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We offer free, tracked UK delivery on orders over £10, with delivery starting from £1.99 for orders below this value. We also have a selection of premium shipping options available including timed slots, Saturday delivery and DPD Pick-up

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  • Back to Blog  

    Bicycle Light Buying Guide

       Words by Harry Archer

       on 13/11/2017 14:06:59

    lupine-rotlicht-led-bike-tail-light-action

    As the nights draw in and the long, sunny summer days are almost a distant memory, the attention of riders turns to the best ways to continue their two-wheeled adventures during the colder and darker months of winter. Bike lights are a key component of winter riding. Legally you are required to have a white front and red rear light visible at all times when riding in the winter and the right set of lights for your needs, be that commuting, leisure or training, can revolutionise your winter riding and give you the confidence to continue cycling safely all year round.

    But what differentiates one light from another? There are lots of different factors to consider when you are purchasing your new bike lights:

    Run Time

    Run time is how long a bicycle light will continue to work for. Whether you go for a battery powered or USB rechargeable light it will have a total run time. This is important to consider, especially for the more long-distance rider as you will need to select a light that will last for the full duration of your ride. Higher end lights on the market have the ability to tell you how much power they have remaining, ensuring you’ll never get caught out by a sudden loss of light on night time rides.

    Modes

    Some lights available on the market have a variety of modes available to use. This varies from different levels of brightness to flashing settings and Daybright features. This can be a fantastic way to utilise your bike light in changing environments and situations. For example, if your ride takes you through a well-lit area where visibility is good – you could switch your light to a lower brightness or flashing mode to ensure you are still well lit up whilst saving some battery life of your light.

    Beam patterns

    This is especially important to consider when you’re riding on unlit country roads and you need to see as much of the road as possible. New innovations in beam patterns means that you can adjust the angle and brightness of your light to improve the spread of light around you. Some lights, Such as the Exposure Strada 1200, have been specifically designed to produce super bright road beam patterns without dazzling other road users.

    Exposure Strada 1200 Front Road Bike Light With Remote Switch

    exposure_strada_1200_bike_light_road_rutland_cycling

    Exposure Strada 1200 Front Road Bike Light With Remote Switch

    The Exposure Strada MK6 has 1200 lumens of power with a road specific beam for increased side illumination to enable you to take control of your riding environment. The road specific beam works like a high and dipped beam on a car making it perfect for lighting the dark nights without dazzling other road users. Powerful lights are great for seeing where you're going; especially on dark, unlit country lanes or tracks, however the issue of dazzling other road users does exist. This powerful light has an innovative design which allows you to see the road ahead, without dazzling on-coming traffic.

    • Road Specific beam
    • Remote Switch
    • OLED Status Display
    • Capacitive Switching
    • Smart Port Technology +
    • Cable Free Design
    • Intelligent Thermal Management
    • Optimum Mode Selector
    • Fuel Gauge
    • QR Bracket
    • Hand Made in the UK

    Charging method

    Traditionally most bicycle lights have been battery powered but the last couple of years has seen the rise of USB rechargeable lights. These lights, normally running off lithium Ion batteries are extremely convenient and ideal for commuting and rural night riding. The USB lights tend to be brighter and more efficient than their battery powered counterparts and as such they are normally more expensive. However, when offset against the cost of repeatedly buying new batteries they tend to be the more cost-effective option in the long term.

    Brightness

    Most bicycle lights will measure their output in Lumens. A lumen is essentially a measurement of how visible a light is to the human eye- The higher the number of Lumens the brighter the light. The technology used to power bicycle lights has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade or so and as such you can pick a specific light to suit your needs perfectly:

    Under 50 Lumens

    These low lumen level lights are best utilised when you are needing to be seen but not necessarily relying on your bike light for visibility. Lightweight and durable, they are the best option for those commuting in busy, metropolitan areas with a lot well lit streets.

    GIANT-NUMEN-MINI-SPORT-TL-RUTLAND-CYCLINGGIANT_NUMEN_MINI_HEADLIGHT_BLACK

    Giant Numen Mini TL

    The Numen Mini Sport TL rear light from Giant is available in four colours and is easily mounted via the soft rubber strap.Ideal for riding at night in well-lit areas these lights are incredibly cost effective and versatile.

    • 2 bright LED's
    • 2 modes - steady or flashing
    • Flexible rubber strap mounting
    • 2x Replaceable CR2032 batteries (included)
    • Run time up to 100 hours

    Shop now for the Giant Numen Mini TL  

    100-300 Lumens

    Ideal for night riding in towns or cities, this level of brightness will ensure you are highly visible to other road users and pedestrians.  Furthermore, lights of this lumen level are an excellent spare to keep on your person in case the worst should happen and your main light stops working.

