Best Bicycle Lights - Ride safely - Bike Lighting Systems

Riding at night

There are lots of motives to ride your bike during those hours when the sun goes to sleep. The more common it is the fact that daytime becomes shorter during winter months leaving less time to ride your bicycle with natural light.

But it is also true that if you live in a country where summer also brings high temperatures then you probably choose to ride your bicycle at night when it is less hot. At least that is what I do here in Portugal.

Many would say that it is enough dangerous to ride bicycles during daylight and that there is no need to risk our life trying to pedal at night. Personally I do not agree with them.

Of course you have to pay even more attention and you should make yourself well seen by others but there are no reasons to stop you from enjoy the feeling of riding your bicycle with the help of artificial lights.

The best way to be well seen during night rides it is to have both headlight and taillight and always wear bright cloths preferably reflecting ones.

Photo by Thomas Helbig @ flickr.com
Photo by Thomas Helbig @ flickr.com

Bicycle lighting

Which bike light is the best for me?

Knowing that bicycle lights have two aims: make the cyclist visible to others and allow the cyclist to see the road ahead, it is important to understand what kind of lighting system fit you better.

If you only ride on illuminated public roads you will probably need just enough light to allow other road users to see you. But on the other hand if you commute and ride on secondary roads or if you want to make some off-road mountain bike rides at night then you should consider a better lighting system which will illuminate your track and all the obstacles that you will encounter.

Nowadays there are several kinds of lighting power systems, from the simple and economical dynamo (generator) which is the best choice for most commuters, to the batteries powered lights that can go from simple presence lights to very bright and powerful lighting systems.

There are also different types of lamps namely tungsten filament, halogen and light-emitting diode (LED). The first one it is used on the cheapest bicycle lights and their high energy consumption and poor brightness level make them antiquated if compared with the other options.

Many bicycle lights using LEDs are only suitable for either being seen or emergency use, but with the rise in performance from recent LED lighting systems it is likely that such LED systems will become much more popular in future.

For those who need extremely bright light systems the best solution is the high-power high intensity discharge (HID) light, which are very expensive and requires special electronic equipment and a powerful battery.

The days of high priced bike lights are over!

The early ages of battery bicycle lights

Early battery lamps generally used lead-acid batteries but these were replaced by self-contained dry cells allowing lamps to became smaller and more reliable.

At the same time dynamos were developed and started to generate energy from the bicycle's own movement. Dynamos were more practical and economical than batteries as storage density in batteries was very low at this time.

Replaceable battery lights had a rebirth after the conception of alkaline batteries which permitted much higher storage densities.

In recent years there have been many advances like exceptionally efficient dynamos, improved storage density in rechargeable batteries (thanks to the laptop computers industry), high-output light emitting diodes (LEDs) and white LEDs, and finally the high intensity discharge (HID) lights that come from the automotive sector to improve the quality of bicycle lighting systems.

Photo by Richard Masoner @ flickr.com
Photo by Richard Masoner @ flickr.com

Safety

The general agreement is that if you ride after dark you should use lights.

This is a legal requirement in most places and it is also mostly recommended that you wear bright and reflecting cloths to be easily seen by others.

Even though there are almost no published studies about the correlation of the use of bicycle lights with increasing safety on the road, it is evident for anyone who drive at night that cyclists are only seen if they carry bike lights and reflecting clothes.

According to Vélo Québec, only 12 percent of night-riding cyclists there use lights, despite the fact that it is required by law. And 29% of the bicycling accidents in Québec happen at night, while night riding accounts for only 2 percent of bicycle miles traveled. I believe this numbers speak for themselves.

Several links to bicycle light companies` websites

  • Cateye

    A name synonymous with cycling and great products. Beside bicycle lights you will find lots of other bike accessories.

  • Cygolite

    With Cygolite products you can be sure you have the best companion during those long night rides.

  • DiNotte Lighting

    It is fair to say that DiNotte is a leader in LED bicycle lighting and it also give you all the support you will need after buying them a bike light.

  • FenixTorch

    With a great selection of torches and flashlights Fenix offers you one of the best price/efficiency relation available in the bicycle lighting systems market.

  • Knog

    From bicycle lights which make you visible to high power lights that allow you to see beyond darkness.

  • Light&Motion

    Specialize in bicycle lights Light&Motion offers 3 products with several different models to choose from.

  • Lupine Lighting Systems

    If you are looking for the brightest lighting system available for bicycle night rides, then you must go for Lupine! When dark comes down on the road or trail, go forward confidently with the help from the highest performing LED lights in the world. Bright. Genuinely bright.

  • Marwi

    Within NightPro or NightSport range you will find the best choice for your lighting needs.

