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All You Need To Know About Bike Lights

All You Need To Know About Bike Lights


– Let there be light! In this video, we’re
gonna give a full rundown and a guide on all things bike lights. We’re gonna go through the
different types available, the ideal use for them, as well as key features`to look out for. Now, armed with all of this information, you’re gonna be able to know what lights you should be using, when and where. To demonstrate the different types of bike lights available, thanks to our mates at CatEye, we’ve got a full range
here being supplied, because well, they cover
all of the key points you need to consider. So, power output, visibility, batteries, as well as, get this-
smart tech in bike lights. Now, it’s worth remembering
too that there also a heap of other bike lights
out there on the market, but they do broadly fall
into two categories: Lights to see, and lights to be seen with. Lights to see with are
generally more powerful and are designed to
actually illuminate the roads or the trail that you are riding on. Where as lights to be
seen with are the ones which are generally less powerful, less expensive, and are
there to actually help other road users see where you are. Now most lights out there
do tend to have both a flashing mode, as
well as a constant mode. And generally, the less
powerful light you have, the more you are gonna
rely on that flashing mode, because other road users,
their eyes are attracted more to something flashing than something constant, believe it or not. As well as, the added
benefit of the fact your batteries are gonna last
a little bit longer, too. To determine whether or
not a light is to see or be seen with, is
basically determined by the output of lumens that your getting from that light. Take for example, this bad boy. The CatEye Volt 6000. The 6000, that stands for 6000 lumens, which quite frankly is outrageous. It’s like sticking a car head light, or a couple of car headlights
on your handlebars, and riding along. You could call for batman
with this thing on. On an unlit mountain bike trail, this is gonna keep you riding like
you’re in broad daylight. Now I’m pretty sure that
a 6000 lumen light like this one, is gonna be a
little bit overkill for most of us riding down unlit roads. Instead, we could
probably all get away with something like this. An 800 lumen light, which
is considerably smaller thanks to it’s incorporated battery here. After all, less power
equals less battery required to get it going. You’re probably gonna get
more life out of it too on its’ maximum setting. Even when you compare it
here to its’ older sibling, The Volt 1700, which has over twice the power output, it is still really slimline
in its’ shape and appearance. So, when it’s on your
handlebars, its not gonna clutter it up, and importantly, you’re able to adjust the angle of them, so you don’t dazzle any other road users. It’s important also to remember that in some countries, there
are legal requirements for different types of
lights, and where you can position them, as well as the output. So essentially, you’re
gonna be riding safer with other road users. What about the rest of the lights then? Let’s go out to the
studio to check them out. Back in the studio
then, so we can get into the nitty gritty of all
these different lights. So following on from
that logic which we’ve just spoken about, a 400 lumen light is smaller still than the 800. Now, a 400 lumen light
is probably about the minimum I would like to go cycling down an unlit road with. Something to consider
is that this one here, so a Volt 800 could
actually be used with a lower output of light, so
400 lumens for instance, or even 200, therefore giving you a longer battery life, and that’s
certainly worth considering if you attempted to ride
into the wilderness a little bit more and desired that
extra bit of visibility. Now, if your simply
looking for a light to be seen with, than something
around the 100 to 200 lumen mark is going to be sufficient. And the reason you’d opt for less power is because a lower output light is gonna be more affordable, smaller, and generally, a little bit lighter too. Now, this model in
particular does take a rather headlight-style appearance,
because it is still gonna give you a bit of
visibility lighting the way, as well as making sure that you’re seen by other road users. However, there are other
front lights out there that have been specifically
designed to help you be seen at wider angles, and of
course they fall more into the camp of the, “to
be seen” style lights. So this rapid X3 light,
it does in fact have a younger brother and sister,
called the X2 and the X. They just don’t put out
