Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Lights

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These are the best mountain bike lights that will extend your riding season into the winter months and beyond!

Our favourite MTB lights

  • MagicShine Monteer 8000
  • Exposure Six Pack MK12
  • GloWorm XS Adventure 2.0
  • Lifeline Pavo 2000
  • Exposure Diablo MK13
  • Light And Motion Seca 2000 Race
  • Raveman PR1600

For some people, night riding is a necessity – getting to work in the mornings, or getting some training time in the evenings, while for others, it’s a thing in itself. A weekly indulgence through the darker months where like-minded riders get together to enjoy a new twist on old trails. Sometimes the fitness benefit is secondary to seeing friends you’d not otherwise see until the spring, while other times, it’s a way of managing the decline of fitness over the darker months.

Some people just don’t get the joy of night riding and they will always be happy with the cheapest lights they can get away with for the riding that they need to do, which is a fine place to be. However, some riders need the same kind of reliability and quality that they demand of their bikes, tyres and clothing and they’ll spend that bit more to get it.

Arms race

Another influence is who you ride with and what lights they have. When we started night riding, a lot of us had a 6W BLT light that cast a feeble yellow glow over everything – and they were some of the most fun night rides we’ve ever done as everyone else had the same feeble lights. The brightness of your light will affect how fast you think you should ride and if it’s just you, then you can ride with any light. The moment you ride with someone with a whizz-bang light, you find that you’ll need to get a brighter light or forever find your shadow projected onto the scenery as you’re lit up by a zillion lumens.

How much you spend will depend on where you sit on the ‘Night riding is part of my life’ spectrum, but also consider what run time you need and if you’ll ever need more (or will need more light between charges.) Not everyone needs six hours of burn time, but if you want a light for a couple of nights away, you might want to think about it.

Bar or head?

And finally, helmet mount or bar mount? Or both? Many of our lights will run in either position. we’ve found that bar lights allow much better reading of the trail, due to the shadows cast and it’s our choice if we only have one light with us. Helmet lights allow the rider to look around the corner and are essential for twisty trails, especially with tree cover, though they flatten the trail due to a lack of shadows. If you mostly ride rocky moorland, then keep it on the bars, if you ride in Thetford, you’ll want a bar light. If you have both, then run both!

So, suit up, grab your money for a pint and a pie at the pub at the end and let’s recommend us some lights!

Best Mountain Bike Lights

MagicShine Monteer 8000

MagicShine Monteer 8000

Price: £369.99

Overall: We’re actually blown away by the quality, spread of beam, brightness and battery life of the Magicshine Monteer 8000. We really could never see myself wishing for more power or more light on the trail. At £369.99 it’s a similar price to other high-end lights, and for anyone serious about riding rough and challenging terrain at night we can think of nothing else better to spend your money on.

Exposure Six Pack MK12

Exposure Six Pack MK12

Price: £445.00

Overall: You’re probably familiar with Exposure’s USP of self-contained lights with no extra battery packs or dangly bits – removing the hassle of organising yourself to night ride. ‘Reflex’ technology takes another leap beyond this and takes switching between modes while riding out of your hands, too. ‘it knows’ how fast you’re going and adjusts the beam to suit – more light for faster trails, less for the slower ones where you can save some juice. The ultimate light for geeks?

GloWorm X2

GloWorm X2

Price: £225.00

Overall: For more committed night riders, or those who need all-night coverage for crazy stuff like bikepacking or 24 hour races, the extra punch of the X2 or both lights in tandem would be the preferred option, and even then these are still cheaper than many other lights on the market. Add to that the solid build, the remote control and the multitude of configuration options and you have a setup that is difficult to beat, and to top it all off, they also work well for wildlife spotting.

Lifeline Pavo 2000

Lifeline Pavo 2000

Price: £129.99

Overall: Ourselves and plenty of our night-riding buddies use one of these lights. With good reason. As well as being not overly expensive, it’s well made, easy to operate and pools out a nice bit o’ light. It’s not as an amazing an illuminator as the Exposure lights that it clearly apes, but the no-cable self-contained design is still a massive win for how much faff and bodge it takes out of night-rides. It’s worth checking out lesser-powered Pavo lights too if you can’t afford the 2000 lumen model, or you just want a back-up or supplementary beam.

