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?

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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.

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