Gear > Bike

4 of the best bike lights

If you are cycling on the roads at night you need to be seen. Nik Cook tests and rates 4 of the best bike lights

Cateye Volt 1200  (voted best on test)

£149.99

At 236g, this is a heavy bit of hardware. Its twin beam heft does deliver, though, with the 1,200 lumen full beam turning night to day. It has a good beam pattern, with little halo and a smooth transition from flood to spot. It’s the only light here suitable for fast riding on unlit lanes and, although you only get 2hrs of burn at full whack, you get 5hrs on normal setting, which would suit most night riding. For commuting in lit areas, the 14:30hr Hyperconstant low power and full beam strobe is a great choice. Elsewhere, mounting is quick with the tool-free jubilee clip, it has side visibility and the easy-to-use top button doubles as a low charge indicator. But charging is glacially slow if you use a computer port.

Verdict: If you want to ride fast in the dark, this is the light, but it is a heavy unit. 87%

Moon MK2 Rechargeable 

£29.99 

Weighing a meagre 30g, the MK2 is by far the most compact on test. It utilises micro USB charging and has a 2:30hr hour charge time (sadly Moon aren’t generous enough to supply a cable). Mounting was also quite a stretch around oversized bars and we’ve durability questions over how long the silicon bands will last. Once on, it’s a light to be seen by, rather than to see with. The full-blast steady beam is a wide 130 lumens flood but has no real penetration. Where this light shines, is its full flashing mode. Again you get 130 lumens, 2:30hrs of burn time and it has brilliant all-round visibility. A final minor niggle is the incredibly small, low power level light.

Verdict: Some issues but good as an extra ‘be seen’ light or a get-you-home spare. 69%

Knog Blinder Road 250 

£64.99

With dual beams packed into a compact 75g light, the Blinder is a versatile choice, and the high quality CNC housing comes in a choice of four colours. Charging is via an integrated USB stub and supplied lead that, at 4-5hrs, fits into a working day. Mounting is easy with a silicon strap and aluminium buckle. Although only rated at 250 lumens, the dual high beam punches well above that – amazingly wide, even and far-reaching and will last for 2hrs. It’s probably not quite enough for race speeds on unlit lanes but not far off. There are eight other modes utilising the dual beams, including a flashing and constant combo that’s very useful. Gripes? A lack of side visibility and tiny buttons.

Verdict: Pricey but a high-quality product that pushes out more light than its rating. 82%

Nightrider Swift 350  (voted best buy)

£30 

For £30, this little light represents great value for money. At 82g it’s compact and uses a simple but secure rubber strap to mount. Using the supplied micro USB, charge time is between 2-3:30hrs depending on output. At full burn it chucks out 350 lumens that, on unit roads, is just about enough for brisk riding. Unfortunately, you only get an hour and a half at this power and the step down to the mid 150 lumens beam, which gives you 3hrs, is a bit like suddenly plunging into darkness.
It does offer side visibility and, for dawn or dusk rides or lit routes, you get over five hours on flashing mode. The big and easy-to-use button also doubles as a battery level indicator.

Verdict: Amazing value, but for fast, unlit riding you’d want more punch and burn time. 83%


 
 

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