A good front mountain bike light frees you up to night ride at any time – whether you want to take to the trails at night or just beat the shorter days in winter.
We've rounded up the best mountain bike lights of 2015, as reviewed by our sister mags Mountain Biking UK and What Mountain Bike and by the BikeRadar editorial staff around the world. Our testers spend many, many hours thrashing these units all year round as well as checking and measuring manufacturer claims, so our tests are the most authoritative in the business. We've been doing them year in and year out for longer than we care to remember, so we're ideally placed comment on their long term reliability and the customer support offered with confidence too. Read on to find out how we rated the latest crop of lights.
Updated November 2015.
The best mountain bike lights
If talk of lumens, mAh and LEDs leaves you utterly in the dark, then check out our buyer's guide to mountain bike lights to cut through the jargon. And to see beam shots for the lights listed below, take a look at the individual reviews.
Lumicycle Enduro Explorer – editors' choice
£285 / US$455 / (AU$N/A, but can be bought from Lumicycle website and shipped internationally)
"With a revised head unit that improves sealing and cooling plus improved optics for more of a beam spread, the Explorer remains our top night riding light. Add in a Smart Boost mode that’ll kick out 3500 lumens and you’re basically riding in your own patch of daylight. Reliability and backup are legendary too."
Magicshine Eagle M2 – best value
£100 / $210 / AU$292
"Packing a two-row LED arrangement with three lower floods and three upper spots, this all-new unit from the Far Eastern lighting specialist gives plenty of beam options out on the trail. With a maximum output of 2500 lumens it’s seriously bright too. The head unit detaches easily from the stable, semi-permanent bar clamp and the hard case battery has twin rubber straps for security plus a Velcro strap to keep the cable tidy.”
MTB Batteries Lumenator
£122.55 / $NA / AU$ N/A (but can be bought from MTB Batteries website and shipped internationally)
“It’s been around a while, but with 1800 lumens from the twin LED head unit it gives a decent enough spread for bar use and enough reach to spot trail trouble far enough ahead at speed. It’s all the light you need in an outstandingly practical, reliable system at an excellent price.”
Exposure MaXx D Mk8
£345 / $523 / AU$NA
“This all in one unit avoids the hassle of battery and cable mounting issues and also boasts an impressive 2600 lumen output with a nicely balanced beam spread. With a percentage run-time readout and special three level ‘Reflex’ mode that uses accelerometers to automatically adjusts output depending on how wild your ride is, it’s suitably high tech too.”
Gemini Duo 4-cell
£175 / US$269 / AU$280
"The Gemini Duo 4 Cell’s tiny twin-LED head unit delivers 1,500 lumens of punchy long-distance light. Reliability on every Gemini light we’ve ever used has been excellent too and they’re better priced than similarly versatile and tunable units."
Exposure Race Mk10
£225 / $340.63 / AU$NA
“The Race is the smallest and cheapest of Exposure’s UK-made lights, and while it seems expensive for a 1300 lumen light it’s the vast array of very clever features that you’re really paying for, sharing the ‘Reflex’ automatic output mode with it’s more expensive siblings where it can kick out a much punchier 1700 lumens. Reliability and support has been good too.”
Need a bit of night riding inspiration? Check out Tom and Ruby the trail dog as they go for a night-time shred...
Tumble & Fall Pro 2000
£90 / $TBC / AU$TBC
“The theoretical 2,000 lumens of light is tightly focused with a peripheral halo, but power is impressive for the price. That makes the flash and totally off ‘holes’ between the two power modes the only niggle. Bar and helmet mounts and even a head strap in the box plus a two-year UK warranty confirm its total bargain status.”
Gemini Olympia 2100 6 cell
£220 / $330 / AU$350
"The Olympia 2100's beam mixes decent peripheral coverage with plenty of central detail and reasonable reach, and the huge run times mean the latter is not an issue on the trail."
£280 / US$447 / AU$N/A
“With an output of 3000 lumens from three spot and three flood LEDs, light intensity from the front tyre to way down the trail is outstanding. The battery weighs an absolute ton and can be hard to mount securely on some frames though.”
Moon X1300 Adjustable
£180 / $TBC / AU$TBC
“The binocular style setup allows you to adjust the beams independently to give good reach but still plenty of detail down by the front wheel, though at 1300 lumens it’s hardly dazzling. There are plenty of other innovative features including a neat plug-in remote, but its basic broad-beam power is best for simpler trails.”
We also tested:
- CatEye Volt 1200 – 3 stars
- Light and Motion Taz 1500 – 3.5
- NiteRider Lumina 750 – 3.5 stars
- MTB Batteries Lumen2200 – 3.5 stars
- Beema AS-2000 – 3.5 stars
- Lupine Piko TL Max – 3.5 stars
- Exposure Diablo MK7 – 3.5 stars
- Light & Motion Seca 2000 Enduro 6-cell – 3.5 stars
- Niterider Pro 2800 Enduro Remote – 3 stars
- Glow Worm X2 – 3 stars
- Hope R2i – 3 stars
- CatEye Volt 1600 – 3 stars
- Moon X-Power 2500 – 3 stars