I’ve been riding for more than 40 years, and during that time I’ve tried just about every type of bike light on the market, from the ancient incandescent lights to the modern LED lights, and I can tell you with certainty that there’s nothing better than a good set of bicycle lights for night riding. For one thing, they provide a sense of security and confidence that you may not get from a rear light alone, while also providing help in case of an emergency.
To keep you safe on the road at night, a number of new bike lights have hit the market in recent years. But which one is best for you?
When you’re out on your bicycle at night, you need to be seen by drivers. Whether you’re out on a regular commute to work or a night-time ride, you need to make sure drivers see your lights in order to stay safe. There are countless options with varying features to suit each rider and every type of mountain bike. To make sure you’re getting the best light for your money, we’ve researched the most popular options for night riding, and we’ve compiled them so you can make an informed choice.. Read more about best bike lights for night riding and let us know what you think.
You’re missing out if you’ve never gone mountain riding at night. It’s a fantastic challenge; hazards come at you quicker, it seems like you’re going at warp speed, and the forests at night are breathtaking.
To brighten the path, you’ll need a powerful front light, and these are the finest mountain bike lights we tested in 2019 and 2020.
The brighter your lights are, the more enjoyable your night riding will be. You’ll be able to see more of the path, hazards that were previously hidden in the shadows will jump out at you, and speed will come easily.
We’ve concentrated on high-powered lights for mountain riding in this article. Otherwise, have a look at our list of the best bike lights for commuting and road riding.
Our professional testers have chosen the finest mountain bike lights for 2021.
- Monteer 8000S Galaxy by Magicshine (about £310): $400 / AU$650
- £350 / $350 / AU$450 Titan 4000 Gemini
- £150 / $170 / AU$265 Pavo Motion 2400 by Lifeline
- Monteer 6500 Magicshine: £226 / $350
- £160 / $149 Niterider Lumina Dual 1800 Niterider Lumina Dual 1800
- £50 for Advanced 1600 Lumen Halfords
- R4+ LED Standard: £230 / €285
- £366 / €400 / $395 / AU$550 Apogee Carbon Extender Pack by Lumicycle
- £220 / $270 X-Power 1800 Moon
- £385 / $473 / AU$619 for the MaXx D MK13 Exposure
- £289 XSV Gloworm
- £295 for Hope R8
- £130 PR1600 Ravemen
- Light & Motion Seca Enduro: £350
What characteristics distinguish an excellent mountain bike light?
For this test, we established a bottom limit of 1,500 claimed lumens, which is more than enough to provide safe and well-lit shredding. You may be able to get away with less, but it all depends on how fast you want to ride and how difficult the trails are.
The amount of lumens a manufacturer says their light has compared to how many it really has may vary considerably, just as stated battery life, weight, and a lot of other factors can. Don’t worry; although the number of stated lumens is significant, what matters most is how the light is projected, not how bright it is.
The same may be said about run timings. We timed each light on its highest level to see how long the battery would survive.
Obviously, more battery power is needed if the LEDs emit a lot of light. At the 1,500-lumen minimum requirement, all of our lights have at least one hour of run time, but most have much longer burn time at their maximum output, so you’re unlikely to be caught short.
The technology behind batteries and LEDs is always improving, and although lights with dedicated, separate battery packs will last longer than integrated all-in-one systems, the gap between the two is closing.
Beam patterns are equally as essential as light output when designing a lighting system. Some lights focus their light on a single region, revealing everything in that space in great clarity, although this sometimes comes at the cost of wider coverage.
Flood lights show more of the trail’s surrounds, giving you a clearer sense of where you are and highlighting features that a more concentrated beam might miss. Because of the larger beam spread, it’s also easier to see around corners – something to keep in mind if you’re not using a twin bar and lid mounted configuration.
Spot and flood outputs may be combined in lights with several lenses or beam reflectors, with the ability to change between them. Lights with both beam patterns are, in principle, the best of both worlds.
Check out what accessories come with the light, such as remotes, extra-long cables to connect the battery and head unit, various mounting brackets, and whether the light is certified waterproof, shock-resistant, and has battery or mode indications.
Budgets for the lights on test vary from £130 to £350 / $350 / AU$450. Although you may spend a little more or a little less, with a 1,500-lumen lower limit, this is the pricing range you’ll be looking at unless you’re searching for an eBay bargain.
