The Best Bike Lights for Every Type of Rider

Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 XXL’s expansive beam range and automatic cooling make it our favorite.

In This Article

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Best Bike Lights Tout

Amazon and REI

Whether you’re taking a cycling food tour, seeing the world on wheels, or just getting around your own city, a bike light is essential for any cyclist to stay safe during on- or off-road adventures. Any bike light should accomplish two things: help you see and be seen by others. Most bike lights include some range of light modes and features to accomplish this. Yet, not all bike lights are created equal.

To help you find the best bike light for your needs, this guide evaluates brightness, battery life, durability, and visibility, among other factors. Our favorite is the Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 XXL for its automatic cooling feature, quality construction, and wide- and far-reaching beam.

Keep pedaling after dark with one of our top picks for the best bike lights:

Best Overall: Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL Bicycle Headlight

Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL Bicycle Headlight

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s easy to attach and delivers both a wide beam and strong central spotlight for maximum visibility.

What to Consider: In "Race" mode, the contrast in brightness when changing settings isn’t the smoothest transition visually.

From blacktop to backcountry adventures, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 XXL performs well in any scenario. True to its name, the light emits an impressive 1,300 lumens in “Overdrive” mode. An additional six settings offer different levels of brightness and functionality, including flash and pulse capabilities. The notched mounting strap is easy to use and provides a snug fit for a variety of handlebar sizes. The Macro Drive is afforded greater durability by its machined aluminum exterior with integrated cooling fins to maximize performance and runtime. If it heats up due to outdoor conditions or prolonged use, the Macro Drive will automatically adjust its mode to cool itself before returning to the previous setting. To help stay cognizant of battery life, the indicator light turns from green to orange once below 50 percent, orange to red at 10 percent, and begins flashing when it’s running on less than 5 percent.

Max brightness: 1,300 lumens | Weight: 0.46 pounds | Runtime: 148 hours | Type of mount: Rubber strap

Best Helmet Light: Brightside Topside Bike Helmet Light

Brightside Topside Helmet Light

Amazon

Why We Love It: This featherweight light packs durability and variable settings to help stand out on the road.

What to Consider: The max output of 100 lumens isn’t the most powerful, but it’s suitable for supplementary lighting.

The Brightside Topside Helmet Light is fitted with forward- and rear-facing red and LED lights, enhancing safety with multi-directional illumination. The easy-to-reach control button lets riders switch between seven settings for varied levels of brightness across constant, flashing, and alternating modes. To adapt to different helmet designs, the Topside comes with two nylon mounts and rubber O-ring straps to attach to the helmet vents. The Topside’s battery life delivers up to 43 hours of light on the alternating ends setting. Between rides, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery can be juiced up in a few hours via micro-USB cable. A memory function ensures the Topside turns back on in the most recently used setting.

Max brightness: 100 lumens | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Runtime: Up to 43 hours | Type of mount: Nylon clasps

Best for Mountain Biking: Light & Motion Seca 2500 Enduro Front Bike Light

Light & Motion Seca 2500 Enduro Front Bike Light

REI

Why We Love It: This light packs durability for off-road adventure and plenty of power to brighten the trail and beyond.

What to Consider: The battery is connected by a four-foot cord, rather than integrated into the light design.

Having a powerful light with wide visibility is essential for mountain biking between dusk and dawn. With four LED bulbs and a 2,500-lumen max output, the Seca 2500 Enduro Front Bike Light by Light & Motion produces wide-spot and wide-fill beam patterns to vividly illuminate the surrounding terrain and twists and turns ahead. The bike light features four modes (high, medium, low, and SafePulse) ranging from 625 to 2,500 lumens. SafePulse mode is intended for increased daytime visibility and delivers up to 20 hours of battery life. Fitted with a universal tool-free mounting system, the light can be fastened to the handlebars or helmet. For Robert Evans, CEO at Cycling Quest, the combined use of a helmet and handlebar light is essential for mountain biking. “A handlebar light illuminates immediate obstacles but only points wherever the bike is facing, whereas a helmet light lets you follow the curves and turns ahead,” says Evans. While riding, it’s easy to toggle between modes with a single touch of the illuminated power button. And with an IP67 rating, the Seca 2500 Enduro is well protected against downpours and dust.

Max brightness: 2,500 lumens | Weight: 1.09 pounds | Runtime: Up to 20 hours | Type of mount: Both helmet and handlebar (strap) mounts included

Best for Commuters: Blackburn Dayblazer 800 Front Bike Light

Blackburn Dayblazer Front Light

Amazon

Why We Love It: This affordable bike light delivers reliable power and can be easily removed and reattached between trips.

What to Consider: It has a limited runtime on the brightest setting.

With its compact design and user-friendly mount, the Blackburn Dayblazer 800 affords convenience for commuters who need to take off their bike light regularly while out and about. The light comes with both an action-camera-style mount for helmets and a watch-style strap to accommodate an impressive range of handlebar widths (22-35 millimeters in diameter). There are five modes — three levels of brightness (Blitz, high, low), pulse, and strobe — that cover the bases for most riding contexts. Switch on the Dayblazer’s 800-lumen “Blitz” mode to unveil potholes and obstacles during early morning commutes. Meanwhile, strobe mode enhances traffic visibility during daytime and extends the battery life to 12 hours. And with an IP67 rating and aluminum alloy design, the Dayblazer stands up to the elements and wear and tear.


Max brightness:
 800 lumens | Weight: 0.28 pounds | Runtime: Up to 12 hours | Type of mount: Strap and helmet mounts included

Best Dynamo: Supernova E3 Pro 2 Dynamo Headlight

Supernova E3 Pro 2

Amazon

Why We Love It: This self-powered bike light system is bright and reliable, even at lower speeds.