Exposure Diablo MK13

Exposure Diablo MK13

Price: £219.99

Overall: A very high quality helmet light that is compact, lightweight and dead simple to use. Unlike some of the other lights, the Diablo is a focussed helmet light. Yes you can fit it to the bars, but this is primarily a helmet light, and Exposure has engineered it accordingly. As such, it has an excellent beam pattern that offers a focussed spread of light while keeping things smooth. The shorter run times may put off some, but we’d recommend changing the light settings to get the right program for your needs, or just adding an extra battery pack if you really want more burn time.

Light And Motion Seca 2000 Race

Light And Motion Seca 2000 Race

Price: £324.99

Overall: Full power equals 2,000 lumens. Lower settings are available – medium, low and pulse. The Seca 2000 can also be set to ‘race’, where the available outputs are reduced to only high and low. This simplifies available options and increasing burn times by slightly reducing output, which is very handy for endurance racing. Light penetration is superb and lower settings are more than adequate to ride pretty much anywhere. Switch to full power and it’s suddenly a bright sunny day. As well as the deep penetrating central beam, a wide peripheral halo of light meant that we didn’t really need my helmet light.

Ravemen PR1600

Ravemen PR1600

Price: £139.99

Overall: As a main light for a gravel bike on longer trips this light would be great, especially with the bonus feature of being able to use it to charge other bits of gear or simply extending night rides with a piggy back battery pack. Being able to dip the lights was a surprisingly useful feature on the tarmac. As a bar mounted light on the MTB it pushed out more than enough power but I would need that second light on a helmet for any really serious night time #enduroriding. It’s great value with all its tech features and it’s really well made so should give service over a good few years.

Conclusion

As we’ve tried to stress, you can go night riding with any light at all (even moonlight some times) and don’t necessarily need the bells and whistles on offer. However, if you’re after better build quality, more reliable run times and a system that will last you a few wet years of regular winter riding, it usually pays to invest a little in a lighting system.

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Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Lights
  • footflaps
    Full Member

    If you mostly ride rocky moorland, then keep it on the bars, if you ride in Thetford, you’ll want a bar light. If you have both, then run both!

    One of those is probably supposed to be different……

    teethgrinder
    Full Member

    The Magicshine self-contained lights are excellent as well. RN 3000 on the bars, Ray2600 on the helmet.

    grahamt1980
    Full Member

    8000lm must look like someone is wearing a bloody lighthouse while riding through the woods

    montylikesbeer
    Full Member

    Its a little disapointing that UK manufacturer 4forth never appear to get a mention.

    There range is UK designed and manufactured as well as in my view incredible value for money.

    And before anyone asks I dont work for them, I only buy their kit.

    Their Rameses at £295.00 delivers 5200 lm

    IHN
    Full Member

    I’d just like to say, as I’m often one that whinges about such things, that’s it’s nice to see a good spread of price-points on this.

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Solar Storm 2 with a good aftermarket battery?

    footflaps
    Full Member

    Its a little disapointing that UK manufacturer 4forth never appear to get a mention.

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard of them.

    Was expecting to see lumicycle in there (assuming they’re still going).

    cp
    Full Member

    Their Rameses at £295.00 delivers 5200 lm

    Just googled it and they are mighty ugly lights!

    The magicshine RN lights are lovely, though I find the RN3000 too spotty for MTB. Nice for commuting and road though. RN1500 makes a great cross between helmet, road, commuter and shortride MTB on-bar use as it has a lovely even beam pattern (much more even than the 3000 which is weird given the 3000 has two LEDs to the 1500’s one).

    I actually prefer the Monteer 6500 to the Monteer 8000 as it’s very useably bright but has longer run times than the 8000. Cheaper too.

    The pavo 2000 doesn’t exist any more as it’s been replaced with the 2500 (and 3500). No reviews yet for this one.

    And also re. the Exposure – the all in one design isn’t a USP – there are loads of lights with self contained batteries. Exposure’s USP seems to be to make incredibly expensive lights with expensive (and poor IME) brackets and proprietary charging.

