I’ve enjoyed trail riding for years, but I just recently began riding at night. I found out that just like biking itself, there’s a bit of a learning curve. Riding at night is challenging, because there’s less visibility.
Of course, the brighter your light, the more you will be able to see. This makes your riding experience safer and potentially more enjoyable. That’s why it’s so important to find the best bike lights for trail riding.
What to Look For in Bike Lights for Trail Riding
There are a few factors that you should focus on when choosing your bike lights. The first is the lumens, which measures how bright the light is.
When trail riding at night, you’ll need lights that provide at least 1,500 lumens. The harder you ride, the more important this is.
If you ride fast, or on technical trails, brighter lights allow you to see more of the trail, so you can better prepare for obstacles.
You should also consider the beam pattern. There are two basic beam patterns.
Lights with a spot pattern will allow you to see what’s right in front of you in detail. They have a narrow beam.
The other option is a flood pattern. These lights cast a wide beam, which gives you broader visibility.
Some lights combine both types of patterns, while others only have one. Which is better for you will depend on your riding style and personal preference.
The final factor you’ll need to consider is run time. Brighter lights use more power, so it’s a bit of a trade off. Do you plan on short intense rides or do you prefer a longer leisurely ride? Knowing how you want to ride can help you balance run time with brightness.
The good news is that most lights today have different modes, which feature different brightness levels. This allows you to change your lights to suit your current needs every time you ride.
Magicshine Monteer 8000S Galaxy V2.0
- Best For: Brightness
- Lumens: 8,000
- Run Time: 1 hr 38 minutes
- Price: $410
Magicshine has updated their Galaxy light to feature Bluetooth control. It has 30 different modes, so you can adjust it to suit your riding conditions.
When on the dimmest setting, 400 lumens, it can run for 32 hours. On the brightest setting, it puts out 8000 lumens for a little over 1 1/2 hours.
It has a broad beam that does a great job of lighting up the trail.
Exposure Six Pack MK12
- Best For: Automatic adjustment while riding
- Lumens: 5,250
- Run Time: 2 hours
- Price: $554.99
The Exposure Six Pack MK12 can automatically adjust while you are riding. It has accelerometers that track your speed, and adjust the brightness accordingly.
Rather than riding with one brightness throughout the entire trail, or stopping to adjust the brightness manually, all you have to do is set it to Reflex ++ mode, and enjoy your ride.
The faster you go, the brighter the light becomes, up to 5,250 lumens. You can also manually adjust the brightness, up to 3,750 lumens in constant mode.
Gloworm XS Adventure Lightset (2.0)
- Best For: Customization optics and output
- Lumens: 2,800
- Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- Price: $309.00
The Gloworm XS Adventure light has a maximum output of 2,800 lumens. It will run for 1 hour and 50 minutes on the highest setting.
What makes this light stand out is customization. You can choose between honeycomb, spot, and wide angle lenses to customize the light pattern to match your conditions. There are 3 led, so you can combine the lenses to create the perfect pattern for you.
You can set the buttons on the wireless remote to your favorite settings. Download the smartphone app for nearly endless customization, including adjusting the light output in 5% increments.
- Best For: Racing and Luxury
- Lumens: 8100
- Run Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Price: $1,285.00 – $1,325.00
The Lupine Alpha is the most expensive light on our list, but it’s easy to argue its worth the money, assuming it’s in your budget.
It has a water resistance rating of IP 68, and an impact resistance of IK09. This means it can stand up to anything you can throw at it. You can do more than ride in the rain. You could ride through a lake with the Alpha.
You can adjust the settings with the Bluetooth remote, or the app. It has several lenses. Two are 22°, and feature ultra wide angle lenses. These provide excellent illumination at close range.
The four 18° lenses provide a range that is outstanding. You’ll be able to see an astounding 840 meters ahead with this light.
The performance at close range and long distances make it the perfect choice for racing. It’s also great if you ride trails at high speed, particularly if they are technical.
Fenix BC26R Bike Light
- Best For: Long run time
- Lumens: 1,600
- Run Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Price: $89.95
If you are looking for a budget-friendly light with a good run time, consider the Fenix BC26R Bike Light. It’s not the most powerful bike trail light, but it does the job.
The turbo setting will illuminate 554 feet, with 1600 lumens. The battery lasts 3 and a half hours on this setting. It has an IP68 waterproof rating, and 100° Wide angle reflector lens.
It features a quick release mount, so you can switch the light from your bike to helmet quickly. The Fenix light also doubles as a flashlight. This can be handy on the trail.
Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
- Best For: Budget, leisurely riding
- Lumens: 1600
- Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- Price: $50
The Halfords Advanced 1600 is basic, but it does provide everything you need for leisurely trail rides. If you are riding easy trails or going at a slower pace on technical trails, this light will function fine.
It has 1600 lumens on the high setting, and will run for a little over 2 hours. It has a good beam spread, and illuminates closer distances well.