Comparison of beams
Compare the beams of the top-rated lights (each in its most powerful setting) from our 2019 and 2020 testing in the gallery below.
While every attempt has been taken to offer a fair comparison (our 2019 and 2020 pictures were captured with the identical camera settings), these images should only be used to illustrate the beam pattern of each light.
The Monteer 8000s Galaxy from Magicshine has incredible power, earning it a 5-star rating (8,000 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The beam pattern of the Gemini Titan 4000 OLED provides a far-reaching beam, however its sideways cut-off is very sharp near to the bike (4,000 lumens). Bromley, Simon
With a progressive side-to-side cutoff, the Lifeline Pavo Motion 2400 offers an excellent light spread (2,400 lumens). Bromley, Simon
The Monteer 6500’s beam offers a very broad spread of light, with a very progressive side-to-side cutoff and incredible forward projection (6,500 lumens). Bromley, Simon
The lateral beam spread of the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 is remarkable, and it seems more powerful than NiteRider says (1,800 lumens). Bromley, Simon
The Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen Front Bike Light features a wide beam and is reasonably priced (1,600 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The Hope R4+ LED has a small focus point and a circular beam (2,000 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The Lumicycle Apogee for 2020 is a major upgrade over last year’s model, featuring a fantastic beam pattern (4,500 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The Moon X-Power 1800 features a brilliant focus point but enough spread to make moderate trail riding fun (1,800 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The beam pattern of the Exposure MaXx D MK13 matches its amazing technology (2,500 lumens). Ian Linton is a British actor.
The standard 17-degree optics on the Gloworm XSV provide a progressive cut-off beam, although side spread is restricted (2,400 lumens). Bromley, Simon
The Hope R8+ produces enough light to illuminate everything in front of you, plus a little more. Flooding from one side to the other is also beneficial (4,000 lumens). Immediate Media / Simon Bromley
The beam spread of the Ravemen PR1600 is very small, yet it projects light pretty far (1,600 lumens). Bromley, Simon
The Motion and the Light Seca Enduro offers a fantastic sideways lighting and a strong concentrated spot. However, the light does not project very far (2,500 lumens). Bromley, Simon
Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy
The Monteer 8000S Galaxy from Magicshine receives a perfect score. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- RRP: $400 (Australian Dollars) $650 (about £310)
- 8,000 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 1 hour 15 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- For difficult trail riding, this bike has a lot of power.
- Excellent peripheral and concentrated beam illumination
The Galaxy’s enormous brilliance is second to none, with a mind-boggling 8,000 lumens. It brilliantly illuminates the route and its surrounds, making it a one-stop shop for nasty trail riding.
The beam is very wide, with an almost unnoticeable cut-off point on the sides and front. A bright spotlit region immediately in front of the bike, in addition to this amazing spread, allows you to pick out features such as pebbles and roots as if it were daylight, assisted by the white color of the beam.
The robust alloy head unit has three programs, each with four constant modes and one flashing setting, which are selectable through the power button.
The 10,000mAh battery pack is firmly attached to the frame and, at 34mm in thickness, can fit into tight spaces.
Gemini Titan 4000
The Titan 4000 OLED from Gemini offers a maximum run duration of almost two and a half hours. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £350 / $350 / AU$450 RRP
- 4,000 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 2 hours and 25 minutes (maximum power)
- The brightness is incredible.
- Long-duration run
The Gemini Titan promises to produce 4,000 lumens, and although we weren’t able to verify this, we can say that its output in the real world is massive, with our tester claiming that it could “transform darkness into day.”
Furthermore, for such a bright light, it has an incredible run duration of approximately two and a half hours.
It falls short of a five-star recommendation since it’s pricey and the beam spread isn’t ideal, but if you require this much power, you’ll be blown away.
Lifeline Pavo Motion 2400
The beam spread of the LifeLine Pavo Motion 2400 is good. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- RRP: £150 / $170 / AU$265 RRP: £150 / $170 / AU$265 RRP: £150 /
- 2,400 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 3 hours of run duration (maximum power)
- Very good beam spread
- Excellent battery life
This is the light for you if you’re on a low budget but yet need a high-performing light.
