If you’re one of the many of us who likes to get outdoors early in the spring months or stay riding outdoors late into the fall, you’re no stranger to riding in the dark. If you’re a morning warrior, a night rider or a commuter, you know how those potholes can elude even the sharpest eye in diminished light. If you’re trying to squeeze in your workout before the kids are up or before work, you understand how groggy, uncaffeinated drivers need every warning that they’re sharing the road with you.
Lights can make you, an otherwise invisible cyclist, visible to cars on the road. Lights can enable you to see what’s ahead of your wheel. Lights can lessen the risk of accidents. At Higher Gear, we recognize that lights are more than an accessory. Lights are a safety feature. Lights are a necessity.
Lights can serve two purposes: to allow you to be seen and to enable you to see. The power output (often referred to as lumens) you require, depends on which is more important to you and where you’re riding. To see a darkened road in front of you requires more light (or lumens) than required to be seen. That said, a child riding on a sidewalk on a quiet cul-de-sac requires fewer lumens to be visible than a commuter who is vying for drivers’ attention on a busy road at rush hour.
Whatever your needs, for your safety, we recommend investing in high quality bike lights. One of Higher Gear’s go-to brands is Serfas. We think they sell some of the best bicycle lights on the market at reasonable prices. You get a lot of lumens for your dollar. Our commuters who need high quality waterproof lights – to see and to be seen in a variety of weather conditions – prefer Light & Motion. Here are some of our favorite lights from these manufacturers.
The Serfas TSL-1500 ($390) is a water-resistant helmet headlight that’s incredibly powerful; it produces over 1500 lumens in overdrive mode. Its Litium Ion fuel cell delivers up to 2.5 hours of night riding pleasure and up to 15 hours or riding time on lower settings. This powerful light comes with a handlebar mount, helmet mount, extra long extension cable, wall charger and transport pouch.
I bought this light in July 2011 for night riding on the streets. This light is totally incredible, all other lights are wimpy by comparison. If price is not a concern and you want to see and be seen, this is the light for you!!! Be prepared…it is exceptionally powerful !!! This light works flawlessly. – David (Newark, OH)
In one word : WOW! In few: It’s so powerful that I have to ride with my sunglasses on… The beams make the night so bright and clear that those who ride behind me don’t need their lights on. The battery is well secured to my stem and recharging is super fast. – Stacy (Los Angeles, CA)
The Serfas TSL-500 True Headlight commands your attention on the road or on the darkest mountain trail. It puts out over 500 lumens in overdrive mode at a reasonable $150 price tag. In its lowest setting (100 lumens), this light can last up to 8 hours. This lightweight, compact light includes a handlebar mount, helmet mount, USB Charger, and Wall Charger adapter. The $120 version does not include the wall charger or helmet mount.
Best light I’ve ever seen I might as well use this as my jeep spotlight at night it’s so bright. The mount is an easy transition between my mountain bike and my road bike the mount can swivel in a ratcheting style making it easy to adjust the location of your beam. – Adam (Little Rock, AR)
The Serfas TSL-150 True Light ($65) is a compact yet powerful front-facing bike light. Its quick-release handlebar mount is perfect for those who want to “grab and go” without much fuss. This small headlight packs a powerful punch; whether used on your helmet or handlebar, the bright light gives you a visibility up to 150 yards. For a fast and convenient charge, connect it to your computer with a USB port for a 3.5 hour reload. The $85 version comes with a wall charger and a helmet mount.
I have owned many lights, been using them for years, this light is not only a great light, it is an incredible value. – Burnsey (Asheville, NC)
The Serfas Thunderbolt (USB) USL-6 Headlight is a $45 headlight that puts out 90 lumens, giving you plenty of light to safely arrive at your destination. Even better, those 90 lumens come in a non-directional beam to cover a wider area. The USB-rechargeable Thunderbolt can be mounted virtually anywhere on the front of your bike—from the handlebars to the fork. The Thunderbolt comes in 7 different colors. The Thunderbolt (USB) UST-6 Taillight, the 35 lumen rear light version, also retails for $45.
WOW!!!!! Both front and rear lights are amazing! Great looking and so bright! The colors they come in are great and best of all, they are USB rechargable. – Gareth (San Francisco, CA)
For those on a budget, go with the Serfas USL-5 Raider USB with a 360 swivel. This 5 LED headlight produces 70 lumens and has a burn time of 6.5 hours. This is another front-facing bicycle light, with 180 degrees of visibility that is easy to attach and remove. For the same price ($40), pick up the Serfas USL-5R Raider USB tail light. This rear light puts out 40 lumens in 180 degrees and swivels 360 degrees. It is also USB rechargeable and simple to mount.
I really felt quite safe riding with this unit. What I hadn’t expected was that the light out of this little guy was brite enough to actually see the road pretty well. – Stingraybaron (Oak Park, MI)
The Light & Motion VIS360 ($150) is a helmet-mounted front and rear light. While it’s lightweight, it packs a powerful punch. The front lights is 110 lumens and includes side lights as a safety feature. The VIS360 is a favorite option for commuters or those caught riding in the dark.
A driver just pulled up to me: “Great visibility! You’re one cyclist that’s not going to get hit.” Nice. – Donna Seattle, WA)
Stop in to either of our Higher Gear locations to see how these lights mount to your bike and test out the difference in lumens and weight. We’re sure to have a light to meet your needs and your budget.