quite as many lumens. The way they’ve been designed is they don’t really put out light front ways, but also sideways, too, helping you be spotted
just that little bit more when riding along. Now a top tip here I
must just let you in on is to maximize your visibility, use more than one light. Why not even mix it up
a little bit so that one’s steady, and one’s flashing. It’s gonna help you be
seen certainly a lot more by other road users, as
well as helping you in the unfortunate instant that
you run out of battery. Something which, yeah, it’s happened to me in the past before so it’s a good little
backup to have with you. Of course, some lights,
they still do come with replaceable batteries inside of them. Now all of the lights
that we have spoken about so far are in fact USB rechargeable units, and that’s certainly one of the areas of light technology in the last few years, that has really come on. So, of you’re an infrequent user though, you may still want to go
for something like this, the Omni model, which
certainly does its purpose, although it’s not gonna
give you the same output as something with a bigger battery. Real lights, however,
they’re slightly different because generally, they’re to be seen with rather than seeing with. However, more expensive models like the Rapid X3 here, which is the brother of the X3 front that we have
already spoken about; They have a bigger output of light, making them ideal for
daytime running lights, as well as alerting
drivers to your presence from further away. Admittedly, in cities
and really built up areas that’s not necessarily the forefront of everybody’s mind, but if
you’re riding on fast, open roads, that that
is certainly something I’ll be considering. Again though, looking for a nice, wide beam pattern is gonna be great to help you be more visible on the road, but I recon that we should take it up to the next level, and add
some extras onto our basic front and rear lights. Now these, they’re orb lights, they simply pop in to your handlebar ends, replacing the standard bar end plugs, and giving you an extra light. Now something else big in
the world of lights are wearables, so studies and research have shown that light that
accentuates the motion of the body’s movement are certainly more noticeable than a light
in a fixed position. So, something on your
seat post for example. But don’t go taking off the
light on your seat post. Instead, add to it with something like a light on your ankle. Now I mentioned earlier
on about USB rechargeable batteries, but there is
in fact something which is more recent in the world of lights, and that is smart tech. So, for example, these
sync lights, they actually communicate via Bluetooth to one another, so when I turn one of them
on, the others come on too. And you can actually
customize the flash patterns and such like in the app
that comes with it, too. Meaning that simply, you
cannot ever forget to turn on one of your lights,
something which I do see cyclists do from time to time. Despite having battery in the rear light, they quite often forget to put it on. But with this fail safe solution, it’s not going to happen. And then, for the
clumsier of us out there, you can even check out
how much battery life is remaining, as well as
receiving a notification when it gets extra low,
so you can never get caught out again. That’s a blessing for someone like me. And Si Richardson. So there, in a nutshell,
a pretty broad selection of different bike lights,
from the most basic user replaceable units,
right the way up until something which is gonna
illuminate the sky and everything and anything around it. There is something for
every different type of cyclist out there. Now, for you to actually
decide what model you need, first of all, you need to figure out what the use is gonna be. If you want to just be
seen, or if you want to see as well. And then also, it’s worth
considering the battery life too, depending on
how long you’re gonna be riding for. And lastly, fit, because believe it or not, not all lights will fit on all bikes because
with the recent advent of aerodynamic frame tubes and handlebars, not everything’s gonna fit. For instance, if you’ve got an aerodynamic handlebar, it’s more than
likely, you’re gonna need a mount or bracket which can accommodate it, such as this, bare that in mind. You don’t wanna buy
something that’s useless. Now, I do hope that this
has been really useful for you, if it has,
remember to give it a big thumbs up down there, and
share it with your friends. And also don’t forget to
check out the GCN shop, at shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com,
where we have a whole heap of goodies
for you to check out. And now, for another great video, how about clicking just down here.

