The days are getting shorter, and the clocks are changing again. Soon we will be commuting on the dark, and it is essential for you to get bicycle lights. It is firstly a legal requirement, and secondly a safety feature.

The good news is that over the past decade, brands have made big improvements in increasing the output and reducing the weight of their bike lights. That progress is driven by advances in two key technologies: the switch to efficient LED lamps that produce dramatically more light per watt than older halogen or metal-halide bulbs, and lithium batteries that pack more power into smaller packages. The result is brighter lights with similar or longer run times in smaller, lighter systems.

Where and When Will You Use the Lights?

If you commute in daylight or at dawn and dusk when the light is low, a simple front and rear blinker set should suffice. If you ride before sunrise and after sunset, a more powerful front headlight paired with a blinking taillight is necessary - many of the lights here will make your journey easier and safer. 

What are the legal requirements?

Your bike lights must be switched on during ’lighting-up time‘. This is the period beginning half an hour after sunset and ending half an hour before sunrise on the following morning. During these hours all cyclists are required to have fitted (and make use of) the following:

  • One front light, showing to the front a white or yellow light visible for a reasonable distance
  • One rear light, fitted to the rear of your bicycle showing a red light that is visible for a reasonable distance

If you ride only in daylight and your budget doesn’t yet allow for a full light set, at the very least start with a rear blinker, which will help make you more visible from behind. You can always invest in a front light later, especially if you begin to extend your rides to before and beyond daylight, when you’ll not only want to see what’s in front of you but also want motorists in front of you to see you. 

Where Do You Want to Mount Your Light?

Most headlights mount to the handlebar and to the seatpost. Other lights like the Reelight range, can be mounted on the fork or the stays, or the rear mudguard and the middle of the fork like the vintage range on Achielle bikes.

What Should You Look For and What Should You Avoid?

When purchasing new lights, look for sturdy, no-slip attachments; an easily removable light body for charging and theft prevention; Try to avoid anything that’s not a purpose-designed bike light. Sure, you can duct-tape a Maglite to your handlebar, but that doesn’t make it a bike light.

Another aspect to consider is how these lights are charged. If you have a very short distance to cycle and mostly in town, battery powered lights will be enough. You won't have to worry too much about running out power. Just make sure you check the brightness of your lights once a month and replace the batteries when they start being weak. If your commute is longer, batteries can be unreliable and expensive. A lot of the brands propose USB rechargeable lights now, which is handy as that can be done while you are at work. Finally, you can opt for battery free lights with dynamo systems (you would generally need to order a bike that has that system installed at the factory), or go for the Reelight system.

Our recommendations

We tested and retested those over the years. 

For commuting

The Infini Lava lightset is one of our most popular option. Tiny, so with little risk of rattling and very light, they are also very powerful and can be charged directly into a USB port. They are super bright, run for a long time on a single charge (up to 7 hours according to Infini), and are super easy to operate, even with winter gloves. 

For hassle free use

It happens to everyone - losing gloves, credit cards, or bicycle lights. We have zero advice for the first ones, but for the latter, you could be one of these people who could benefit from lights that stay on the bike. If you have not chosen a bike with a dynamo hub system, then the Reelight range may be a solution for you. These run on magnets put directly on your wheels, and they stay on the bike and provide you with lights night and day. 


For best value

You don't need to spend a lot of money on lights, but you need to make sure they are built well enough for our weather (mostly in terms of waterproofing) and that costs a bit. If you want something compact, bright, is USB rechargeable but does not cost the Earth, we would steer you towards the Bookman Block lights. They wrap around themselves, are very bright, and are very weather resistant. They were designed in Sweden, which is not known for its bright and clement winter weather. 

For brightness

If you have to commute through an area with very little public lighting, think bright, very bright. The brightest of our range is the Oxford Ultratorch lightset. It is so bright we would advise you not to look at it when on the most powerful mode. They are also USB rechargeable and look very smart, especially on road bikes.