To light up a dark trail, you will need a high-quality and powerful mountain bike light. The brighter the light produced, the better the navigation and night riding experience. The bright light allows you to spot obstacles along your way, reducing the chances of an accident. So how do you get the best mountain bike light?
Mountain Bike Light Buying Guide
Most bike riders do not think of the crucial factors they need to consider when purchasing a mountain bike light. The following are essential features you should look at when searching for a mountain bike light.
The brighter the light the better the navigation. Brightness is the first thing to consider when purchasing the best mountain bike light. The level of a light’s brightness depends on the number of lumens produced by the source of light.
Manufacturers calculate lumens by the amount of light emitted by the light. The more light emitted, the more the lumens output a light produces. For a better riding experience, choose mountain bike lights that have an output of at least 500 lumens on both handlebar and helmet lights.
The use of incandescent bulbs has reduced over time since the introduction of LED lights. This is because LED bulbs have proved to be more effective than the other bulbs.
Advantages of LED bulbs include efficient power usage and reduced mechanical problems. Since mountain bike lights are prone to fall, LED bulbs are less susceptible to damage compared to incandescent ones.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a bike light is the type of battery that it uses. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used since they are more reliable than the original nickel-metal hydride (NiMH).
The higher the battery capacity, the longer the light lasts. Some batteries are high capacity and can last for over 2 hours while powering an output of over 5,000 lumens.
Another advantage of high-capacity batteries is that you can use them as a power bank to power your devices when the lights are not in use or during a power outage when night riding.
This is the most common assumed factor when choosing bike lights. Most mountain bike light buyers forget to check the different charging alternatives that meet their desired needs.
Nowadays, bike light batteries charge using various means; using a laptop, a cigarette lighter, and even some use a router. Some manufacturers have developed bike lights with chargers that can be plugged directly into a power socket, allowing you to charge AA and AAA batteries. Remember to look at the duration it takes to fully charge the battery before you purchase it.
Mounting will rely on how you want to apply the light. Look for a bike light that is compatible with the types of fasteners you will use on the helmet and handlebars.
Most mountain bike lights easily mount to most bike handlebars and seat posts. However, those that have aero bars and aero seat posts are difficult to mount. For this reason, it’s essential to check and ensure that your bike is compatible with the light you will be purchasing.
A lighting system that can resist different conditions like high and low temperatures, dusty trails, mud, or dirt trails can be challenging to find. However, the advance in technology has led to the development of safe lighting systems that can light dangerous routes like declining sloppy trails.
However, we advise that you purchase your bike lights from stores with a good reputation and proven reliability. Always prioritize brands with a high rating and a comprehensive warranty policy so that if a problem develops, it’s easier to resolve using warranty policies.
Your bike lights’ ability to light up your way is affected by its glass reflector and lens. Depending on the route you’re using, choose the right mountain bike light. A bike light with a narrow lens will beam a thin section of the road, while a wide-angle lens will beam a broad area of the road, exposing every possible danger along the way.
Battery Run Time
Battery run time is the duration the battery will last from the time it is fully charged to when it goes flat. The battery run time will depend on the type of mode you are using. When making a purchase, always choose the lights that last longer on maximum brightness for a better riding experience. It is disappointing when your battery runs dry before reaching your destination.
9 Best Mountain Bike Lights
Now that you know how to buy a mountain bike light, you will need to shop for one. There are hundreds of mountain bike lights available in the market today. Finding one that suits your needs will be a challenge. The following is a list of nine of the best mountain bike lights on the market. Go through them to find one that suits your preferences, or to have an idea of their features.
Exposure Six Pack MK 11
Weighing 385 grams, Exposure Six Pack MK 11 has an output of 5000 lumens. It is ideal for all-mountain biking experiences.
The pack comes with a 15,500 mAh Li-Ion high-capacity battery that runs for at least 2hrs 30 hours. It can also be used as a power bank by using its Smart Port Technology Plus technology.
Exposure has a Reflex+ system that automatically adjusts the light’s brightness. Additionally, it has an inbuilt accelerometer and inclinometer that works together with the Reflex+ system.
An OLED display is provided that shows the mode you’re using, the remaining battery capacity, and the remaining hours. Its Intelligent Thermal Management technology reduces power to the 6 XPL2 LEDs whenever they overheat, keeping the light as bright as possible.
- Automatic brightness adjusting
- High battery capacity
- Smart Port Technology Plus
- Easy to read OLED display
- It is expensive
- Has no helmet option.
Magicshine Monteer 8000
With a maximum output of approximately 8,000 lumens, Monteer 8000 is the most potent Magicshine bike light. It comes with a high-capacity battery with 10000mAh power and an aluminum mount.
The mount is capable of resisting damage in case of a fall or solid knock through the trails. Monteer 8000 boasts two flash modes; approximately 4800 lumens of floodlights and the bottom LEDs producing up to 3200 lumens of the spotlight.