We were surprised by how bright it was, despite the fact that it only put out 2,400 lumens — a rather low headline number. This is certainly aided by its broad beam spread, which not only lights a large area but also floods into the distance ahead.
You’ll want something with more lumens if you’re riding the most difficult terrain, but for the most part, this light will suffice.
The absence of a charge level indication and the blue color of the LEDs may be unpleasant at times, creating harsh shadows on the path are our main complaints. However, they are minor flaws that we’re prepared to forgive at this pricing.
Monteer 6500 Magicshine
The Monteer 6500 by Magicshine features five LEDs with a maximum output of 6,500 lumens. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £226 / $350 RRP
- 6,500 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 2 hours and 20 minutes (maximum power)
- Exceptional light distribution
- Colorful LED lighting
The Magicshine Monteer 6500 is a serious performer, with five LED lights and a stated total output of 6,500 lumens.
It’s a very bright light at maximum 5,000 and 4,000 lumens, but we were also pleased by how it uses that power. The two spot LEDs offer excellent illumination of the path ahead, while the three flood LEDs provide unmatched side-to-side and forward vision.
The battery life is also fantastic; a run duration of 2 hours 20 minutes at full whack is incredible, and this outperforms the stated life by almost an hour, which we welcome.
It has certain drawbacks, such as a somewhat expensive price and the absence of a battery life display or mode indication (which is troublesome when there are 15 settings), but these drawbacks fade away fast while in use.
Niterider Lumina Dual 1800
For its budget, the NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 front light offers a lot of power and a wide beam spread. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £160 / $149 RRP
- Maximum claimed output: 1,800 lumens
- 1 hour of run duration (maximum power)
- Exceptional beam spread
- Exceptional strength
The Niterider Lumina Dual 1800 is a high-performance light that caught us off guard. Despite its low stated maximum lumens, it has excellent power and beam dispersion, and it’s also inexpensive, so it checks a lot of boxes.
Because the internal battery is so tiny, you can only use it for an hour at maximum power. It’s not the most elegant-looking light we’ve seen, but it clearly outperforms its price tag and rivals many of the more costly lights we’ve seen.
Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
At £50, Halfords’ Advanced 1600 Lumen is difficult to beat. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- RRP: £50
- Maximum claimed output: 1,600 lumens
- 2 hours and 10 minutes (maximum power)
- The intelligent power bar displays the amount of time you have left to run.
- For the price, it’s very impressive.
This is a pretty simple all-in-one light geared primarily for road riders, but for the price, weight, and power, it’s hard to match. It’d be a nice complement to a helmet light or to have in your bag as an emergency backup.
The battery has a capacity of 6,400mAh and powers three LEDs that provide a powerful beam. It’s OK to ride less difficult trails flat out or more complex routes gently on less technical terrain.
More strength would be great, but the beam pattern is wide enough and fades gradually enough that you can still see obstructions around curves.
The ‘intelligent power bar,’ which shows you how much time you have remaining in the mode you’re in, is a smart feature. The provided out-front attachment didn’t keep the light steady, but the rubber strap mount did.
R4+ LED Standard R4+ LED Standard R4+ LED Standard R4+ LED Standard R
The Hope R4+ LED Standard offers a lot of power. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- £230 / €285 RRP
- 2,000 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 2 hours 30 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- Long-distance lighting
- Heat management that is sensitive
Hope’s R4+ is made up of four LEDs arranged in a cross pattern. The brightness is amazing, and it seems that you are receiving the entire 2,000 lumens.
It’s bright enough to make rocks and roots in the distance in front of you stand out. However, despite the slow fade-off, there isn’t nearly enough spread and strength to light the trail’s edges as much as we’d want.
The single power button/mode selector on the head unit changes color to show which of the six settings it is in. A traffic light battery indication is included with the optional 6,200mAh, four-cell battery pack — the bigger of two choices offered with the R4+.
Our test unit’s thermal throttling was very sensitive, and it decreased output to the medium level after two minutes of sitting stationary with the light on maximum power at 14°C temps.
Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack
The Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack’s beam has a bright yellow color that makes trail features stand out. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- RRP: £366 / €400 / $395 / AU$550 RRP: £366 / €400 / $395 / AU$550
- 4,500 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 1 hour 50 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- The beam spread is impressive.
- Color harmony is important.
