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Ask any cyclist, and they’ll tell you there’s nothing more fulfilling than cruising down the slopes with nothing but nature and the wind to calm your thoughts. The good news is you can enjoy those rides any time of the day and night, thanks to the best mountain (MTN) bike light.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a long-distance cyclist or a regular commuter, our review will help you find the right lights for your mountain bike. To help make your decision easier, our top choice of bike light is the NiteRider Pro 3600.
If you want the full list, we’ll go into detail on these best mountain (MTN) bike light options:
- NiteRider Pro 3600
- NiteRider Lumina 950
- Cycle Torch Shark 500 USB
- TeamObsidian Bike Light Set
- Cygolite Metro Pro
- Bright Eyes Fully Waterproof Mountain Bike Headlight
How to Pick the Best Mountain (MTN) Bike Light
Buying a mountain bike light is more than walking into a store and grabbing the first thing you see.
These are the main factors you should take into account:
A bike light’s output is measured in lumens. The more the lumens, the brighter the bike light.
Make sure you factor in your terrain and trail speed before settling on a particular light output. For instance, if you’re cycling downhill in dark conditions, you’ll require a bike light with more output. If you’re cycling on a smooth terrain at a slow speed, you can use a light with a lower output.
Also, consider the mount. For handlebar mounts, go for bike lights with at least 1,000 lumens. For helmet mounts, go for one with at least 500 lumens.
For use in unlit areas, so you can see your way, the minimum output to aim for is 500 lumens.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
The heart of any bike light system is the battery. Therefore, it’s essential to check the reliability and quality of your battery.
Go for a bike light system with a battery that can last the entire duration of your cycle. The longer it lasts, the better, especially during an emergency.
If you’re going for longer cycles, go for bike lights with battery indicators. This will help you ration power depending on the charge you have.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
Apart from checking the battery’s life, it’s also wise to check how long it takes to recharge it or if it’s rechargeable. With rechargeable batteries, you no longer have to buy new batteries every time you want to cycle at night.
Just be sure to check the charge level before you head out for a trek. A good way to counter this is to recharge the light after each use.
High light output is of no use if you’re in the wrong place. For extensive trails, fast terrains and helmet lights, go for a narrow beam.
For technical and slow terrains, go for a full beam.
There are two primary choices: helmet and bar mount.
Helmet-mounted lights eliminate shadows and shine more down the trail. They are, however, heavier and tend to shorten the distance the light carries.
Bar-mounted lights are lighter and shine light further down the trail. But, they tend to produce more shadows, especially in uneven terrains.
You can choose to have the best of both worlds, but for beginners, go for helmet-mounted lights. It will give you a wider light beam and eliminate shadows.
Once you decide on the mount, the next factor to consider is the light’s fit.
Ensure you choose a light that perfectly fits your helmet, handlebar or frame. All bike lights come with a diameter indication that makes it easy to determine if it’s a perfect fit for your mountain bike.
Lastly, go for mountain bike lights that feature these:
- Double-down as flashlights.
- Easily detachable.
Click here to see the Best Bike Headlights reviewed!
The Best Mountain (MTN) Bike Lights Reviews
After taking into account the above features, we’ve reviewed the six best mountain bike lights in 2020.
Best Overall Mountain Bike Light
The first notable feature of the NiteRider Pro 3600 is the 3600 lumens output. This gives the bike light a hugely powerful and consistent brightness that can light up even the darkest trail. The light also offers a wider-than-the-bar coverage compared to other bike lights in the review.
Its single button toggle enables you to change the lamp light into five different settings. With varying modes of light, you can find the right setting for any situation.
No matter the setting, it has a dual head 6 Cree LED with a remote switch you can use to increase or decrease your light depending on the situation.
The good thing about the remote switch is its thumb-operated, meaning you never have to let go of the handlebar. It’s also made from long-lasting and durable fiberglass, making the bike light water-resistant and durable.
For battery life, this bike light uses an 8-cell battery pack. It also integrates a USB output to charge your mobile devices while cycling or traveling.
This light also comes with a nylon storage pouch to store your accessories and lighting system.
Finally, note that this NiteRider light is small enough to mount on a handlebar or helmet.
- Output of 3600 lumens.
- 16-hour runtime on the lowest setting.
- Five-hour charge time.
- Thumb control switch.
- Some deem this light as expensive compared to others.
- Some comment on how the runtime isn’t as long as advertised.
Best Helmet-Mounted Bike Light
NiteRider’s lights have paved the way for better, lighter and efficient bike lights. They also stand the test of time with this NiteRider Lumina 950 being no different.
As its name suggests, this bike light has a lumens output of 950, which is more than enough light to navigate rough and technical terrains. It also produces a focused spotlight that slightly diffuses outside the central point, making it helpful to navigate tight trail sections.