- Boasts a maximum of 8000 Lumens
- Fast-charging battery
- A powerful battery that lasts up to 1.5hrs on full blast mode
- The 4800-lumen setting is reliable for your trail riding experience
- Designed with IPX 5 waterproof
- Rarely available in most bike light shops
- The light mount can move down during heavy rock riding
- May overheat in full blast mode
Niterider Lumina Dual 1800
Niterider Lumina Dual 1800 is one of the brightest self-contained mountain bike lights. It produces 1800 lumens while in boost mode.
Niterider Lumina double 1800 boasts an all-new collimator lens to distribute a smooth and wide beam to light the way.
The light has seven lighting modes, five light modes, and two flash modes to increase your visibility. These features make it the perfect light for riding day or night. Its reliable battery can last up to 20 hours, producing 100 lumens in walk mode. It takes 3 hours of fast charging when using its AC power charging adapter.
- Maximum 1800 lumen output while on Boost Mode
- Fast charging when using its AC charging adapter
- IP64 dust and water-resistant
- Easy to detach and attach to the mount
- Battery capacity indicator
- Lifetime warranty covering any mechanical defects
- Lacks the helmet option
Light and Motion Seca 2000
Light and Motion Seca 2000 Race is among the bike lights that produce a uniform and bright beam. It boasts a 6-cell Li-Ion external battery that is housed in a rubber case to reduce damage in case of an accidental fall. The Cree LEDs boast a maximum of 2,000 lumens, with four light modes:
- Low outputting 500 lumens
- Medium with an output of 1,000 lumens
- High mode outputting 2,000 lumens
- Pulse modes outputting 500 lumens
You can toggle between the modes depending on the trail your riding. Its battery can last up to one and a half hours while on high mode, 3hrs on medium mode, 6hrs on low mode, and 12hours while on pulse mode. Seca 2000 works efficiently on both handlebars and helmets, with its helmet buttons made it easier to use.
- An impressive beam of light
- It has multiple mounting options
- Fast charging battery taking approximately 2hrs to charge fully
- Waterproof and all-weather design
- The external battery option is not for everyone
Cygolite Ranger 1400
This is among the best performing and effective mountain bike lights, and you can use it on almost every occasion. With a maximum of 1,400 lumens, this light comes with nine modes to toggle between while biking.
Cygolite Ranger 1400’s Boost mode can run for up to 1hr 15 minutes, high mode runs for 2hrs, medium mode 3hrs, a low mode for 9hrs, SteadyPulse lasts for 4 hrs, Walking Mode 30 hrs, Triple Flash runs for 25hrs, Zoom mode for 4hrs, and DayLight mode for 15hrs.
It is mounted to the house using a rigid clamp to keep it secure while riding on rough terrain. The light comes with a Lock Mode for safe storage and transport. It’s Light Mode memory saves the mode you last used before it went off.
- Cheaper than other lights with the same lumens output
- Long-range and extra-wide beam
- Fast charging battery that can charge for three and a half hours
- IP67 Water-resistant for all weather conditions
- Light mode memory
- Low battery indicator
- It does not have a helmet mount option
Lezyne Superdrive 1500 XXL
Lezyne is a company responsible for making a variety of products from lights, plug kits, and pumps to multi-tools. All bike lights manufactured by Lezyne are self-contained. This means they do not have an extra cable or battery. Everything is in one unit.
The Superdrive 1500 XXL is the most powerful bike light from the company. It is a one-button and simple light operation.
Unlike other lights in its category, the Superdrive 1500 XXL is a bit heavy. It may be due to the batteries included and the size of the unit. Another factor that may affect the weight is the unit’s surface designed to assist with heat dissipation.
The light has several modes you can use via the button at the top of the unit. The button indicates the amount of battery life using a green, yellow, or red light. The FEMTO mode is sufficient for looking at a map or walking out of the woods. It isn’t recommended for safe riding trails.
The high output mode provides enough light for trail riding. The interface on the buttons may be a challenge especially if you are using flashy mode for descents.
The good news is there is an overdrive race mode. It is designed to toggle directly between low and high power.
The ideal location for mounting the light is the handlebars. You can’t use it on your helmet because of the weight. However, it is not hard to manage since it does not have any wires. For a few more bucks, you can get a loaded version that includes a wireless remote and Lezyne’s Direct-X lock mount.
- Efficient cooling system
- Provides lots of power for a compact self-contained light
- It is one of the best options for a self-contained light.
- One button operation
- Lights to indicate the remaining battery life
- Strap/mount may be bulky for some people
- Cannot be mounted on the helmet due to its weight
Some bike lights use the same principle in design and performance. Specialized, just as the name suggests, has done a few things differently.
The Flux is designed to meet the needs of a road or commuter rider. However, it also works well in wood trails. The light produces an even beam spread, although the pattern may be a little narrow for aggressive trail riders.
