Six bright bike lights that are perfect for triathlon training
If you’re going to carry on training through the winter, you’ll need a decent set of bike lights. Here’s our pick of the six best front lights we’ve tested this year.
The MJ-890 might not be that powerful in terms of reach, but a decent beam spread gives enough up-the-road and in-the-gutter illumination for steady training pace even on the darkest country lanes. Three-hour battery life means you can keep this tiny light at full throttle for most runs, where you’d have to toggle back to a dimmer setting on most of the other lights here. We’ve also had great reliability from Magicshine units over the past few years. The strap mount works well and the MJ-890’s tiny size and cost make it a great budget or ‘just in case’ back-up option.
Weight 77g | Brightness 69 lux (lumens per square metre) | Run time at max power 2hrs 57mins
Luu’s stubby little light throws a surprising amount of well-rounded power down the road considering its low weight and reasonable cost. It’ll let you run full power for most after-work training runs, and four different output levels and a battery indicator built into the main switch mean you could nurse it through a full week of 90-minute each-way commutes if you wanted. The bayonet-lock bar clamp is very secure, though having to remove the light to set the angle is irritating and it’ll only fit round bars. It’s great for the money once fitted, though.
Weight 177g | Brightness 152 lux | Run time at max power 2hrs 10mins
CatEye’s compact Volt series packs a useful lighting punch at an affordable price. The 300’s single LED produces a punchy enough beam for the darkest of lanes on full power, while side cut-outs provide a bit of peripheral fill and traffic visibility. Short battery life means you’ll spend most of your time in the adequate but not amazing low-power setting, though. The thumbwheel bar clamp is super-secure, CatEye reliability is legendary and the Volt is available in a range of front and rear light package options, too.
Weight 131g | Brightness 167 lux | Run time at max power 1hr 25mins
Electron’s Terra Mini produces a very focused ‘seeing with’ rather than ‘being seen’ beam but its performance on dark country roads is impressive for its diminutive size and cost. The spot beam is distortion- and halo-free, too, so it’s easy
on the eye on the longer rides that the long run times allow. There’s a bit of waggle on rougher roads from the simple O-ring and small rubber foot used to attach it to the bars, but excellent reliability and the fact that you get a USB charger included for £60 makes it seem rude to complain.
Weight 144g | Brightness 92 lux | Run time at max power 2hrs 55mins
The most expensive light here is unsurprisingly the most powerful, with a serious lux punch to light up distant corners and potholes. Spending the extra £35 on the Loaded pack is well worth it for the metal bar clamp and spare battery that slides into the latched door on the back of the retro, finned body. This doubles run times, and plentiful power in lower modes plus battery life indication from the central switch make the Mega Drive epic-ride or multiple-commute compatible between charges.
Weight 318g | Brightness 352 lux | Run time at max power 1hr 25mins
NiteRider Lumina 220
NiteRider’s small lights have always been favourites among our test team, with good features and more punch than the claimed output might lead you to expect. Considering the Lumina’s price and weight, its maximum-power mode is usefully bright when you need it for descents. Short run time means you’ll need to toggle back power on longer rides but at least remaining life is shown by the backlit button. The big handlebar bracket is very secure once you’ve clamped it into place, and we’ve had good long-term results with NiteRider’s lower-power units.
Weight 137g | Brightness 182 lux | Run time at max power 1hr 20mins