If you’ve never been mountain biking at night before, you’re missing out. It presents an awesome challenge; obstacles come at you faster, it feels like you’re riding at warp speed and there’s something majestic about the woods at night.
You’ll need a high-powered front light to illuminate the trail, though, and these are the best mountain bike lights as tried and tested by the BikeRadar team.
The brighter your lights are, the better your night riding experience is going to be. You’ll be able to see more of the trail, obstacles shrouded in the shadows pop out at you and speed comes naturally.
In this guide, we’ve focused on high-powered lights for mountain biking. Otherwise, check out our guide to the best bike lights for road cycling and commuting.
What to look for in a mountain bike light
When considering which mountain bike light to buy, there are four things worth bearing in mind:
- Run time
- Beam pattern
A minimum of 1,500 lumens will provide enough light for well-lit riding. You can get away with less, but if you ride fast or on technical trails more lumens is better than less.
Run time can vary a great deal between lights and it is minimised the more power the LEDs are pumping out. We’ve listed the run time for each of the lights in this list at max power.
Beam pattern refers to how the lights disperse light across the trail, and it can be just as important as lumens when it comes to how well you can see.
Lights will often have either a spot or flood pattern. Spot patterns highlight details in front of you in great detail. Flood patterns disperse the light over a wider area and can give you a better sense of what’s around you. Some lights use a mixture of both.
Do you need an extra-long cable for a battery pack? Are you looking to mount a light on multiple bikes It’s worth paying attention to the extras that come with a light to make sure it is suitable for your specific needs.
We’ve made sure to refer to these four points in the reviews of all the lights listed here.
If you’re looking for more detail about what to look for when buying a mountain bike light you can skip to our buyer’s guide at the end of this article.
Scroll through the gallery below to compare the beams of the top-rated lights (each in its most powerful setting) from our 2019 and 2020 tests.
While every effort has been made to provide fair comparison (our 2019 and 2020 images were shot using the same camera settings), these images should be viewed as illustrative of each light’s beam pattern.