One of the output modes on the Flux is the low “get out of the woods” mode. It is a concept whereby you cannot fully drain the light’s battery.
At some point, it will not work as it will save some power even after it goes out after using it on high. The output is 1,200 watts which is reasonable considering this is a self-contained light.
The light’s mount is a little finicky when you use it for the first time. However, once the light is fitted, it is secure. On the side of the light, there is a small bolt. You will need an Allen key to crank it down. Otherwise, the light will be loose and it will have a light bounce as you move along rough terrain.
- Good weight and size for a self-contained 1,000 lumens light
- A side indicator light to show the amount of power remaining
- Even beam spread
- The “get out of the woods” feature is useful for emergencies
- Helmet mounts are sold separately
- Designed more for road riding than trail
Bontrager Pro RT
Another big brand with a comprehensive and excellent product line is Bontrager. It’s Pro RT is a bike light that produces 1,300 lumens. One of the biggest advantages of this light to other bike lights is its battery.
It uses an advanced 21700 series lithium-ion cell that has not been used in other lights. The battery is going to be the standard for bike lights in the future. It provides almost two hours of run time with an output of 1,500 lumens from a self-contained, single-cell light, designed for helmets.
The Pro RT is clean and simple and just functions as intended. It seems the company succeeded in making something functional and basic.
Price is quite affordable at approximately $100, but it functions better than some lights that may cost twice this amount. It is one of the few lights we tested that exceeded their advertised run time. That said there are some places where the light can be improved.
In cycling from low to high power, the interface can be annoying. For starters, you need to go past the strobe settings. This is a challenge especially if you are in the woods when it is dark. Unfortunately, cooling is not so incredible, but it is not something to put you off.
Some people find the handlebar mount to be a bit bulky, but it is adjustable to fit the helmet mount and any size handlebars as long as it is used with the Blendr interface from Bontrager. Overall, it is a light that is easy to mount and use.
- It is basic with no frills
- Multiple mount options to suit your preferences
- Small for a light with more than 1,000 lumens
- Fairly priced
- Doesn’t cool that well
Magicshine MJ-906 light combo
Designed for both off-road, trail riding, and mountain biking, Magicshine MJ-906 light combo boasts a maximum output of 5,000 lumens. This is produced by its ultra-bright 5 CREE XM-L2 LEDs.
The MJ-906 light combo is powered with a high capacity 7000mAh USB rechargeable Li-ion battery. The battery is capable of running for 2 hours on maximum brightness and 10 hours standby time when on 20% brightness mode.
It offers four light modes; 100%, 75%, 50%, 20%, and a flash mode. Both the front and rear lights are built with an overheat protection mechanism to allow for efficient cooling.
- A powerful battery that can last up to 2 hours on 100% full brightness
- Remote control for both rear and tail lights
- Effective cooling system
- LED battery capacity display
- Faster USB charging and discharging capacity
- Can be used to charge other devices in case of an emergency
- The battery drains even when the light is not in use
We recommend you to disconnect the light from the battery when you’re not using it. The remote makes the lights consume power in small amounts from the battery and can take 1-2 weeks to drain a fully charged battery completely.
Answer: The number of lumens you need for night mountain biking will depend on the trail. You’ll need at least 1,000 lumens of handlebar lights when you choose not to combine it with helmet lights. If you choose to combine, you’ll need 500 lumens on both the handlebar and helmet lights.
Answer: Yes, you need lights on your mountain bike. As much as rear lights may be less critical for mountain biking, you will need to be visible to traffic behind you.
This will prevent you from accidental knocks out of poor visibility. Unless you are riding during the daytime or on trails that are well illuminated, you will need a front light to guide you along the route.
Answer: Before choosing the best mountain bike light, there are a few things you need to consider apart from its output and battery run time. It would help if you considered the trail you’ll be using.
Tracks that have several turns, for example, will require you to have both a helmet and bar-mounted light. You will also need to consider the period you will be riding. A two-hour ride at night will require a super-powerful battery that can last longer than that, unlike a thirty-minute ride.
Lastly, consider your budget. Some mountain bike lights are quite expensive than the price of a cheap mountain bike. There are cheap bike lights that can perform and serve you better. Choose lights that are value for money, can last, and work well to give you the best riding experience.
Each of the mountain bike lights reviewed above is great at lighting trails. If you need a lifelong mountain bike light, go with the Magicshine Monteer 8000.
You can also go with the Magicshine MJ-906 light combo because of its excellent performance and it meets almost all the factors to consider when purchasing a mountain bike light. However, keep in mind that the lights are quite expensive but worth the price tag.
For the best durable and cheap mountain bike lights, go for the Cygolite Ranger 1400 or Niterider Lumina dual 1800. They are affordable, durable, and perform well despite their low price tag.