If we understand that the presence of light on a bike is as necessary as that of brakes or tires, the question is which one to choose …
How to choose a bicycle lights, what power, what technology, battery or dynamo, halogen or LED? Is it that the lights cycle to be better to see? The choice is bloated, we’ll try to answer them, especially to help you choose from our own range of bicycle lights.
To give you a first indication in your choice, you should know that the very good lighting (to see) easily cost between 50 euros and 100 euros, but already between 15 and 20 euros you can find basic lighting (to be seen) good quality and with good sealing (essential) as the lighting for bike wheels that start at € 25.95.
● How to know the light power is needed?
The lux is a unit of measurement of illuminance (symbol: lx), which characterizes the luminous flux per unit area.
– The Highway Code does not specify the lighting power or the power supply. The cycle industry industry standards provide that the supply voltage is 6 volts and electric power to less than 3 Watts, but the yield is not specified, lighting may well be approved … and insufficient.
– For example the German standards, generally more serious and pragmatic, impose on them an illumination at least 10 lux at 10m.
– In practice, 1 lux roughly corresponds to the illumination of a full moon night.
To see your way, if you borrow poorly lit roads, you will have the headlights at least 20 Lux (or 150 Lumens). For occasional use of night in the city center well lit, removable headlight 4 Lux (Lumens or 50-60) can be enough to you to be discerning. To help you visualize the differences, here testing in a tunnel at night, and a video showing the differences of perception for a driver:
● Batteries or dynamo?
– Batteries are a good solution if you drive slightly (2 to 3 times per week). For everyday cyclists, rechargeable batteries are needed. Know that 20 to 40 hours of use are sufficient to cushion rechargeable batteries. Some new lights are charging today on USB ports, so you can recharge on your computer or using your phone charger.
Rescente another novelty, the lights that switch on automatically, by clipping and unclipping as the model for Cordo Set Citylite Automatic, or through a magnet fixation system (Reelight GB).
– The dynamo lighting is the best choice for bike city and cycling, because the dynamo is permanently mounted on the bike, we can count on an integrated lighting cycling, independent and always available, which is consistent with the regular use of a bicycle.
The two most common types are:
* The dynamo on the tire sidewall, the most traditional and oldest system, also often the cheapest and most universal as fits almost any bike. But it has a smaller yield and slows the bike by its friction.
* The hub dynamo (default included in certain Dutch bikes, classic or electric ). This latest offering qualities such as: unchanged performance even if the wheel is bent or the wet tire, more reliable electrical connections, a total operating silence, and a yield of 65 to 85% (against 40 to 55% for a dynamo side depending on the quality of the dynamo).
● Function steady / marker light
One of the shortcomings of the dynamo is that it stops supplying electric power when the bike is stopped, causing the extinction of the front and rear lights. To correct this increasingly integrated lighting have a capacitor that stores energy from the first laps. As long as the bike rolled dynamo powers the lighthouse but when it stops is the capacitor takes over. Thus the position light function (function or steady) will keep the fires stopped, increasing bike visibility and therefore safety, since at traffic lights for example, you are arrested but your lights will remain on. It is compatible with all types of dynamos.
● LED technology or halogen lamps?
The days of the small light pale white to light our way. If the halogen bulb headlights still exist there is no doubt that the future is the LED ( Light Emitting Diode, or LED). Their advantages are considerable: they are very energy-intensive, insensitive to shock and design life is almost infinite. The design of the electronics and the optical part of the reflectors are crucial for the light output power on the road and reliability in time.
The best products have outstanding performance visibility and passive safety (reflective etc …) as well as power, justifying their sometimes high price.
The most representative brands and more serious in this area are Knog, Cordo, Bush & Muller, AXA, Reelights, Spanninga, SIGMA … And the innovations in recent years are undeniably the Monkey Lights, lights on wheels with more LEDs (up ‘LED! 32) for high visibility, including side that allow little lighting.
● Reflective elements
They are essential for your safety. Among the most common and widespread: the “reflectors”. They do not light but reflect much light. The legislation requires to dispose of at the rear (red), sides (set on shelves or glued on original tires), the pedals (orange), and also in front (white). So that you are visible in the headlights of a car, when riding on the side of the road or at an intersection. The lighting of the high-end bicycles are often already equipped (in addition to other mandatory location), these lights illuminate and reflect together for optimal visibility.
The clothing with reflective strips like jackets, rain pants or ponchos are very useful in extreme conditions (rain, darkness). In the healthy, can be spotted at 150m (50m against simply wearing light-colored clothing).
Warning! If you wear a backpack, it reduces the visible reflective surface. Preferably use panniers and bags to carry your business / shopping that are most often equipped with reflective tape. Or use covers backpack reflective, or secure your reflectors or lighting your bike above, the point of light is high it makes more your visibility to motorists.
Finish with practical advice simpler and more useful: nothing prevents you from having more than the legal minimum to be clearly visible at night cycling. Some revolutionary lighting such as the new front lights and laser Blaze will ensure safety & originality!
Cyclists, shine! In connection with this article to read also our article on the revolutionary laser light and Blaze.