When you’re riding your bike in low-light or no-light environments, you want to see and also be seen. This is especially critical for bike commuters who take to the streets during morning and evening rush-hour traffic. As you consider what necessities you might need to outfit your trusty two-wheeler, a bicycle headlight and taillight should be somewhere near the top of the list. This goes for recreational riders, too.
The options may seem overwhelmingly endless so we put together a quick guide to help you narrow down the choices.
OUR PICKS: THE FIVE BEST BIKE LIGHTS
CRYGOLITE METRO PLUS 800, $70
Affordable and powerful — two descriptors we think you’ll like. The Cygolite Metro Plus 800 headlight for bicycles is a workhorse. It offers 9 different light modes, including DayLightning mode for daytime rides, up to 110 hours of run time and 800 super-bright lumens to illuminate the street or trail as you cruise. This updated version is built with a water-resistant shell ideal for rainy climates. The headlight itself attaches easily to your bicycle handlebar and is rechargeable via USB.
SERFAS THUNDERBOLT USB, $35
There’s something about the long vertical bar that makes the Serfas Thunderbolt LED bike taillight stand out among the competition. Plus, the removable straps allow you to customize how it’s mounted on your ride. Fully charged, this bike light lasts up to 8.5 hours on the “low-flash” mode or up to 1.5 hours on the “high steady” mode.
KNOG BIG COBBER TWINPACK, $160
We can’t help our slight obsession over the simple and minimalist design of the Knog Big Cobber bicycle lights. Both lights offer 330 degrees of light so you’re seen at all angles, full waterproof protection and a run time of up to 100 hours. Plus, the lights are cordless, which means you just pop them into any USB-compatible port to recharge. At $160 for both the headlight and taillight, they’re the most expensive option among our picks, but you can buy them separately if you want to give it a try without committing to the pair.
BONTRAGER ION 200 RT + FLARE RT LIGHT SET, $115
Even daytime riders can benefit from an upgraded set of bike lights. Recreational riders will pedal safely knowing they’re more visible to the cars and bikes around them. The Bontrager Ion 200 RT and Flare RT Light Set takes the guesswork out of shopping for a bike light kit. These lights are compact and portable making them especially excellent for bicycle-share riders.
DAYBLAZER 800 FRONT + 65 REAR LIGHT SET, $93
One and done? We thought you might like the sound of that. The USB-rechargeable Blackburn Dayblazer 800 Front and 65 Rear Light Set is perfect for daily city commuting or weekend trailblazing on your mountain bike. The headlight offers five different modes, and the taillight offers three. If you prefer to wear your headlight on your bike helmet, the Dayblazer comes with a mount for that.
BONUS PICK: THOUSAND CHAPTER MIPS BIKE HELMET, $135:
For a little extra safety (because you can never be too safe), we include a taillight and multi-use adapter with our Chapter MIPS Bike Helmet. It’s 50 lumens bright, magnetic, and rechargeable.
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