Cycling has a dark side but it’s less a threat and more a chance to arrive in speed and style at your destination once the sun has signed off for the day. Urban visibility is a two-way street where being seen is equally as important as seeing where you’re going, and proper lighting that highlights both function and user experience will determine which lights are perfect for you. Bike lights aren’t just for the night though, they are an effective way to seize the attention of drivers who are on autopilot and may have tuned out the daily battle for road share.
What’s important in a bike light
Bikes lights have evolved from heavy, alkaline battery-powered devices typically mounted on handlebars, and seat and handlebar stems to ultracompact rechargeable visibility products that can be fastened to virtually any tube on the bike’s frame. Most common however (and often required by law) is to have both a front and rear-mounted light. There are a couple characteristics to consider when choosing lights that are ideally suited to your circumstances, which are:
When researching lights, a light’s brightness is quantified in lumens, which is an international standard for determining light intensity. Our Curve Light features 220 lumens whereas by comparison, our Block Light has 50 lumens. Their respective lumens differ depending on each light’s intended use. While lumens matter, so too does their delivery because of the way the brain recognizes and processes light. For instance, a flashing light pattern makes you more visible by overcoming the “selective attention” that inhibits many drivers. Each of our lights has at least four beam modes: two steady and two flashing.
Our lights are intended for urban visibility and range from 5-220 lumens depending upon the type of light and selected beam mode.
How long a light can last on a single battery charge is its running time, which depends on the battery type, beam mode selection, and the light’s LED’s. A steady beam uses more battery power and therefore has a shorter running time than a flashing light with its intermittent pattern that consumes less battery power for a longer running time.
Our lights have running times from one to 70 hours, depending upon the model and selected beam mode.
Types of bike lights
Thanks to a surge in bike use as transportation and recreation, choices for accessories, like bike lights, have skyrocketed as well. Going by bike is as much a personal statement as it is practical, and lights are more than utility – they are design-driven to optimize the user experience and emphasize individual style. If you are searching for lights for the first time, let this be a guide to choosing the right light based on the kind of riding you do.
Bike lights for commuting
If you typically ride across the urban landscape, where multiple light sources compete for attention, then being seen outshines seeing as your top priority. Front and rear lights with options for both a steady beam and a flashing one are the essential minimum for riding in the city.
Our Curve Light is a high power, rechargeable light that’s been designed to cast a wide range of light, not only in front and back but also on the lateral sides. The resulting 360-degree visibility increases safety at crowded junctions, in traffic roundabouts, and on poorly lit roads.
Bike lights for road cycling
Heading out for a ride on sparsely populated roads is both the carrot and the stick at the same time. Having the road to yourself can also mean that drivers may not expect to see cyclists, and lights make the difference between standing out or being part of the scenery. Or, if you squeeze road riding into the margins of your day, then low light at dawn or dusk can also prove a threat to your safety.
We designed our Block Light as a super compact, rechargeable light that’s perfect for the dedicated road cyclist who needs a small light to stow in a jersey pocket on long rides. There are both front and rear Block Lights equipped with the latest LED’s and Lithium-ION battery to make them bright, yet still have a long-lasting running time.
Bike lights for riding off-road
Riding off-road after dark livens up your ride by making your local trails almost seem like new again. Seeing what’s immediately in front of you as well as what’s farther down the trail helps you react quickly and plan ahead. While you can get away with just a handlebar-mounted light, a helmet-mounted light expands your range of vision since where you look is what you’ll see. If you’re riding in a group, a rear light will help your fellow riders behind you know where you are on the trail.
Bike lights for kids
Smaller riders might slip outside the field of vision of other road and trail users, which is why bike lights that cast a bright beam with an intermittent mode make young riders more visible.
Both our Curve and Block lights shine bright even in daylight and are easy to mount on kids’ bikes. The variety of available colors allow kids to personalize their bikes and inspire them to ride.
Bike lights for the trend conscious commuter
Seeing and being seen also has meaning in the fashion sense where original design turns heads for being functional as well. More is more when it comes to bike lights since the goal is always to be more visible. The front and rear are standard spots for lights but what about strategically placed lights on the feet, ankles, wrists, and back? Lights worn in these areas capture attention because of their unexpected location. Our vision for this concept was to design a super bright light clip that can be clipped to shirt or pant cuffs, any bag or backpack, or to a jacket or jersey.
Our water-resistant Eclipse wearable light clip has both white and red light modes with a runtime of up to 60 hours. There are three white LED’s and two red ones, and it takes 1.5 hours to fully charge via a micro-USB cable.
Bike lights serve the specific functions of seeing and being seen, but they have another purpose as well, which is to meet your needs and expectations as a bike rider.