Buyer’s Guide: Bike Lights
Are you prepared to see and be seen while cycling? When considering the purchase of safety equipment, bike lights are mandatory for every cyclist, whether purchasing lights to be seen by motorists, commuters, weekend spinners or those out on a night ride or dawn patrol. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for bike lights.
Lumens: The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. An automobile’s headlight will emit 700 lumens per headlight on low-beam, and 1200 lumens on high beam. If your goal is to be seen by others, 100 lumens is a good number to start with under daylight conditions. However, if you are riding under unlit conditions, anything above 300+ lumens is suggested in order to safely see the road ahead of you. Of course, this depends on your eyesight and the speed at which you are riding.
Resisting the Elements: Most modern bike lights now come with some protection from the elements. Most cyclists do not plan to ride in the rain, but it’s good to know that if you’re caught in those conditions, your bike lights won’t be damaged and will continue to provide safety and visibility. Waterproof, dust proof, and impact proof are some features to look for when shopping for bike lights.
Mounting Options: Most manufacturers take into consideration that not all handlebars and seat posts are of equal shape, and with the rise of aerodynamic geometry’s on bikes, are providing a more universal fit with rubber straps instead of your usual round brackets. Aside from your on the bike mounts, helmet mounts are also available, and rear lights can sometimes come with clips to aid in attaching to the back of a rucksack or your saddlebag.
Strobes Modes: Having different strobe modes for both the front and rear facing lights is an important safety feature. These types of bike lights will emit a series of light patterns that will help drivers or other cyclist be aware of your presence.
Battery Life/Run Time: How long will you need the battery to last? How many different strobe options does the light have? Is it rechargeable? Just a few things you will need to keep in mind, though conveniently most lights come with different modes of lighting and for each one you will have different running times.
Some manufacturers like NiteRider and Axiom offer discounts when purchasing both front and rear facing lights. Look for these great buys at your local bike shop.
Women Bicycling is a Registered Trademark