There are two general catagories of bike lights out there, according to our collective wisdom:
These LEDs are meant to announce your presence to motorists at dawn, dusk and in the great deep darkness of night. A flashing front and rear light are very important because they demand (with their incesent blinkiness) that drivers see you. Swaddled in a comfortable womb of air-conditioning, thumping tunes and soft leather, it is difficult for some drivers to avoid slack-jawed inattention. Blinky modes are the best defense in urban areas rife with lots of fast metal. Cyclists switch to the steady mode on the front light when riding through darker residential neighborhoods or streetlightless rural roads. You can get a pricey ticket in Tempe if you are found riding after the sun departs without a front light by a police officer. Don't get stuffed with a Justice Sandwich for such negligence!
Blackburn Voyager 3.0 / Mars 1.0 (rear)
The Voyager takes 4 AAA batteries and has a 48 hour runtime on flash mode. The Mars 1.0, powered by 2 AAAs, can flash happily for 150 hours. One of our best commuting setups.
We carry: Blackburn, Planet Bike, Serfas, Infini, and Nebo commuting lights.
What do you get with a bigger battery and beefier bulb? You get as close to daylight as you ever will on a bike at night. Rechargable lights allow the rider to see a far greater patch of distance than their commuter-bred bretheren (see above), casting a beam both wide and deep that allows for nighttime trail riding. Depending on preference, they can usually be handlebar OR helmet-mounted, although the best riding systems should involve both for best depth perception. With the right recharable lights (and a certain base disregard for life and limb), you can rage the National Trail on South Mountain on a moonless February night. Road cyclists who are riding in areas without ambient light also prefer these systems for their grand illumatative qualities.
Serfas True Series Headlights
models TSL-150, ($85), TSL-250, ($110), and TSL-500, ($150)
At over 150/250/500 lumens in overdrive mode, the Serfas True series commands your attention on the road or on the darkest mountain trail. The True series features a unique user replaceable battery. With additional batteries avaliable for purchase, you can charge up an extra, slide it into your jersey pocket, and ride all night long! This lightweight, compact light includes a handlebar mount, helmet mount, USB Charger, and Wall Charger adapter. You’ll never have to worry about overcharging either, the built in smart charger protects your battery and eliminates any chance of this happening.
Serfas TSL-1000/1500 ($290/$390)
The True 1000/1500 features 3 high powered CREE LEDs that are cooled by a forced RAM Air system to improve performance. Pushing out over 1000/1500 lumens in overdrive mode, the Serfas True 1500 will never let you down on the darkest mountain trail. The True 1500 features a Litium Ion fuel cell that will deliver up to 2.5 hours of night riding pleasure on the highest setting. With additional batteries avaliable for purchase, you can charge up an extra, slide it into your jersey pocket, and ride all night long! This powerful light comes with a handlebar mount, helmet mount, extra long extension cable, wall charger, and transport pouch . You’ll never have to worry about overcharging either, the built in smart charger protects your battery and eliminates any chance of this happening.