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.
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
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.
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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