Bike light buying guide

Light up your ride with a quality set of bike lights with help from @msteen. Includes a CHOICE review of the best bike lights.

If you have experience with bike lights, post about it here.

Great article. Even as a car driver I found the points about visibility really handy!

I’m someone who would love to be a cyclist, but I’m a little bit terrified of traffic. I don’t think my nerves could handle being a cyclist in the big city!!

Is anyone else a cyclist? I saw in another thread a few people are fitbit fans - is that just for walking or cycling, too? @jreay @ChiVe @vulture64 @fernei?


I’ve done many years of night riding (since the late 1970s), including 24 hour mtb racing, and lots of training rides, pretty much all of it either off-road or quiet rural roads around where I live.
I’ve used several varieties of home made lights, early ones in the 70s-80s were (dim) incandescent lights that used exepensive 4.5V batteries, then home made halogens and LEDs, and more recently bought HID and and multi LED lights. I currently have a nice bright Hope 4LED light (~900 lumens on high) on the front and a Chinese made 5 LED rear light.
I have previously used expensive very bright LED lights on the rear, but all the mounts tend to fail due to bouncing around on rough tracks and roads, and they are lost, so I see no point spending too much on them these days. The cheap Chinese one on the back has lasted as long as any other, is quite bright, and I have wrapped electrical insulation tape around top and bottom of the light to secure it to the mount, to make sure it doesn’t get lost on a rough road somewhere.

I dont use a fitbit, but have used a Garmin Edge (GPS, HR etc) bike computer since 2006.


Personally I’d like to see flashing lights off the list of considerations.
They make me sick as a cyclist or motorist which makes concentrating very difficult! :frowning:
Even some of the roadworks lights are bad for me, especially if I’m going 40km/h and exposed to them for a longer period.

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I also feel queasy when exposed to strobing lights, and I know that they can trigger seizures in susceptible people.

I’d also appreciate cyclists making sure headlights aren’t positioned so that they shine straight into the eyes of motorists or pedestrians.

I am a senior who rides for recreation, 90% on trails and unavoidably sometimes on the road. Started earlier this year. In the first few months I had more than a few close encounters with cars who did not see me to the left of a lane along the parked cards, or in the centre doing a right turn or around a roundabout, or maybe they saw me and did not care. I do not ride from dusk to dawn.

I added a front and rear light and only turn them on (always in strobe mode) when on the road. The front is aimed slightly downward so as not to dazzle; the rear is essentially in a fixed position pointing rearwards. I have not had a close encounter since.


Nice tip @pdtbaum :+1:

I have 2 Niterider brand lights I use for MTB riding off road at night, a 3600 lumen on my handle bars and an 1800 lumen helmet mounted light.
When commuting to the trails and when climbing I have them on the lowest setting (200 lumens I think) but when things head downhill I crank them up to max (5400 lumens total) so it is almost like riding in the day but heaps cooler. (needed up here in Cairns in the Summer months)

The second helmet light helps improve depth perception at night and allows me to look around the corners in the trail.

The only issue I have with riding at night is with the huge spider webs that seem to cross the trails every 100 meters.

It can be pretty freaky trying to brush a 10-15 cm golden orb spider off of you at night.

I get at least an hour on max but as I only use max when it is really needed I easily get over 2 hours duration out of this setup.


Good morning Gordon. I thank you very much for your info.
I’ve been walking very early in the mornings over past two months .I
I’ve got a great light that I wear on top of my beanie.
I’m interested in finding another ’ flashing light ’ to put on back of said beanie .
Advice which is good and not to exxxy .

Hey James, for a light weight beanie-wearable light for walking, I’d recommend one of the small Knog lights - quite bright for a very compact size and wont weigh your beanie down. They are mostly designed for bike use, but you should be able to find a suitable model for your beanie. Not as cheap as some of the no-name brand gear out of China, but still they have some reasonably inexpensive models, and I think ideal for the purpose. Knog have an Australian website with their range of lights and other equipment:


Thank you very much once again Gordon .
I shall go there right now .
As I said I’ve got a headlight ,however I need to ’ shine ’ the other way as well .

I use the AYUP brand lights for my commute. Aussie company with Aussie products. The same battery packs are used for both front and rear lights and the charger does both at once. I keep a third fully charged in my back pack in-case I get caught out for too long.


I still have a couple of sets of AYUP lights, front only, but the batteries have all failed either due to the wires breaking at the battery connection point, or else due to declining capacity. They were great for when not too much light was required, but weren’t really enough for off-road riding by themselves.

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Road Rider here. Bike lights! I consider these like cheap insurance and essential! If you’re out riding a bike, day or night, get some lights and use them. The biggest problem with us cyclists is that we are so much harder to see. I noticed a big difference riding with my lights on during the day (cars pulling out of driveways etc) now I use them all the time. @pdtbaum mentioned the same thing.

Bike lights themselves. Front lights, I’m a very big AY-UP fan and I’ve had a couple of sets over the years.

  • They are easily the best looking system out there, so small and sleek. Plus different colours if that’s your thing.
  • The ability to keep the battery tucked away somewhere else is a big plus. The fact that it’s separate from the lights means you can carry spares.
  • You can point one light forwards and twist the other slightly down at the road in-front of you. Perfect for keeping yourself visible and for spotting holes in the road.
  • They are Aussie inventors haveing a crack!

I had the same issue @gordon mentioned with the battery cable, but Ay-Up replaced them with a new battery no problems (even after 2 years).

I’ve just recently moved on from Ay-Ups. IMO, they haven’t kept up to date with the latest LED power increases. The newer lights from Exposure are doing 4,000+ lumen, whereas Ay-Up is around 700. I bought an Exposure Toro Mk7 with 2,000 lumen and I’m happy with the performance, but it did have issues with the tricky capacitive switch and had to be replaced.

Rear lights; The SuperFlash (takes 2xAAA) or the Moon Sheild (USB rechargable) have both served me well. When I’m commuting I like to have two sets on the rear for redundancy, you never know how the weather will turn.


I had a similar problem with the cable on the AYUP battery pack, mine was about 18 months old. They told me to bad we only warrant for 1yr so I had to buy a new one, as I’d already invested in the lighting system. Wasn’t very happy. I guess like mentioned above they are falling behind with tech and it’s time to move on. Pity, they are an Australian company.