    Not the most impressive article IMO.

    mashr
    Full Member

    ‘it knows’ how fast you’re going and adjusts the beam to suit – more light for faster trails, less for the slower ones where you can save some juice

    Am I missing something here or is this thing going to turn itself down just as you arrive at a tight technical section that you’d rreeeaaallllyyy like full beam for?

    cp
    Full Member

    Am I missing something here or is this thing going to turn itself down just as you arrive at a tight technical section that you’d rreeeaaallllyyy like full beam for?

    It doesn’t know how fast you’re going at all. It has accelerometers in it so it can detect angle (i.e. if you’re going downhill), how bumpy it is and whether you are moving your bars around. If it detects movement on those then brightness goes up. It it detects no movement it really dims down. It *might* have intermediate brightness if e.g. you’re going down but it’s smooth and you’re not moving the bars but I don’t know this.

    Yetiman
    Free Member

    I’ve only used Four4th lights for the past 10 years and still run their original Exodus model on my helmet. Also have a 4600 lumen Holy Moses bar light for the MTB and an all-in-one Gabriel on the gravel bike.

    tthew
    Full Member

    I find the RN3000 too spotty for MTB. Nice for commuting and road though.

    If that 3000 refers to lumens output, I can assure you it’s not nice for anyone coming in the opposite direction, unless it’s pretty much pointing at the floor.

    seriousrikk
    Full Member

    Sometimes I think these guides need to step away from pure performance and ask what the lights are like to live with.

    Exposure can suck it with their propritery charging and Light & Motion use micro USB with is just way too fragile for an outdoor product. Lights in 2022 without USB C charging can get in the sea as far as I am concerned.

    I’ve got a gloworm set and it’s not bad (the full fat version on the endurance model) but even they make it hard to charge without their stupid fragile adapter.

    charliedontsurf
    Full Member

    You know what I like about Exposure… they will fix and upgrade old units. my Six Pack must be around 10 years old, and has been repaired an upgraded (I cracked the rear display)… brilliant bit of kit. Not cheap… but in the long run. Hell I even have their first big light, about 1100 lumin… what were they called? I might be 15 years old now? Well… that is still going as my dog walk light. Its still doing better than my memory is at 15 ish years.

    el_boufador
    Full Member

    Yeah another shout for exposure. Although I can see the point of starting out with something cheap & cheerful, if you get the bug and are going to be night riding regularly, do yourself a favour and get exposure lights.

    I’ve had mine many years, while some of my riding buddies have faffed about with ‘better value’ or on paper more powerful lights. Pretty much all of them have failed, usually dodgy cables or batteries.

    Everyone on exposure just keeps on trucking.
    And if they do ever fail then I can get them repaired as above.

    Well worth the money in the long run. Excellent kit.

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    On the other hand, I have 4 ‘proper’ Exposure front lights of various types bought over the years. Yes I have sent some of them back for fixing, but I’ve gone elsewhere recently as I just get better lights for the money 🙁

    The Joystick with headband that I got from Evans for £57 is a thing of wonder. It just keeps going on and one. It IS amazing, but the Equinox, Axis and other Joystick… meh.

    I had to get Smudge to build me a four cell support to get any sort of run time out of it.

    The Moon Adj 800 I got was great

    The Moon Arctus I got last year is better than anything Exposure did for the price.

    Everyone on exposure just keeps on trucking. Sometimes by moving to a different brand of lights

    brennanpeyton
    Free Member

    I have Four4th lights and so does my lad (he rides for them) and my wife. They are made in the UK with great after sales service and my original Holy Moses is 10 years old and still going strong. You can see them at most of the Nationals or Have a look at the web site.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    +1 Exposure

    Expensive, but long term they’re not and TBH I’m worth it 🙂

    2009 Joystick – retired to the kitchen drawer and used daily for dog walking etc
    2010 Toro – retired last year, but still works and keeps a big enough charge for a 3 hour ride
    2021 MaxxD – how bright!
    2022 Diablo – arrived this week after yet another cheap helmet light/battery give up on the ride last week, like the TAP

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)

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