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Riding a bike during the day or at night can be dangerous.
Surprisingly, you have a higher chance of being involved in an accident in the daytime as opposed to at night time. It’s, therefore, a good idea to have lights that can help you be seen in the daytime as well as night.
Our review of the best bike lights contains mainly lights that can do just that.
These are all powerful bike lights.
So, let’s get the review started and take a closer look.
- Top 12 Best Bike Lights In 2021 Reviews
- 1 CAT EYE – Volt 500 XC Rechargeable Bike Headlight
- 2 Light & Motion Urban 700 Front Bicycle Headlight
- 3 Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL Light
- 4 LEZYNE Zecto Drive Bicycle Front LED Light
- 5 Knog Blinder MOB Bike Light: LED, USB Rechargeable
- 6 Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition
- 7 Cycliq Fly12 CE HD Bike Camera + Front Light
- 8 NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost USB Rechargeable MTB Road Commuter LED
- 9 Cygolite Metro Pro – 1,100 Lumen Bike Light
- 10 Cygolite Metro 700 Lumen Headlight & Hotshot 100 Lumen Tail Light
- 11 Lumina 900 Boost Front Bike Light Sabre 80 Rear Bike Light Combo Pack
- 12 Light & Motion Urban 500 & Vya Commuter Combo
- Best Bike Lights Buying Guide
- Before We Announce The Winner
- Final Thoughts On The Best Bike Lights
Top 12 Best Bike Lights In 2021 Reviews
1 CAT EYE – Volt 500 XC Rechargeable Bike Headlight
This is nice.
The Cateye Volt 500 XC has enough candle power to help you see on the darkest of nights. The 500 XC in the title refers to the 500 lumens the Cateye can provide. It isn’t the smallest or the lightest of units, but for such a bright light, it’s sold at a very fair price.
The Volt can be secured to your handlebars with the hooks and silicone band that are integrated into its base. The Volt will fit any size or style of handlebars. You can even fix it onto a set of aero bars. That’s if you’re brave enough to be speeding around on a high-end carbon bike in the dark!
If you want to, it’s also possible to fix it to your bike helmet. It’s probably not something we’d do because of the size and weight. It can be done, though, if you want.
This bicycle light has four light modes. These are high, low, flashing, and hyper-constant. If you want to switch to the high mode, you just need to double click. The mode button is mounted right in the middle of the unit, so it’s easy to operate.
The good news is that this is a rechargeable light and can give you decent battery life on a single charge. It is charged by a USB cable and can be used for up to 30 hours. This will, however, not be the case in high mode. You can expect a greatly reduced burn rate if you’re using the full 500 lumens.
The Cateye Volt provides good value. Its brightness and robust build quality are features that often can only be found on more expensive bicycle lights. The other great thing is that Cateye is a well-established brand and a name you can trust.
- Very bright.
- High beam mode to see in the dark.
- Rechargeable batteries.
- Strong and robust.
2 Light & Motion Urban 700 Front Bicycle Headlight
Things are getting even brighter!
It’s going to be no surprise at all when we tell you that the Light & Motion Urban 700 Front Bicycle Headlight has 700 lumens of light.
This powerful 700-lumen bike light has enough power to get you seen in the day as well as at night. And since 75% of bike accidents happen during the daytime, riding with a bike light on in the day time isn’t a bad idea.
We’re not suggesting to do the same for bikes. However, if it potentially can save you from an accident, why not do it yourself anyway?
The light can be mounted on to your handlebars with its integrated band. The band fits around your bars and is tightened or loosened with a rotary knob. It’s a simple, strong, and effective mounting solution.
The Light & Motion Urban 700 is rechargeable and can offer a maximum of 12 hours use. This is on safe pulse mode, which uses just 175 lumens. On high mode, which uses all 700 lumens, you only get 1.5 hours. In medium mode, which uses 350 lumens, you get 3 hours.