100 comments on “All You Need To Know About Bike Lights

  1. I love my Cateye Volt1600 front light. Plenty bright for seeing, but in low power pulse mode on short commutes the battery lasts for several weeks.
    On the rear I use a discontinued CatEye with two arrays of 5 leds, of which 4 point sideways, so good visibility. Usually only use 5 in flashing mode for city, add the other 5 in steady mode in complete darkness or bad weather.
    I also have a tiny front and rear light on my helmet, to be seen over parked cars or as emergency backups to get me home should a main light fail.

  2. This video is missing so much information.

    There is legislation where lights must be placed. Additional ones are permitted.

    You must have a rear red reflector placed at a vertical or close to vertical and directed to the rear.
    You don't need a white reflector on the front, but it is recommended. Vertical, or close to vertical.
    You must have a rear red only light on the rear in close to proximity to the rear reflector at a fixed height with some allowances for frame sizes.
    White lights must NOT be used on the rear
    A white light must be used on the front, and you must not dazzle other road users. It is a road traffic offense to knowingly dazzle other road users.
    Front lights should be pointed towards the ground. Only white light must be emitted from the front
    Additional lights are permitted

    You can legally use flashing lights and it is recommended to use with a light in steady lit or non-flashing mode.
    In unlit areas where light or visibility is poor, lights should be set to steady.

    If either of the lights is capable of emitting a steady light, then it must conform to BS 6102/3 and be marked accordingly, even if used in flashing mode.

    Currently, lights in the UK are just torches. This means it's the same as installing a torch to the front of your bike and off you go. If anything, these type of lights are just not ideal. Because there is not cut-off line on front lights, this increases the risks of blinding other road users.

    As a result, many cyclists point their lights forward which does blind people and it like shining a torch in someone's face. Cars have a cut off line in normal use and if you look at it, you are in the area which little light is being directed to. If you lower yourself into that lit zone, you WILL be blinded.

    This is what cycle lights are missing.

    There is a limit to flashing lights. No more than 240 times per minute. So, any lights that strobe are not road legal.

    Are my bicycle lights road legal? The light pattern emitted is not ideal, but I set it to its lowest power output and it still appears bright.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/407848/Information_Sheet_Pedal_Cycles_Lighting.pdf

  3. You’ve finally let Jon out of the workshop!

    Great informative vid, I use front and rear lights, plus hi vis jacket and LED flashing leg bands. Can’t stand fellow cyclists who use powerful beams on flashing mode…

  4. Infomercial!!! 1.5M subscribers and you couldn't be bothered to show even one competing brand? Couldn't find any extra pocket change ? "All you need to know?" LOL… except perhaps other brands to consider!!! I was waiting for the youtube commercials, but the whole video was nothing but a commercial for one company's product line! So much for credibility!

  5. Crikey JonnyTech, I didn't think your vids good get any better but this was adding another drawer to the cabinet! Great work.

  6. Not sure if you guys would ever consider a crossover video? – but check out this one from LTT : https://youtu.be/5NLCaolW-I0 —– I can see the potential of a Zwifty – 300+ watt FTP "Exercise PC" — even if it's for fun's sake rather than very practical. #GCN #Linustechtips #LTT #ZwiftyExercisePC

  7. I'm getting the Cateye Sync lights because of this video. Thanks for the information. Should be a nice addition to my Meilan X5 tail light. Any more lights, and I think I will qualify as a Christmas tree on wheels.

  8. And it might seem obvious to some, but either keep a compatible USB charger lead at work, or carry one with you, to top up charge during the day.

  9. Good article. Decent lights can transform the experience of night riding. Unfortunately, here in Germany, they have officially outlawed effective lights for cyclist, lest you should dazzle the motorists (who are allowed to dazzle whoever they like!).
    You know those dynamo lights from the 70s with the little plastic wheel which is turned by the sidewall of the tyre? They are allowed. Candles are ok too 😉

  10. I use a high Lumen headlamp on my head a slightly lower lumen light on my handlebars with two orange flashing lights on my handlebars for left and right turn signals I keep a medium lumen red tail light and to lower lumen rear turn signals I keep my turn signals off until I'm about to make a turn and then I activate the appropriate signal front and rear people in my area do not recognize hand signals they think I'm waving at them so I use light turn signals as you would on a car or a motorcycle.

  11. Last winter I used a Lupine SL A headlight. And it is a great light. Mounting is a bit flimsy. During the summer I switched back to an old lezyne micro drive because of my Aero mounted garmin edge.
    I would like to know how others combine their head units with their headlight?

  12. The 6000 is too much for almost every road situation, you'd spend all the time flicking the dipping beam function … plus it costs over £600!!!

