The deci­sive fac­tor influ­enc­ing the eval­u­a­tion of a bicy­cle head­light is the illu­mi­na­tion, mea­sured in lux. This is quite a use­ful indi­ca­tor: dur­ing the test, we checked LED bicy­cle lights with a cal­i­brat­ed luxme­ter and only in one case encoun­tered a val­ue that was much low­er than aver­age. In sev­er­al cas­es, the results obtained were even high­er than those declared by the man­u­fac­tur­er.

Note: We only test­ed LED bike lights. Halo­gen lamps today are found only in cheap kits using a dynamo.

Bicycle lights
Dif­fer­ent light beam: The Busch & Müller Ixon IQ Pre­mi­um Speed ​​bike light (left) per­formed much bet­ter than the Tre­lock LS 350 (right) dur­ing the test

Bike Light: Luxes Matter

The illu­mi­na­tion from the bike lights we test­ed, accord­ing to the man­u­fac­tur­er’s instruc­tions, ranges between 10 and 50 lux. Log­i­cal­ly, the high­er this val­ue, the stronger the light. How­ev­er, it should be remem­bered that this indi­ca­tor only pro­vides infor­ma­tion on how strong the illu­mi­na­tion is at the bright­est point of the light beam.

Equal­ly impor­tant is how bright­ly and even­ly lit the edges of the road and points in front of the bike and at the max­i­mum dis­tance from it. How­ev­er, the brighter the front bike light, the bet­ter. With illu­mi­na­tion between 40 and 50 lux, you will most like­ly be sat­is­fied with the result.

In the above pho­to you can see the com­par­i­son between the Busch & Müller test win­ner Ixon IQ Pre­mi­um Speed ​​(42.2 lux) and the Tre­lock LS 350 (20.7 lux). The high­er light inten­si­ty of the test win­ner illu­mi­nates the dark areas of the test track much bet­ter than the low­er light Tre­lock. How­ev­er, on well-lit streets, a bike light with a low­er lux val­ue will also work.

Bicycle spotlight: headlight without certification

Lezyne Mega Drive
Lezyne Mega Dri­ve: super strong light, but the bike light is not suit­able for use on pub­lic roads

Among oth­er things, we stud­ied three spe­cial type LED bicy­cle lights from the man­u­fac­tur­er Lezyne. Although they are quite expen­sive, about 8,000 rubles, they are sig­nif­i­cant­ly supe­ri­or to all their com­peti­tors in terms of light­ing pow­er — so much so that their oper­a­tion on pub­lic roads is ille­gal in some coun­tries.

They do not meet the required stan­dards, as they can daz­zle oncom­ing dri­vers. How­ev­er, this type of lamp is wide­ly rep­re­sent­ed on the mar­ket — includ­ing those pro­duced by oth­er com­pa­nies — and is freely avail­able. How­ev­er, there is a chance of run­ning into a fine.

The stronger the light, the shorter the battery life

Busch & Müller Ixon IQ Premium Speed: Good light output and therefore short autonomy
Busch & Müller Ixon IQ Pre­mi­um Speed: Good light out­put and there­fore short auton­o­my

Even the bright­est LED bike light will do lit­tle good if the bat­tery is small and drains quick­ly. There are no sur­pris­es in this: the bat­tery life direct­ly depends on the bat­tery capac­i­ty and the max­i­mum bright­ness of the lamp.

Our test win­ner, a Busch & Müller front bike light with a light out­put of around 42 lux, can last just over five hours. But the Sig­ma Sport Light­ster with its 27 lux holds the record for the dura­tion of work — more than eleven hours.

Of course, it does not pro­vide the best illu­mi­na­tion of the road­way. There­fore, despite its record-break­ing bat­tery life and rather low cost of only about 1,500 rubles, it is not a good alter­na­tive.

By the way, about bat­tery life: most head­lights have an eco-mode. You can reduce lamp per­for­mance and auto­mat­i­cal­ly increase bat­tery life. In this way, a com­pro­mise can be found between the bright­ness of the light and the dura­tion of a night trip with light. In addi­tion, for long-dis­tance bike trips, we rec­om­mend using head­lights with a replace­able bat­tery.

Bicycle lamp: equipment and ease of use

Com­pared to the most impor­tant cri­te­ria such as light­ing bright­ness and bat­tery life, the equip­ment of a bicy­cle head­light plays a much small­er role. Mod­els dif­fer from each oth­er, for exam­ple, by a dif­fer­ent num­ber of oper­at­ing modes or sta­tus indi­ca­tors of dif­fer­ent com­plex­i­ty of exe­cu­tion.

Pay atten­tion to the mount! As a rule, the front bicy­cle light is not mount­ed firm­ly enough on the frame. But to pro­vide pro­tec­tion against theft, the bike light should be easy to remove and put back if you often have to leave your bike unat­tend­ed for a short time some­where.

Mod­els from Tre­lock are exem­plary in this regard: they can be removed even with one hand, sim­ply by press­ing a but­ton. They are even eas­i­er to insert back into the mount. A neg­a­tive exam­ple is Sig­ma’s front bike light: you need both hands to remove it. In addi­tion, even short nails can be slight­ly dam­aged.