How to pick the best Bike Light

There are lots of different styles of bike riders. Gravel, singletrack, bike pack, road, endurance, commuter, downhill, recumbent, and a dozen others. Each type of riding comes with some unique lighting demands so we decided to put together a quick guide for the major types of riding and what lights suit it best.

Road Riding
This one is easy. If you find yourself riding exclusively on the road whether you are a commuter, weekend warrior, or doing overnight endurance events then the Road Edition is going to be the best light for you. The reason for this is due to the cutoff line that the Road Edition has, this StVZO compliant cutoff means that you can aim your light to get the maximum brightness on the road, without blinding oncoming traffic.

Nearly every bike light sold in the USA is a circular beam pattern or a wide flood, so one of the very common pieces of advice found on forums and discussions is to aim the light down. This puts the brightest part of the light in front of your tire instead of aiming down the road. Cutoff line optics are like the low beam on your car and are designed to put light on the road without blinding traffic.

These cutoff or StVZO lights are very common in Europe since several countries require it by law for any riders using lights on the street. We hope that more riders in the USA will learn about these cutoff line style lights and adopt them on their own bikes.

For endurance riders doing more than 4-5+ hours on the bike at night, we suggest picking up a spare battery pack to keep nearby. You will be able to confidently ride with the light on a medium or low setting on pitch black roads which will give you significantly more runtime, however always good to have a backup battery on hand. The Road Edition was successfully used in the RAAM race in 2019 with great reviews.

Gravel Riding
Who doesn’t love long rides along a riverbank or a train tracks? We have gotten a lot of questions about the best light for gravel riding since it’s a mixture of off-road “trails”, but often sharing the trail with other bikers and pedestrians. Because of this we recommend the Road Edition for gravel riding. The Road Edition light was originally tested a lot on the Katy Trail that runs through St. Charles, MO and because of how pitch dark it gets on the Trail we could run on the lowest setting and still ride comfortably. Meaning you can go for days doing a few hour stints at night without worry of the battery draining.

Now we get into the real off-road stuff. If you are riding twisty single-track trails then the Trail Edition was designed specifically for you. A wide evenly lit beam pattern lets you mount the Trail Edition on the handlebars and move the bike around without losing what you are looking at. This one is a pretty easy recommendation because the Trail Edition was designed around singletrack riding from the start.

Really Fast Single-track
If you attack your trails at night like you are trying to get KOM on Strava then the Ultimate Downhill Package is going to be up your alley. The wide illumination of the Trail Edition along with the tighter, punchier beam pattern of the Road Edition will create a wall of lighting that is unbroken when you are looking deep into corners or approaching switchbacks. The combination of the same color temperature, and the integrated light carpet is nothing short of amazing when both are turned on and you start riding hard.

We hear this all the time, but it is literally like riding in daylight.

Recumbent Riding

Much like road riding, the lights for a recumbent bike follow a similar guideline. If you are on the road then try using the Road Edition. We have had dozens of customers mount this on their recumbent bikes with great success and rave reviews.

As you can see, different riding requires different types of lighting. There is no one-size-fits-all solution (yet!) and in order to get the best light for your bike it’s best to be honest about where and how you ride. If you have any more questions you can always drop us a line by emailing us or give us a ring. Always happy to chat lighting and recommend which lights will work best for you.