The Best Bike Lights

Posted on 27 June 2022

After 16 hours of research among 35 products and testing 6 of them, we have determined that the Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XL is the most interesting model of the moment for its good price-quality ratio.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XL

Its good compatibility, ease of installation and use, and many interesting modes make it an excellent bike accessory. Moreover, it provides a really good lighting.

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Lezyne mini drive 500xl

Easy to install and easy to use, the light delivers up to 500 lumens without overheating the body of the accessory and has eight operating modes. During our test, we found it to be relatively bright, even in dark countryside. In addition, we particularly appreciated the presence of a daylight flash mode on such a product. It is compatible with most mounts and is relatively compact and lightweight. The estimated battery life is between 1 and 20 hours, depending on usage.

 

 

Best budget

Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL

In addition to its good lighting performance, it has a good price-quality ratio and takes up little space on a bicycle.
Moreover, its attachment system is simple and highly compatible.

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Lezyne mini drive 400xl

With its maximum power of 400 lumens, eight intensity modes and a battery that lasts from 1 to 20 hours, it offers decent performance at a very attractive price. Its mini size does not hinder your run and its various colours add a nice aesthetic touch. During our test, we appreciated its great compatibility and found it very easy to put on and use. Its slightly yellow light is sufficient for night-time journeys, but not completely dark.

 

Best high-end

Blackburn Dayblazer 800

SIts wide compatibility means that it can be used with other accessories and on most handlebars/helmets. It also has a wide beam and a resistant design.

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Blackburn

During our test, we were pleased with the wide beam, which provides good side visibility and excellent illumination in total darkness thanks to its 800 lumens. Highly compatible, it fits most handlebars and helmets, and even includes an action camera mount. The long, narrow design is water and dust resistant and easy to handle. Battery life ranges from 1.5 hours to 12 hours. There is a lighted charge indicator to show you the remaining capacity. However, the charging time is quite long (4 hours).

 

Mid-range alternative

NiteRider Lumina 650

High-performance, durable and long-lasting, this model provides good quality lighting without necessarily draining the battery. Its attachment system is efficient enough for mountain biking.

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With its 650 lumens and five light modes, it is both powerful and easy to use. In fact, during our test, we were keen to point out that it provides good lighting even in total darkness. The battery life is also impressive. Although it takes a little longer to install than other models, it fits standard handlebars and holds up well on bumpy terrain. In addition, its mounting system is less easy for thieves to remove. However, it is a bit heavier and more cumbersome.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest high-endMid-range alternative
NiteRider Lumina 650NiteRider Lumina 650Blackburn Dayblazer 800NiteRider Lumina 650
Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XLLezyne Mini Drive 400XLBlackburn Dayblazer 800NiteRider Lumina 650
Its good compatibility, ease of installation and use, and many interesting modes make it an excellent bike accessory. Moreover, it provides a really good lighting.In addition to its good lighting performance, it has a good price-quality ratio and takes up little space on a bicycle.
Moreover, its attachment system is simple and highly compatible.
Its wide compatibility means that it can be used with other accessories and on most handlebars/helmets. The Blackburn Dayblazer 800 also has a wide beam and a resistant design.High-performance, durable and long-lasting, this model provides good quality lighting without necessarily draining the battery. Its attachment system is efficient enough for mountain biking.
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Honorable mentions

Lezyne LED Femto Drive (£14.60 upon publication): a practical design, but 15 lumens of light is clearly insufficient. Small and light (only 22 g), this IPX7 certified light is water resistant. It is easy to install and has a battery life of up to 60 hours. It has five operating modes, but requires two flat batteries. Although it is a safety light that ensures your visibility to others, according to our tests, it does not allow you to really see ahead.

Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL (£52.00 upon publication): very powerful but a little less ergonomic than its competitor. It has a good light output and eight lighting modes, with a maximum output of 1000 lumens. Easy to fit and highly compatible, we found it simple to use during our test. Its battery life varies from 1.5 hours to 87 hours, depending on the use. Although its long, narrow design limits the amount of space it takes up on the handlebars, it is still a little heavier than its competitor.

Garmin Varia UT800 (£124.94 upon publication): good light, good compatibility but very expensive. This light with a maximum of 800 lumens is intended for road users and mountain bikers. It guarantees visibility up to 1500 metres in daylight with a 270° angle. Compatible with Garmin computers, it benefits from remarkable ergonomics, as it adapts to the outdoor environment and to your performance, and comes with several supports. Easy to mount, it provides an excellent quality light, provided you recharge it often.

 

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How to choose your bike lights?

Whether you own a city bike, a road bike or a mountain bike (classic or electric), bike lights are sometimes missing on certain models. Just like a helmet, they are nevertheless an essential tool for your safety in darker places. In addition to being seen by other users, they light up your path to avoid unpleasant surprises.

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Bike lights are a must for your safety. | Source: Selectos

To determine which light is best suited to your practice, we have listed the points to consider before making a purchase:

  • Power: it is expressed in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the greater the range and the further you can see. For journeys in the city where it is already bright with light poles, a light with a maximum of 300 lumens is sufficient. On well-lit main roads, you need at least 300 lumens, while for mountain bikers, you need more than 500 lumens. Similarly, the faster you ride, the more power you need.
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The higher the number of lumens, the greater the range and the further you can see. | Source: Selectos
  • Field of vision: this is also important, because if it is too small, it illuminates further but covers a small area and vice versa. A 270° angle is a good balance. This element must therefore be considered in relation to the power to check the real range of the lighting.
  • Power supply: batteries (rechargeable or not) are a serious option but not the most economical. They can only last between 20 and 40 hours. That said, more and more lights include a rechargeable battery. They are more environmentally friendly and have a longer lifespan. The battery life varies according to the mode used (fixed lighting, flashing, day or night flash…) and the type of lighting (LED is preferred). The more power there is, the more the battery wears out.
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The battery life varies according to the mode used and the type of light. | Source: Selectos
  • Mounting system: the compatibility of mounts is often a point that is not paid attention to. However, removable mounts are useful not only for placing the lamp on another bike, but also for preventing theft. The design of the bracket determines the possibilities for attachment. Most systems are designed to be placed in several locations. The lighter and more compact the light, the greater the stability.
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The lighter and more compact the light, the greater the stability. | Source: Selectos
  • Resistance: lights must be able to withstand rain. A waterproof certification is therefore essential and in the best of cases, a protection against dust is more reassuring. They may also be subject to overheating. To counter this, some manufacturers add cooling fins.

NB: To be more in tune with our readership, we did not go too high in the budgets.

 

How did we test?

To begin with, we assessed the practicality, space requirements and compatibility of each mounting system by placing each model on different sized handlebars. We also took the opportunity to judge the fit while riding on different terrains, from the smoothest of roads to the bumpiest of paths.

Switching between modes allowed us to analyse the quality of the lighting. To check the sufficiency, we went to different paths, ranging from the brightest in cities to the darkest near forests. During this test, we also measured the battery life.

 

Translated by Aylin Akturk

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