You can’t think of riding at night without a bike light. It’s a must if you want or have to ride in the darkness. However, it’s easy to get a bike light, but it’s difficult to choose one. Because there are different types of bike lights offering various features.
Let alone all specifications; riders get confused about primary factors like brightness. That’s why I have come up with this post. Here I will describe what lumen is. Also, I will explain how many lumens are necessary for night riding. Before that, I will discuss why correct lumen is important for night riding. If you already know it, that’s great. Otherwise, jump into your primary query.
What is lumen in bike light?
Lumen refers to the brightness level of the bike light. It indicated how much luminous your ride would be. However, it’s often expressed in (lm) as the short form of the lumen. While buying a bike light, you must consider the lumen count first. Thus, you can get the right bike light for you. However, you can also find bike lights with adjustable brightness. In this case, there won’t be a fixed lumen count. Instead, an approximate range of lumen count will be provided in the specifications.
Why correct lumen is important for night riding
You can easily understand the risk of riding a bike at night. Anything can happen if you can’t see the road clearly and precisely. Here, a bike light can help you see the road at night. But clarity or precision depends on many factors, and the lumen count is one of the most vital factors. So, let’s see how incorrect lumen count affects the clarity and accuracy of your vision at night.
- Lower Lumen: You don’t need to know rocket science to understand it. A light will lower lumen won’t give you a clear vision at night. So, you can’t predict what’s coming in front of you. Thus, an unpleasant event can occur. Besides, the lower lumen in the rear blinker helps a little to be seen on the road.
- Higher Lumen: You may think higher lumen means clearer vision. Not at all. Well, it’s true at a certain level that a higher lumen count provides clearer vision. But when it’s too high, it causes vision to blur. It happens because the light starts reflecting when it is too bright. Besides, a too-bright light blinds the other riders, which raises the risks of accidents.
How many lumens for night riding
500 to 1000 lumen is enough for headlights for safer and faster night riding. If you ask me about the rear blinker, 20 to 30 lumen is enough for night riding. But it’s good to get a 50 lumen light to enjoy the service in daylight too.
However, the required lumen count varies with many factors like the type of ride/terrain or speed. That’s why I have categorized them and suggested how many lumens are required for different riders. Let’s check it out.
Required Lumen Count for Headlights
|Type of Riding||Required Lumen Count|
Required Lumen Count for Taillights
|Riding Time||Required Lumen Count|
Factors associating with lumen count
When getting a bike light, there are many things to consider. Lumen is, first of all. But there are other factors associated with the lumen. You must consider them alongside lumen count while selecting a bike light. Let’s check them out.
Lux refers to the intensity of the light. It is the amount of light(in lumen) in a unit area. So, you can understand how lumen count influences lux count. But why lux count is so important?
When getting a bike light, you only look for a brighter option. But you never think about the area covered by the light. Here comes the lux count. It indicates the area covered by the light. If the lux count is low, the coverage area will be high. Oppositely, lower lux offer high area coverage.
So, if you ride at speed, get a light with higher lux. You can get a light with lower lux if you commute at a decent speed.
Beam pattern is directly interrelated to lumen and lux count. Sometimes lumen is the same in a few bike lights yet has different lux counts. So, what influences the lux count?
Yes, it is the beam pattern. Actually, lux count is dependent on the lumen and beam angle. If the beam angle is higher, the lux count will be lower. Oppositely, the lux count will be high at a lower beam angle.
However, a lower beam angle favors the rider to go fast safely. A higher beam angle is preferred for a commuter rider who rides at a decent speed.
3 Best bike lights for every type of ride
The above information can help you to choose a bike light. Do your research and get a suitable one for yourself. If you are too lazy to do so, check out the below list. Here you will get 3 best bike lights for different types of rides. Let’s check it out.
1. Best for Road: NiteRider Lumina
- Lumen count: 900
- Charging: USB
- Mount: Handlebar
NiteRider Lumina is the most versatile bike light I have ever seen. It is suitable for both commuter and mountain biking. But it is ideal for road cycling too. Because it’s super bright with a lower beam angle which can illuminate above 50 feet distance. Besides, it has a powerful battery that lasts for hours. If you want to ride at speed, this bike light will be best for you.
