Bicycle Lights – Bicycle lights attach to the front or back of your bike to keep you safe when you ride after dark or in unfavorable weather conditions. Headlight systems vary according to purpose – lighting your way versus allowing the rider to be seen by other motorists, mounting system, strength of beam and price.
Choose bicycle lights systems based on your riding patterns. If you occasionally ride after the sun has set or in rainy conditions with limited visibility, you can benefit from front safety headlights that both light your way and let others on the road see where you are. Higher-powered bicycle lights are stronger and are designed for cyclists who bike on poorly-lit roads on a more regular basis.
Compare the types of light bulbs that the bicycle lights use. Bicycle lights systems that use halogen or xenon bulbs may cost a bit more initially, but you will not need to replace the bulbs as often. Bicycle lights that employ only one light bulb are generally less expensive than multiple bulb systems. LED lights are used in bicycle headlights, but do not provide as bright a beam as halogen or xenon bulbs. High Intensity Discharge (HID) is the latest technological addition to the world of bicycle lights. HIDs provide the most light by far, but they are also the most expensive, and somewhat fragile. A HID lamp is powered by a small Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery that charges quickly, puts out about three times the light of the next brightest light, lasts for up to 3 hours and is about the most compact on the market.
Pick a bicycle lights system that uses rechargeable batteries to keep your costs down over the long run, and to be kinder to the environment. Front bicycle lights often use rechargeable SLA (sealed lead) and Ni-cad (nickel cadmium) batteries, which are a little more expensive than disposable batteries up front, but last much longer. Flashing rear bicycle lights generally run on disposable alkaline batteries.
Consider the mounting systems available with bicycle lights and determine the compatibility with your bike, your style of riding and other accessories you may use. Front headlights may not function as well as you’d like if you also use a handlebar bag to carry your belongings. In this case, choose a lighting system that you wear on your head or body to illuminate your way. Many bicycle lights have battery packs small enough to fit into the space where you would put a water bottle. So make sure you have appropriate space somewhere on your bike for a battery pack for your bicycle lights.