Expensive bike lights? Here's what you have to know about them.
Like with any item, people often think that the more expensive a bike light is, the better. Sure enough, big brands have already proven their place on the market.
Still, it doesn't necessarily mean that these price tags always come with better road visibility and, therefore, better safety.
Surprisingly, most of the big names in the biking industry produce bike lights that are no longer matched with the biking experience of today.
The luminosity of expensive bike lights
"The brighter the bike light is, the better." This is a common misconception among bike enthusiasts, including biking manufacturers worldwide.
This misconception is the exact reason why bike light manufacturers produce bike lights that can go up to 3000 luminosity. And because of their false advertisements feeding into this misconception, bikers patronize their products at the expense of their safety and other road users.
This doesn't seem right.
Most bike lights achieve high luminosity that can go up to 3000 through the high current output from the battery. The outcome? The light is concentrated in one direction.
Yes, 3000 lumens of light in one direction. Something like lightsabers.
And this is where it becomes dangerous. This concentrated light can pierce through the eyes of other road users, causing momentary blindness, which can cause road accidents on a massive scale.
And even at some point, the bikers themselves using these bike lights can experience momentary blindness or dizziness when they stare too long at their front lights.
In short, these kinds of bike lights are road accidents just waiting to happen.
Lumens and Lux: Which one is which?
Because of this, bike light experts have pushed for the promotion and education of light lux.
While lumens is essentially the amount of light produced by bike light, lux is the unit used to measure the light intensity on one surface. This means that the lux rating of a bike light, in a way, regulates the amount of light output that can cause blindness to other road users.
Aside from this, lux is also the essential item when it comes to proper road visibility. Since it covers light projection and distribution, the lux identifies how far your light goes so you can both see and be seen on the road.
This lux rating has long been used in cars. Luckily, most bike manufacturers today are also embracing this terminology.
StVZO: The key to road safety
StVZo bike lights are designed to adhere to German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations. It specifies the use of cut-off lines in light to avoid beam-shaped lines that may dazzle other road users.
This StVZO cut-off line uses advanced optics in which light is projected just below the eyeline of drivers and road users. This way, they don’t get dazzled especially during night time. Furthermore, it includes advanced anti-glare features and optimal light distribution, so the bike lights won't work like spotlights piercing through the eyes of other road users.
So, essentially, StVZO guidelines make the road safer for all users, especially for cyclists.
StVZO: Better than expensive lights
In buying bike lights, go with those designed based on the StVZO guidelines, not just the expensive ones.
Bike lights manufacturers have realized that the key to adhering to the StVZO cut-off line without sacrificing bike lights' luminosity is engineered optics.
Under this trend of engineered optics is the Total Internal Reflection technology or TIR. With TIR, bike lights use three LED lights instead of one. These three LED lights are focused on various directions to be projected in various directions instead of acting like a spotlight.
Engineered optics have long been used in high-end automobiles, and it's high time to be used in bikes, too. These engineered optics boost the visibility of a bike light by 50% without requiring excessive power output. This means that a bike light with 1100 lumens can bring better road visibility when equipped with engineered optics than those of 3000 lumens.
Various researches show that bike lights with TIR can project light by up to 270 degrees–which is pretty much the entire circumference of large roads. This means that the bakers are visible on the entire road, even to the bystanders on the roadside.
And even though they have three lights instead of one, these TIR bike lights use LED lights, which we all know use 90% less power output. And since these lights don't come with excessive luminosity levels, they have high power efficiency.
This means you can use your bike light pretty much up to 48 hours a day without the need to recharge. All-day and all night of safer bike rides without the need to stop over or use your power banks–what a dream!
Are you thinking of upgrading your bike with new bike lights? The next time you do, don't look at the price tag–look at the features!