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The ultimate guide for the 40 best bicycle lights for night riding of 2022

This article offers you a comprehensive overview of the best bicycle lights for night riding. It’s all the lights I reviewed across three cycling disciplines: road, gravel, and mountain biking.

If you’re more interested in a specific discipline you can read one of the following articles:

How do I choose a bicycle light?

You choose a bicycle light based on its usage. Road cycling differs from gravel riding, which in turn differs from mountain bike riding. In turn you have different road cycling lights, gravel bike lights and mountain bike lights.

In general the lights for each discipline varies in terms of light output. With the requirements for road cycling on illuminated roads being less demanding than trail riding in a dark forest.

Obviously you can choose to put an MTB specific bike light on your road bike. But the three cycling disciplines roughly determine where you should be looking.

What are different type of bicycle lights?

Besides the three categories of road, gravel, and trail, you can furthermore divide bicycle lights into ones with integrated batteries, and ones with external batteries.

External batteries power your (smaller) lights through a cord, so you’ll need a bit of cable management in this case. As well as a spot to place the battery itself.

To be compatible with various frames batteries are usually fastened using velcro straps. Having the battery located outside the light usually means the light itself can be smaller, since it just have to contain the bulbs and some other electronics.

You do have to contend with some extra cable management and a bulky battery located somewhere on your bicycle frame.

Internal batteries are a light and battery combo in a single package. The advantage is you don’t have to deal with the cables and loose battery. Another advantage is that more easily you can opt for a dual-setup, effectively doubling your lumen output. The downside is the design is somewhat similar across the board with an elongated shapes dominating.

How many lumens do I need for a bicycle light?

Brighter is better, right? Well, generally speaking the answer to that question is yes. And with lights we talk about two parameters: lumens and lux.

Lumens is the overall output of a certain light. Lux is the amount of lumen that covers a certain area. One lux is equal to one lumen per square metre. So the larger the area covered by x amount of lumens, the lower the lux count is going to be.

Ranging from 800 (Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Headlight) to 8000 lumens (Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy V2.0 Remote Version), you’ve got lights that’ll make sure you can ride safely on unlit roads versus riding confidently on highly technical trails with drops and sharp turns.

The average and safe lumen in car headlights falls between 2,000 – 4,000 lumens. That means that some lights on this list are just as- or brighter than the average headlight on a car.

The 800 lumen Garmin Varia has the lowest lumen count on this entire list. But 100 lumens is already enough to ride safely on well-lit roads, and you don’t need more than 1000 lumens in unlit areas. However, this article is about the best bicycle lights for night riding, not lights to simply get by. So I apply the following rules:

  • Road cyling: between 1000 and 2000 lumen
  • Gravel riding: between 2000 and 3000 lumen
  • Mountain biking: 3000 and up

What are the brightest bicycle lights?

You’ll find the brightest bicycle lights in the MTB category. Twisty downhill single tracks in a dark forest demand the highest power output for a prolonged period of time. These lights run in the thousands of lumens with the aforementioned Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy topping the entire list at 8000 lumen.

led bicycle front lights
dual setup on my Killer V

You don’t always need to look into a single light to increase the brightness (lux). The same output by two lights effectively doubles your lux amount (lumen falling on the same area), thus increasing the brightness. It’s also a great way of increasing brightness without needing to resort to a light with an external battery.

How long do rechargeable bicycle lights last?

All lights on this list have more than one setting, oftentimes distributed across multiple programs. Typical settings are low, medium, high, and the maximum setting or boost. Besides these settings you have one or more interval settings or flash mode.

These settings determine how long your light will last, with a higher brightness obviously resulting in a lower battery life. On average a good battery life sits between 1.5 to 2 hours.

Other requirements to take into consideration

Price

Price is obviously an important factor, especially considering the fact that high-end mountain bike light can run into the hundreds of dollars. So if you dig deep into your wallet for some premium lights you want to make sure they perform as promised.

