Light sources on a bicycle are a mandatory component when traveling at night. They allow the cyclist to identify himself on the road, thereby reducing the risk of an accident.
According to the current rules of the road, a bicycle driver is obliged to equip his vehicle with lamps or headlights, as well as overall flashing lights.
- Bicycle lamp
- bicycle headlight
Lighthouse — a light source consisting of a headlight with a battery on a wire. Used for front position light. In this case, the headlight is attached to the steering wheel, and the battery to the frame. Advantages: long operating time, compactness. Disadvantages: external batteries create additional ballast on the bike (battery, dangling wire).
Flashlight — a headlight with a battery (finger-type batteries) in one housing. Attaches to steering wheel. Advantages: versatility, since it can be used as a regular flashlight separately from the bike, the batteries are not an additional ballast for the bike. The disadvantage is less power compared to battery headlights.
Blinker — a low-power light source that is used for the rear position light.
Important: A cyclist must use rear flashers to indicate himself on the road at night or in conditions of poor visibility.
Headlight + turn signal and lantern + flasher — a set of two light sources (front and rear).
The main characteristic of a headlight (lantern), which means the brightness of the light source. Measured in lumens (lm). According to this indicator, they are divided into the following types:
- weak – up to 200 lm;
- medium — 200-500 lm;
- powerful — 500-1000 lm;
- heavy duty – over 1000 lm.
For a comfortable ride at night, lights with a luminous flux of 400-700 lm are well suited.
When choosing a bicycle headlight, you should pay attention to the pattern of the reflector, which will help determine the direction of the light beam. In this case, two options are possible: the beam is directed strictly straight or the beam forms a semicircular pattern (side illumination).
A straight long narrow beam does not provide a good side view, and during a long ride it can cause eye blurring when the details of the terrain are lost from view. The second option with side illumination is devoid of these shortcomings. When choosing a bicycle headlight, pay attention to the beam shots — photos of the light beam that are attached to the description.
Continuous work time
This value depends on the capacity of the battery and the selected mode (solid light, flashing light, strobe). Standard batteries provide 2 to 3 hours of operation at maximum headlight brightness of 900-1000 lumens. It should be noted that a steady light and a strobe consume more power than a flashing light.
Additional battery — makes it possible to extend the time of the headlight, since it is not always known exactly how much time is left for the current battery to work. For long trips, it is recommended to carry a charged spare battery with you.
Headlights and lanterns are mounted on the steering wheel, also some lights can be mounted on a helmet, flashing lights — under the saddle, on the trunk, knitting needle and backpack.
The headlight must be firmly attached to the steering wheel and not fall out during sudden stops or turns.
Quick release and tool free — with Velcro strap or rivet. Such a mount is especially convenient for a flashlight, since it can be quickly and easily removed (installed) in the field and used as a handheld flashlight. The headlight is not designed for use separately from the bicycle and therefore is rigidly mounted with special mounts.
Permanent (continuous glow) — used when driving in complete darkness. With it, you can easily determine the distance to the bike and it does not irritate the eyes, but is hardly noticeable.
Flashing — used when driving around the city or at dusk. It is clearly visible, but it is difficult to determine the distance to the bike.
A stroboscope — used in light rain, twilight, fog and poor visibility (bright flashing light). Increases the visibility of the bike on the road several times.
The body of the headlight (lantern) must be resistant to mechanical stress and moisture. Made from plastic or aluminium. It is recommended to purchase devices with an aluminum case as they are more durable.
Important: when purchasing a flashlight, it is necessary to pay attention, first of all, to the angle of light. The more area the lamp can illuminate in front, the better, as this allows you to better and faster navigate in space and detect obstacles on the road in time.
Also, the flashlight must work smoothly in conditions of temperature differences.
Today, the bicycle light market is divided into two camps: branded products and no-name products from China. Obvious advantages of brands: warranty and reliability, however, many models use outdated electrical circuits. Therefore, when buying a branded flashlight or headlight, you will get a less bright light than from a Chinese model. Brand name products are much more expensive. Chinese nameless headlights can work as long as branded headlights, shine much brighter, but at the same time cost much less. Among the shortcomings: in some instances, the luminous flux is too bright — it can interfere with oncoming traffic.
If you still decide to purchase proven products, then we recommend that you pay attention to the brands BBB, Longus, D-Light, Fenix, Infini, Moon, Trelock, XLC. These are good, high-quality models with fairly bright light and a «correct» reflector pattern. Many headlights can be supplemented with a second battery in case of an emergency. According to the pricing policy, the Lezyne brand will stand out in the group of branded products — these headlights are much more expensive than the others. There may be an additional overpayment for the brand.