If you are a bicycling enthusiast, then you know the importance of installing bike lights and using them at night. Nearly every state requires the use of bike lights at night. But the legal mandate is not the sole reason for using such lights. Bike lights help you see what is in front of you. They also ensure that you are seen by motor vehicles and other cyclists on the road. In other words, using bike lights at night is just old-fashioned common sense. No matter whether you live in a city that is filled with street lights or in a rural area that gets especially dark at night, you should install lights on your bike.
Most bike lights are powered by a battery of one kind or another. Bike lights take many types of lights. To purchase the batteries that are most suitable for your lights, you should gather as much information as possible. The following article will provide you a run down of what you need to know before you make your final purchasing decision.
Bike Light Batteries—The Basics
Rechargeable batteries are the most popular power sources for bike lights. These types of batteries can be attached to the different places on your bike. They are available in a wide range of designs. However, you should pay close attention to the duration and brightness of the lights you consider. Bike light batteries can last up to 10 hours. You should accept no less than 3 hours of run time on a single charge.
One of the greatest benefits of rechargeable batteries is that they allow you to do away with alkaline batteries. The latter are bad for the environment and tend to be cumbersome to handle and inconvenient to carry around. Perhaps the only downside of rechargeable batteries is that you must plan your recharging schedule carefully. It is best to recharge your headlight batteries immediately after use.
Here are some of the types of rechargeable batteries you will find on the market:
These are the most popular types of bike light batteries because they have one of the best energy-to-weight ratios. They also require little maintenance to keep them in good condition. They offer high power density, which means they can run for much longer than other types of batteries.
Another great thing about Li-ion batteries is that they cannot be overcharged. They present no danger of explosion or meltdown from being set in the charger for longer than is required. You should also know that these types of batteries lose only 5% of their charge a month.
The only downside of Li-ion batteries is their fixed life cycle. You can only use the batteries for so long before you will need to replace them. Most models will have less run time after fully charged after 3 years of use.
2. Carrying batteries
These are handlebar-mounted light batteries that can be strapped to the frame of your bike. You can also strap them to the back of your helmet if you use helmet-mounted lights. Many people like these types of batteries because they are easy to carry and stow away when riding.
Alternatives to Batteries
You don’t need to use batteries at all to power your bike lights. Here are some of the alternatives:
1. Dynamo lighting
This is a popular alternative to detachable rechargeable lights. It is powered by a dynamo hub that generates a current for your lights. Dynamo systems are reliable, environmentally-friendly, powerful, and difficult to steal. The brightness of such a system will depend on the type of lights you use and the amount of current generated by the specific hub you purchase. However, it should be noted that the weight of a dynamo system puts many people off. Lighter dynamos are available, but if you prize speed and ease of peddling above all else, then you may prefer a detachable lighting set.
2. USB rechargeable
This is a great alternative to office professionals who bicycle to and from work. It allows you to recharge your bicycle batteries through a USB port. You can remove the battery from your bike light, take it into the office, and use your laptop to power it back up. Many professionals prefer USB rechargeable units to other types of battery packs. They tend to be light, convenient, and reliable.
What You Should know About Battery Bike Lights in General
The days of disposable bike light batteries are gone. Although you can still find a few of these on offer, they are really not worth the money. However, if you carry around blinking lights as a back-up to your main lighting system, you may need to purchase disposable batteries. Blinking lights take size CR2032 and can run for hundreds of hours.
Most of the batteries you will find contain lithium ion. They are small and light enough to hold enough charge to make it through more than one day. In fact, the batteries used in bike lights are similar to those used in mobile phones, and they have run times that are similar to the latter. There are also many vendors selling these batteries, so you should take your time when shopping. Find the best deal possible. Even the less expensive bike light batteries will probably provide a solid performance.
Although most bike light batteries are made of lithium ion, a word of caution is in order. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to preserve the battery life if you intend to put the lights away for a long period of time. Most lights come with special instructions on how to do this without compromising the effectiveness of the light. They will explain how you can tell the light you are shutting it down for more than a month. Doing so puts the battery in a different state, and you want to be sure that you can recharge it when the next cycling season arrives. Failure to follow the instructions can lead to a very expensive mistake.