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Bike lights review

We've tested 45 new bike lights, including models from Cateye, NiteRider and Lezyne.
 
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01 .Introduction

Bike light

Here you'll find test results for 70 bike lights (26 compact rear lights, 32 compact front lights and 12 high-powered front lights), priced from $15 to $320. 

We reveal which bike lights are the:

  • Most visible
  • Most durable
  • Easiest to use, fit and remove.

On this page, you'll find:

We find that bike lights are getting brighter every year. Most of the lights on test are USB rechargeable, which means you don’t need to replace or charge removable batteries. This generally results in a shorter battery life, but lights are easier to remove and charge regularly.

What's the law?

When you ride your bicycle at night or in low-visibility conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, the Australian Road Rules (which form the basis of state and territory laws) require that you have:

  • A white light at the front
  • A red light at rear
  • A red rear reflector.

The lights whether steady or flashing must be visible for at least 200m. Ideally, they should also be visible 50m from the side. The red rear reflector should be visible from 50m from the rear when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight at low beam.

Brands and models tested

Compact rear lights

  • BBB BLS-Highlaser
  • BBB Spark rear
  • # Blackburn Super Flea rear
  • # Cateye Rapid 3
  • Cateye Rapid 5
  • # ES Beacon
  • # ES Flare
  • Knog Blinder rear
  • # Knog Blinder 1 rear
  • # Knog Blinder 4V rear
  • # Lezyne Micro Drive rear
  • # Lezyne Femto Drive rear
  • # Light and motion Vis 180
  • # Moon Comet rear
  • Moon Shield
  • Niteflux Red Zone 4
  • # NiteRider Solas 2W
  • # Owleye HighLux 5 rear
  • # Portland Design Works Danger Zone
  • Serfas Raider rear USL-5R
  • # Serfas Seat Stay Taillight
  • # Serfas Thunderbolt rear
  • Skully 1W Rear
  • S-Sun Eaglefly
  • # Tioga Alien rear
  • Tioga Dual Eyes USB

Compact front lights

  • BBB Spark front
  • Blackburn Flea 2.0 USB front
  • # Blackburn Scorch
  • # Blackburn Super Flea front
  • # Cateye Nano Shot
  • # Cygo-Lite Metro 300
  • # ES Gamma Ray
  • Ilumenox Highpower SS-L1222W
  • Ilumenox Vega 1W
  • # Ilumenox Vega 3w
  • Knog Blinder front
  • # Knog Blinder 1 front
  • Knog Boomer USB front
  • Knog Gekko bracket-less
  • # Lezyne Femto Drive Front
  • # Lezyne Macro Drive front
  • # Lezyne Micro Drive front
  • # Moon Comet front
  • Moon Mask
  • # Moon Meteor
  • # NiteRider Mako 200
  • # Owleye Highlux 30
  • # Owleye Highlux 5 front
  • # Owleye Solar Highbred 40
  • Planet Bike Beamer 5
  • Portland Design Works Dreadnought
  • Serfas Raider USL-5
  • # Serfas Thunderbolt front
  • # Skully K2
  • # Tioga Alien front
  • Tioga ET front
  • # Tioga Super Light

High-powered front lights

  • Ay-Up V Twin Sport
  • # Cateye Nano Shot+
  • # Cygo-Lite Expilion 700
  • # Cygo-Lite Metro 420
  • Exposure Lights Joystick
  • # Lezyne Mini Drive
  • # Lezyne Power Drive
  • # Light and motion Urban 400
  • # Light and motion Urban 550
  • Moon Power 500 front
  • # NiteRider Lumina 350
  • Serfas TL 500

# Newly tested models

How we test

A range of bike lights have been reviewed by Bicycle Network Victoria and a panel of industry experts in line with the Australian Road Rules. The tests and overall scores are made up of the following:

  • Function and quality (80%): The lights are assessed for their effective visibility at night on a suburban road with a popular cycle path, at a distance of 200m, and also at 50m with the lights angled at 45 degrees (to simulate the bike approaching an intersection). The flash rate, where applicable, is also assessed. The industrial design ratings (durability, weather resistance and useability) are conducted by the team at RMIT Industrial Design.
  • Price (10%): Is the price appropriate to the quality and category of the light?
  • Appearance (10%): Is the light visually appealing?

Changes since the 2012 lights test

Last year Ride On magazine joined forces with RMIT to measure the brightness of bike lights using a lux meter. The results were conflicting. For example, the brightest compact front light was rated eighth out of 11 lights. As a result Ride On decided that humans determine how good a light is at making you visible and as such this assessment using the lux meter is no longer included in the test.

This year Ride On has revised its rating system, so results for previously tested models have been adjusted accordingly. Dynamo lights haven’t been included in this test; however, they’ll be tested separately on new testing equipment that Ride On is currently developing.

Find out more about bikes and bike accessories.

 
 

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