  • NiteFlux

    Designed by Australian engineers and designers who are also riders. Vanguard technologies applied to bicycle lighting systems.

  • Night Lighting

    Made in New Zealand and used all over the world Nightlightning offers a range of quality portable lighting solutions suitable for mountain bikers, road cyclists, multisporters, and many more..

  • NiteRider

    No matter if you are a commuter or even a professional cyclist NiteRider has the best bicycle lighting system for you.

  • PlanetBike

    Here you can choose from led to incandescent bicycle lights and you can even find complete sets of lights for your bike.

  • PrincetonTec

    Beside having great bicycle lights PrincetonTec also has specific lights for scuba, outdoor, industrial and tactical.

  • Reelight

    Battery-free bicycle lights - With a single model this brand has won the gold EUROBIKE 2008 award. Forget about bateries or the need for recharging - now you just need to pedal.

  • Sigma Sport

    From Germany to the world - Sigma offers high quality products with affordable prices. Beside bicycle lights you will also find bike computers and heart rate monitors.

  • Topeak

    If it is bicycle lights what you are looking for then you must look at Topeak catalogue. If you are looking for anything else that relates with bikes then you will also find it there.


Did you ever wonder how it is like to ride mountain bikes at night?

Make sure you will be seen this Christmas!

Photo by Richard Masoner @ flickr.com
Photo by Richard Masoner @ flickr.com

And remember to wear bright clothes every time you "jump" to another night ride!

Corey Bohan at a private night session wearing white bright clothes.


Corey is a professional bike rider! Do not try this at home without wearing an helmet and protection gear. Enjoy your night rides!

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Comments 9 comments

msms profile image

msms 8 years ago

Thanks FunRide!

For bringing Cycle to light, it is still the most beautiful 'under control' vehicle we all are proud of. But in big cities where the street / road light are so blaring ... lights on cycle are like Twinkle…..Twinkle

Thanks for the nice ... well researched elaborate article on such less written about, subject.

Mahendra Singh


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Nicely done sweetie...loved the multi colored set up...That's what I would do if I ever get a bike...and I looked at the site you sent me about 3 wheeled bikes..hey maybe I could ride one of those...even at my age??would be fun...we have a bike shop close by think I will stop in and checkl...I pass by everyday... hope all is well..Love you babe...G-Ma :o) hugs


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Mahendra, thank you for your kind words. It´s true that big cities have so much light at night that you only need flashig lights and reflecting paraphernalia to make yourself seen by othersbut if you live in a little city or even in the country you will need much better lights ;)

Did I tell you how beautiful you are on that new avatar of yours, G-Ma!? Thanks for commenting here, I feel I have infected you with the bicycle virus LOL. I thought you would love that one - it is a great choice for this Christmas :D

BTW, if you check out my http://hubpages.com/sports/RECUMBENT-BIKES hub you will find a very nice red trike on the last Amazon capsule. Of course you could my dear, you just have to choose idle and flat roads and start with small rides until you feel in shape ;)


Coach Levi 8 years ago

Nice job on the lens! Great topic, not just because lights are important, but because they can be very expensive and it pays to do your research!

(P.S. Don't forget Lupine Lights in your list. They have some expensive lights, but man are they bright!)


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Levi, thanks for passing by and for sharing your wisdom about bikes. It is always a pleasure to have you commenting in one of my hubs.

I will add the Lupine lights to my list right now. How could I forget Lupine!? :)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi funride, I agree it is very important to ride safely at night. :) We have our new bikes but do not have any lights, so we just stuck to day biking. Great info and tips. And love the bike with Christmas lights. LOL


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Hi Michelle, I´m glad you like it. Although you don´t ride at night, lights can be very effective on your safety because they allow others to see you better even during day time ;)

Be safe and have lots of fun rides!


Bueller's Way profile image

Bueller's Way 8 years ago from Massachussetts

Awesome hub funride!  I remember those old bikes with the generator to run the headlight.  My friend had one on his ancient folding bike.  It had no switch on the headlamp but you needed to swing the hinge on the generator and connect it to the back tire everytime you wanted light!!  Anyway, feel free to drop by my blog and post a link to one of your hubs in the comments.

http://mountainbikeaccessoriesblog.ruqqa.com/


funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal Author

Thanks Bueller, your comment is much appreciated. I had one of those dynamo lights in one of my first bicycles but soon I took it off because it was too much weight and it made the bike slower :D . The great thing is today there are new generators which work without contact ( Reelight Light Set L125 ) and they are probably the cheapest and ecological way to illuminate your path ;-)

I will follow your blog from now on, thanks.

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