Night riding is one of the best activities to refresh the mind and body after a long demanding day . But doing so without lights is definitely a bad idea. Especially in dark areas, such as when camping in the woods.
So if you want to hit the trails when there is little distraction as most people are tucked inside their sheets, you at least need a beam of light. Well, you don’t want to crack your skull. Sometime, you don’t have a choice as having bike lights are state regulations.
There are a bevy of bike lights out there and choosing which one best suits your needs can be overwhelming. In this guide you will get tips on how to pick the right bike lights for mountain biking.
Factors You Should consider Consider When Picking Bike Lights.
Discussed in details are the factors that should always be at the back of your mind before you make the choice. Tips and recommendations have also been provided.
1. Mounting/ positioning of the lights.
When mountain biking, you require quality lights to avoid accidents.In street biking you must always protect yourself from other motorists. This is usually by the use of red rear and side lights and flashing lights. However, in mountain biking there are hardly any other motorists so the focus would be on the forward lights. Do you need a top of the handle bar mounted lights or helmet head lights. While most people think only handle bar mounted lights are necessary, both are equally important. Hitting the trail at night can be risky and you better have both.
One usually can only see where the light illuminates. The bar headlight is always good at pointing straight forward. However, when negotiating corners the bar headlight can be pointing forward when your head has already negotiated a corner. This is where helmet headlights come in, they are more flexible and will always point at where your head is facing.
The two complement each other. If you are going mountain biking then you have to acquire both. Some states actually require that you have both, as a matter of law.
Whatever types of bike light you pick make sure they are easy to mount and set up for use.
2. Level of brightness.
How much light is blinding bright and how much is blurry dim? The amount of brightness is measured in Iumens.
The minimum amount of brightness required for biking is 300 lumens. This will however vary according to the nature and place of biking. The minimum may work on the lit streets at night, but for mountain biking, nah, you will need higher. Lumen capacity for mountain biking is between 500-900 Iumens subject to individual unique conditions.
Another important aspect of light is the Beam Distribution. Smaller narrow beams act like spotlights. Wider focus beams are recommended for mountain biking as they increase the peripheral view.
3. Are the batteries rechargeable?
Biking lights usually come as either alkaline non-rechargeable batteries or rechargeable ones. Lately most of the rechargeable biking lights feature lithium ion batteries.
The advantage of rechargeable bike lights is that they offer constant, consistent light until the battery is drained. You will also get warnings when the battery is about to go flat and light indicator for the battery state. In contrast, non-rechargeable bike lights usually dim as the battery drains making them unsuitable for mountain biking. However, it is always easier to carry extra non-rechargeable batteries.
Lithium ion rechargeable battery bike lights are the best for mountain biking. They are light, offer excellent power, keep power for a relatively long period of time after being fully charged and are easy to charge.
4. Battery life.
Mountain biking require bright lighting. Also, you can spend a long time there. High capacity long lasting batteries are therefore essential. You don’t want light to fade out on you in the woods in the middle of the night. It can get scary and messy.
Generally, more expensive mountain biking lights will feature high capacity batteries.
Apart from picking high capacity easy to charge batteries, consider ones with brightness adjustability settings. Regulating the amount of brightness and quality of the beam will extend the battery life while still having optimum light at every situation.
Whatever your budget these tips will help you find a good biking light. Ensure that you get value for your money by finding a product that blends the above features. Mountain biking will never be the same again with a good biking light. You never know, you may also be complying with your state’s biking regulations.