Why do I need a headlight for my bicycle? Unlike reflectors, it is not a mandatory element. Interestingly, the traffic rules of the Russian Federation (paragraph 19.5) prescribes the use of dipped beam headlights or daytime running lights on all moving vehicles during daylight hours. But in real life, cyclists using lights during the day are almost never met.
Nevertheless, a flashlight for a cyclist is an indispensable thing. If you ride only in the daytime, you hardly need it. But if your routes run along country roads, where there is no street lighting, without a light can not do.
What headlights to put on your bike
Recall that the headlamp and cataphot – it is not the same thing. If the latter reflect light, the former emit it independently. To allow you to ride comfortably at night, the bike can be equipped with the following elements:
- front headlight (flashlight);
- A taillight (flashlight);
- reflective elements.
Today, in specialized stores for cyclists present a decent selection of bicycle lights, lights and decorative strips with LEDs, which are not just decoration, but also an element that enhances safety. Among all the variety is easy to get confused.
Take at least such a parameter as “branded flashlight or Chinese counterpart. Of course, the difference in price. And what about the quality? Here it is worth noting that the products of Chinese production is constantly being improved. Yes, they may be slightly inferior in the quality of manufacture of the bodies, but in general for the lighting used high-tech elements that create a fairly powerful stream of light. Many cyclists use Chinese consumer goods and see nothing wrong with opting for a budget bicycle headlight.
In fact, bicycle lighting can be divided into two large groups: front and rear. We will not focus on the decorative elements. Rear lights are always adapted to the bike. Front lighting has more variations: beacons, general purpose lights, specialized lights.
Front lights for bicycles.
This category includes the following varieties of lighting devices:
- Beacons. Small devices that have 2-3 modes of operation, one of which is necessarily flashing. During the day they are practically invisible, not visible and in cloudy weather, but in the dark, they allow for excellent visibility of the cyclist from afar. Often equipped with a red rear beacon. Lightweight and compact devices. Battery charge usually lasts for a whole season or more.
- Regular flashlights. We are talking about fairly common devices that can be used in everyday life. These are compact devices that can easily fit in pockets and have several modes of operation. The variety of models is huge – there are even flashlights that work in strobe mode. Almost all models can be mounted on the handlebars of bicycles using a universal mount. They are differentiated by spot and temperature of light. The most interesting models are devices with a bright spot in the center and a soft halo fill. Preference should be given to a neutral or warm glow temperature – cold light is not very pleasant to the eyes in the dark.
- Bicycle headlamps. A practical solution for those who often ride their bikes at night. There are models with 1, 2, 3 or more LEDs. Such models have a function of low and high beam, daytime running light mode with a flashing beacon. The dimensions of the front lamp on a bicycle is much larger than conventional lights, but there is a noticeable difference in functionality. They are distinguished by a solid battery capacity, as well as expanded equipment (there are remote buttons to change modes, as well as a built-in power indicator).
Classification by power elements:
- Dynamo machine. This mechanism is extremely rare. Warm lamp light and the sound of work warms the soul, but to sufficiently illuminate the road you have to pedal much harder than necessary. Production is supported by only a few manufacturers.
- Dynamo hub. An improved version of the dynamo. Can not only power the headlamp, but also charge your phone while pedaling.
- Batteries. The most popular option, which is used to operate flashlights and beacons. The only disadvantage – can sensitively hit the pocket if you need more than 2 pieces to operate the device. As an option, you can use Ni-accumulators that can be recharged.
Attention! They have to be “discharged” to the end before charging. Normal alkaline batteries should never be charged – they can explode.
- The Li-on battery. Convenient type of power, which is equipped with a charge indicator. You can charge it from the network or computer via USB-port.
- Li-on battery format 18500. It is used for powering the bicycle headlights. Most often the battery is not built into the light, but goes separately, connected by wires to the plug.
It differs in how it is attached:
- To the fork or to the front of the frame.
- To the handlebars (silicone clamp, quick-release mount, with an elastic band).
- On the forehead/helmet (some flashlights are equipped with standard mounts that allow you to fix the devices on your head).
As you can see, there are quite a few options for lighting equipment for bicycles. They can be combined: for example, using a headlamp and headlamp, rear flashers and decorative lighting.
Bottom light for a bicycle
With this type of bicycle lighting, the situation is much simpler: they work in different modes, among which there are necessarily 1-2 blinking. Varieties:
- Beacons. We talked about such devices when we judged the front light for the bicycle. Rear lights differ only in color. As a rule, they are small, not very bright, running on normal batteries, lightweight and compact devices that are almost invisible during the day.
- Stop lights. And here is where there will be more leeway. There are models that run on batteries with two bright LEDs. There are devices that run on batteries, which have a small mass and a good choice in terms of design solutions.
