We’ve tested 9 mini bike lights to help you be seen on the roads this winter.
1. Revolution Flash Silicone LED Light
With front and rear lights offered separately, these lights pack quite a punch for the money. The front lens focuses the single LED into a direct and powerful light and is just enough for urban commuting. The light has two constant modes, and one flashing. In the constant setting it ran for two hours 30 minutes, and nearly 12 hours in flashing mode. The rear light also has two modes, constant and flashing. They are guaranteed for 500 recharges.
2. Cateye Loop SL110 Light set
The Cateye Loop lights use a stretchy shock cord to attach to the bike, which makes for the most versatile fitting of the units here. They’re also the best for all-round visibility, as the translucent body lights up to create an all-round glow. Run time is a claimed 50 hours in flashing mode, and in testing our rear unit lasted in excess of 33 hours. Neither front nor rear light have a lens, so these can’t be used to ride by, but the versatility of fitting means we’d recommend these as a cheap addition to your main riding light.
3. Blackburn Flea 2
With four LEDs in both units, the tiny fleas pack a punch. They really get you noticed. With three modes: constant giving an impressive 3 hours 10 minutes, flashing gives over 12 hours, and a nifty chase mode (think Knightrider’s car) the same. Mounting is a web strap up front, and the rear has a highly sprung clip – that’ll fix to a bag, or clothing – so it’s good for running too. The USB charging is done via a small key that attaches to each unit. It’s easily lost and you only get one, so take care where you leave it.
4. Moon M3 LED Front & Rear Lights
The M3s from Moon are slim, lightweight (18g) units with a 15mm square lens, and the focused magnifier on the lens makes the most of the single LED. The front unit has two constant modes and one flashing which offers good visibility. We wouldn’t recommend riding on unlit roads with just the M3, but they’re fine for urban areas. The rear light’s focused beam and great all-round visibility makes it one of our favourites on test and, if the front had a wider beam spread this would be an ideal pairing.
5. Electron Milli USB Light set
The Milli USB Light Set features a small front light with which weighs 40g. While the rear’s inset lens doesn’t offer much side-on visibility, it is powerful in both constant and flashing modes. In constant mode we got two hours 50 minutes from the rear and over 11 hours in flashing mode. The front lasted for three hours 10 minutes in constant and nearly 12 hours in flashing. It offered just enough light to ride on unlit roads, but we wouldn’t recommend them as your only light source except in an emergency.
6. Skully LED Light set
These lights may have a novelty skull-shaped silicone casing, but the powerful LEDs inside are very impressive – much cleaner and brighter than some of the others on test here. The lights offer excellent visibility but, as the LEDs are exposed and not behind a lens, you can’t use the Skully light to see with, but as an aid, they were the brightest on test. Claimed runtime is 100 hours – we ran them for 24 hours on constant without any drop in brightness. The long hook-eyed loops mean these will fit to almost anything.
7. Topeak Highlite Combo USB Light set
The Highlites are bigger than most back-up units. The wide lens has four in-line LEDs which offer good visibility. Run time is 30 hours in flashing mode, and we managed 11 hours on constant, with a full recharge taking about five hours (using the included USB leads). As a safety aid the Highlites are ideal and, in an emergency, they are just bright enough to ride by. Fitting is easy.
8. Raleigh RSP Micro V2
The front and rear units of the Micro V2 lights follow the same design: chunky, well-sealed units that weigh just 21g. The stretchy loops fit round a bar or seat post well, but it’s hard to get them around anything bigger than a standard post. Powered by watch batteries, these have a claimed runtime of 150 hours flashing; we left them on constant for 24 hours and found they were still going strong. Well priced and light, but they may be a struggle to fit to an aero seatpost.
9. Knog Boomer Rechargeable Light set
These are the priciest on test, but offer enough to make them worth the extra. The front light has a lens that focuses the LED to give enough light to ride by. The rear is the brightest here and has one constant and three flashing modes. They both front ran for about four hours 30 minutes in constant mode. They also have a translucent body that magnifies the light, making these excellent for all-round visibility.
This review was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
You’ll find loads more triathlon gear and kit reviews in triradar.com’s Gear section