For additional safety, the Light & Motion Urban 700 has a built-in sidelight to help you be seen from a wider angle. It’s a nice idea that could potentially cover a blind spot not covered at dark by either your front or rear light.
Like the Cateye, this is another robust, waterproof, and well-built light. Unlike the Cateye, it’s quite a lot more expensive. We concede that the overall quality is undoubtedly higher than the Cateye. However, if it’s twice as good, as the price indicates, is hard to call.
- Super bright.
- Sidelight integrated into the light.
- Four modes.
- Excellent build quality.
3 Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL Light
Lezyne makes a wide range of bike accessories. These include pumps, tools, bike computers, and lights. They’ve been around for a long time and have a solid reputation for building quality products.
First of all, this is a relatively small and lightweight bike light considering its brightness. It measures just 5.1 x 2.9 x 2 inches and weighs slightly over 3 ounces.
The light can produce 600 lumens, so it’s perfectly suitable for use in the daytime to be seen. Alternatively, you can use it at night to both see and be seen. The Lezyne uses dual lights that produce a smooth beam pattern and illuminate a clear path ahead.
The Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL Light has a total of 9 different light modes. The battery life can give you up to 44 hours of use. However, realistically, on a high beam, don’t expect to get much more than a couple of hours.
The bike light is rechargeable and will reach a full charge in a respectable 2.5 hours.
It has a thick, hard-wearing rubber strap that attaches easily to any shape of handlebars. Unfortunately, unlike the Cateye, you can’t easily attach this to a bike helmet. It’s a bit of a shame really since it’s so light.
Unlike most bike lights, you get a choice of two different colorways. You can either have it in black or high gloss finish. The light is made from aluminum, so we think it looks best in the high gloss finish. It’s nice, at least to have a choice.
- Nine light modes.
- Small and lightweight.
- Smooth beam pattern.
- Solid build quality.
- It cannot be attached to a bike helmet.
4 LEZYNE Zecto Drive Bicycle Front LED Light
It’s another Lezyne light, so you know what to expect in terms of build quality.
This light is quite different from the design of the other three we’ve already looked at. The light has three bright LED lights and is large and round. It has a lot of the design and stylistic cues akin to an old-fashioned miner’s lamp.
There’s a lot of things we like about this bike light, but let’s start with the size and shape first.
The LEZYNE Zecto Drive Bicycle Light is a great shape to place anywhere on your bike. It’s easy to fix on any bars, and it can also be fixed onto your bike helmet. Furthermore, since it weighs a mere 47gms, you’ll also be able to ride around without feeling like you have a stack of books on your head.
Although the light is small, it can still pack a punch as far as brightness is concerned too. Producing 250 lumens, it’s still able to light the way ahead so you can see in the dark. It’s not super bright like some of the other lights. Never the less, if you’re not riding at superfast speeds, it will be good enough to see on unlit roads and paths.
Like the previous Lezyne light we reviewed, the main body of the light is constructed from machined aluminum. You also get a choice of 4 different colors for the lens encasement.
Finally, the cool thing is that there is a rear light version of exactly the same light. If you want to buy a rear light as well, you can buy them as a pair and save yourself a bit of money. Always a plus in our book.
- Cool design.
- It can be attached to a bike helmet.
- Four color choices.
- Not suitable for fast night time riding.
5 Knog Blinder MOB Bike Light: LED, USB Rechargeable
Knog makes a lot of different lights for the front and rear of your bike.
The bike we’re reviewing is the Kid Grid rear light. You can get an equivalent front light. You can also get a square-shaped light if you prefer. All the lights are available as either a front or rear light.
All of the Knog lights put out the same 80 lumens. This is plenty enough to get you seen from a considerable distance.
If you need to see, as well as be seen, you’ll need around 200 lumens of brightness as a starting point. Also, if you’re considering running daytime lights, these are a bad choice. Frankly, they’re just not bright enough.
On the plus side, they have an excellent battery life, which is partly down to their reduced power. Basically, you can expect a burn time of up to 76 hours in eco flash mode.