Separately, we should talk about the brake lights of the intelligent type. They start working as soon as the bike is in motion, they light up brighter and start blinking when braking, can show a turn depending on the inclination of the cyclist. If the bicycle is parked, the signal lights up for a while longer and then turns off on its own.
Design and operation
The device of an ordinary pocket flashlight is understandable even to a schoolboy. Therefore, we will not focus on it. We are interested in the type of reflector, through which the light beam is formed. In modern LED flashlights they come in two types:
- With a smooth surface (the light spot is obtained with a bright center and dark edges; the beam shines much further than the next type).
- With textured surface (creates a more uniform glow; the transition from the center to the halo has no clear borders; illuminates the near zone well).
Powerful bicycle headlamp can have a number of additional functions: beep, show the charge indication, connect to memory cards, etc.
What bicycle headlamps are popular now
The real “boom” of compact and efficient bicycle lighting began with the advent of high-power LEDs in many different shades. Most bikes are equipped with LED headlights made in China. And there is nothing wrong with that – a decent quality of light, simple optics, easy operation and repair. Do not forget about the price range.
For example, a Chinese factory-made headlight will cost 2,500 rubles. At the same time the cost of Western brand in 5-6 times higher than this parameter. We recommend that you pay attention to the products of the Chinese company Magicshine, which has a quality certificate ISO9001. Popular models are MJ 808 and MJ 808e with 900 and 1000 Lm luminous flux.
Among such a variety can be confused even an experienced cyclist. How to choose a headlamp for a bicycle? What parameters need to pay attention to? Consider the main criteria for selecting a bicycle headlamp:
- Working time in standalone mode. Here everything is clear: the longer, the better. The duration of operation ranges from 1.5 to 24 hours of continuous operation. Models that provide a consistently bright light for the longest possible time will cost in the region of 10 thousand rubles.
- The power of the luminous flux and the range of illumination. With a good flashlight, you can drive at night as fast as in the daytime. The range of brightness is in the range from 150 to 1000 Lm, depending on the selected mode. For safe driving will suit the model with a brightness of 360-400 Lm and a range of 30-40 meters.
- Color rendering. It is important not only the brightness, but also the temperature of the light. Optimal is neutral white, without yellowing and blueness. Too yellow – dull, and with a small contrast (refers to the bluish hue) poorly read the topography of the road, which is an unsafe condition for driving. A good setting is 6500K or within that range.
- Reflector pattern. Not only the brightness of the diodes is important, but also their placement. For sufficient illumination you need a flashlight with a powerful central beam of light, which will be able to penetrate the darkness for 30-40 meters forward, and not scatter light to the sides. But some manufacturers also provide peripheral lighting, which is very convenient for a larger viewing angle.
And the last parameter, which does not need to be described, is the price range. Here everyone decides for himself, buy an expensive product or periodically change the budget devices.
The best models of headlamps for bicycles
We have compiled a rating of bicycle headlamps based on user reviews. Consider the best models of front and rear light, and determine the favorites in each of the price segments.
Low price category (up to 1500 rubles):
- Raleih Night Wave. A set consisting of a front and rear light will cost about 1300 rubles. Judging by the reviews, it perfectly performs its functions and has a sturdy body.
- Lezyne Femto Drive. This model runs on regular batteries, can be used on poorly lit sections of the road. The price ranges from 1200 rubles.
The power of the designated models is more than enough to illuminate city streets. But keep in mind that such devices are not suitable for riding on country roads, where there is no street lighting.
Medium price category (around 2000 rubles):
- Knog Blinder MOB Mr. Chips. Quite a powerful device that holds the charge well. Characterized by its compact size. It is possible to recharge through a USB port.
- Lezyne KTV Drive Pro pair. Practical set, consisting of a powerful front light and a noticeable rear light. Not a bad choice for those who have to drive often in the dark time of the day. Several light modes allow you to make the light more diffuse or vice versa – more focused.
These models are suitable for poorly lit city streets or country paths. Either way, you will not go unnoticed with these devices.
High price category (from 5000 rubles and above):
- Portland Design Works Lars Rover 650. Quite a common model, which is popular among bicycle travelers. The flashlight can produce light with a capacity of 10 watts. Charges through the USB port and keeps the battery charged for months.
- Blaze. Stylish and attractive model that has a unique option – a built-in green light laser that projects the image of a bicycle on the road a few meters ahead, which allows you to announce its presence long before the actual appearance. True, this miracle costs almost 10 thousand rubles.
Choose a particular light should take into account the specifics of riding. If you just need to get from work to home on the roads, where there is street lighting, it will do quite well and a simple budget model. If you are a fan of night riding or prefer to travel at night, then pay attention to more modern and high-quality models with a set of additional functions.
A bike light is an essential accessory for cyclists who are forced or prefer to ride at night. This device increases safety by marking the driver of the two-wheeled vehicle to other road users. In addition, a good bike light allows you to see the road in front of you and avoid unpleasant falls.