The Best Bike Lights To Keep You Riding Through Winter
Let’s make no bones about it, cycling in the winter is not as fun as cycling in the summer. It’s cold, it’s more likely to be wet and it gets dark early, which makes it both harder to see and harder to be seen when riding. Those three reasons combine into a potent deterrent that leads many people to store their bikes in the shed until spring, but with the right gear you can keep cycling and keep enjoying the best – yes, we said it – way to get around.
When it comes to winter cycling gear for cyclists, a breathable, waterproof jacket and warm gloves are essential, but when it comes to your bike a quality set of lights should be your priority. It’s tempting to head to Poundland and grab some basic lights, but they’re going to do little to make you more visible on the road and absolutely nothing in terms of lighting your way.
If you’re only riding on well-lit city streets then you might not need a spotlight on the handlebar of your bike, but you do need bright front and back lights to make you easy to spot in traffic. If you are riding where the streets have no lights, then bright front lights are vital to help you spot oncoming hazards.
If you’re in need of a new set of lights then you can get 30% off any (full-priced) Moon lights at Cycle Surgery if you take in an old set to recycle. The scheme runs from Thursday 20th September until Wednesday 31st October, so you have plenty of time to replace your knackered lights, which will be put to good use rather than being sent to landfill.
You have to recycle your lights in-store but the 30% off voucher you get can be used online or in-store to buy your new lights. Of the Moon range, we reckon the Meteor Vortex front light and Comet-X backlight will see you through the dark months nicely. The Vortex (which is currently reduced from £50 to £30) delivers up to 600 lumens of light, while the Comet-X has seven different modes and lasts 19 hours on a single charge.
Buy from Cycle Surgery
There are a lot of fancy features in this smart Swiss set, but the stand-out one (which may justify the extra outlay over Beryl’s similar laser/brake light offering) is the indicators in the rear light, operated by a remote control that attaches to the handlebars. A more expensive version of the rear light can also project a green semi-circle around the back of the bike to claim an appropriate amount of space on the road (whether anyone respects that is another matter), but all types include an automatic brake light. You can buy it as part of a set with a 100-lumen front light, as well.
Buy rear Blinkers from Amazon | £89
Buy laser set from Amazon | £169
The green bicycle that this light projects onto the road several metres ahead of your bike has become a common sight in London, because it has been fitted to the 11,500-strong fleet of hire bikes. It’s an arresting sight that will make you more visible on the road, especially to pedestrians who are considering stepping out in front of you. The Beryl Laserlight also has a 300-lumen front light and will run for 13 hours on a single charge.
Buy from Beryl | £99.99
Halfords Silicone Bike Light Set
City riders looking for a capable set of basic lights will be satisfied with this rechargeable and waterproof set from Halfords. They last eight hours on a single charge and the strap system makes them easy to attach and take off.
Buy from Halfords | £18.75 (currently reduced to £15)
Lezyne Macro 1100L and Micro 180L
The front light in this impressive pair has a brightness range that climbs all the way to 1,100 lumens, though opting for this maximum will greatly reduce the battery life to just over an hour compared with 78 hours on the lowest lumen setting. The back light has six different modes, with a maximum brightness of 180 lumens.
Buy from Chain Reaction Cycles | £109.99
Garmin Varia RTL510 Bike Radar And Head Unit
This bright back light not only makes you more visible to cars behind you, but also alerts you to their presence. The sensor can pick up vehicles up to 140m behind your bike and the LEDs on the handlebar-mounted unit will show you how close they are. You can also buy the Varia back light without the head unit (£170) and it will link to one of Garmin’s bike computers instead to alert you when vehicles are approaching from behind.
Buy from Garmin | £259.99
Cateye Volt 400 XC Front Light and Rapid Mini Light Set
This lights set is a great in-between option for urban cyclists. It’s not as bright as the Lezyne lights above, but it’s ar cheaper while offering substantially more visibility than very cheap sets. The front light will last eight hours on the highest setting of 400 lumens and 20 hours at 100 lumens, while the back light will last up to 30 hours depending on the mode you opt for, with flashing ones lasting longer.
Buy from Wiggle | £53.99
Cycliq Fly6 and Fly12
Capture every moment of your ride with these lights with built-in HD video cameras. Both the 100-lumen Fly6 back light and the 600-lumen Fly12 front light will film in 1080p with audio, so you can record exciting rides or ensure you get the details of any cars involved in any unfortunate incidents while you’re cycling.
Buy from Cycliq | Fly6 £169 | Fly12 £255
Exposure MaXx D MK11
If you’re heading off-road in the dark you need a good-quality light to ensure you don’t come a cropper, so it’s worth shelling out a little more than you would if you’re only navigating city streets. Well, actually, a whole lot more. This incredible 3,300-lumen light is not cheap by any means, but it has a fantastically bright and wide beam that will show the whole trail ahead of you at night.
Buy from Exposure | £385