“My wife was afraid of the dark…. then she saw me naked and now is afraid of the light” Rodney Dangerfield.
We are at the time of the year, when our rides start in the day time, and finish really really dark. It does become dangerous as your vision becomes impaired, and you then have to ride the bike by feel, not by sight. In this case we start to mount lights of different kinds, LED, Halogen or HID. Halogen have pretty much gone to the way side, and we are left with the prominent LED, and some HID kits still available.
LED, is light emitting diode, so in normal terms, it is a small light, that is really really bright and doesn’t use a lot of power. You can find LED lights everywhere now, on cars, in your house, and now in bike lights!
HID is High Intensity Discharge, which are bigger in nature than LED, use more energy, but creates a really bright beam. HID are typically seen on cars, as the beam is bright and almost a blueish colour.
For this purpose, we are going to focus on LED, and the different types to look at and what to buy.
You have to ask yourself, how much night riding am I actually going to do. This will determine how much money you will spend, and what kind of light you should be looking at. For example, people that will only ride til say November, I would not spend hundreds of dollars on a light that makes it look like you are a train coming through the forest. For this option I would look into the cheaper Chinese made lights, which you can pick up for around 100$ on Ebay, or other sites. Sites will be below for lights to help you out.
If you are planning on riding well into the dark season and beyond, this is where I recommend the use of a higher end light. Just like a bike itself, you do get what you pay for. Most of the major brands are producing LED lights for biking, Hope, Night Rider, Lights in Motion and the list goes on. To help you pick and choose what you need, below are some points.
Everywhere you read about lights, you see them mention Lumens as the measured value for light. Lumens are a measured value of light emitted from the light source, so pretty much, how bright the light is. The higher the Lumen number, the brighter the light is. That being said, there are different light patterns as well, so the light could be bright as anything at the source, but if the light pattern is not either a focus or spot, you may not get a great result on the trail. To give a reference with Lumens, a 60 watt light bulb would produce about 800-850 lumens.
On the higher end, you can look at the following lights;
Niterider Pro 1800 which boasts an 1800 lumens rating
Hope R4 Light, 1500 lumens
Check around and talk to local bike shops to see what they have as well.
On the lower end, but still will work great for riding.
Magicshine are lights made in China. They have worked great for some, not so great for others.
You can also check Ebay for bike lights as well.
One recommendation that I do have is to have 2 lights on the bike. One on the bars, the other on your helmet. Main reason is that if you have a bike light failure, battery go dead etc, in the middle of a ride, it will be a very dark and not so fun ride out.
Regardless though, with the days getting shorter, the nights getting longer (which makes sense if the days are shorter), you will need to wear a bike light very very soon.
Don’t be afraid to ride at night either, it is a great experience if you haven’t. You become one with the trail, and one with your bike, so really you have to split 50/50 bike and trail, but you get my drift.
If you have questions, comments, please feel free to send them along in the Contact Us.
We have no problem with helping out giving advice, opinion, feedback etc on a light that you are interested in.