How To Choose Bike Lights For Commuting – GCN's Road Cycling Tips

How To Choose Bike Lights For Commuting – GCN's Road Cycling Tips

Commuting by bike is both cost effective and healthy. However, first and foremost you want to stay safe, and good lights will play a huge factor in this, particularly during the winter months.
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In this video, Si and Dan talk you through their tips when it comes to choosing those lights.

Bike lights have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, which means there’s no excuse for not being seen. Si and Dan talk you through a few things that you might want to take into consideration, though, when it comes to choosing lights for your commute bike.

Stay safe out there! Got something to add? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

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  1. guesswho kk on June 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    1 – Primary function of bike light is "to be seen", secondary light as illuminate your path way if no street light available.

    2 – Preferably use both primary & secondary light (front and rear) in case of battery running out of juice whilst riding middle of nowhere AND in combination of using reflective material (on bike or on clothing), which is why it is illegal if not using it in the UK. (Similar reason in Germany as all their bikes are hardwired with a dynamo to eliminate the issue when battery is out of juice).

    3 – Mount under seat post so to be seen by normal car driver’s eye level, but also mount your secondary light onto your helmet (especially rear one) for Van/ HGV / bus driver, because their eye level are normally higher than normal car drivers.

    4 – Hand signally alone cannot guarantee to be by the driver behind you when intend to turn, so use reflective, indicators or lights (on wrist) to indicate your intentions.

    5 – general rule:
    a) light yourself up like a Christmas tree, more the better.
    b) if possible, avoid route with double white lines in the centre (non- overtaking lanes), because even if you speed like a hamster wheel, "some" car drivers have the nack of breaking the law and overtaking you in section of a road in which it really shouldn’t, which is dangerous to you and the driver. (why risk it?)
    c) Choose a light that has a quick release for charging and ensure the design can firmly secure to the bike or else you will loose it on the road, damaged / cracked up or worst crushed by the driver behind you.
    d) USB charging is a must have to avoid loosing your light when going back home since finding battery replacement can be a big issue.
    e) point your primary light (the one that illuminate the road) at an angle so that it isn’t pointing directly towards incoming drivers face.
    f) It harder to hold it charge during winter time. Expect to charge more frequently in Winter / Cold period.
    g) Most cheap lights lied about their lumens, don’t trust it unless you’ve seen it (online reviews) or tested it yourself, before buying it.
    h) quick release lights is convenient, but highly steal-able even if it a quick stop shop. So ideally take it with you especially in a moderate to high crime area.

  2. Damien king on June 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    How many lumens is good to get by on dark city streets with no street lamps? 800? 1000? 1500? What’s a good bang for the buck (USA currency) ?

  3. S Dj on June 27, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Foook dat. I just put on my bike my 1450 Lumen (true lumens) custom made flashlight. And it is insanely bright 200m from me 🙂

  4. Gediminas Jesinas on June 27, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Dynamo powered lights are useful in wilderness

  5. Festivejelly on June 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I cant stand those gay little hats they wear under the helmets.

  6. mark ablett on June 27, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I use 2 front lights, I use a lezyne 450lx one on flashing and the other on full beam and a lezyne strip rear light. Great lights.

  7. Berth Ljunggren on June 27, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Using a seSense Icon on the back very bright, and an exposure at the frontside 🙂

  8. Mr X on June 27, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    whats the name of these lights?

  9. Ken on June 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Drink and ride — pathetic.

  10. Phil de Scossa on June 27, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve just bought some cateye’s for front and rear x2 & x3) the full beam mode on the x3 is insane. It’s so bright. Will def be seen in low light with these on.

  11. Peter Huang on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Absolutely right,cycling in dark need a high quality bike light.

  12. y liu on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Are you guys based in the uk? Or just in the uk to make the video?

  13. Cycling and DoctorWholover on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    #askgcn . if you only have one set of lights? One white front light and one red rear light?. What mode do you . reccomend keeping it on e.g flasihing or steady if you live in an area where there’s lots of traffic and why?

  14. Diego Weissel on June 27, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    How comes that bikes don’t come with built-in lights so you only take off their batteries to recharge! It is a hassle to always take them off to prevent them from being stolen!

  15. Ole Ludvig Solheim on June 27, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Because of this video i bought this Cateye Rapid X3 lights. I can not recomend them. They are not Walter resistant, mine are broken after 4 week use on my comuter bike here in Norway. Not recomended for outdoor use.

  16. Millennium Gaming on June 27, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    how much were those frames each??

  17. Limitless 1 on June 27, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    i use rechargeable batteries
    it is great …

  18. yangyuyan杨语嫣 on June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm


  19. Dylan M on June 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I use a 1200 lumen front light but im not sure if i can use it beside roads

  20. Aswin_ T_Vinod on June 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    1000 th like

  21. kierenkd on June 27, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I can’t understand why you can’t buy a 1000 lumens light with stvo dipped beam

  22. ElectricRemi on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I have 1500 lumens on my bike. Because I must have all the lumens. 🤩

  23. Frost Bite on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    What kind of handlebars are those? Can I fit them to my fixie?