    61mOMkN8QFL._SL1200_

    Cateye Volt 80 Rapid Micro Rechargeable And Rapid Micro Light Set

    Perfect for students, urban commuters and anyone looking for see-and-be-seen safety in a compact, affordable package. The Cateye Volt 80 Rapid Micro has 80 Lumens of high intensity LED light with 2 modes with a battery life of up to 5hrs. Easy to mount and remove thanks the rubber band and hook mounting bracket making installing and removing the Volt 80 light is a breeze.

    Volt 80XC

    • 2 modes: Constant / Flash
    • Runtime: 80lm: 1.5 hrs, 80lm: 5hrs
    • Helmet mount compatible
    • Recharge time: 1.5 hours
    • USB rechargable

    Rapid Micro

    • Triple LED
    • 15 lumen output
    • Li-on Battery
    • USB rechargable
    • 4 modes; Constant, Flashing, Rapid and Pulse
    • Runtime: 3 - 30 hrs depending on mode
    • Automatic flash when low on battery
    6982264-night-bicycle-lights-city

    300-1000 Lumens

    These brighter lights ensure you can see the road ahead clearly as well as being seen by other road users. Ideal for riding away from well-lit areas on late night road ride with the brighter lights available in this range suitable for faster and more aggressive riding as you won’t need to slow down to see obstacles in the road.

    moon-vortex-blackmoon-comet-x-pro-rear-light

    Moon Vortex and Comet-X Front and Rear Light Set

    Boasting a variety of intuitive features such a daylight flashing and power indicators these moon vortex lights provide a combined 650 lumen output and a rechargeable lithium ion battery. This level of lumen allows you to ride at night with a clear view of obstacles ahead of you.The Vortex and Comet-X compliment each other perfectly, enabling you to see and be seen day or night, and they're now available in one package with the Vortex & Comet-X Front & Rear Light Set.

    Vortex

    • Up to 600 lumens of output
    • Lightweight
    • USB Rechargeable

    Comet-X

    • Up To 50 Lumens Of Output
    • 7 Different Light Modes
    • Runtimes Ranging From 90 Minutes to 19 Hours

    Shop now for the Moon Vortex and Comet-X Front and Rear Light Set

    bontrager-ion-800-r-flare-r-light-set-na-rut315991-9999-2 bontrager flare

    Bontrager Ion 800 R and Flare R Light Set

    With a maximum output of 800 Lumens the Bontrager Ion flare light set is the perfect companion for any winter commute. Fully rechargeable via USB in 6 hours, with a variety of different settings to suit all your needs this light has a maximum run time of almost 20 hours in the flash setting.Combining two popular Bontrager lights into one unstoppable light set, the Bontrager Ion 800 R and Flare R Front & Rear Light Set ensures you can see and be seen for far and wide.

    • See with focused optics and over 270 degrees of visibility
    • 800 Lumens via high-power CREE LED
    • 800LM-1.5hrs, 450LM-3hrs, 200LM-6hrs, night flash-20hrs, day flash 20hrs
    • Fully charges in 6 hours through sealed Micro USB port
    • Includes 20 degree +/- adjustable Sync bracket that fits bars from 22.2-35.0mm
    • Blendr compatible

    Flare R

    • 65 Lumens for visibility from over 2km day or night
    • Be seen with balanced optics designed for 270 degree visibility near and far
    • Two day-time visibility modes and two night modes
    • Day modes: 65LM flash-5.75hrs, 35LM all-day-10hrs, 25LM steady-4.5hrs
    • Night modes: 65LM flash-23hrs, 5LM steady-21hrs
    • Battery save mode at 5% life helps ensure a safe ride home with depleted battery
    • Quick Connect bracket with 16 degree offset compensates for seatpost angle
    • Includes Quick Connect bracket and USB charging cable

    1000+ lumens

    The brightest lights on the market. These bicycle lights will ensure complete visibility of the trail in front of you. Particularly suited to off-road and competition riding this lumen level permits you to see as well as you would in the daytime.

    exposure-maxx-d-mk10-rutland-cyclingExposure MaXx-D Mk 8

    Exposure MaXx-D Mk10 Rechargeable Front Light

    An old favourite is back once again for 2018 to light up the way and obliterate the dark. Now in its tenth year of improvement, the MaXx-D is somewhat of a veteran light when it comes to lighting up the trail. But as many trail riders across the country and further afield will come to realise this year, why mess with a winning formula? That's not to say however, that the MaxX-D hasn't been given its fair share of improvements for 2018. Its Reflex Plus Technology enables the MaXx-D Mk10 to rid of the darkest almost entirely and blast out 3200 Lumens, making it clear to see why it's such a popular light.

