Bike lights explained
At Wiggle we have the biggest and best range of bike lights for you to choose from. To make things easier, we've split our lights into two easy to understand categories:
- Lights that make you SEEN - To help other road users see you in low light conditions or lit streets at night
- Lights that help you SEE - To illuminate un-lit roads and trails so you can see where you're going when riding at night
Lights that make you seen
These lights can greatly improve your visibility to road users when riding at night. They ensure that car drivers can see you from a distance and be alerted to your presence. Almost all bicycle lights use LED bulbs as they are more reliable and use much less battery power, whilst also offering much higher levels of brightness. Used in flashing mode, they are very good at attracting attention from other road users.
Lights that help you see
These lights will allow you to see where you are going when cycling at night. This is especially important if you are riding in areas that are poorly lit. Having good visibility is essential, as it allows you to anticipate and react to any obstacles during your night ride. In addition to seeing what's in front of you, a good front light will also double up as a visibility light to passing motorists.
What factors should you consider when buying a light?
Brightness: Light brightness is measured in Lumens, and the more Lumens a light has the greater its power output will be.
Batteries: The vast majority of bike lights today come with a rechargeable Lithium battery which is lightweight and has a longer battery life than the old SLA and NiCd batteries of the past.
Run times: It's essential to know that your light's battery life can last the duration of your bike ride. If a light stops working while you're riding at night it will be a major safety risk for you.
Bulb type: Cycle light technology has moved on greatly over the years, traditional 'bulb' lights have been more or less replaced by LED and HID systems.
Weight: A heavy light can add weight to your frame and overall bike weight. This may be a negative factor when climbing or riding your bike at speed.
How much should you spend?
Up to $50 - Lights in this price range are commonly rear lights that help make the cyclist visible on the roads. Lights in the lower price range are ideal if you already ride in areas which are already well lit and don't require a lighting system that generates a lot of brightness.
$50-$100 - Front and rear lights are common at this price range and offer you a good combination of visibility and front lit navigation. The majority of lights in this price range come with rechargeable batteries as well as having waterproof construction where the bulbs are housed.
$100-$200 - Lights in this price range will offer the rider an excellent level of brightness and visibility. Features such as increased Lumens, waterproof design, lightweight casing, rechargeable batteries and a secure easy to use mounting system will feature regularly at this price range.
$200-$400 - This represents the 'high end' range of light performance. These lights will have exceptionally high lumen output, High end lights will also be lightweight and have a wide range of light display settings coupled with longer burn times. Lights in this range also tend to lean towards off-road riding as they have very powerful LED bulbs for use in areas where there is almost no natural light available.
$400+ - Lights at this price range are largely designed for mountain bike riding. They offer incredible brightness and good run times to cope with remote areas with no natural light. They usually offer a whole range of state of the art features that include:
- Incredible brightness (up to 2600 Lumens)
- Run times in range of 2-3 hours at the maximum beam setting
- A number of mounting options (handlebar and helmet)
- Cable free design (CFD)
- LED display
- USB ports