How to choose a bike light?
What is the difference between bicycle lights?
Before you start buying a bike light, the first question you have to ask yourself is that a bike light makes it easier for others to see you, or it makes you see more clearly when you ride a bike. You may ask, is there any difference? Generally, a lamp with a higher brightness level has a larger battery and a narrower light angle, allowing you to see farther. On the contrary, the lights that were often seen in the past are designed to attract attention from all angles and have functions such as wide beams and side lighting. The lumens of visible light tend to decrease because the distance is not the priority. As a result, “visible” bike lights are generally lighter, have smaller batteries, have fewer lumens, and have a wider beam angle, and are cheaper than bicycle lights that help you see things.
What are lumens, lux and beam angle?
Although it is not necessary to have a degree in physics to choose the right bicycle light, it is really helpful to understand some basic terms and principles. Here are some words you might see used to describe bicycle lights:
- Lumen: Measure the total amount of visible light emitted by a light source per unit time. The number of lumens on the bicycle lamp represents the total amount of light emitted.
- Lux: refers to the intensity of the light emitted in an area or surface. Lux tells you how far the light will reach. If you think that lumens represent the total amount of light emitted by a bicycle light, then Lux measures the amount of light transferred to a surface at a certain distance. Therefore, assuming that the number of lumens of light remains constant, the larger the surface area, the smaller the illuminance.
- Beam angle: The beam angle tells you the distance the light travels from the original light source. The focus of sharp beams is directly in front, while wider beams will spread outward, creating a beam of what is usually called “light”.
Beam type/settings: Super, High, Full, Standard, Normal, Low, Flash and Pulse are some examples of beam settings you may encounter. Each brand uses its own specific terminology, but they are basically the same as the lamp above which may be sold with a battery life of 5 hours, but only when it is on, not when it is full. It’s good to do some research here, because you want to make sure you have a light that can operate with the required lighting power throughout the trip.
Where should my bicycle light be placed?
With more technical considerations, it’s time to focus on the actual lighting situation to maximize the impact of the light. Of course, this is your bike, but in general, you will want a rear light on the seatpost of your bike and a front light in the middle of the handlebar. Vision.
How many bicycle lights do I need?
- The prominent front handlebar lights emit white light.
- A tail light emitting red light, 35 cm to 150 cm above the ground.
- A red back reflector, located between 23 cm and 90 cm from the ground.
- There are reflective foot lights on each pedal so that it can be seen from the front and back of the bike.
Do I need to use bike lights during the day?
Although some people mistakenly believe that most accidents occur at night, it is reported that eight in ten bicycle accidents occur during the day. The first thing to do is to make sure that the lights are always on during the day.
Do different bicycles need different lights?
You will see that different brands launch a variety of bike lights for different fields. They are indeed slightly different, but you may not need to buy a completely different set of bike lights. Basically, the bicycle light is designed to perform good functions when riding at high speed. The wide and flat beam it emits can not only illuminate your surroundings, but also form a spot of light on the road ahead. If you focus on mountain bikes, you might want something more powerful that can help you spot dangers and where you need to turn or brake. Although more than 200 lumens of light is ok for most road cycling, if you are riding on some trails or roads in clusters, you may need more than 1,000 lumens.
Do I need anything else?
For standard road riding, you need a wide beam angle and good light settings. As mentioned above, if you are driving on the road, you may not need any super bright lights, and the advantage of weaker bike lights is that they tend to be lighter and have a good running time because the brightness is not too high. Water resistance is another feature you want to check.
How much should I spend?
Like everything related to bicycles, there are many products to choose from, and their price points are also different. Consider the environment in which you will be riding and how often you will use the lights. This may help you narrow your options.
Also, if you park your bicycle on the side of the road, don’t forget to turn off the bike lights!