All the Knog bike lights are waterproof and have an IP67 rating. This is more than sufficient to stand up to the worst the elements can throw at it.
The lights are easily fixed anywhere on your bike. They can be fitted to wide seat posts or aero bars. They also are light and small enough that you can attach them to your bike helmet.
All the lights are designed in such a way as to offer plenty of versatility. They undoubtedly look kind of cool — kind of urban chic. But best of all they’re very competitively priced and won’t break the bank.
- IP67 certified.
- Available in a wide range of styles.
- Good battery life.
- Easy to attach.
- Not so good for daytime running.
6 Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition
Garmin has got to make an appearance on a list of the best bike lights.
The company is best known for making the best bike computers. They are dominant in this field. But Garmin also makes a great range of bike accessories, including bike lights.
The one thing you immediately notice about the Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight is the level of machining, attention to detail, and overall build quality. For a bike light, this light is off the scale. Unfortunately, so too is the price. You’re going to have to dig deep for this one.
You get a bike light with 800 lumens of brightness at full power. The other settings include medium, low, night flash, and day flash. In day flash, the light puts out a beefy 700 lumens and keeps you visible from more than a mile away.
In the high setting, you’re going to run flat in just 1.5 hours. Despite flashing at 700 lumens, day flash is surprisingly the most economical battery mode. In day flash, you can expect to get 25 hours of battery life.
The Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight has an integrated mount that can be used with all Garmin computer mounting brackets. It’s a great mount, but if you don’t already have a Garmin computer, you’ll need to buy the mounting bracket separately.
The Trail edition of the Garmin Varia also has an additional strap to mount the light on your helmet. Nice.
One of the features that differentiate this light from all the others is that it can be linked to your Garmin Edge computer for a chat. Once paired, the Varia can automatically alter the light’s intensity according to your speed and riding profile.
What this means is that on a typical ride, the battery life can be extended from 1.5 hours to as much as four hours. If you’re going on longer nighttime rides, this is an excellent feature.
There’s absolutely no doubt about it that this is a superb bike light. If you have a Garmin Edge computer, it’s worth the premium price. If you don’t have a Garmin computer, we’d give it a miss.
- Incredible build quality.
- Excellent daytime visibility.
- Excellent mounting system.
- It will talk with your Garmin Edge computer.
- It’s expensive.
- Needs to be mounted with a Garmin bracket which is not included.
7 Cycliq Fly12 CE HD Bike Camera + Front Light
If you want a bike light with a built-in camera, you might like this.
The Cycliq Fly12 CE HD Bike Camera has a front-facing 600 lumens light integrated into the case.
The light has three modes and three diming options. The light and camera can both be run independently of each other. When used in tandem, the Cycliq Fly12 has a maximum battery life of eight hours. It uses rechargeable batteries and can be recharged in just 2.5 hours.
One useful safety feature of the camera light is that when the unit detects battery life is low, it automatically switches off the camera. It does this when you have just 30 minutes of bike light battery remaining. Basically, this is designed to get you home safely before your battery dies.
The Cycliq Fly12 CE HD Bike Camera can be mounted either above or below your handlebars. It’s a solid mount that is easy to put on and take off.
The camera can take photos and record videos in full HD. It has a 135-degree wide-angle capability and a 6-axis stabilization system. The camera takes super clear and quality footage.
The CycliqPlus Desktop software provides some easy to use and powerful tools to edit your photos and videos.
If you want to use the camera as an incident recording device, which most people will, you can set it to loop. This way, you never need to worry about catching valuable footage in case of an accident. The camera uses a micro SD, which is not included.
This strong, robust, and waterproof light and camera combo is not a bad choice for a cyclist looking for an easy to use, integrated unit.
- 600 lumens light.
- Automatic camera switch-off safety feature.
- Quality mounting system.
- Integrated camera.
- Clunky software.
- Stabilization could be better.
8 NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost USB Rechargeable MTB Road Commuter LED
This is super bright.
