Autumn is a difficult time of year. On the one hand, it is still quite warm and sunny, which encourages traveling by bicycle. On the other hand, it gets darker and darker, and without good lighting, cycling and navigating public roads becomes difficult.
Therefore, it is worth taking care of good lighting of your two-wheeler for your own safety and comfort. But what to consider when choosing?
What to pay attention to when choosing bicycle lighting?
On the surface, choosing lighting for a bicycle is not difficult. The regulations in force in Poland are clear in this matter. After dusk, we must have a white or yellow light 25 to 150 cm above road level, and a red light and at least one reflector of the same color at the rear. As for the theories, in practice, when you look at a bike shop, you will find dozens of different lamp sets with prices ranging from tens to several hundred zlotys. So how do we decide which is the best choice for us?
First of all, you need to answer the question of what time of day we ride a bicycle and in what terrain. If you rarely drive after dark, and in addition to usually on well-lit city roads, you will need the most common bulb, 100 to 300 lumens, which will be more of an indicator of your location than actual road lighting. . However, if you are moving outside built-up areas where there is no additional lighting, it is better to choose a light with a higher brightness of 300 to 700 lumens. Offering more than 1000 lumens, the most powerful bike lights are a solution designed for people who like to ride in difficult terrain after dark, such as in the forest.
However, the brightness of the lighting itself is not everything. It is also worth paying attention to the working time, because the one with the maximum capacity is usually very short, so it may turn out that we will run out of electricity when we least expect it. At lower brightness, the lamp will last longer. It is also worth considering the form of power supply. Regular batteries (AA / AAA) are a good option if you don’t ride very often, but their low capacity makes the lamp work for a short time. On the other hand, even when they run out, you can buy them at any kiosk. The vast majority of high-brightness products, however, use built-in batteries that we charge with a USB cable. This is a limitation, but you can always have a powerbank with you to charge such a cell. Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages.
Or you can opt for a bike with wheel or hub dynamo lighting that is battery independent. Its brightness, however, depends on how fast we are going, so it will work mainly on city bikes. For trips on more difficult terrain, this form of power supply will not be very comfortable. During such trips, it is also worth paying attention to water resistance, usually bicycle lamps are splashed (IPX4 certificate), but there are models on the market that can withstand even serious rain or complete immersion (IPX7). However, this is an important parameter especially for professionals.
How do you compare bike lights?
Okay, but even now that we know what to look for when choosing front lighting, the question remains how to reliably compare these parameters. Manufacturers of bicycle lamps usually state their brightness in lumens, which is a parameter that gives a general idea of the performance of a given lamp. A separate issue, however, is how the light beam is generated. What do we need after strong lighting, which is only headlights and does not cover the entire width of the road? Or even worse, it doesn’t have the correct height cut-off and it just blinds other road users. These parameters are very difficult to reliably verify and compare independently. In such a situation, the bicycle lamp test made by CentrumRowerowe.pl shop will be perfect.
The bicycle lighting test tool allows you to accurately compare the parameters of lamps from different manufacturers and check how they actually shine. To prepare the tool, the CentrumRowerowe.pl shop team performed a series of measurements and field tests, thanks to which the presented data shows the real characteristics of individual bicycle lamps. The focus was on the wattage of the lamps, the working time and the shape of the light beam. This information allows you to choose a model that ideally meets the individual needs and expectations of each user. Thanks to the tool, you can, among other things, compare the beam and light range of more than 25 different lamp models available in the store. The comparison tool on the site allows you to collect photos that show how the models illuminate the road in the field at night. A practical rule helps in the analysis, thanks to which it is easy to estimate how many meters in front of the cyclist will be well lit after installing the selected model.
The main parameters of individual models of bicycle lamps can also be easily compared with each other in one place, and this is especially facilitated by a special table in which the best and most popular models have been collected. So you can compare all the information in one place and then buy the lighting that suits you best.
The CentrumRowerowe.pl team even went a little further and decided to check whether the information provided by the manufacturers about the brightness of the lamps and their operating time is reliable. Using a professional light intensity meter, it was checked how long they were lit (in the most powerful main mode) and how the emitted light intensity changed over time. All data is presented on a clear graph where you can compare the selected lamps. Interesting news is also the so-called possibility to compare beam shots. They show the shape of the light beam from two angles: from above and straight ahead.
Everything is completed in an extensive FAQ section, from which you can learn, among others, how to choose the best lighting, what wattage to choose or where to place the lamp. It also explains the differences between lumens, lux and candelas, which are values often given by manufacturers. All of this makes the toolkit a compendium of bike lighting knowledge that’s sure to come in handy for every rider in the near future as the days get shorter. The tool is available on this page.
As a fan of all kinds of detailed reviews of equipment, with diagrams and actual measurements, I am simply delighted with what the shop CentrumRowerowe.pl has made. This is perhaps the most comprehensive comparison of bicycle lighting in Poland, and if I am looking for a new lamp for my bicycle, I will definitely look there, which I also recommend to you.
The article was written in cooperation with the shop CentrumRowerowe.pl