However, let’s talk about its other features. NiteRider Lumina has an IPX6 rating. It means the light is resistant to water and dust. This light has different lighting modes. For example, the daylight mode help to be seen among traffic. Besides, the lock mode is useful when you need to store the bike.
Anyways this bike light is convenient to use. It offers a USB charging port that is universal for all.
- Super bright
- Robust and durable
- Water resistant
- Lock mode feature
- Look, and finishing is not premium
2. Best for MTB: Light & Motion Seca Race
- Lumen count: 2000
- Charging: Smart Charger
- Mount: Handlebar
When you are climbing the mountain at night, you will need something powerful and reliable. Here comes the Seca Race from Light and motion. It can produce up to 2000 lumen of light. You can guess how bright it is.
However, it provides wide coverage, which precisely illuminates your trail. Moreover, it has a race mode that offers the convenience to toggle between high and medium brightness. If you ask about the mount, it gets fit in both the handlebar and helmet. This bike light comes with an IP67 rating. It means the light is free from water, dust, or dirt in any challenging weather condition. All these features make the Seca race the best bike light for MTB.
The thing I didn’t like about this light is that it is a bit heavy. But it has a purpose for being heavy. It comes with a separate power pack. It’s easy to charge. Moreover, you can carry an extra pack while going for a marathon.
- Premium built quality
- Ultra-bright light
- Fast charging
- Fully waterproof
- A bit heavy
3. Best for Commutes: Kryptonite Alley F-650
- Lumen count: 650 (headlight), 75 (rear blinker)
- Charging: USB
- Mount: Versatile
Do you know? More than 70 percent of bike accidents happen in urban areas. Where the majority of them happen in daylight. So you will need something good to avoid such incidents. Kryptonite Alley F-650 is the best for this job. This combo can help you to see the road at night and make you visible among traffic in daylight.
However, the headlight is 650 lumen, which is more than enough for urban commutes. The rear blinker is 75 lumens, which gets visible both day and night. Besides, both headlight and rear blinker have powerful battery backups. The headlights run over 25 hours, and the rear blinker lasts above 11 hours with a single charge. Besides, both lights have a versatile mount that fits every type of bike.
Anyways, this bike also comes with a battery level indicator. It is essential while commuting. A brand like Kryptonite makes the best bike light for commuters with
all these features.
- Long battery backup
- Multiple lighting modes
- Versatile zip mount
- Battery level indicator
- The look is not appealing
Frequently asked questions
How bright is a 1000 lumen headlight?
If you don’t have sound knowledge about lights, it’s difficult to assume it. For that, I am making it simple to understand. A car headlight is 1500 lumen on average. In comparison, a bike headlight has a 500 to 1000 lumen count. Now you can assume how bright a 1000 lumen headlight is.
Is 200-400 lumen enough for cycling?
I have already said that 500 lumen is bright enough for a bike headlight. Here comes the question. Is a lower lumen not enough for cycling. You can use light of 200 to 400 lumen for cycling. It can help at night commutes. But, if you want to ride at speed or explore extreme terrain, it won’t be enough. For that, you will need 500 lumens or above.
Is it worth getting LED taillights?
An LED taillight can make you visible on the road. It helps other riders to locate you among the traffic. Thus, you can save yourself from any unpleasant incident. But all this will only happen when you get the light with the right lumen count. I have previously said that a rear blinker must be of 50 lumens if you want enhanced visibility both at night and in daylight.
You have learned that different types of rides need different lumen counts. That’s why I have explained how many lumens are necessary for night riding. It also broadly describes how many lumens are for night riding for MTB, on-road cycling, or off-road cycling. If you already have a bike light, you can also determine it is enough for night riding or not. For example, if you have a 1000 lumen headlight. You will get to know 1000 enough for night riding.
In this post, you have also learned the importance of lux count and beam angle alongside lumen. I hope everything will help you to select a bike light. If you are still confused, check out the best bike lights from my list and get one according to your ride. So?
Keep illuminating your night rides.