With an 1100 lumens capability, you’ll have no problems seeing in the dark and being seen. The brightness of the NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost takes bike lights to a whole new level. The power of the NiteRider is truly awesome.
You can run this as a daytime light and give yourself the very best chance of being seen by even the most distracted of drivers. What’s more, at night time, it’s bright enough to allow you to ride at any speed either on the road or on demanding off-road trails.
The light has a total of 9 modes. These include five light level intensity settings and a further four daytime flashing modes. Whichever mode you choose to use, the OLED display on top of the unit helps you keep a real-time track on your battery life in hours and minutes. We’re sure you’ll agree that’s no bad thing.
It’s a very strong, well-built, and well-engineered light. It’s also a big unit. It measures 8 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches and weighs a rather hefty 6.1 ounces. It has a sturdy DuPont fiberglass and plastic outer casing. Plus, it has an aluminum custom heat sink to keep the lithium battery and all the circuitry at optimum temperatures. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, it also has full casket seals to protect itself against all that the weather can throw at it.
The NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED can be mounted using its own mounting bracket. Alternatively, it’s compatible with the GoPro mounting bracket.
This is a light with a premium price attached. However, if you’re riding in some extreme conditions and at speed, it’s a price tag that could very well be worth it.
- Very powerful light.
- Real-time battery indicator.
- Strong and tough case.
- Heat sink technology.
- Weight and size.
9 Cygolite Metro Pro – 1,100 Lumen Bike Light
This is another very powerful light.
Like the NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost we’ve just reviewed, the Cygolite Metro Pro has exactly the same maximum 1100 lumens output. However, a key difference is in the price. The Cygolite Metro Pro is significantly cheaper.
There are a lot of similarities between the two lights.
Let’s start with those first.
The light is made from good quality materials. It’s waterproof and weatherproof and will stand up to the worst the environment can throw at it.
The Cygolite Metro Pro can be used as either a day time light or be used at night time to see the road or trail ahead. It has nine different light modes. Used in Boost, you can expect to get around an hour of battery life. In Triple Pulse, you can expect to get around 22 hours of battery life.
Triple Pulse is the longest battery life you can get when you’re using the light on your bike. However, there is a walking mode if you want to take the light off your bike. In this low-level mode, you can get up to 100 hours of use.
The batteries are rechargeable, and there is a low battery indicator on the case to let you know when you’re running low. But unlike the NiteRider, it doesn’t give you real-time battery levels. Also, the NightRider has a slightly longer battery life on a high beam.
The Cygolite Metro Pro comes with a good quality mount that can be used on any shape of bars. This also includes aero bars. But unlike the NiteRider, it is not compatible with a GoPro mount.
One final difference is that there’s no heatsink technology to keep the light and circuitry cool.
There’s no doubt that the NightRider has a few extra features. However, if you’re looking for a more basic, but equally as bright, bike light, then the Cygolite Metro Pro is genuinely an excellent affordable and slightly lighter option.
- Super bright.
- Nine modes.
- Good value.
- No real-time battery level.
- Low battery life in Boost mode.
10 Cygolite Metro 700 Lumen Headlight & Hotshot 100 Lumen Tail Light
This is another good quality, made in the USA, no-nonsense light from Cygolite.
For less than the price of the Cygolite Metro Pro, you get a 700-lumen front light and a 100-lumen rear light. That sounds like a good deal to us.
The front light comes in the same rugged, waterproof case as the Cygolite Metro Pro. You also get exactly the same high-quality mounting system. The rear light has a solid seat post strap included.
The Cygolite Metro 700 Lumen Headlight has six modes rather than nine. The modes include high, medium, low, steady pulse, daytime, and walking. Although both the daytime and high modes don’t push out as much light as the Cygolite Metro Pro, they’re still bright. They’re still bright enough to get you seen in the daytime and light the way at night.
Since the Cygolite Metro 700 Lumen Headlight has less power than its bigger brother, you do get better battery life. In walking mode, you get an extra 15hours. In high mode, you can expect an extra 30 minutes.
