If you want to drive in the darker months, your windshield shouldn’t be small, but what you buy will depend on where you drive and how you drive. Plenty of possibilities, from small emergency lighting to powerful spots of more than 1000 lumens to illuminate dark alleys. What you need depends on what you want to do.
In general, all bicycle lights can be divided into two groups. When traveling in the city you need to be ‘seen’ by other road users as the street lights will illuminate your path. However, if you are on a highway or an unlit street in a suburban or rural area, then you need strong lighting so that you can see the hazards and corner roads coming your way, they are ‘out there’. So “show” or “show” – but how do you know which bulb falls into this category? This is where power comes into play. Most manufacturers list it in “lumens”, but there are a few other terms.
Lumen: A measure of the amount of light an object emits, but without regard to the size of the illuminated area. In general, the more lumens, the more power and the brighter the light.
Lux: This is the brightness of the light above the surface and comes out to 1 lux = 1 lumen per 1 square meter. So let’s say you project a 100 lumen bicycle light onto a wall emitting a 1 meter wide spot of light. The lighting will have 100 lux. Next to you, the same distance from the wall, your friend has a 100-lumen bike light that illuminates only 1/10 of the area. This little device is ten times brighter, even at the same light output, and will be 1000 lux brighter. So you could say that lux is how brightly a point is reflected from the light source. When a bicycle light is specified as x lux, it means that it is 10 meters away from the light source.
Candlestick: Strictly speaking, a candlestick is the light intensity of an ordinary candle and is a measure of the light intensity measured at the light source.
Time: Time is the most commonly used measure when it comes to lighting elsewhere, for example at home. It’s a measure of the amount of electricity in the area, so you can see why it’s so insignificant compared to a bicycle light because it doesn’t measure visible light. However, watts can come in handy if you’re using dynamo bulbs, but we’ll get to that later.
How many lumens?
So now you know what the word “lumen” means, but how many lumens do you need?
< 100 lumens: Most taillights have a maximum of 100 lumens, so the closer to 100 the better for primary backlighting. For your headlights, any light less than 100 lumens is good for backlighting when the headlights are off. You’ll be noticed on a well-lit road, but that won’t help you shine on the road ahead. These flashlights are usually small to fit in your body, helmet, or bag and are often referred to as “safety flashlights.” Having several of these little lights in bright or stationary areas is a great option for urban areas.
100 – 500 Lumens: Anything over 200 will light the way, but at the lower end of the spectrum it’s still hard to see hazards like potholes without a lot of street lighting. These bulbs are a great and affordable option for your main headlight in urban areas, perhaps with a smaller beam than your body.
500-800 Lumens: Once you get past the 500 lumen mark, these lights will do well on a suburban split-light street where you should be able to see the road, but it is sometimes brightly lit. This clearance level will show you all the potholes and hazards of debris you will encounter and drive at full speed.
Over 1000 lumens: When driving on country roads at night, you need over 1000 lumens of light to drive with confidence. The road bike lighting has a bright light that indicates how far you still have to cycle. If you are driving on the highway at night, you should use more than 1000 lumens whenever possible.
It should be noted that if the bulb is advertised as having a higher lumen capacity, you will have a shorter run time as the battery will drain faster. However, they can also reduce lumen output and flash/steady mode to extend battery life or allow for travel.
Olight Gotorch X
GOTORCH X is a mountain bike light that delivers up to 2000 lumens max. output, a bright hotspot and wide spill. The light consists of two main parts, the light head and the battery pack. The light head is compatible with the GoPro mounts, so It easily mounts to handlebars, helmets, tripods, and more. The entire upper cover of the light head is a large switch button, so it can be easily operated with your riding gloves on. The rechargeable battery pack that comes with the product supports up to 80+ hours of continuous lighting, and its USB Type-C port charges the light while also allowing the battery pack to serve as a convenient mobile power bank to charge your phone, taillight, GPS, action cameras, and more. The light offers great performance! Its bright hotspot crisply illuminates the trail ahead, while the beam’s ample spill provides a wide-angle view of closer trail features and obstacles to the front and sides. This MTB light will help make your rides safer and let you stay out on the trail longer!
- High-performance LED light source with a maximum output of up to 2000 lumens illuminates your entire field of view while riding.
- The lamp head is compatible with GoPro mounts, which allows for easy mounting to handlebars, helmets, and more.
- High-capacity battery pack with USB Type-C port supports 18W fast charging and discharging, so it can be used as a power bank for other devices.
- Optimized battery pack mounting using a silicone ring gives you many placement options and will work well with any bike in your stable.
- The battery pack is designed with integrated cord management to keep things streamlined.
- The 100-lumen low mode can help ensure safety by warning trail traffic of your presence when stopped on or near the trail.
- The light head is equipped with a long power cable, which allows the battery pack to be mounted in a multitude of locations for maximum flexibility.