Lumicycle hired an ex-Formula 1 thermal and aerodynamic expert to work on the Apogee 2021, with an emphasis on efficiency and weight reduction.
Even with the normal 19-degree beam pattern, it still retains the optics from last year, resulting in a very remarkable beam spread. A 26-degree flood optic may be ordered if you desire an even broader spread.
With its enormous 4,500-lumen output, the four LEDs provide a great combination of white and green light, making everything stand out. However, we believe the Apogee might benefit from some additional lighting outside of the spotlight’s strong focal point.
The Panasonic-cell battery pack has a carbon fiber casing with rubber ends and a capacity of 6,800mAh. The Velcro straps keep it in place, however it sits fairly proud of the frame, limiting possible mounting locations.
Moon X-Power 1800
Moon’s X-Power 1800 seems to have more lumens than it claims. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- £220 / $270 RRP
- Maximum claimed output: 1,800 lumens
- 1 hour 50 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- There’s a good balance of concentrated and side light.
- As a helmet light, it performs well.
The CNC-machined, black-anodized, and polished head unit of the X-Power 1800 contains four LEDs that seem to give out more light than Moon’s claimed 1,800 lumens. This makes it ideal for almost all trail center-type routes as well as softer singletrack.
The beam pattern produces a bright and reasonably circular focus point, as well as some side and front flood tapering, which aids with trail context generation. The light’s reach, on the other hand, is a bit limited.
The X-Power comes with a helmet attachment, and we believe it works best as a lid light. There are four steady settings, two flashing modes, and an SOS mode.
With a length of 17cm, the 5,200mAh battery pack may be difficult to install on bikes with curved tubes. When the battery is placed on the top tube, the battery indicator is also quite bright, to the point of being disturbing.
Exposure MaXx D MK13
The auto output adjust function on the Exposure MaXx D MK13 is a useful feature. Immediate Media / Ian Linton
- £385 / $473 / AU$619 RRP
- 2,500 lumens is the claimed maximum output (Constant mode)
- 2 hours and 18 minutes (maximum power)
- The output is automatically adjusted.
- Long range with a wide spread
By utilizing in-built 3D accelerometers to detect speed and bumps, Exposure’s newest MaXx D MK13 all-in-one device offers a kind of artificial intelligence; in Reflex mode, it increases or dims the light output according to the trail conditions.
After riding over calm trails, the brightness rapidly rises upon reaching difficult parts. It saves battery life and eliminates the need to fumble with the mode button.
A 11,600mAh lithium-ion battery powers the four XP-L2 LEDs, which generate a maximum of 4,000 lumens in Reflex mode and 2,500 lumens in Constant mode. They throw a lot of light out in front, but we’d like to see a little more power in the near range. The beam spread is similarly excellent, giving you plenty of room to tackle the trail.
The current mode, battery charge, and run time are shown on an OLED screen, which is supplemented by coloured LEDs that indicate mode and battery charge.
The XSV from Gloworm is part of a broader light ecology. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £289 / $320 / AU$389 RRP
- 3,400 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 1 hour 50 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- Long-lasting battery
- A good balance of flood and spot lighting is used.
The Gloworm XSV surprised us with its capacity to highlight the trails as if it were daylight, thanks to its tremendous power and long range.
With the normal lenses fitted, the spot is reasonably concentrated on the front of the bike, but because to its high power output, beam dispersion is acceptable (though not exceptional). On full power, the run duration is 1 hour 50 minutes.
Unlike many other lights, it comes with a variety of accessories, which helps to make the high price tag more bearable. It’s also a highly appealing choice for anybody interested in the ecosystem as a whole since it can be connected into a system with other Gloworm lights.
The Hope R8+ LED is simple to use and provides excellent side-to-side illumination. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £289 RRP
- 4,000 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 1 hour and 25 minutes (maximum power)
- Extraordinary lighting
- Simple to use
The Hope R8+ isn’t the brightest light we’ve ever seen, but it produces enough light to illuminate everything in front of you and then some. Side-to-side flooding is also extremely useful, and it’s broad enough to pick up lines even when they’re not going exactly in the direction you want to travel.
It’s simple to use, and the battery life is adequate, if not remarkable, at 1 hour and 25 minutes on maximum power. However, the low power mode caught us off guard on a few occasions; once the battery is below 30% charge, switching to a higher power mode from a lower one is no longer feasible.