  13. All you need to know about bike lights is: buy chinese! For 5$ you can buy a front to see bike light, bright, long lasting and with usb charging. No need to spend more cash on more expensive light.

  14. Couldn't I just mount two 9000LM police flashlights to my bicycle in a ziplock bags to my bike? In fact I could throw away my $3.99 1000LM flashlight every week i.e. every rain storm…

  15. Some fantastic tech in LED lights, my only compliant is with these rechargeable lights, many don’t give enough run time, 2 hrs just doesn’t cut it if doing a long ride. I like the replaceable battery ones for touring, but they are getting scarce these days.

  16. My experience observing other cyclists, mainly in London's Richmond Park, is that whilst flashing lights are great to attract attention, when they are too bright they can make it difficult to judge both the rider's speed and position. Perhaps bear that in mind and consider switching to a lower output if possible.

  17. Wow, I can get a light from CatEye with Bluetooth, but I still can't get one from them with a properly shaped beam except through their German distributor. At least they actually make them now. I'm shocked that bike light makers are still sticking symmetric beam flashlights on handlebar mounts and calling them a headlight.

  18. Does anyone actually have a good tip on which light fits well with the canyon Aero/Ergo Cocpits? H31 to be specific 😉
    I would much appreciate it

  19. Not good. How can you not mention the Garmin varia radar an awesome active light I've been using for years and wouldn't ride without it now. Come on.

  20. I have a Volt 700….older model….it is one of the loves of my life…I wear it on top of my helmet and can not say enough about its reliability and sturdy build quality……easy to use and USB charging is great. No I am not paid to say this stuff…just an enthusiast.

  21. I have found you need at least 5000 lumens . I travel on bush bike paths at night you need a light that shines far enough ahead so if any wildlife runs out in front of you there is enough time to stop.

  22. Jon, you mentioned the benefit of flashing lights to be seen as being better than pulse mode ( 1:26) however I recently bought a Light & Motion TAZ1200 for the commute and all the paperwork said there were 5 modes (1200, 600, 300, flash, pulse) but it appeared the flash mode wasn't there. I contacted Light & Motion to see what gives, and they told me "The pulse is our new and recommended daytime feature. The pulsing is meant to alert drivers that you are there without causing them to "fixate" on the light. By creating a consistent source of light that pulses it is easier for you, the rider, to see and at the same time alerts others around you that you are on your bike. In addition, the pulse mode is well established for daytime motorcycle lights." So that's what I am using!

  23. I had the 800 and in rain and darkness it was just rubbish. yeah..other people saw me, but I couldnt see s**t. Now i use the 1200 and it covers my needs regardless of weather conditions.

  24. Way ahead of you, just done the lot, batteries at this time but rechargeables and 3 at front 3 at back , relectors anywhere and everywhere plus hi viz – from an old I had they gave them away – so check batteries once a week, fortnight and month, so you know how long they last. Once you know the life of your batteries at full power set reminders on your phone to rechsrge them. Dib, dib indeed! Get an extension bar, you can mount several devices on …computer, lights, go pro, it's all good.

  25. Sort odd lights. I have dutch Gaezelle tour popular. I use the dynamo lights and 2 flashing rear lights on my panner bags. I have a Trek 7.2.; that i use a 800 l front light and rear flashing light. I carry a spare 200 l. Light as back up in case the battey quits. Batteries are better. But, you still have watch battery drain. When they quit. You can be in a little bit of a situation.

  26. I am an avid cyclist (30+ years) and when I see someone riding a bicycle with a bunch of flashing lights all over it it makes me want to run them over, I can't stand the blinking lights and I find them very distracting to drivers and I find that you tend to stare at them which makes you drive towards them they seem dangerous and distracting imagine if every car driving down the road had several different color blinking lights all over it, but i do find that solid normal brightness lights on a bicycle to be perfect because drivers can see you and it is not annoying or distracting. Keep safe out that people buy try not to put so many blinking bright lights all over your bike that you actually become annoying and distracting to drivers.

  27. I usually put my white front light on my handlebars next the the stem. In the video I saw one low on the fork. Seems like front and center would be more visible.

