Front light grouptest
A good light can increase your safety 24/7 and extend your after dark ride opportunities massively, but which is best for you?
For this test, we’ve concentrated mainly on the ‘affordable’ £50-60 end of the market, as there are some really great costeffective lights in that bracket. We’ve also looked at more powerful sub-£100 lights for faster, further riding and sampled some of the most expensive road-focused units available costing up to nearly £300.
Of the 16 lights, 15 are self-contained units that mount to your bar without an extra frame-mount battery, and we’ve picked lights with focused beams for good reach down the road at speed.
When you’re comparing power ratings be aware that ‘theoretical’ lumens often quoted are typically brighter than the actual output of the light once the current has gone through all the circuitry, then the LED, lens and optics, so make your judgement based on our words not manufacturers’ numbers.
Besides outright power we’re looking for road safety features such as multiple flashing modes for daytime running and side visibility elements for all-round awareness. Increasingly we’re seeing really neat ‘lifestyle’ features such as batteries that work as power banks for recharging other devices, remote controls for easy mode changing and power outputs and modes that can be altered via an app.
At the end of the day (pun intended), what really matters is what you can see, what can see you, that all the features work and they continue to work whatever the weather. That’s why we’ve tested all these lights through wet and dry conditions, checked run times and carried out direct beam comparisons to make sure they’re all rated fairly. We’ve also got a long-term reference library of similar lights from the same brands stretching back years.