Lights are one of the most important features of the bicycle. When you are choosing to buy proper lights, you should consider various factors, like the terrain, city or off-road riding, traffic, other light sources, and more. In case that you are planning to ride the bike only in urban areas, there are some well-known regulations that you will have to follow. These regulations are that the front light needs to be in white or bright yellow, and they shouldn’t blink. Also, there must be a red light on the back, along with the reflectors on the wheels.

On the other side, when it comes to off-road riding, the situation is quite different. The requirements of lights are not the same as for urban riding. The main reason why you should buy proper lights for off-road riding is that you can use your bike during the night without any issues. In this article, we are going to introduce you to some tips for choosing the best bicycle lights.

Choose a Model With More Lumens


Lumen represents a measurement system for the power of light output. If you are planning to ride your bike only in urban areas, buying a bicycle headlight with more lumens can be an issue for other vehicles on the road since you can blind them, and that can lead to accidents. On the other side, it is recommended to choose more powerful models if you are planning to ride on off-road terrains without any other light source.

Besides the power output, the angle the light can cover is also important. The best solution is to choose a model that can cover a wider area. Off-road riding can be quite challenging since there could be various obstacles. In that matter, installing a proper bike headlight is crucial. The best option is to choose lights with over 1200 lumens.

Select the Right Batteries


The most common options for the power source of the lights are those with standard batteries, Li-Ion USB rechargeable models, and those that can charge on solar energy. The USB rechargeable models are becoming more popular in recent years because the manufacturers are introducing versions with higher capacity that can last for the whole night.

Also, you can always mount the external charger on the bike and connect it with the headlight. This is the most convenient and cost-efficient solution. When it comes to versions that can charge with solar energy, the main problem is when you want to ride during the night, when this option is not efficient.

Moreover, the power output is the main factor when it comes to the durability of the battery. For example, Setting the power to be over 1200 lumens will serve you only for one hour. You can extend that with an external charger. On the other side, lowering the power will provide you with much higher efficiency, and depending on the size of the battery, it could last for over 10 hours. Also, there are some more efficient models that can last for over 10 hours even in more powerful modes.

Best Type of Lights


While there are different types available on the market, there is no better option than LED light. It provides the best brightness, durability, and convenience. These models are light and easy to install. Also, they are quite affordable. When you are planning to buy a model for challenging terrains and night rides, the best solution is to focus on features like lightweight, power, durability, and resistance. Optical lenses and anti-glare are important features as well.

There are many modern versions with LED screens on the backside where you can get information about the distance traveled and battery level. There are versions that you can connect with your smartphone as well.



Another important factor to consider when choosing a bicycle light is related to resistance in different conditions. First of all, you should buy a waterproof model. That feature can save if you in case that there is a sudden rain during the night.

Also, it should be resistant to dust and bumps. There can be a lot of dirt on off-road terrains and proper resistance will help you to avoid additional issues with the condition of the lights. The same is with the resistance to bumps. There is always a chance to get into some barriers on the road.

Size and Mounting


Another important factor is related to size. The great advantage that modern technology is providing is that size is not the main factor when it comes to the power output anymore. There are many lightweight and compact models that can produce more light than some much bigger models.

Also, you should always check the mounting before making a final decision. Be sure that the model will be suitable for your bike. In most cases, the process of installation is simple, but having wrapped handlebars or aero bars could cause some issues.

There is also an alternative method for the lights, which can be especially good during the night. That method is to wear a helmet with installed light. You can combine both options as well. When it comes to side and backlights, the selection can be the same as for the bikes in urban places.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the properties and requirements of lights for the urban and off-road ride are very different. There is no reason to install a powerful output when you are planning to ride the bike only in places with other light sources and a lot of other vehicles in the streets. Also, there is a chance that you will distract others with too powerful lights.

On the other side, installing a model with more lumens is a great option if you are going to ride the bike in the mountains or woods where there are no other light sources. Also, be sure to choose a model that is compatible with your bicycle. That way, you will avoid any money wasting and other sorts of unpleasantries.

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