The rear light has 100 lumens of brightness, which is plenty. This light, like the front one, is rechargeable and can give you a whopping 270 hours before burning out. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The front light has a battery indicator, but sadly the rear light doesn’t.
This is an excellent value combo that offers a lot for not very much. If you’re not engaging in more extreme and fast night time cycling, we think this combination makes a lot of sense.
- Good battery life.
- Excellent value.
- Good mountings for both lights.
- No battery level indicator on the rear light.
11 Lumina 900 Boost Front Bike Light Sabre 80 Rear Bike Light Combo Pack
Here is Nightrider’s take on a front and rear light combo set.
Lumina 900 Boost is a more powerful light than the Cygolite Metro 700 combo light set we’ve just reviewed. Since it has an extra 200 lumens, you’d, therefore, expect it to be more expensive. And you’d be right. It is.
The Lumina 900 Boost has the same DuPont fiberglass case as the more powerful NightRider 1100. You, therefore, also get the same high level of weather and water resistance. Additionally, you get the same quality mounts and the same ability to mount it with a GoPro bracket.
Possibly even better is that the Lumina 900 Boost retains the same aluminum heat sink technology. This means the integrated Li-ion battery and circuitry will stay operating at optimum temperatures. As a bit of a bonus, the sweeping heatsink design, down the side of the light, looks pretty cool.
Boost mode provides excellent visibility ahead and is very close to matching the Nightrider 1100. The Lumina 900 Boost has a battery indicator, but it does not have the same real-time OLED display found on the larger version. The rear light has no battery indicator. Frankly, we think that’s a shame.
The rear light is visible through 180 degrees. Like the front light, it cleverly utilizes an array of multi-LED lights to quickly get you noticed in the day time as well at night. When used with the front light’s daylight visible flash mode, this is a great combo to improve your day time riding safety.
- Heat sink technology.
- Powerful daytime lights for both front and rear.
- Rear light visible through 180 degrees.
- Good mounting options.
12 Light & Motion Urban 500 & Vya Commuter Combo
We’re finishing our review of 12 of the best bike lights with another front/rear light combo. This is a less powerful model of the Light & Motion Urban 700 front light we looked at in our second review.
The Light & Motion Urban 500 has an integrated strap that can be easily used to mount to your handlebars. The strap can fit around any kind of handlebars, including aero bars. The strap can be fastened or loosened by using the rotary knob.
It’s rechargeable, and on safe/pulse mode can provide a maximum of 12 hours use. If it’s used on the high mode, you can realistically expect to get somewhere close to 1.5 hours. This is very much about the same as for the Light & Motion Urban 700
Since the front light is combined with a rear light, this means you will have a full 360 degrees light cover in the dark. That’s exactly what we cyclists want.
Both the front and rear light are well made and are waterproof. They are IP67 certified. What this means is that you can immerse them in up to one meter of water, and they’ll still work. It’s not something that we’d recommend you to try, but it does mean they’re not going to fail on even the rainiest of nights.
The rear light gives 50 lumens of brightness. It’s enough to get you seen though does fall a long way short of the 100 lumens you find in the Cygolite Metro Combo. It would have been nice to have something just a little brighter.
- Integrated sidelight.
- 360 degrees of light cover.
- IP67 waterproof rating.
- Excellent build quality.
- Rear light only has 50 lumens.
Best Bike Lights Buying Guide
All the front lights in our review distinguish themselves as being designed for seeing as well as being seen. Normally, a lot of even the best of bike lights are unable to light a path ahead in the dark. Not so with the bike lights, we’ve included.
Even the least powerful light, the LEZYNE Zecto Drive light, still puts out a respectable 250 lumens. Although it’s not suitable for fast running rides in more demanding settings, it’s still more than adequate in dark areas, and for all you urban warriors.
If you need a super-powerful light to see ahead at fast speeds in a dark environment, then the Cygolite Metro Pro or NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost are perfect choices.
