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If you are a mountain bike junkie, sometimes, you are bound to ride after the sun has gone down. And when you do, it is essential that the path in front of you is illuminated as clearly as possible. Choosing the best mountain bike lights will ensure that you see with maximum clarity. But if you are struggling to know where to start, this guide is here to give you a helping hand. We will look at 10 of the brightest bike lights on the market, along with clear information about their specifications and key features to help you make the right choice.
The Best Mountain Bike Light
Boasting an extremely long run time, this set of front and tail lights are rechargeable through a USB port – a charging cable is even included in the package. Just imagine the savings you can make on not continually having to buy new bulbs all the time! You can adjust the brightness as needed, and there is a super bright setting for maximum visibility and safety. The flat beam shape has been specially designed for bikers in urban environments.
Offering a universal fit, there are no tools required to attach this LED headlight for your bike, and you can do so in a matter of seconds. Weighing at only 100 grams, you will hardly even notice it is on your bike. The light is IPX5 Rated, meaning that it is fully protected if the rain starts pouring outside
Rechargeable USB bike front and tail lights
Universal fit and quick installation
Range of brightness settings including super bright
Fully protected from the rain
Made of airplane-grade aluminum
- BrandCycle Torch
- ModelShark 500
- Weight1.2 pounds
The running time is one of the most highly rated features of this bicycle headlight. It promises to last for over five hours on the highest setting, and as long as 26 hours on the lowest. The waterproof battery is fully rechargeable when the power runs out.
Specially designed to fit all handlebars, there is also a free taillight included. There are a couple of strobe settings for the times when you are riding during the daylight hours. Plus, there are some helmet accessories included as well.
Hours of power – long running time
Highly bright and fully waterproof
Fits all handlebars
Lifetime guarantee on bicycle headlight
- BrandBright Eyes
- Weight1.4 pounds
Designed to be up to 10 times brighter than other bike lights, it can focus on objects up to 1000 feet away. The beam is adjustable and there are also different brightness modes which you can set. A free taillight is also included in the set.
Made with military grade materials, this is a highly durable bike front light, which is made for tough rides in the wilderness. It is fully waterproof, so you can be fully prepared for anything which Mother Nature throws your way.
Adjustable focus via the rotatable ring
Sturdy mounting bracket for your handlebars
Fully water resistant
High brightness and visibility
- Weight7.8 ounces
This highly rated LED headlight for your bike ensures that you are highly visible while you are riding – no matter if you are in an urban or mountainous environment. Solid aluminum and ABS plastic have been used in the construction of this product, ensuring that they are not going to rust or corrode.
The case is fully water resistant to deal with rain, snow, and heat, as well as the dirt and dust which will inevitably splatter up while you are riding. No tools are needed to attach it firmly to your handlebars, and it is also easy to release and bring along with you.
Aluminum headlight with CREE lightbulb
LED light ensures reliability
Attaches in seconds – no tools required
Water resistant and durable case
- Weight9.6 ounces
There is no need to continually buy batteries to power these rechargeable bike lights. All you need to do is hook it up to any USB port and you are ready to go in a couple of hours! The included taillight ensures that you have all-round visibility, and you can also swivel the light 360 degrees as needed.
If you want to take the light off your bike to use as a flashlight, you can do so with the one-touch quick-release button. When you find yourself in tough conditions, you can rest assured that it is impact and water resistant to IPX5 level.
USB rechargeable headlight
Four light modes
Simple installation – no tools needed
- Weight3.2 ounces
Each of the lights in this bike light set has been equipped with a 650mAh rechargeable lithium battery. Since they are USB rechargeable, you don’t have to worry about buying batteries all the time. If you head out in the rain, they have a water resistance rating of IPX4, which protects against splashes.
Four different light modes are available, and you can switch between all of them with the simple push of a button. The included mount straps can fit to your handlebars, but they will also fit a range of other locations including backpacks and helmets.
USB rechargeable lights
IPX4 water resistant
Easy mount system
Wide angle beam
- Weight7.8 ounces
This set of two bike lights are adjustable between 80 and 300 lumens depending on the situation you find yourself in. It is a great value option, whether you want to attach both to a single bike, or you have a couple that need illumination. Tough and durable, they are also entirely waterproof for the times you get caught in the rain. You can install them on your bike in a matter of seconds without the need for any tools.
Small size by high LED quality
Long-lasting and fully adjustable
Installs in seconds with no tools required
- BrandBright Eyes
- Weight10.4 ounces
Both the headlight and the taillight in this set are entirely USB rechargeable, and will recharge up to 1000 times. And both offer a high level of brightness, ensuring that you have maximum visibility. The CREE LED provides a 390-lumen output, which can stretch up to 300 feet in length! Attach and detach the light to your handlebars in just a couple of seconds. As well as being durable, it is also lightweight, so you can carry it with you as a flashlight.