    • Reflex Plus Technology
    • OLED Status Display
    • Smart Port Technology +
    • Cable Free Design
    • Intelligent Thermal Management
    • Optimum Mode Selector
    • Fuel Gauge
    • QR Bracket
    • Output - 3200 Lumens (Reflex Boost) & 2350 Lumens (Constant)
    • Burntime - Min 2 hours - Max 36 hours
    • Weight - 310g
    • Battery Capacity - 11,600 mAh Li ion
    • Dimensions - Length 115mm - Head 54mm - Back 50mm
    best-mountain-bike-lights-review-riding-at-night

    Latest developments in bicycle lights

    Bicycle lights are constantly evolving and improving and 2018 has seen a number of exciting new developments to improve the abilities of bicycle lights on the market.

    Braking Sensors

    Using exposure’s brand new reAKT (Ambient Kinetic Technology), Exposure lights can intuitively react when you break and adjust its brightness depending on the available external light in a particular location. An ideal light for commuting, it improves your visibility to other road users whilst also ensuring you’re not using more light than you require.

    A fantastic example of this new technology can be found on the Exposure traceR rear light.The exposure traceR combines the new reAKT technology with a user-friendly display with varying modes of light delivery including side flash and a LED battery display so that you can see how much power the battery has left at any given moment.

    exposure-tracer-rutlandcycling-1

    Automatic sensors

    Another new innovation for the commuting rider, bicycle lights with automatic sensors will activate as soon as you start riding in the dark. This ensures you will never be without the correct level of lighting to make sure you’re safe on the road.

    Daybright technology

    New on exposure lights for 2018. Daybright technology uses a system of 3 pulsating lights that make you visible to other road users up to a mile away. Having been developed in conjunction with the emergency services, Daybright technology provides riders in low-light environments the greatest chance of being seen clearly.

    exposure-blaze-reakt-rear-light-rutland-cycling (1)

    Browse our full range of Exposure lights

    Helmet and Clothing lights

    When out on your bike in the dark you can never be too visible. Attaching lights to your helmet and clothing can be a great way to improve your night riding. For off-road riding, a helmet mount can provide a more natural angle of light ensuring you don’t lose visibility as you speed over berms and round corners. Using a specific helmet mount and often operated by remote control – Helmet mounted lights offer a more efficient and effective lighting system for riding off-road in the dark.

    lifestyle_1

    cateye-volt-400-duplex-front-rear-rutland-cycling 5164Y0PDhLL._SY524_

    Cateye Volt 400 Duplex Rechargeable Front and Rear Helmet Light

    Weighing in at just 110g, Cateye's Vol t 400 Duplex is an all-in-one package attaches to your helmet via a wide mounting strap that features an angle adjustment, meaning you can simply and easily choose the angle that is best for your ride. Requiring just 6 hours to fully recharge via a USB, both lights have a multitude of different settings to choose from, enabling you to select the correct output and mode suitable for your surroundings.

    • front light offers 5 modes with output and runtime ranging from 400 to 50 Lumens and 3 to 150 Hours respectively, while the the rear possesses 10 Lumens for 25 to 250 Hours depending upon the mode selected.
    • USB Rechargeable - 6 Hour Recharge Time
    • Lightweight - Only 110g
    • Wide Mounting Strap With Angle Adjustment

    Clothing lights are another way to increase your visibility on the road. Particularly useful when commuting, these lights are very versatile and can provide extra light for your body and rucksack when travelling through busy, dimly lit areas. The Cateye wearable  X rear light can not along attatch to your bike but also your clothing and luggage. Weighing only 20g, rechargeable with a 90 minute run time and 180 degrees of visibility, This Cateye light is the ideal lighting accessory for commuting in towns or cities.

    cateye-wearable-x-rear-rutland-cycling

    Summary

    So as we have seen above, the choices available to you when purchasing your new bike lights for this winter are vast. Hopefully this quick guide has given you an idea of the level of light you require for your individual needs- be it a smaller, lightweight light to see you safely through the town on your commute home or a massive 1000+ lumen light for those late-night adventures through the woods or up-country lanes. Remember to always combine bicycle lights with other visibility products such a hi-visibility and reflective clothing. Furthermore, carrying a small set of spare lights if you have the room is always a good idea, providing a backup option in case your primary light stops working.

    Browse our extensive full selection of bicycle lights >

    Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

    You can browse the entire range of available bicycle lights online, or you can get your hands on it in your nearest Rutland Cycling store.

    THE RUTLAND DIFFERENCE

    FREE DELIVERY OVER £10

    EASY RETURNS

    30-DAY TEST RIDE

    0% FINANCE

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