    Highly recommend Cygolite Hotrod. Inexpensive, have a white on front and red on back. USB rechargeable and it simple straps on anywhere with a thick rubber band. Various flashing patterns and makes you super visible.

    I also usually ride with bright jerseys and jackets.

  28. I've had hard time finding a light that doesn't cost many hundreds of euros but still give enough light for 10 hours while it's cold outside (battery life plummets at -20 °C), been seriously considering buying ebike lights and small cheap ebike battery to power them.

  29. I have the 2018 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 with the integrated cockpit. Which light do you recommend? I can't find too many articles about lights that will fit my handlebars.

  30. When riders ride on bike trails at night, they need to angle their lights down. When I’ve ridden at night, I’ve often been blinded by the lights of approaching riders.

  31. I have a 6000 lumen with 5 cree xml-T6 bulbs and a very good reflector and a metal shell, and I use a 12.6 volt Li-po battery. You can get them with the 18650 battery back, charger and a head strap although it may be a little heavy for that. But the price is amazing compared to these brand name lights and I've had it for over 2 years now with no issues other than "you trying to blind someone?" It has high low and strobe modes, and with the battery etc. costs less than 34 dollars Canadian! Here's a link, I got this because I got sick of morons on the phone whacking their mirror on my left arm. One got a $480 fine since the police saw what he did but he didn't even notice.
    I have a nice tail light too, A Cmeilan X5 I got on sale for $24 that is quite bright as well and then a spoke light that has 32 patterns, but is good for not getting t-boned. AliExpress has some amazing lights but I like mine the best. It's a long link, but worth it. Let cell phone drivers know you're there, because they are a real danger on the road.

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Bicycle-Light-Lamp-Rechargeable-Aluminum-Light-LED-Front-Bike-Light-7000-Lumen-LED-Bike-Lamp-Charger/32666293220.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.17.66557a95lLwuEf&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_5_10065_10130_10068_318_10547_319_5727220_10548_10696_10084_10083_10618_452_10139_10307_532_10882_204_10059_10884_10887_100031_320_10103_5727320,searchweb201603_1,ppcSwitch_0&algo_expid=c8d3eabc-71e3-4364-87a1-d652d1bc6f2d-2&algo_pvid=c8d3eabc-71e3-4364-87a1-d652d1bc6f2d&priceBeautifyAB=0

  32. Oh, and cameras are handy for insurance claims because drivers tend to lie to the police. Here is a high quality video at a very low price for you other poor folks. Get two, on for the rear. It will show that you had your lights on.

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Original-Mini-Cam-WIFI-Camera-SQ13-SQ11-SQ12-FULL-HD-1080P-Night-Vision-Waterproof-shell-CMOS/32848168390.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.16584c4daFyo56

  33. Can't believe you left out dynamo lights! Bicycle touring is on the rise almost everywhere having a dynamo hub for lights & your devices is a must, even a humble bottle dynamo helps & it's all battery free 🙂

  34. MISSING """Turn Signal""" Lights AND bettter,,, TURN
    Signal lights that are visable ""DAY'' & Night .. Just a recommendation

  35. Do you use the brightest, most obnoxious bike light setting or something that won't piss off drivers?It blinds drivers completely and seems like its a bit counterintuitive since there's a good chance someone blinded might swerve into the bike head-on.

    Biker will be very dangerous!!!

  36. 我的自行车灯来自中国卖家。它具有智能传感功能。当我的自行车灯和驾驶员之间的距离越来越近时,我的自行车灯会根据相对驾驶员头灯的亮度自动减弱,直到自行车灯没有光线。当司机的汽车经过时,我的灯会再次点亮,这将解决驾驶员的愤怒和我的安全,而且这款自行车灯便宜且易于使用,我会推荐它。

  37. Here in France you must have either white or yellow lights on the front and red lights on the back. Definitely NO flashing lights allowed by the law, only constant lights ("Theorically" a 11€ fine could apply)

  38. flashing and direct LED light is prohibited on German roads ! only reflected LED light is alowed and for a very good reason.