We were also concerned about the mount’s long-term reliability, but Hope’s after-sales service is widely praised.
Light & Motion Seca Enduro
Light and Motion’s Seca Enduro with 6-cell battery offers extended run periods at maximum power. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- RRP: £350 (about $400)
- 2,500 lumens is the claimed maximum output.
- 2 hours 40 minutes (maximum power)
- Light output that is well-managed and has a wide beam spread
- Long runs at maximum power
Out on the trail, the Light & Motion Seca Enduro feels like it puts out a lot more than its claimed 2,500 lumens max power, showing that raw power numbers don’t always tell the whole story with lights.
A lot of it has to do with how electricity is utilized. The optics provide a wonderful combination of flood and spot illumination, as well as excellent side-to-side lighting. The main disadvantage of its lack of pure horsepower is that its range isn’t great, but this is only an issue when you’re descending fast fireroads at full speed.
The battery life is excellent, and although the mode and energy indications are a little hazy, the device is generally simple to operate. The main issue is the price; it’s a pricey light, and at this price, you may want a bit more wattage.
The PR1600 from Ravemen is reasonably priced and suitable for less difficult terrain. Georgina Hinton is a British actress.
- £130 RRP
- Maximum claimed output: 1,600 lumens
- 1 hour 35 minutes of run duration (maximum power)
- You’ll have enough power to go out on the trails.
- Excellent value for money
The Ravemen PR1600 is a fantastic light for the money. With a reported 1,600 lumens, it’s not the brightest light we’ve seen, but it’ll get you out on the trails quickly and for a reasonable price.
While the PR1600 has excellent range and the flood lights the distance ahead effectively, it lacks the beam spread of its more expensive, multi-LED rivals.
It’s definitely enough as a starting point, but it may not be sufficient for really difficult and fast downhill courses. It’d also be a fantastic choice for riders who do both off-road and on-road riding.
What to look for when purchasing a mountain bike light is outlined in this buyer’s guide.
Pack of batteries
The battery pack is often separate from the LED portion in more powerful or longer-lasting lights. They’re linked via a cable, and the battery may be Velcro-strapped or otherwise attached to your frame or stem.
Our test lights are all bar-mounted. Because head units may be very heavy, the mount is usually fastened to the bars using an Allen key. A rubber O-ring is used in some of the lighter alternatives, while a ratchet strap mechanism is used in others.
The light from the LED and reflector shines through the lens, and depending on the lens’ properties, it is either focussed or dispersed. Multiple lens lights will provide a wider variety of beam patterns, lighting the path more effectively.
Rating for water resistance
It’s a truth that electronics and water don’t get along. While most light manufacturers have worked hard to prevent short circuits by waterproofing their lights, a few have gone above and above and received an official IPXX (International Protection) certification.
The first number, which ranges from 0 to 6, indicates how dust-proof it is, while the second number, which goes from 0 to 9, indicates how waterproof it is (0 lowest, 9 highest). If you’re being fussy and concerned about the circumstances you’ll be riding in, opt for the light with the highest rating. It is conceivable to have a dust rating but no waterproof rating, or the other way around.
When you have a lot of power, you also have a lot of weight. In general, if your light produces enough lumens to cast shadows throughout the day, it will need more power to maintain that brightness and endure for an extended period of time. Larger lithium-ion batteries are heavier, which is something to consider if the light is placed on a bar.
In the world of bike lighting, there are two camps: the traditional cyclists and the night riders. Both groups have valid points, but if you’re a night rider, getting the right lights can be a real headache. The brightest lights are great on the road during the day, but at night they’re all too distracting, bathing your path in too much light. What’s needed is a mix of brightness and comfort. The best bike lights to get are those that are bright enough to be effective in the day, but which are also comfortable to use at night.. Read more about best budget bike lights for night riding and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many lumens do I need for a night mountain bike?
You will need about 100 lumens for a night mountain bike ride.
How many lumens do you need for night trail riding?
For trail riding, you will need between 200 and 300 lumens.
What lights do you need on a bike at night?
You need a white light on the front and a red light on the back.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- best bike lights for night riding
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- best mountain bike lights for night riding
- mountain bike helmet light
- best mountain bike lights on amazon