You may not know the Highway Code off by heart, but if you’re going to ride your bike after dark it helps if you’re at least a wee bit familiar with Rule 60. For your night-time jaunts, Rule 60 states that you’ll need a white light on the front of your bike and a red one on the back, and they should each emit at least four candelas of light (a candela = twelve lumens, so most cycle lights will qualify here). Both lights have to be fixed to the bike itself, so while your helmet or rucksack light may provide brilliant extra illumination, especially valuable off-road, it’s not enough by itself to make you legally compliant.
But it’s not just about the law, of course. You also want your bike lights to charge easily and hold that charge, to fix securely to the bike, to be simple to adjust and, let’s be honest, to look cool. The best bike lights on the market do all this and more, and there are plenty available to suit any budget. Shop all our bike lights here.
BEST BIKE LIGHTS UNDER £50
Founded by a former triathlete, Lezyne’s aim is to provide accessories for consumers which match the standards of high-end professional components. This is a neatly designed, compact cycle light which fits almost unnoticeably onto your handlebars. It charges via USB so you don’t need to worry about losing cables. The output is a very visible 500 lumens and there are eight different modes including Daytime Flash. And all this for, as Road.cc put it, ‘very little money’.
Aussie brand Knog’s product vision is ‘to provide unboring things’ and they have certainly succeeded where the Lil Cobber is concerned. Be prepared to have total strangers ask you about your cycle lights if you’re riding around with these definitely very unboring lil numbers. The quirky semicircular design allows for a 330 degree beam angle and with 110 lumens in front and 50 at the back, as well as an app for customising modes and beam patterns, this is- in every sense- a bicycle light for people who want to be seen.
With over twenty years on the market, Moon are one of the most trusted brands in cycle lights. This is the perfect budget set for the commuter, providing up to 100 lumens ahead and 50 behind and charging in a super-quick two hours. While it won’t help you off-road or on long rides, if you’re looking for bike lights to keep you safe and seen as you nip back and forth to work, these will provide everything you need without breaking, or even cracking, the bank.
BEST BIKE LIGHTS UNDER £150
Creators of both the first ever flashing bicycle light in 1964, and the first white LED head lamp in 2001, Cateye can genuinely claim to have been at the forefront of innovation since their foundation in 1954. The AMP 1100, rated a 4.5 out of 5 by Bikeradar, can be fully charged and discharged a very impressive 300 times, and its three constant riding modes mean it can be used just as easily on dark country roads as it can in streetlit towns. It’s tough, durable, easy to fit, and offers excellent run times.
One of Techradar’s five Best Bike Lights of 2020, this powerful light offers one of the best lumens per pound ratios on the market, with its 1000 lumens making it a powerful companion on the darkest and remotest of nights. As usual with Lezyne products, it’s compact, beautifully designed and made from high-quality components and an LED indicator on the button lets you know exactly how much charge is left so you’re never in danger of a sudden blackout miles from anywhere.
Described as the performance light for the ultimate road cyclist, the latest in Knog’s Blinder cycle light range has an upgraded output 150% higher than the previous model. Two high-intensity LUMILEDS LEDs mean that wherever you’re cycling, the road ahead will be lit up like a Christmas tree. The replaceable straps (attached tool-free, naturally) will fit both aero and standard bars, and runtimes- up to nine hours on Narrow Beam mode- are excellent. Knog clearly want people to say they’ve played a blinder with this bike light and I’m not going to disappoint them.
BEST BIKE LIGHTS UNDER £320
Road.cc’s review of the Strada MK10 SB described it as being ‘like having your own little collapsed sun’, making it a particularly attractive option as the nights draw in and road debris becomes more difficult to see. The Exposire Toro MK12, however, has up to 3200 lumens with Reflex technology at your disposal (and, depending on mode, up to a tremendous 36 hours of run time) you can replicate the visibility of a gentle summer pedal even in the depths of winter. It’s very durable and 100% waterproof, and has a water resistance rating of IP6. This is in stock now.
If the Toro is just those few pounds more than your budget can stretch for a bike light, this is a slightly lower-spec version which will be friendlier on the pocket. If you know your Italian, you’ll know that ‘strada’ means ‘street’, and the cycle lights in this range are designed to be used on every kind of street, with or without streetlighting: there’s a specific beam capability for when the streetlights end and you continue on into the night. The 1850 lumen capacity will more than match the needs of any environment and the dual lenses are ideal for road cycling– a spot beam for the road ahead and a flat beam lighting up the periphery.
How much you spend on your bike lights will ultimately depend on the type of rides you’ll be doing, and which specs are most important to you. The good news is that whether you want to light up the ten minute dash to the office on a rainy December morning, improve your personal best in a speedy time trial, or explore the countryside by night, there are bike lights to suit every preference and every bank balance.