  24. Kody Leon on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I have a pair of bike lights from Blitzu, the Cyborg 168T and 168H, Extremely Bright Light! Very impressed with the quality and light output.

  25. Juannito Espinoza on June 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    I dont know the laws where you are but in California, you can get a DUI (driving under the influence) on a bicycle.

  26. Mau on June 27, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    add some reflectors to the wheels

  27. NightmirrorXx on June 27, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Where can I buy those Cateye strip lights?

  28. SAS Productions on June 27, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    thanks for this vid, i cant see them cateye lights on halfords site.

  29. Chris Capoccia on June 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    how did you guys mount the rapidx to the head tube? the included rubber bands are only big enough for going around handlebars, forks, seat tubes, seat stays and other smaller diameters.

  30. Rick Grimes on June 27, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    I use chinese lights on my bike (from aliexpress)

  31. g00gle minus on June 27, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for the quick guide to headlights for bikes.

  32. Jamie Johnston on June 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    great video. very informative to the layman.

  33. Luka Debeljak on June 27, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    well… you clearly have no experiences with oncoming traffic with their high beams on… and for this reason you guys are quite happy with 100 lumens but when you share a road with those special individuals who cant turn off their high beams you need something that puts out 2300 lumens

  34. A Booth on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    what about daytime rear lights? any suggestions? I know the new bontrager light is supposed to be designed for both

  35. James Pelletier on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I know a lot of people don’t ride more then an hour or so which is all most usb chargeable lights will run on high but that which leads me to my question. Why do almost all newer lights always have usb chargeable batteries instead of using say one or more 1865 batteries so one can change them during a ride and charge them when you get home etc? Just curious on this really because not being able to change them during a ride sort of makes them lose at least one star if i was riding for any length of time at night.

  36. The Nordic Stag on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Honestly, myself for my medium/long idstance commuter/touring bike? I use a Cygolite Streak 350(Want a metro or Expilion, but, all things in time) on the front, and a Cygolite Hotrod on the rear. Does me great both urban and country.

  37. Vaidotas Ratkus on June 27, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Healmet lights are very dangerous. If I get blinded by passing 2milion lumen headlifht when cyclist wanted to look at my fave I punch him as hard as I can. There are more people like me so be carefull and dont use healmet lights

  38. Jesse Chen on June 27, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    I once rode a strip of pitch black bumpy road full of pot holes with only reflectors…couldn’t see a thing. Luckily I have front and seatpost suspension.

  39. Dumitru Alexandru Madalin on June 27, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Solarstorm x2 Good Light!!

  40. CyclingStirFry on June 27, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    How do you tie the rapid x on the head tube? the bands that it comes with only wraps around half way through my tarmac sl6 head tube.

  41. Steve Gad on June 27, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    0:46 "……for a sneaky half" he says, proceeding to place a pint on the table. lol.

  42. Adam Lefthand on June 27, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    trada 800 Front Light
    by Exposure Lights
    Be the first to review this item
    Price: £224.95
    Sale: £195.95 FREE UK delivery.
    You Save: £29.00 (13%)
    Only 1 left in stock – order soon.
    This seller does not deliver to Canada. Learn more
    Dispatched from and sold by Montague Sports.
    2 new from £195.95
    Run Time: High – 3hr, Low – 36hrs
    Lumens: 800
    Battery: 5,800mAh
    Charge Time: 6 hrs
    Dimensions: L – 102mm x D – 44mm

  43. Darren Hooper on June 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Black bikes. Black helmets. Black lycra. Brighten yourselfs up lads!

  44. Unicorn Workhorse on June 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Nice advertisement lol

  45. Juan Deigo on June 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    whats the name of your bike light
    sorry for my bad english

  46. Ian Inthirathvongsy on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Hi.. i have the cateye rapid x3 front lights but the rubber band that is provided is not long enough to hold it onto the front where its located on the bikes in the video. Does anyone know where to buy longer rubber bands like the ones in the videos.

  47. Clinton Leonard on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    I bought those cat-eye lights after seeing them in this video. They are the best lights I’ve ever had. The visibility and brightness are amazing and they look really stylish when you put them on continuous mode. I usually have them on blinking mode to save battery, but the battery life is great either way. Thanks for the recommendation.

  48. Kelly Ofo on June 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    This is so terribly British it’s unreal. 😂

  49. Evert Van Tittelboom on June 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    do they use cateye rapid x2 or x3 rear lights?

  50. FreshyWithController on June 27, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    not cheap if you have the bikes
    they are using lol