USB rechargeable batteries
Ultra-bright 390 lumens
Water resistant IPX5 rated
One-touch dismount button
- Weight1.92 ounces
Another highly rated set of bike lights, they are fully USB rechargeable and there is also a cable included. Many bike lights are well-known for being difficult to install, but this is not the case with these easily mountable lights.
They offer universal installation, which makes them suitable for a wide range of different bike designs. The IP65 Waterproof design makes them suitable for a wide range of weather conditions, and they are also fully dustproof too.
Universal fit and quick installation
Waterproof and dustproof
Easy to mount
- BrandCycle Torch
- Weight3.8 ounces
If you need to illuminate different angles in front of you, this 360-degree bike light gives you the freedom to do this. You can also use it as a headlamp if you are a fan of outdoor pursuits such as hiking, trekking, caving, and night flying.
When you come to installing the light, you can do so without any tools being required. It is so bright that you can see up to 300 meters in front of you.
1200 lumens of brightness
Clearly shows bumps on the road ahead
360-degree rotating light
Long runtime of up to 12 hours
- Weight5.3 ounces
Best Mountain Bike Light Buying Guide
Features to Look for in Mountain Bike Lights
Already feel like you have made your mind up which mountain bike lights are best for you from the bike light reviews? Don’t worry if you haven’t; this next section will go into more detail about some of the features which you should look out for in MTB lights.
None of the other considerations are going to matter at all unless you get a light which fits on your bike handlebars, frame, helmet, or wherever else you plan on putting it. Many now offer a universal fit which ensures that it will attach to any number of bikes. Some are only designed to fit on handlebars of a certain size, so check this before purchase to avoid the effort of having to return the light to get another one.
- Number of Lights
While some of the options above only include a single headlight, many also throw in a taillight as part of the deal. Some even offer an additional headlight for the price of one. Also, check for any additional accessories included in the set. It is certainly worth knowing exactly what you are buying beforehand.
Mountain bike light output is measured in lumens. A higher lumen rating means a brighter light. If you are planning on riding in pitch black conditions, it is especially important that you choose a brighter light. You should also look at how much you can adjust the brightness. Usually, there are several settings, which allows you to illuminate the road as much you need. Check for flashing light settings which give you increased visibility when you are out on busier roads.
- Beam Type
The other main point regarding the lighting is the type of beam which it gives off. Again, your decision should come back to what sort of terrain you tend to ride on. If you plan on tackling rough surfaces which require a high level of technical skill, a wider beam is necessary. On the other hand, narrow beams tend to be better for faster terrains and wider trails.
- Battery Life and Rechargeability
The battery life is an important consideration as this will tell you exactly how long you can keep using the light without getting new batteries or charging it up. The amount of time will be depend on the brightness setting you have it on, so take this into account too. And another important consideration to make is whether you want a rechargeable light or one which uses standard batteries. While rechargeable lights tend to be more expensive, you don’t have the cost and effort of constantly having to buy new batteries to worry about. Of course, it is worth taking into account how long they take to recharge too.
- Water Resistance
The best bike lights offer some level of water resistance, but you should check each model for more information. If you live in an area which tends to attract high levels of rain and snowfall or you love cycling through puddles, it is a good idea to check that your light can deal with wetter conditions.
- Ease of Installation
The easiest mountain bike lights to install are the ones which snap or off the handlebars in a matter of seconds. This means no tools are required, which makes your life a lot easier. If you do need any tools for installation, it is worth double checking what you need to ensure that you have the right ones already.
- Other Uses
Many of the mountain bike lights which snap on and off are also usable as flashlights or head torches. If you don’t need the light to be attached to the bike all the time and you are looking to utilize it for other things, a multi-purpose model is the one to go for.
Benefits of Using MTB Lights
Just as when you invest in any other product, you should ask what sort of benefits you can expect to receive from it. Here are a couple of the main ones to take into account.
- Ride in All Conditions
The first and most obvious benefit of getting a mountain bike light is that it will allow you to ride in all conditions. Whether you are out on a late-night adventure or you simply commute to and from work in the dark, a good light ensures that you have maximum visibility in front of you. Also, there are times when rain or snow could impact your ride. Having a bike light will help you to deal with these conditions so much better.
- Increase Your Safety
As a follow-up point from the previous one, when you are riding at night or in poor weather conditions, it is especially important that you stay visible – particularly if you are driving on roads with a high volume of traffic. The lights on the front and rear of your bike will help passing motorists to spot you. Look out for lights which have a flashing setting which gives you increased visibility.
- Fewer Restrictions on Your Ride
There may be areas which you have been unwilling to go before due to poor visibility, but good-quality mountain bike lights help you to feel confident enough to ride anywhere and everywhere.
