This guide is designed specifically for road cyclists and urban commuters, as these products are largely used to ensure a rider is visible to traffic. When it comes to night time cycling products, you certainly get what you pay for. The cheaper lights might seem like a great choice, but the more expensive products tend to be brighter, higher-quality products that can be used more than one season.
Here are seven products that you can use at night to help keep you safer while commuting during the early morning or later evening hours.
Lezyne Macro Drive
Marketed as 350-lumen light, riders can expect dependable performance from the Lezyne Macro Drive headlight. Since this is designed as a commuter light, side visibility is rather limited and all of the light is pointing forward–with three continued light settings and two flashing settings. This also would be an ideal light for your bike helmet, paired with a good headlight on your handlebars, would make for a great combination.
CatEye Econom Force (HL-EL540RC) Headlight
CatEye is well known as a top notch bike accessory manufacturer, and the company’s headlights are extremely reliable. This particular model illuminates the road in front of a rider very well, and using it on a partially lit multi-use trail yielded great benefits. Unfortunately, it provides a rather narrow beam of light, so is best suited for roads only.
Athletes trust brands, so reputation is very important. I’ve been able to find brighter or cheaper models, but I know CatEye always releases dependable products that provide good quality mixed with lasting durability.
NiteRider Mako 200
The NiteRider Mako 200 has a maximum lumen output of 200 and can function for more than seven hours–and should be bright enough for commuters that aren’t traveling down pitch black roads. The USB-rechargeable light should provide a steady beam of light and is easy-to-use, with a low beam, bright beam, and flashing setting. Be aware that some USB-rechargeable lights, the Mako 200 included, have long recharge times and you will want to leave it charging as long as possible before use.
CatEye HL-EL1000RC Volt1200 Light
This is a serious product for serious commuters–the Volt 1200 pumps out a crazy 1200 lumens, so vigilant drivers should certainly see you coming. I haven’t personally used this light before, but have ridden with several commuters that highly recommend it. Compact Lithium-ion batteries and LED technology has clearly advanced, and CatEye made great use of these new technological breakthroughs – and should be a great self-contained light for serious enthusiasts. Unlike many other products, CatEye also has a custom helmet mount available, so the Volt1200 can be attached to your helmet.
Castelli Goccia Due Jacket
The Castelli Goccia Due jacket is an ideal product for both night time riding and for wet weather, as the jacket is waterproof and breathable–and has a reflective material. If you aren’t satisfied with the amount of reflective material, purchase some reflective strips from your local sporting goods store for an even better level of safety while riding at night. Take good care of the jacket and it should last you at least a few years of continuous use during the fall and winter months. Castelli sizing tends to run a bit small, so keep that in mind when purchasing for someone else.
Revolights City v2.0 Bike Wheel Lights
The $200+ MSRP price tag will scare most people away, and this isn’t the most practical bike commuter product, but it is extremely cool! The illuminated lights can be seen from a 360-degree angle, providing increased side view. And the lights are legal and illuminates a remarkable stream of light as you pedal down the road. Revolights promises about four hours of battery life, and the lights can be charged via micro-USB charger. The crowd-sourced project originally surpassed a $14,500 funding goal, collecting $94,793 after 40 days of collection.
Nathan Sports StrobeLight
This is a fairly cheap, reliable light that is designed to be attached to your clothing, backpack, or somewhere on you physically. I especially like that the light is extremely bright yet still provides more than 100 hours of illumination. I tend to use one light attached to the back of my helmet and at least one or two additional lights added to my backpack – if any type of road incident occurs, at least the other driver won’t be able to say they didn’t properly see me.
Bonus Tip: Please remember, your local city likely has laws in-place that requires cyclists at nighttime to use at least a forward-looking headlight. Another added bonus tip, if you frequently wear a backpack or commuter bag, you should put a small LED light,or reflective material, on the bag itself.
Just because it’s getting darker at earlier hours doesn’t mean you have to put the bike in the garage and let it collect dust over the winter. Do your research and see what your budget will be because purchasing better quality lights will be a steep initial investment–but is well worth the expense to know you’ll be as safe as possible while riding.