What to Consider: It concentrates most of the light directly ahead, making it best suited for road and urban cycling.

Run by pedal power, the dynamo lights of the Supernova E3 Pro 2 eliminate any concerns about battery charge while cycling. Simply press the on button and start pedaling. The bike light achieves a steady beam once riders get up to 5 miles per hour, and reaches its maximum output of 205 lumens when cruising around 8 miles per hour. Upon stopping, the parking light will stay lit for around five minutes. The E3 Pro 2 is built with a glare-free Terraflux2 lens, delivering excellent near-field visibility and a far-reaching beam without blinding oncoming traffic. The aluminum housing keeps the E3 Pro 2 lightweight and cool for optimum LED performance, while reflective logos on the side enhance visibility. The Supernova system is also taillight compatible for extra safety on the road.

Max brightness: 205 lumens | Weight: 0.5 pounds  | Runtime: Runs while pedaling; five-minute parking light while stopped | Type of mount: Multi-mount capabilities

Best LED: Exposure Lights Six Pack Mk11 Rechargeable Headlight

Exposure Lights Six Pack Mk11 Rechargeable Headlight

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s equipped with six LED bulbs and sensors to calibrate settings in real-time, so you simply turn it on and let the light do the work for you.

What to Consider: The brightness and high-tech features may not be worth the cost for urban and road cyclists.

The Exposure Six Pack MK11 features six forward-facing XPL2 LEDs with 10 operating modes and an impressive max output of 5,000 lumens. To enhance performance, the light is equipped with Exposure’s Reflex system, which uses 3D accelerometers to assess speed, trail conditions, and ambient light to adjust the output accordingly. Exposure recommends taking an initial practice ride to let Reflex get up and running before putting it to the test on advanced terrain. This technology also extends the Six Pack’s battery life. Riders can easily monitor the remaining charge and estimated runtime on the light’s rear-facing OLED display. The quick-release mounting system is compatible with handlebars between 31.8 and 35 millimeters.


Max brightness:
 5,000 lumens | Weight: 0.85 pounds | Runtime: Up to 36 hours | Type of mount: Handlebar clamp

Best Wheel Light: Brightz Wheel Brightz

Brightz Wheel Brightz

Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Love It: These LED strands can accommodate most wheel sizes to enhance visibility and style.

What to Consider: Though eye-catching, they don’t provide much light to see what’s ahead.

Cyclists can go beyond the conventional front and rear lights to stand out on the road. Wheel Brightz does just that. The seven-foot light string, which contains 20 microLEDs, is designed to attach to a bike’s wheel hub and spokes. Wheel Brightz come in a variety of colors and include a mounting strap to help secure the lights. However, you’ll need to get your own AA batteries to power the Wheel Brightz.

Max brightness: Not listed | Weight: Not listed | Runtime: 48 hours | Type of mount: Strap

Most Versatile: Knog PWR Trail 1100L Front Light

Knog PWR Trail 1100L

ProBikeKit

Why We Love It: Its long runtime, powerfully bright beam, adaptable mount, and ability to charge other devices are adept for any cyclist’s needs.

What to Consider: The extra battery life comes at the cost of a bulkier design.

The Knog PWR Trail 1100L gives riders ample choice in lighting modes, mounting locations, and uses. Its six light modes range from 17 to 1,100 lumens and include strobe and pulse options. Knog’s Modemaker app also lets cyclists create customized light settings according to their needs. To adjust modes while riding, simply twist the light head. The PWR Trail 1100L can be fitted below or above handlebars between 22.2 to 38.1 millimeters in diameter, as well as atop a helmet. Pressing the red release button detaches the light to use as a flashlight or to access the battery for charging a phone or GoPro via USB cord. A handy battery indicator light takes the guesswork out of knowing when it’s time to recharge.

Max brightness: 1,100 lumens | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Runtime: Up to 250 hours | Type of mount: Adjustable clamp

Tips for Buying a Bike Light

Consider a light with versatile mounting capabilities

If you upgrade or buy additional bikes, choosing a light that has adaptable mounting capabilities can be a solid investment. There are also scenarios that call for changing the mounting location on a bike. For example, you may want to mount your light lower if using trails with other cyclists versus a higher mounting location aimed at vehicle traffic for road riding.

Opt for a waterproof product

Having a bike light conk out due to a downpour is a serious safety hazard. To ensure you’re buying a durable waterproof light, check for FL-1 certification and the IP rating. A rating of IP67, for instance, means the light can be submerged for up to 30 minutes at a meter’s depth and still function.

Know which light modes will be the most useful to you

Most bike lights come with a number of settings to adjust the brightness and cadence. If you’ll be riding during daylight hours, having a flash or strobe mode is key for increased visibility. Meanwhile, having a greater lumen output is more important for riding trails and rural roads in the dark.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I mount my bike light?

    Depending on the model, headlights can be mounted to handlebars or helmets, while taillights can be fitted to seat posts or rear racks. Bike lights may come with their own customized bracket for mounting, or incorporate a strap, clasp, or other adjustable design to accommodate varying locations on the bike.

  • How many lumens do I need for my bike light?

    The brightness needed depends on where and the time of day you’re riding. For riding after dark in urban areas, Evans recommends a 250-350 lumen headlight and a 150-lumen tail light. For off-roading and rural areas, “You may want to upgrade your headlight to 500 lumens, especially if going faster than 20 miles per hour,” he says.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Kevin Brouillard is a contributing writer at T+L, specializing in outdoor gear and apparel. An avid cyclist himself, he researched dozens of bike lights, interviewed a cycling expert, and used his expertise as a travel writer to curate this list.

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