Best Head Light for the $

Hi Folks,

with the seasons changing, I want to continue riding in the evenings. I used to ride in the evenings a few years ago, and used one of those Nyte Rider head lights that were charged by means of a bottle-sized battery (yes I’m old).

Nowadays the lights are much better. Been looking at Lezyne head lights, but am a bit overwhelmed with choices from a variety of manufacturers.

I’ll be using the light a few times a week, for no longer than 90mins at a pop, primarily on the road. So I’ll need to be able to see things but don’t want to blind oncoming cars. I remember that even back in the day of Nyte Rider the cars genuinely got spooked or just were that much more careful when they saw me. And see me they did.

Question: what’s the best light out there for the $? Requisites: must be easy to charge, fit on the bar, last a few hours with good, safe lighting, and work well in the cold (New England, y’all).

Preferably not super $$ (under $100 would be great).

Thanks everyone.


As someone who does a lot of night riding and gets blinded by way too many riders, please look for lights with the German StVZO standard. Or at least lights that have a similar beam spread pattern.

Edit: I really wish I could recommend the Busch & Muller Ixon line of lights, but they are tough to get ahold of here in the United States. The one that uses four AA rechargeable batteries is pretty awesome.


This one might fit the bill

This is 800… bonus varies the intensity depending on the situation…
Its not cheap…

I have a 700 lumens headlight and its very bright on high setting, which i never use, because it only last about 1hr (Light and Motion Urban 700 Review - The Bike Light Database)
After many miles in the dark in the last few years, I’m a total fanboy. Ive been getting about a year of life with 5-6 days a week use. Medium is brighter than you need for flat ground at 20mph, and can do 2.5 hours at that. They make a helmet mount for them, and it works very well.

I have the Garmin Varia UT800 and I do like it for anything less than 4 hours. After that the battery can be a little iffy. As a backup and what I put on my daughters bike is the Cygolite Dash pro and really enjoy that light.

I LOVE my Cygolite Metro 600 (now discontinued). Such a good value light that’s beyond simple to use. On low, medium, high, flash, off. Throws a really good beam that illuminates a lot of the road. I also own the Hot Rod taillight which is also excellent.

1100 lumens for $78…


You want a headlight with a shaped beam.

Light & Motion Taz is one of them (there’s a sale for Tax 1200). Outbound Lighting is another, but out of your price range. The Taz has side lights as well.

I use these, Busch and Müller, with a dynamo configuration using the IQ-X light, but the battery lights have the same beam pattern. There are pictures of the beam.

You may want to add a torch onto your helmet, to look around with light and not be limited to where your bike is pointing, if you go into areas with no lights at all.

You could get a normal torch headlight with an uncontrolled beam, but you would probably need to aim it down quite a bit, which will affect far visibility with a bright spot right in front of you (eyes and light).

I’ve got a knog power road and love it, super bright and mounts under the bars to keep things neat.

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Peter White sells B&M stuff and is based in the US. I’ve been impressed with the B&M lights I’ve used over the years.


It ain’t sexy but when I need light I’ve found that this helmet head & tail light is the best. It points where I look and is easy to remember whichever bike I grab.

+1 for the knog pwr range. I’ve got a road attached underneath my head unit, battery lasts ages for the size (3350wh) and you can charge up your phone or head unit if you’re in dire straits.

If you’re interested in a helmet mounted light, Gloworm from NZ makes really good compact units with an external battery pack that you can pop in a jersey pocket.

A few thoughts here:

  1. Where are you mounting it? Bigger headlights with “single-unit” design with the battery on board bounce more than the split unit setups.
  2. MTB/gravel needs more light spread than road. Both road and MTB need throw. Something that’s a lot brighter on center, will just make it impossible to see the off-center, so balanced lighting is important.
  3. Given the above, the super light bulb isn’t the solution as much as the thoughtful lens is. You can do well with a 100lm bulb and just adjust to the darkness ( ) - this works until someone else has a bright light around you. You can beam 2000lm on a single spot and only see the spotlight.
  4. Don’t short the mount. It is as important as the light. If you need to mount a battery, this can be a hassle. You might need to tighten your light down super tight on your existing go-pro mount.
  5. Blinding people control is all about tilt. Again, a dimmer light will make it easier to see the bright spot and the unlit areas.

I’ve had good luck with the following:
This is a solid be-seen light and backup light.
This is a solid road light, but I found it hard to use riding gravel at night, finding some surprise holes that hurt. It also vibrates a bit, which is distracting.
Tried this… seemed like it needed more work as it overheated and died . It was also not stable on a standard go-pro style mount. Hangover – Outbound Lighting
I almost bought this -
Ended up with this. Great light, lasts forever, tunable lenses, battery housing is difficult to mount on bike and USB-c cable is stiff and hard to keep tidy. Gloworm X2 Lightset (G2.0) | Glowormlites

I’ll still use the Bontrager headlight on the road, but the bigger light is better offroad.

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Light and Motion make several bar and helmet mounted all-in-one 1000 lumen light options. I have a couple. One on the bars, one on the helmet. All you need for road riding and not crazy expensive.

I have the Urban 800. Great light. But a great feature [why I chose it over some of the competitors listed] is the GoPro mount capability. I bought the K-Edge extended handle bar mount (it’s great) and have my Garmin 1030 mounted on top and the Urban 800 mounted underneath. Perfect setup; doesn’t consume more handlebar space (i like mine clean).

I rarely cycle in the dark, but got the L&M Urban 1000 for those times when the nights are drawing in, and you get caught out (or go to the pub). My setup is exactly as mentioned above, underneath a K-Edge. It’s bright, so I tilt it down a little. I really like the fact it has side lights as well.

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6 years ago I bought a NiteRider Lumina 800, it seemed expensive (over $100) but came highly recommended. Included a helmet mount and handlebar mount. Still works great, and a few years ago bought a K-Edge to (GoPro style) mount it under my bike computer. The light turns night into day, so bright that on a short trail segment near my house I use my hand to not blind any walkers on the trail.

Im really happy with this one.

I have the niterider lumina 950 and have had it for over 4 years without any problems. It’s around $100 and comes with mounts for your bike and helmet. One of the brightest lights I’ve seen and I use just 1 light for night time single track riding. Worth it IMO

I strongly recommend the B+M Ixon Rock, having used it for a while now

  • Good light output, evenly illuminating the road. Switchable between low, mid, high output.
  • Due to curved mirror optics, it puts almost all light on the road, thereby not blinding oncoming traffic.
  • Nice metal exterior, Busch und Muller quality
  • Nice battery indication
  • easy mount/dismount mechanism.

I’ve been a long time user of the Ixon IQ premium, which is also great. The Ixon Rock feels like a nice step up.

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