£100 front lights
Six high-lumen units to brighten your ride
In this test we’re reviewing six ‘seeing’ front lights — units that allow you to see the road in front as well as to be seen by other road users. Since the tech of the Li-ion powered LED is improving all the time, for under £100 you can expect a lumen count of around 1,000. A lumen is a unit of visible light and is more useful than expressing a bulb’s power in watts, which simply tells you how much energy it consumes. Modern LEDS consume far less energy for the amount of light they produce than old-style incandescent bulbs. For comparison, a 100W incandescent bulb emits 1,600 lumens. Although modern LEDS are far more energy efficient, it’s still true that if you want to run a powerful light for a long period of time it will need a big battery and that will make it too unwieldy for road riding. For the road 1,000 lumens can be produced by a compact light that weighs under 200g and is less than 10cm long.
If you want to train outside this winter, you’ll need lights. We reckon 250 lumens is a minimum for road riding — now that you can get more power for fewer pounds it doesn’t do any harm to get one with a higher lumen count.
All six lights in this test are bright enough for training and commuting on unlit roads. We’ve also looked at what they offer in terms of modes, how user friendly they are, how easy it is to keep a handle on battery level and how it mounts to the handlebar.