How to Compare Bicycle Lights

How to Compare Bicycle Lights
If you ride your bike you may have had occasion to wish you had a light on it. Whether you're a recreational rider who wants to get out early in the morning, or a bike commuter who comes home after dark, a light not only lets you see what's ahead of you, but it gives notice to cars, pedestrians and other cyclists that you're on the road as well.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bicycle light specifications and product information
Step 1
Compare how lights mount. While many lights are designed to mount onto your handlebars in a fixed position, there are some that can be mounted on your helmet. A fixed light has the advantage of providing a steady beam to your front, while a helmet-mounted light will let you see what's around you more easily with a quick turn of the head. In fact, some riders will choose to use both when they ride.
Step 2
Compare the type of illumination. Many inexpensive lights use a series of LEDs to provide light--these have the advantage of light weight and low power consumption, but don't usually have the range or focus of a more conventional incandescent or halogen light.
Step 3
Compare power requirements and battery life. You'll find lights with a variety of different power sources. Some will use replaceable batteries, like AA or AAA, and others have a rechargeable battery that you'll need to plug in between rides. In addition, there can be quite wide variations in the length of battery life or charge between different lights. Consider how much you'll be in the dark and how convenient or inconvenient it will be for you to charge or replace batteries.
Step 4
Consider the weight of the battery and light. If you're a recreational rider looking for speed, a lightweight light is more important to you than someone riding a heavier commuter bicycle. Whatever the case is, don't sacrifice lighting output for light weight if you need a strong light.

Tips & Warnings

Remember behind you--make sure upcoming motorists can see you clearly by adding a red or blinking red light to your lighting scheme. Small clip-on lights serve very well for this purpose.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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