There’s a tremendous gap between the cheapest light (BrightEyes 1600 Helios – $61.99) versus the most expensive (Niterider Pro 4200 Enduro – $674.99) on this list.

That difference is made up of all the light characteristics that come next.

Mount

Your handlebar setup might demand a certain mount for convenience purposes. There are a lot of different types, ranging from o-rings and straps to brackets and Garmin mounts.

I much prefer asymmetric brackets which let you place your light away and in front of the handlebar clamp. This saves precious handlebar space and simply looks way better than lights atop your standard clamp or bracket.

However, your specific stem might not let you place the light exactly in the middle of the handlebars. And I’m the type of person that actually would be annoyed by such a thing.

Handlebar Diameter

Not all lights are compatible with the latest 35 mm diameter. So if you run such a bar, be sure to check whether or not you can actually use the mount.

Furthermore, the same goes for the older-style 25.4 mm diameter. This is a nuisance if you run a setup on your vintage mountain bike with old handlebars, which can be solved by adding some kind of shim.

Charge Type

There’s a pretty clear distinction between how you charge the battery that power your light. Overall, externally powered lights use fast chargers, whereas lights with internal batteries use a USB variant (A, C, or micro USB).

With USB C being used across a whole plethora of devices, I prefer this option over all others. If not for the fact you can charge your iPhone, and the cable is easily replaceable.

Fast charger are the obvious choice for external batteries because they speed up the charge process of some of the biggest batteries out there.

Weight

Weight varies greatly across different types of lights. Although probably not the biggest factor in MTB front lights you mount on your bicycle (rather than your helm).

That being said, a lot of lights with external batteries near the 500 gram mark, or even go over it. So if you’re a weight-weenie, you might want to take this into consideration.

Light Control

All lights have an on-off switch location on the light itself. But a lot of lights can be controlled using other means. The ways to do so can be through a physical remote, either connecting via a cable or through bluetooth.

Having a separate remote is a good thing, especially while trail riding at night. Trying to operate a light by moving your hand while going downhill is at least a nuisance and could possibly be dangerous. And operating a single or dual button remote is just as easy as shifting, provided you have the space on your handlebars to fit one.

Between cable remotes and bluetooth remotes, I prefer cable remotes because of their durability (which is higher). Even though of course there’s one extra cable to manage.

Some high-end lights actually have separate programs you can operate using a smartphone and an app. And some lights even set their own program based on how you ride. For instance, they dim the light when you don’t move.

I don’t necessarily like this, because all this extra technology can break and means you need to spend more money. Just give me more battery life and light output. That’s what I buy a light for.

Encasing

The far majority of lights are made with anodized aluminium, with only a few of the cheaper models (relatively) coming in plastic. The most expensive model, is made from nylon.

Helmet mount

Some lights can double as a helment light as well, provided you have the proper mount. Sometimes these helmet mounts are included, sometimes you can buy a proprietary mount separately, and sometimes they are compatible with third party options like the one from GoPro.

Contenders for the best bicycle lights for night riding

The following list comprised all the lights taken into consideration, sorted in alphabetical order.

