Words by: Liam Woods
***Note: Below is a list of new 2022/2023 lights that have been updated from the video.***
As the days get shorter and the time change looms, riding times become limited. Time to pull out the night lights and get riding after work. The new lights that are out now are powerful enough and last long enough to be completely self-contained in a unit without a separate battery pack. Yes, gone are the days of having a cord down your back or trying to tape up a cord and battery to your bike. Two small and simple lights are all you need, one for the head and one for the handlebar and you can now crank out long rides during fall and winter to keep some fitness, or really just be out riding bikes.
These lights offer different beams, some more narrow and direct and others more spread out and dispersed. My opinion is, if possible, have a more narrow light on the helmet and a more spread out one on the handlebar. If going with two of the same lights, two narrow beams will work better than two spread out beams. But that is my opinion and if you think otherwise, I won't be offended. Swear. I will go through some of our favorites, but as with any mountain bike product there are a plethora of options, so I will try to help with decision paralysis.
One of the smallest lights with the most lumens on the market, the NiteRider Lumina Micro 900 Headlight packs a punch for its small size. This unit is USB rechargeable and can charge from dead to full in 2.5 hours. At only 130g, the Lumina Micro 900 is a serious weapon. I wanted to start with this light at the top of the blog (not that I put these lights in any kind of ranking order), but this Lumina kind of steals the spotlight. If you were to only buy one light, this would be an awesome choice. If you wanted to hit the helmet and handlebar, this would still be an awesome choice for both. Just buy a helmet mount and you have a killer combo!
The NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 Headlight is a new powerful option from NiteRider. With dual LED lights and 1800 lumens, this light has some serious power to handle any vigorous activity. While it's a bit of a larger light, the Lumina Dual 1800 makes for a great bar mounted light. This is the light with the most lumens we have in our write up, and it can run at full power for 45 minutes and 1500 lumens for 1.5 hours. If you are looking to get some serious lumens out front without taking up too much space or adding a battery pack, this light checks that box!
One of the smaller lights we have in our review is the Niterider Lumina Micro 650 Headlight. This little guy makes for a great spare, backup or commuting light to run during the day. While you might not want it as your only light during a serious night ride, you could use it for that if needed. I prefer to have something a little bit more powerful on the bars or helmet. In a very small and compact overall size, the Lumina Micro 650 can easily fit in a pocket or backpack. The last thing you want is to run out of light when it's dark out.
Light and Motion is the other brand that has been at the forefront of bicycle lights for a long time now, and this Light and Motion VIS Pro 1000 Trail Headlight really shows it. The VIS Pro 1000 Trail is a super solid all around light, great for any mounting position you want to put it in. Handlebars or helmet, the Light and Motion VIS Pro 1000 Trail comes with a few different mounting options so you can really get the best use as you need it. At 1000 lumens, it's super bright, and it can run for 1.5 hours on full power!
The Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL has gone through a few iterations over the past few years, and each time Lezyne improved on an already awesome light. The Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL has a full aluminium shell which is pretty unique compared to the rest of the lights we are checking out. And with a full run time of 1.5 hours on full power, this can be a great, durable option if you are hard on parts. One really cool feature is the remote option which allows you to turn the light on and switch through power modes!
Max lumens: 1000
Max runtime: 87 hours
Max lumen run time: 1.5 hours
Recharge time: 4 hours
Cygolite is probably one of the brands that fly under the radar, but don't let that fool you. I've had an older Cygolite for about seven years now and it still runs at full power and full runtime. This Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 Headlight is also the best bang for the buck as far as max lumen and price go. Running at full power for an hour, the Cygolite is a serious bargain.
While the lights above have been tested and proven, we are seeing a new line from NiteRider really pick up on sales and customers have been loving them. This is the new NiteRider Lumina MAX line that includes the 1500, 2000, and 2500 lights. With some great lumens to size ratio, the new Lumina MAX line is certainly one to check out!
While you might not be a fan of riding at night like me, the show must go on and sometimes that is the only option. I think night riding is much more enjoyable with new lights that don't have obnoxious cables and weigh as much as your helmet. No fuss, all fun when picking any of these lights. With USB rechargeable lights, it's as easy as charging your phone. Four out of five of these can mount on your handlebar or helmet, and all have enough run time that you can get in a solid ride post-work and still make it back with light to spare.
This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.