Helmet Vs. Handlebar Bike Lights
The choice between helmet and handlebar lights is one which many bikers find themselves weighing up. Ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference. Both can offer a high level of illumination in front of you. A helmet light will follow your gaze without you needing to make physical adjustments. But some people don’t like the extra weight on their head, instead preferring to let their bike do the work. Also, it flattens out visible trail features and reduces your depth perception.
With a bike handlebar light, you need to make sure that it is firmly fixed onto your vehicle, and that it is durable enough to withstand the inevitable bumps in the road. It has the advantage of being easy to see the indicators and operate the switches. On the downside, the light will only go where your bars are pointed, and the light tends to drop the backside of the crests and lumps into shade, making it less easy to judge obstacle size.
However, you don’t have to see the two as mutually exclusive. If you get one of each, you will increase your visibility levels and the angles you can reach, and it makes it easier for others to spot you out on the road. Also, you don’t have to worry about one of the light batteries dying as you always have a backup ready to go if you need it. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting left in the dark!
Bike Light Batteries
Your main choice when it comes to bike light batteries is weighing up whether you want one which is rechargeable or not. Modern lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries have transformed mountain biking in comparison to the older lead acid and NiMH batteries, but battery efficiency and power still varies vastly from brand to brand. You can easily charge them from your computer or anywhere else you have a USB port. If you are planning on not using a light for an extended period of time, make sure that you get the storage conditions right to protect the battery.
Whichever one you choose, you need enough run time to power your longest rides. Remember that the brightness setting will drastically impact how long the bike light continues running. Having a bit extra in reserve gives you a nice safety net. If you think you will be pushing it to the edge, check whether or not there is an indicator, so you can check how much you have left in reserve. Until you get used to your bike light battery power, it is worth bringing a backup with you to make sure that you don’t find yourself in a dark and scary situation.
What About Dynamo Generator Powered Bicycle Lights?
Dynamo powered bicycle lights are still a relatively rare sight. Essentially, they are energy-generating hubs which are built into the front wheel of your bike. You need to position the light carefully to make sure that it provides maximum illumination. Most come with built-in capacitor that continues to power the lights for a couple of minutes after you have stopped pedaling.
Despite being not as commonly used, they have a number of different advantages including being tough and reliable. Since there is no battery waste or hazardous materials, they are a more environmentally friendly option. They are also more difficult to steal, so there is no need to remove it every time you park your bike. You don’t have to worry about battery replacements or maintenance as they are always ready to go, and there is a high level of electrical and mechanical reliability.
On the downside, these bicycle lights are trickier to find and more difficult to install when you do get your hands on one. You are going to need some mechanical and electrical skill. Once it is in place, it will be difficult to move from bike to bike. Otherwise, you will need the assistance of a professional. There is somewhat of a drag placed on your pedallng, but this is not as significant as some make it out to be. The power tends to be lower, and there is not the same level of adjustability when it comes to the brightness. Finally, there is a significantly higher price point, which puts many people off.
Best Mountain Bike Light FAQ:
Q: What are mountain bike lights and how do they work?
A: A mountain bike light attaches to your vehicle to illuminate the path in front of you, behind you, or wherever else you choose to point it. They are usually attached to the handlebars of your bike. Some are installed permanently with tools, whereas others can be easily clipped on and off. Many of the best MTB lights are powered by lithium ion batteries which can be recharged through a USB port, whereas others still use traditional batteries.
Q: How many lumens do I need for a night mountain bike?
A: In general, if you want to ride your mountain bike at night, you will need a light of at least 500 lumens on your handlebars, plus another 500 on your helmet. If you only want a light on your handlebars, at least 2000 lumens will provide plenty of illumination. There are a number of different factors which impact this figure including your night vision, riding skills, terrain, speed, beam pattern, and the weather conditions. For example, if you are a beginner riding on unfamiliar terrain, the extra lumens will certainly be worthwhile.
Q: Should I use my MTB lights in flashing mode?
A: During the day, flashing bike lights help to alert other road users to your presence, when it would be tricky to spot a steady beam. During the night, you should not cycle ONLY with a bright, flashing bike light at night as this can cause a problem for oncoming road users to tell how far away you are and how quickly you are coming, as well as risking dazzling them. A steady, solid light is best for these situations.
Q: How should I position my bicycle headlight?
A: Some headlights are designed to clip to a specific location, whereas others are designed for more generic positioning. The most standard positioning for a bicycle headlight is to put it in the center of your primary handlebars. Make sure that you adjust it to the right position before riding.
Our Top Pick
Cycle Torch Shark 500 USB
Fully rechargeable with a high run time, this set of front and tail lights is our number one choice. The light is a high output CREE LED with 500 lumens. When you come to attach it to your bike, you can do so in a matter of seconds without the need for any tools. You can rest assured that it has a universal fit to all bikes. The flat beam shape makes it suitable for urban environments, while it is also water resistant to deal with wet weather conditions. For us, it ranks at the top of the list of best bicycle lights.
- Mountain Bike Safety Accessories - HowStuffWorks