Which Bike Lights are Suitable for Off Road Riding at Night?

Hours of darkness during winter months have the effect of turning off road cycling into a night time sport and subsequently, the added danger of limited vision whilst tackling rugged terrain makes the correct use of bike lights paramount. Any lights that state a power output of over 600 lumens are generally designed for off road usage, and some now even boast power of up to 2,600 lumens. But brighter doesn’t always necessarily mean better. In some circumstances, more power can result in more glare and distorted vision. Choosing a middle of the line set of lights in terms of brightness and beam pattern is the best way to ensure a set level of efficiency in all surroundings and weather conditions. This is obviously determined by your riding style.

Reliability and Initial Expense

The reliability of bike lights for mountain biking expeditions is vital. Longer rides generally mean a longer battery life is required and the longer the lights runs, the higher their working temperature. Combine these electronic factors with natural ones like rain, dirt, and the high impact nature of mountain biking and you have a set of demanding circumstances. This is why it is highly advisable to invest in a well designed and constructed set from a reputable seller. Whilst it may seem like a high cost purchase at the outset, especially if you are new to mountain biking as a sport, you are making a long term investment in your own safety. Bike light failure halfway down the line on an off road track at night can be potentially life threatening.    

Bike Lights for the Off Road Cyclist

Bike lights for riding at night come in the form of both handlebar mounted and helmet lights each with their own advantages. Bar mounted lights tend to emit more luminosity and provide a tunnel of vision leading down a trail path. This tunnel vision can, however, lead to shadows and a limited view of peripheral obstacles. Helmet mounted bike lights follow your line of sight, illuminating the specific areas at which you point your attention. Less powerful than bar mounted lights due to weight limitations, helmet lights do not provide a level of brightness adequate for maximum safety. For ultimate protection, a combination of the two comes highly recommended. Rear lights are also necessary to alert fellow bikers to your presence ahead, whilst a small, handheld torchlight should be carried in the event of bike repairs and such. Spare battery packs should also be carried to eliminate the risk of power loss. Whilst an initial expense at the outset, investing in a high quality set of bike lights will allow for maximum enjoyment during night time mountain biking expeditions.