How bright should bike lights be
Choosing your bike lights can be a tricky game. While most of us think that the brightest bike lights are the best, that is not always the case.
This is why it's essential to know how bright bike lights should be. Not only does it make your biking experience better, but it also ensures your safety while cycling on the road.
Introduction to bike light terminologies
In learning how to buy the best bike light for you, you'd have to know these basic bicycle lights terminologies.
The first one, and the most commonly used, is the lumen. The lumen number of a bike light refers to the total amount of light emitted. Just like with regular lights, the one with the highest lumens is the brightest bike light.
However, it's worth noting that not all kinds of bicycle lights have the same required lumens. This will vary depending on the intended function of the light.
The next one is the lux. The lux of a bike light represents the level of light that lands on a specific area. Say that you point your light into the wall. The amount of light that lands on that wall is lux.
Lux is especially important on lights that are used to illuminate the road or a certain place. In bike lights, that is the front light. Note that the brightest bicycle lights with the highest lumens don't always have the highest lux.
The third one is the beam angle. The beam angle is the focus of the light. When a light beam is focused on a certain angle, it has an acute beam angle. On the other hand, while the light disperses and illuminates its surroundings, it means that the light has a broad beam of light.
The thing about beam angles is that they should always depend on the light's purpose. Most front lights should have both acute and broad beam angle as it's meant to help you see the road properly. On the other hand, tail lights and brake lights should prioritize the beam of light as it's meant to help you achieve visibility on the road.
The next one is the beam type. The beam type is the customizable mode of your bike light. Your bike lights should have at least two settings: the constant and the flashing. It's also best to get bike lights that can be adjusted to regular and high brightness.
The beam type determines the capacity of the bike light to be visible on various road set-up. Say, for example, the regular mode of a bike light won't be sufficient on a foggy road. Therefore, you'd need to have one that has a high light output.
Lastly is the burn time. The burn time is the battery life of the bike light. It's the duration in which a bike light could use its highest capacity and all of its features.
How bright should front lights be
The most important thing to remember is that a front light's goal is to give you visibility of the road. It's meant for you to see, not to be seen.
Because of this, the standard lumens of a front light are at least 600 lumens and at least 10 lux. Aside from these, the front light should both have a high acute and broad beam angle.
This level of brightness of the front lights is already enough to make you go through an unlit and foggy road safely. It can also provide you enough brightness for daytime city cycling up to biking through murky trails.
How bright should tail lights be
Contrary to front lights, rear lights or tail lights help you achieve visibility on the road. This way, other vehicles on the road will maintain a decent distance from you, especially if you're about to go on a full stop.
Tail lights should have at least 50 lumens to give you decent visibility. While the lux of tail lights aren't that essential as they're not expected to provide acute beam angle, what's necessary is that they have a high broad beam angle.
However, brake lights should have at least 70 lumens of maximum burst output so the vehicles would know when you're about to hit the brake. It's also best that your brake lights have good engineered optics as it improves the visibility regardless of lumen level.
Now that you already know how bright bike lights should be, now is the time to get the correct bright bike light for you!