Bike Lights to See
Our Top Picks
Don't let the shorter days stop you riding and training outdoors. However rural the ride, a good set of bike lights can illuminate the road or trail ahead and ensure your trajectory is clear of potholes and other obstacles. We have taken a closer look at a number of lights, powerful enough to ensure even the darkest of lanes or trails are navigable.
Exposure Lights Diablo Mk12 Front Light
Classed as a helmet light by Exposure Lights and intended to be paired with a powerful handlebar light like the MaXx-D Mk13 for off-road use, the Diablo Mk12 Front Light is equally useful on-road as a handlebar light with the included mount. This 12th iteration has been upgraded to give up to 1,850 lumens of light with good peripheral illumination and longer battery life.
TAP technology has been added in for ease of use on tricky trails or fast descents. This means that switching between modes is facilitated by simply tapping the side of the light or even the helmet (if so mounted), negating the need to locate the button, a feature which is particularly useful on cold, gloved-up rides. Its tough construction, high power beam and versatility make it a great all-round option.
Bontrager Ion Elite R Front Light
Neat and compact, Bontrager's Ion Comp R Front Light is an easy and convenient way to both see and be seen. Not only does it offer up to 1.5 hours at 700 lumens for a quick hit of night riding, but it also has a highly visible, 300 lumens, day flash mode that can last up to 19 hours for all-day safety on the roads.
Knog PWR Mountain 2000 Front Light
Knog's point of difference with its PWR Mountain 2000 is its modular construction. This not only allows freshly charged or different capacity batteries to be swapped in and out as required, but there is also the facility to unclip the LED head and use the battery as a power bank to recharge other devices using the included cable.
It is supplied with Knog’s largest battery, which provides up to 2,000 lumens for two hours at a maximum along with five other preset modes, but it also has the ability to be programmed via their app for customised settings, ensuring that the required light level and duration is always available. A simple four light system on the back of the unit keeps battery power levels clear and obvious.
Exposure Lights MaXx-D Mk13 Front Light
British brand Exposure Lights is well known for their beautifully made and extremely bright lights. The MaXx D Mk13 Front Light is one of their more powerful, illuminating off-road trails to daylight levels of brightness, but it’s equally capable on the road too thanks to the large battery. The neat handlebar mount is one of the best around, providing a rock-solid attachment and easy quick-release. With a maximum constant power of 2,500 lumens for two hours, and a plethora of other settings available which are handily etched on the side of the unit, it can cope with most scenarios.
However, it has an impressive trick up its sleeve which enables up to 4,000 lumens of light for short periods in Reflex mode. When Reflex is enabled, thermistors, 3D gyros and 3D accelerometers monitor airflow, gradients and cornering forces and adapt the light’s output accordingly. In practice, this means brighter when descending rough terrain rapidly and dimmer when climbing smooth trails, which uses the battery power more efficiently.
An easy to read numerical LED display on the rear of the unit shows battery time remaining in hours and minutes, so making sure that there is sufficient juice left to complete the ride is simple.