alloy for longevity. It also guarantees 360-degree rotation to allow you clear vision and make you seen by others on the road.
There are some disadvantages. The light is bulky and heavy and it is tough for the mounting brackets to hold it steady. If your bike has an oversized handlebar, there is a high risk of it rotating, especially when riding on tough terrains.
This scope-shaped bike light is designed for mountain bikes, street bikes, kid's bikes, and more. It comes with a free tail light, and you can quickly install it without any tools. It features several brightness modes, an adjustable beam, and very bright LEDs that permit you to see objects as far as 1,000 feet away.
Made of military-grade materials, this light is waterproof and able to withstand a 10-foot drop without breaking. The light can also be used as a flashlight, which is helpful if you need one on a trail at night. It's easy to turn on while you're riding but difficult to accidentally turn off. The company also provides a money-back guarantee for one year.
However, the tail light has a tendency to turn itself off on bumps, and the headlight is not as bright as some competitor brands even though it advertises that it is brighter than them.
BLITZU’s bicycle light comes with 320 lumens and looks great on your handlebars. It’s developed out of a high-grade plastic, increasing its durability. The attachment wraps around the handlebars firmly and securely so you can ride over bumps without worrying about it falling off or twisting around.
One of the best features of this light is it can connect directly into a USB port for fast and convenient charging. It can reach a full charge in about two hours and has a full runtime of around 1.5 hours on its highest setting. It has four settings—low, medium, high, and blink. Plus, as an extra, it comes with a free tail light, increasing visibility of you on the road as well.
However, it doesn’t have that long of a runtime on the highest setting. If you like to ride at night, you may want to switch it to a lower setting or plan a shorter bike ride. There have also been complaints that it can be a bit heavy.
TeamObsidian’s bike light is a modern-looking tool with 200 lumens, making it bright and powerful. It’s a great light for riding at night, as it alerts drivers of your location while also allowing you to see where you are going. The torchlight is made out of a solid aluminum, while the reflector is constructed out of a rugged ABS plastic. Both make the light durable and enhance its reliability.
The light runs off of five AAA batteries, so when they run out, you can easily swap them for new ones. It also attaches easily and securely to the bike’s handlebars no matter if the bike is a mountain bike, road bike, or hybrid; the strap adjusts to fit any style. Plus, it comes with a free tail light and two-year warranty.
One issue is with the clamps themselves, as they can be difficult to attach or adjust. They are not the most durable. Plus, the light may bounce around a bit when riding over bumps and the battery case can rattle around as well.
Ascher’s Ultra Bright USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set includes a powerful front headlight and a red tail light. It has 1,800mAh rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that provide a steady bright stream allowing you to see at night. Even the tail light has 330mAh rechargeable lithium ion batteries as well.
The mountain bike light features four light mode options that increase its versatility and functionality. You can choose from full brightness, half brightness, fast flashing, and slow flashing—all of which improve your chances of seeing the road ahead and let others know you’re in the street. It can even function as a camping, hiking, and outdoor activity light for any basic need you require. Plus, it is waterproof.
The buttons may be too difficult to activate with your fingers, especially if you wear gloves. You may need a pointed object like a pen in order to press them. Another issue is both lights can bounce around in their strap, but a tighter more secure hold (or tape) may alleviate this problem.
The Cycle Shark mountain bike light provides up to 500 lumens and features three overall modes. You can get in a pretty lengthy bike ride, as the light can function up to two hours on its highest setting and 30 hours on its flash mode. As for fitting on the bike, the light is compatible with a number of them including mountain, kids, hybrids, and commuter bikes.
One of the best features of the Cycle Shark is its ability to be recharged with a USB port. You don’t have to worry about finding a three-pronged charger when you can plug it into a car charger or your computer. It even comes with a rear light that is also water- and dust-resistant like the main light. Both attach easily with a rubber strap that wraps around any post.
The strap may be the biggest letdown of this light. It works like a traditional bike mount where rubber straps hold down the light. Here, the straps attach to the lights but the material isn’t the most durable. After time, they may weaken and snap. You may want to add tape or some sort of adhesive in order to ensure the light stays in place. They may also make removing the light a little bit more difficult.
This is our first honorable mention that includes two mountain bike lights with included rear lights. These Bright Eyes lights are developed with a combined aluminum and molded plastic housing that increases their durability—something that is needed when taking on difficult terrain. Each light is also rated to be 100 percent waterproof so you can ride in the rain or puddles.
The lights themselves provide a powerful beam and, at their peak, can reach up to 300 lumens. Plus, a great benefit is they both come with batteries. Attaching them to the bike is also quite simple and can be done in seconds. Each sits on the handlebars and is screwed into place so the fit is tight and secure. Activating the different modes is easy to do as well.
However, the mounts particularly may not be the most durable. Each is made out of a plastic that doesn’t feel like it will hold up if dropped. Also, the rear lights aren’t waterproof.
- 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.