  39. I use a 40 year old bottle dynamo lighting set with battery backup system , so never left in the dark whether moving or not still working fine and the battery's in the backup system last a very long time.

  40. Yet ANOTHER app on our phones.. Thus encouraging cyclists to use whilst on the move is just plain dangerous and idiotic. There's enough deaths on our roads due to the use of mobile phones. So how's about just a plain good old bike ride WITHOUT the need for tech getting in the way. You know just like the good old days. Cycling is become far too expensive and daft with all this hype around fancy bikes and the tech to go with them. Go back to basics and it will be a lot more pleasant 😊

  41. These are the newest best lights the battery on these are rechargeable and they last for 10 hours super bright too and very decent price too. You can buy them here —->. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P2C6G9P/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_cBBWCb611J7Y4

  42. As a retired bike commuter, I don’t need to ride in the dark anymore. Still, I use a Light & Motion headlight in flashing mode during daytime solo rides. I know cars, pedestrians and other cyclists can see me a distance away.

  43. I have a Volt400 on the front and a Lezyne Zecto Max Rear 250 on the back. Unfortunately, some motorists are still oblivious of cyclists or need their eyes testing.

  44. Only thing about the connector bike lights is that connected features are a major draw on your battery. You are going to have to keep recharging the batteries a lot more when you use those features

  45. Not dazzling other road users is really important. The number of cyclists I see – behind the blinding light of their high lumen lights pointing at my face – who do not consider this is worrying. It makes the road more dangerous, and a driver more likely to make a mistake. Point the lights DOWN towards the road, not up into drivers' and cyclists' eyes!

  46. Don't forget the high tech reflective tape. I put it on the edges of cranks and everywhere else. Really works. Thanks Jon.

  47. I once came out of a shop at night wearing all black to find that some kind soul had stolen the light from my black bike.
    Cycling home in black on a black bike was so much fun that I painted orange panels on my bike (orange is the colour the human eye is the most receptive to) and fit front and rear lights on my helmet.

  48. there are a lot of lights with low quality batteries that can last less than 4 hours, and there are lights that can last for 16 hours. how do you know what kind of light you are getting into when you buy something? is there any sort of quality certificate or list of brand that you know you can trust?

  49. Not "All you need to know…". Here are few more real-world items to know that can be important when making a decision.

    Many light manufacturers make outrageous claims about lumens output. Anything that produces thousands of lumens in a fist-sized unit is going to suck most reasonably sized batteries down in minutes…not hours. Something that produces thousands of lumens in a small package will also run VERY hot. Really high output LEDs require a lot of heatsink area to keep them cool if they are operated at their high output levels.

    Battery or light size is not directly correlated with lumens output as you seem to imply. It can be the case in a given product, but it is not a reliable metric on which to base a purchase. Relatively lower lumens output lights may have a very large battery (and large size) which would allow it to run for more than a few hours at full brightness, rather than just 1 or perhaps 2 hours. Similarly, I've seen lights that claim "2000 Lumens" (and higher) use a very low capacity battery. That allows them to reduce the size of the unit by a lot, but the light won't even run bright for long enough to get you home in an 30 minute commute. By the end of the ride, it's become more of a "to be seen" light.

    All I'm saying is don't be pulled-in by claims of Lumens not supported by sound testing and usage metrics, and also be VERY wary battery mAh capacity claims. What is claimed is not necessariy the reality.

    By the way, there are a lot of counterfeit lithium batteries (cells) being sold on various websites. I advise people to watch some of the YouTube videos that talk about this and how to tell the difference between a true 3,000 mAh cell and a FAKE one. For example, I bought some well known brand cells that claimed 3,000mAh and some that claimed 5,000mAh capacity at fairly low prices. That made me want to test them. I found they ALL actually provided LESS than 1,000mAh of energy. They couldn't keep a 1W LED powered-up for more than 20 minutes. It should be noted that a real "2000 Lumen" LED takes more than 1W. These cells also weighed just a little over half what a legitimate 3,000 mAh lithium cell weighs (although I've read that some counterfeit battery makers now put sand in their cells to make them weigh the same). Others on youtube have seen the same thing.

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