If you can remember the first time you ever shopped for bike lights, or indeed if you are new to cycling then you can probably relate to how much of a surprisingly complex experience it can be. From LED’s to batteries, lumens to mounting and runtimes to flash patterns, it can almost seem like a daunting process - but we are here to help.
There are some common mistakes people can tend to make when looking for their cycling lights. With winter (or Fall) and darker evenings now in full swing we thought it would be a good time to set a few things straight and help make that decision process a bit easier for you. Here are our top 5 mistakes to avoid when browsing for your next set of lights for your bike.
Although now is the time that everyone starts to think about their lights, the statement that ‘bike lights are only for cycling in the dark’ is totally wrong, (if you ask us). Daylight visibility for cyclists has been really important to us right from the start.If you think about modern cars, they have their lights running almost any time you see them on the road. Why shouldn't it be the same, if not even more important for cyclists?
We don’t have fancy names for any daylight visible flash patterns. Why? That’s because our lights are and have always been fully daytime visible on all modes.Being visible during daylight hours really is just as important as being seen at night time. So if you are investing in a new pair of lights for the Winter then do make sure they will also be visible during daylight hours, too.
To see, to be seen, or both?
If you are riding in urban areas where there is adequate street lighting then a pair of ‘to be seen’ lights will help keep you visible out on your commutes or training rides. However, if you are cycling near any unlit roads or quiet lanes at night time then you will definitely need a strong torch or headlight ‘to see’ with and guide your path. Our front light is designed to be a 'to be seen' light, perfect for urban cycling but you will need to pair up with 'to see' light in other circumstances. The good news is that there are plenty of strong headlights to chose from, but in our experience - we would recommend not going any lower than around 500 lumens for road cycling, you’ll need something even stronger again if you will be hitting any MTB trails or going off-road.
Don’t use a super bright 2,000 lumen MTB light when out on busy roads as you will dazzle drivers and other road users. Another good tip is to make sure and position your front light so that it is pointing down onto the road, that way you shouldn’t annoy or distract others. Our own lights are specifically designed not to dazzle other road users with a dispersed output rather than just focused, this also means that you will get over 270 degrees of side visibility.
The advantage of flashing lights is that they can help you attract attention more readily than steady lights. This is the main purpose of your ‘to be seen lights’- to make sure other traffic notices you. The fact that See.Sense lights react to their environment means it has a variable flash pattern, which also helps to attract attention.
It really is surprising how many people are still using disposable alkaline batteries and haven’t yet upgraded to re-chargable USB lights - seriously? Gone are the days of carrying about heavy battery packs with our lights. Having a reliable light full with a long runtime is really important. Indicators are also handy, to let you know how much runtime you have left.
Bike light performance is usually a trade-off between ‘Brightness vs Run-time vs Size’. Many conventional lights are an engineering compromise, having to select two features at the expense of the third. With a See.Sense light you will get brightness, a long run-time and a compact piece of kit – all because of our smart sensor technology. And because it can react to its environment, it will make you more visible at the times when you really need it, keeping you safer on your bike. With us there is no compromise.