Light Buying: Tips for Finding the Best Lights Fall 2018

Light & Motion Seca 2500 Race Beam Pattern

Earlier this year we completed an extensive light buyers guide – Mountain Bike Light Shootout 2018 and uncovered some interesting things about the light quality of popular lights.  First, we wanted to provide some insight into the importance of beam patterns. Secondly, we wanted to give some warning to those buying cheap lights.  We found that quite a few light companies overinflated their power and had very poor beam patterns.  So here are some light buying tips for finding the best lights.

STAY AWAY from Cheap lights!

This should be a no-brainer if you’re looking for the BEST lights.  You know the saying – Cheap shit ain’t good, good shit ain’t cheap.  Buy from a reputable company and source.  Cheap light batteries can burn down your house, car or workplace.  They almost always EXTREMELY overstate their actual power and have very poor beam patterns.  Shit, big name reputable light companies even overinflate their actual power and usage times.  The cheap light companies simply use poor materials even though they may claim to have high-quality LED’s, high lumens and battery life.

There are some very good affordable lights on the market if you don’t want to pay the big bucks for a top quality unit.  I’d look at the Light and Motion Urban Series that are mostly below $120 with high-quality beam patterns and enough power to ride trails.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”] The Raveman 1200 at $99 is another example of one of the decently affordable lights.

For Max Visibility

To be able to go as fast as you want at night, you want more power than most sub $150 units offer and a bright wide beam pattern.  This gives you the ability to look through corners and react quick enough to trail obstacles.  I love the ultra high-quality 1700lm Gloworm X2 or 2500lm Light and Motion Seca Series.

From our light shootout expert Tom: (who wants to ride as fast at night as during the day)

“Personally, I want a ~2,000lm handlebar light with a ridiculously wide beam and a ~1,000lm helmet light with a narrow, soft spot and NO wires (I hate having my head attached to my pack). The helmet beam allows you to use it to fill in gaps and where you want the light to be while being narrower helps it appear brighter with fewer lumens because it is focused in one spot.

The bar light, needing to cover more area, should be nice and wide so that your periphery is filled in nicely.  This will help eliminate the bouncing hot spot that happens with narrow bar lights while keeping your eyes better adjusted to the darkness.”

The Gloworm X2 is a great light with solid beam pattern and very high-quality build.


Helmet Mounted or Bar Mounted If Just One Light

Many riders do prefer a helmet mounted light if you have just one light.  In that case, you want something that is small and lightweight that sits close to the helmet to minimize unwanted weight shifting.  The extra weight and helmet movement are very uncomfortable to me – so I end up overtightening my helmet which makes things even worse.

I prefer a handlebar mounted setup only.  I feel that for most of my night riding, a high-quality light on the bar is all I really need.  If you choose a bar setup, make sure the beam pattern is bright and wide since you won’t be able to turn your head to look through corners.

Check out our Light Shootout from earlier this year for light and beam pattern comparisons and reviews of some of the most popular lights on the market.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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