NamePricemax lumenbattery typebattery (mAH)battery life (hrs)mount typehandlebars diameter (mm.)charge typeratinglight controlweight (gr.)casinghelmet mount
Bontrager Ion Pro RT$139.991300internal48001.5bracket35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBwater resistantsmartphone178aluminiumoptional
BrightEyes 1600 Helios$61.991600external64004o-ringfast chargerwaterprooflight662plasticno
Cateye Volt 1700$239.951700internal68002strap35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBwaterprooflight256aluminium / plasticoptional
Exposure Flex e-MTB£320.003300externaldnadnafront mount bracket35, 31.8, 25.4dnacable remote80aluminiumno
Exposure Race MK15£250.002200internal58002bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerlight186aluminiumno
Exposure Six Pack MK11£435.005000internal155002bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerlight386aluminiumno
Exposure Six Pack SYNC MK3£485.005000internal155002bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerwireless remote386aluminiumno
Exposure Strada MK10 SB AKTIV£320.001500internal78002bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwaterproofcable remote252aluminiumoptional
Exposure Toro MK12£305.003200internal87002bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerlight236aluminiumno
Fenix BC30 Bike Light V2.0$89.952200internal52002bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerwaterprooflight154plasticno
Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Headlight$99.99800internal1.5Garmin mount35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBlight / garmin130aluminiumoptional
Gemini Duo Multisport£229.992200external40002o-ring35, 31.8USB Cwireless remote253aluminiumyes
Gemini Titan 4000$199.994000external80002o-ring35, 31.8USB Cwireless remote491aluminiumno
Gloworm X2 AdventureNZD$389.002000external50002front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwater resistantwireless remote290aluminiumyes
Gloworm X2 G2.0NZD$448.002000external100004front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwater resistantwireless remote456aluminiumyes
Gloworm XSNZD$508.002800external100003front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwater resistantwireless remote477aluminiumyes
Gloworm XSV G2.0NZD$571.003600external100002front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwater resistantwireless remote501aluminiumyes
Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen£59.991600internal64003strap35, 31.8, 25.4USB Awaterprooflight288plasticno
Hope R2i LED£190.001300internal32001.5bracket35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerwaterprooflight252aluminiumyes
Hope R4+ LED£250.002000external62002front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerlight426aluminiumyes
Hope R8+ LED£325.004000external96001front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerlight690aluminiumno
Knog PWR MountainAUD $299.992000internal100002bracket35, 31.8micro USBlight365aluminiumoptional
Knog PWR TrailAUD $184.991100internal50001.7out front bracket35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBlight230aluminiumoptional
Lezyne Mega Drive 1800I$169.991800internal60002strap35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBwaterproofoptional cable remote237aluminiumno
Lifeline Pavo Motion£149.992400internal87003bracket31.8USB Clight319aluminiumno
Light & Motion Seca Comp 2000$224.992000internal1.5strap35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBwaterprooflight216no
Light & Motion Seca Enduro$399.992500external2.5strap35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerwaterprooflight495plasticyes
Light & Motion Seca Race$349.992000external1.5strap35, 31.8, 25.4fast chargerwaterprooflight355plasticno
Lumicycle Apogee with 6.8Ah High Capacity Battery and Fast Charger£369.994000external6800bracket31.8fast chargerlight183aluminiumoptional
Magicshine MJ-906S$199.994500external100003.5bracket / Garmin mount31.8fast chargerwaterprooflight382aluminiumoptional
Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy V2.0 Remote Version$419.998000external100001.5Garmin mount31.8fast chargerwaterproofwireless remote606aluminiumno
Magicshine Ray 2600144.992600internal1.5strap35, 31.8, 25.4USB Cwaterproofcable remote190
Moon Canopus$3394000external67002Garmin mount31.8fast chargercable remote400aluminiumno
Moon Rigel Power 3600$265.993600internal2bracketUSB Ccable remote305aluminiumno
NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800$179.991800internal0.45bracket35, 31.8, 25.4micro USBwater resistantlight258aluminium / plasticno
Niterider Lumina Max 2500 with NiteLink$245.002200internal0.5bracket35, 31.8, 25.4USB Clight311aluminiumno
Niterider Pro 4200 Enduro$674.994200external1.5front mount bracket35, 31.8fast chargerwater resistantcable remote839nylonno
Outbound Trail EVO$2452200internal2front mount bracket35, 31.8USB Clight311aluminiumoptional
Ravemen PR1600£130.001600internal60001.4bracket35, 31.8USB Cwaterproofwireless remote220aluminiumno
Ravemen PR2400£200.002400internalbatteries not included1.5bracket35, 31.8USB Cwireless remote282aluminiumno