You are going to go cycling, whether during the day or at night, and you need to have the proper lighting to see where you are going. You might be wondering how to look for the brightness of the bulb of your bike light. The question that experts will tell you to ask is how many lumens this light is.
The main thing you need to know is that your front light has to be brighter than your rear one. Then you need to know what lumens are and how they are measured.
What Are Lumens?
That is usually the first thing that might pop to mind when you hear this. What exactly is it? It’s one of several units of how light shines. It can be hard to determine which one is better for you since you are using this for both improving your own vision when you are riding and also making yourself visible to others.
They can have ratings from 50 to as high as 3,000. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be. The need for bright lighting can vary on the places and times of day that you are cycling.
Where Are You Biking?
You need to be completely aware of your surroundings when you are out riding. Are you in a well-lit area or are you in a place where you are plunged in darkness? You don’t want to be plunging down a steep drop from not seeing it, so if you know that you will be in the dark a lot, you should increase the amount of lumens on your light. That way, you will be able to see what is ahead of you.
Also, are you riding in an urban area? These tend to be very well lit both during the day and at night and not require lights that are too powerful. You will likely only need a light with 100-200 lumens, which is not too much.
If it turns out that you are riding where there is no lighting, you are going to have to up the lumens to get even brighter lighting to illuminate your path and also show yourself to others around you. This is very important if you are riding during a time of year when it gets darker earlier, so it is important to be prepared for that.
This will also totally depend on your preferences and what time of day or night you tend to go cycling. If you are a night biker, you might want to consider getting a light that is 3000 lumens. There are those who swear by that extra illumination and how it helps them when they are riding at night on the trails.
Can My Light Be Too Bright?
Absolutely. This depends on where you are riding. Are you going to be around a lot of other people and cars? If you have the setting too high and also have the light positioned the wrong way, you could wind up blinding them and causing them to get into an accident. The stronger light are better if you are riding in relative seclusion or in inclement weather when it is dark out.
Also, you need to decide whether you want to make your light steady or if you want it to be flashing. If you have it flash, that might be a better thing to help those around you pick up your presence since it will capture their attention better over a steady light. This can be crucial if you are riding on unlit roads – the pulsing light will allow you to focus on riding and not looking behind your shoulder for cars, which could be a dangerous split-second loss of attention on your part.
You will also want to make sure that your rear light, while not as bright as the front one, reaches at least or close to 100 lumens. This will also act as a way for people to see you on the road.
Another thing to take into consideration is how to power these lights. You don’t want them to suddenly wink off when you are riding at night, which could be extremely dangerous. Instead, you need to look into how to keep them powered.
One way is to have rechargeable batteries for the lights. Those can get hot, though, and possibly even explode. That is definitely something to avoid.
The other way is to have a dynamo hub put on the front wheel. You can power your light simply by pedaling. This is an excellent way to keep from having to worry about whether your light will die out at the worst possible time.
Revolights for Night Cycling: Your Ultimate Guide to Revolutionary Bike Lighting »
You need to make the decision based on all of these factors. Your safety is the most important thing and you need to be extremely aware of what you will be encountering. Preparation is a big part of safety.
We’ve told you practically all you need to know about how many lumens your bike light should be. It’s a matter of you taking the lights out for your own rides and seeing what works best for you. Then you can can go with what is best.
If you are still uncertain what level of lumens you should get, you can always ask the professionals at bike stores or online. There are always forums that you can go to … or you could even ask people on social media. Someone will give their recommendations, and you can go investigate that.
By doing all of this, you will improve your safety by a large factor. Of course, you also need to have a well-maintained bike and wear other protective gear, like a helmet and other padding. This way, you can have the confidence to ride and know that you can see.