Bike lights went from being a joke to a pricey accouterment for the most committed to something accessible for everyone. For years, bike lights were basically handlebar-mounted flashlights that were not very useful for seeing with. That started changing dramatically in the late 1980s when battery and bulb technology were accessed by visionaries and adapted to be something most every cyclist should have. Sometimes you need to see, sometimes you need to be seen, other times both, and TPC has whichever one you may need!
Best Bike Lights
LED bulbs, improved reflectors, and efficient rechargeable batteries have been combined in countless ways to make bicycle headlights, bike helmet lights, tail lights, daytime running lights, and safety blinkers for bikes. The best road bike lights are not necessarily the best MTB lights, as beam designs can vary—longer and narrower can be better for road, while shorter and wider can be better for dirt or gravel.
What makes the best bike lights depends on the application. Some situations may call for daytime blinking lights front and rear for road riding. Sometimes the riding will call for high lumen headlamps mounted to both the handlebars and helmet for night mountain biking or winter commuting. Many times, a small rear blinky for riding through dawn and dusk is all that's needed.
The name Lezyne rhymes with design. That’s their calling card; smartly designed bags, bottle cages, computers, pumps, tools, and lights. Their lights run the gamut, from small, bright blinky lights with long run times to high-lumen ‘turn back the night’ headlights so bright that an e-bike can’t outride them. Lezyne even builds lights that can easily connect to your smartphone, their app lets you adjust the beams to your liking and will alert you before they run out of juice.
Established in 1989, Niterider is one of the oldest players in the bike light game. They offer everything from pocket blinkys to 4200-lumen lamps that light up the darkest routes as if it were day. Their brightest lights run on external rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, smaller headlights on integrated-battery rechargeable bike lights, and blinkys are offered in both rechargeable batteries or user-replaceable batteries.
Exposure is a British brand that combines flashy designs with practical on-bike technology. Their AKTIV headlights adjust beam brightness based on what light sources are nearby; the lights of an oncoming car will be sensed, and the AKTIV lamp will dim. Their ReAKT rear lights use an accelerometer to brighten when you apply the brakes and have a light sensor to adjust the brightness based on ambient light. Machined aluminum cases offer a slick industrial design aesthetic and durability.