This light weighs around 175 grams, making it perfect for mounting on a helmet. This is due to the aluminum and fiberglass construction, which also makes it weather resistant. No matter if there are sub-freezing temperatures, mega rain deluges or snowstorms, this bike light will withstand them all.
Another cool feature is its five-level light output that enables you to change the light setting depending on your preference. It also has a low battery indicator mode that ensures you never run out of charge while out cycling.
For daylight use, the NiteRider has a visible flash that is well-suited for sudden weather changes. You can also use this feature as a tail light during both day and night, as it’s bright enough for other cyclists and road users to see but not distract them.
- USB rechargeability.
- Daylight Visible Flash mode.
- Perfect for helmet mounts.
- Battery level indicator.
- Can’t convert into a flashlight.
Best Bike Light for Smooth and Slow Rides
It’s always a bonus when bike lights aren’t only affordable but also come with a USB LED tail light, which is the case with the Cycle Torch Shark 500. This offers excellent versatility.
Another notable feature is the 500 lumens output. It’s bright enough for commuting, but not too bright to blind drivers and riders at night. Its light output makes it perfect for use during those slow and smooth cycles.
The battery is USB rechargeable, allowing you to save more from not having to replace batteries. Note that the battery has a run time of two hours while in a high setting. In flash mode, the battery has a 30-hour run time.
Its flat-beam shape gives the bike lights a remarkable design. The shape also cuts off the beam above and below, giving you a more concentrated and broader beam.
For a secure mount, this bike light comes with two hooks over its curved rubber pad. Using the two hooks, you can stretch a rubber band around for the lights to grasp the bike’s handlebars for simple installation.
- Easy to attach.
- Micro USB charging.
- Decent battery life.
- Only suitable for handlebar mounts.
Click here to see the Best Bike Tail Lights reviewed!
Best Budget Value Bike Lights
TeamObsidian has established itself as a leading bike light manufacturer, and this set is among its leading products.
With a lumens output of 200, this bike light can produce a bright enough light that cyclists and other road users can see. Even so, it’s not a high enough output to light the way in the pitch black.
Its rare red light is powerful, as it comes with three different flash modes you can use in different situations. With this light, drivers can steer clear, as you’re visible from afar.
This bike light set is high quality as it’s made from solid aluminum, while the reflectors are made from ABS plastic for durability. You don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion with this set.
For easy attachment, a screw and rubber brackets are included to mount any handlebar size. These will securely affix the light set and prevent swift thefts occurring.
It also comes with a water-resistant case that enables the light to withstand any weather conditions.
Note that five AAA batteries are needed for this set, which aren’t included in the package. Sadly, there’s no rechargeable USB option here.
- Durable and sturdy construction.
- Included tail light.
- Water-resistant case.
- Not rechargeable.
- Low lumens output.
Best Handlebar-Mounted Bike Light
This Cygolite bike light has an output of 1100 lumens, making it powerful enough to illuminate even the darkest trails.
Another notable feature is its nine lighting mode setting, which allows you to adjust your lighting depending on your environment. On top of this, it has an extra-wide and long beam allowing you to concentrate light beyond just your bike tires.
Its battery is USB rechargeable, and it also has a low battery indicator, allowing you to adjust your lighting depending on the amount of charge remaining.
For security, this bike light has a secure handlebar mount for attachment, but you may need to use some extra rubber, depending on the size of your handlebars.
- Small and light.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- High lumens output.
- USB rechargeable.
- Its functionality button can be tricky to use.
- Has a fairly low run time when used at high power.
Best Versatile Bike Light
If you’re looking for a bike light that isn’t only versatile but also comes with multiple features, then the Bright Eyes 1600 is something to check out.
Of note is the 1600 lumens output, which makes it as bright as some vehicle headlights. It also features high-quality Cree T6 LED technology, which gives it a broader and bright beam.
In terms of power, it has a powerful 6400 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery. On low light mode, this battery lasts an impressive 16 hours. This is one of the best run times any bike light will offer.
The light easily and securely mounts on your mountain bike handlebars via the rubber straps. You can also mount it on your helmet, as it comes with the necessary accessories.
Another cool feature is its free diffuse lens and free taillight to steer cars away, both day and night.
Rounding off the versatility is the water-resistant case, enabling the light to withstand any weather conditions.
- Rechargeable battery.
- 1600 lumens output.
- Includes a free tail light.
- Both helmet and handlebar-mountable.
- No low-light indicator.
Click here to see all of our Bike Light Reviews!
The Light Bulb Moment
No cyclist ever wants to get stuck in the darkest of nights and on a rough trail without the right gear. To combat this, our ultimate choice of the best mountain bike light is the NiteRider Pro 3600.
It produces 3600 lumens, giving it an incredibly bright and powerful beam that can light up even the darkest trails. You can also mount it on either a handlebar or helmet and use its nine-light mode settings to decrease or increase its brightness, depending on your environment.