After the 'warmest Halloween on record,' winter is now well and truly under way. With the nights drawing in well before the commute home for most, being visible on the roads during a dark evening rush-hour is absolutely essential for the commuter cyclist and casual rider alike. While a hi-vis is an option for some, you can't beat a good set of bike lights to really make sure you'll be seen. Fortunately, here at Russell's Bicycle Shed, we stock a diverse range from a number of top manufacturers to guarantee you can find something to light your path.
Lights can be split into two main categories; to see and to be seen. The latter tend to be smaller and often cheaper, while the former are larger and brighter. On the smaller side of things, we stock the tiny Spanninga Pirata light set. Weighing at just 15g a light, visible up to 300m and with a battery life of 95h continuous or 270h flashing, we consider these as a great backup set of lights to keep in your bag or pocket whenever you're out on your bike - especially at £9.00 a set.
For a little more money, the Lezyne Femto light set offers incredible value (and a very nice looking light to boot). Consisting of a CNC anodized aluminium tube with an optical-grade lens/switch combination, the Femto offers 60 hours minimum battery life at 15 lumens (which is more than it sounds!) from two tiny CR2032 batteries. It's available in a whole host of colours to suit your ride, and is certainly a lot of light for £22.00.
So far, both sets of lights in this rundown have been lights to make sure you're seen on the road. However, the PDW (Portland Design Works) Spaceship 3 + Radbot 1000 combo set can certainly light up even the darkest of towpaths. The Spaceship 3 sports (as you may have guessed) 3 superbright Japanese LEDs which are focused through a precision lens to light up the trail ahead or ensure you're seen by road users for up to 100 hours runtime on 2x AA batteries. The accompanying Radbot 1000 rear light consists of a powerful red LED (the same used in the brake lights of new cars) and a precision reflector so any car coming behind you will know you're there. These lights are available as a combo set for £30.00, or individually at £20.00 a piece.
As with the smaller lights, Lezyne provide a high-end alternative. The Zecto Drive front + rear set are just as beautifully machined as their smaller Femto counterparts, but cram a fantastic amount of features into their low-profile bodies. USB Chargeable with an intelligent power indicator built into the side of the light body, the Zecto offers 80 lumens (front) from 3 powerful LEDs at a minimum of 3 hours from a single charge. The Zecto Drive set retails at £55.00, but all of us here agree that is a fair price for such a brilliantly designed component. Also available is the Zecto Pro which boosts the luminosity to a massive 160 lumens!
To round off on a more affordable option, the Union Superbright is a Li-Ion USB chargeable light available as a separate front and rear. Consisting of 2 LEDs giving 4 Lux of power over 4 hours, they're a convenient option for those who like the idea of USB charging without wanting to break the bank.
All these lights (except for the Zecto Pro) are available in our shop for you to try out (and accidentally blind yourself!). We'll even fit them for you in-store!
With cycle safety in the news again regarding Chris Boardman's controversial statements over the use of helmets, one thing that can unanimously be agreed on is that bolstering your visibility on a dark night with a set of lights can only be a good thing.
By Joe O (the big beardy one)