Rear lights in a built-up area, are, in our opinion, more important than front lights. No question. The truth is that your chances of being hit by car or truck are substantially higher when compared to the chances of a front-end collision.
Quite simply, a rear light can be a lifesaver…
Because rear lights only need to be seen, rather than to also see, a lower lumens capability when compared to a front light is fine. Whereas a front light needs at least 200 lumens to see the road in front, we think around half of that is acceptable for a rear light.
Since we only reviewed one single rear light, the Knog Blinder MOB Bike Light has no competition to win the best rear light category. We did have a few front/rear light combos, but we’ll look at those next.
The Knog ticked enough boxes to be considered a decent choice in any circumstances. Its 80 lumens brightness is fine. It also can give 76 hours of battery life in flashing mode, which is plenty.
Front & Rear Light Combos
It does make sense if you’re buying a front light to buy a rear light at the same time. At the end of our review, we featured three choices that are all good bike light combos. One of the obvious advantages of buying lights like this is you do get a reasonable discount for buying them as a pair.
The Lumina 900 Boost and the Cygolite Metro 700 would be our choices of the three combos we looked at. They’ve plenty of power up front and plenty of power behind too. Both having rear lights with 100 and 80 lumens, respectively.
The Light & Motion Urban 500 is a great bike light combo, but we feel the 50 lumens in the rear light could have been better. Still fine in an urban environment but not the best choice for a daytime rear light.
Weight is important, but when you choose to run a powerful front light, like most of these are, you have to pay a weight penalty. The only exception to this is the LEZYNE Zecto Drive Bicycle Front LED Light. This weighs just 57gms. However, with just 250 lumens, it’s a lot less powerful than most of the alternatives we’ve looked at.
More powerful lights are likely to weigh three times as much. A good quality bright set of combo lights can weigh four times more. The bottom line is, if you want powerful lights, you’re just going have to accept the extra weight.
All the lights we reviewed have rechargeable batteries. They all also have different modes, including a flashing mode. And all of them also burn through batteries quicker in high mode and go through them more slowly in flashing mode.
It’s also true that the more powerful the light then, the shorter the battery time you can expect.
Of all the best bike lights, we reviewed two of them managed their batteries better than others.
The Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition, when linked to a Garmin Edge computer, can help to save battery life by adapting the light intensity according to your riding speeds. Using this system, it’s possible to extend battery, on high, from 1.5 hours to 4 hours. You will, of course, need a Garmin Edge computer to do this.
If you don’t have a Garmin Edge computer, then take a look at the NiteRider Lumina 1100 OLED Boost…
The NiteRider has a real-time battery indicator. Although it doesn’t give you longer burn time, it does allow you to keep a closer look at your battery life. The real-time in hours and minutes is clearly displayed on the OLED indicator on the top of the light. If you’re quickly running low on power, you at least have the chance to switch modes, and maybe riding speeds and styles, to help you get home before the batteries go flat.
It’s a great feature.
Before We Announce The Winner
For more reviews of bike parts, bike upgrades, and bike accessories, check out our comprehensive coverage of the Best Bike Rollers, the Best Bike Tubes, the Best Bicycle GPS Trackers, the Best Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Bike Helmets, the Best Bike Racks, the Best Bicycle Seats, the Best Mountain Bike Saddles, and the Best Bicycle Tool Kits on the market.
Back to bike lights…
Final Thoughts On The Best Bike Lights
So, there we have it.
A great selection of lights that will help you see as well as get you seen.
It’s important to be seen when you’re out riding. Honestly, it could also save your life. Always make sure your batteries are fully charged before you go out. We’d also advise you to run both front and rear lights even in the daytime.
Of all the lights we reviewed, our top pick is the…Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition.
This is an incredibly well-built light that will stand everything you and the weather can throw at it. We love the fact that the light gives you excellent daytime visibility and can be used with a Garmin mount. Best of all, though, is that it can talk with your Garmin computer and provide you with some interesting running and battery saving options.
Enjoy your bikes, and enjoy your rides.