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Front lights, rear lights and sets

While many manufacturers update their wares each year, a good bike light remains a good bike light regardless of whether it has since been superseded. As such, this can be a great time of year to hunt for bargains. Here’s our selection.

Before you go any further, you might like to first read our guide to the best front lights for cycling which features our beam comparison engine. After that, it would make a certain amount of sense to also check out our equivalent guide to rear lights.

Front lights

Front lights are about seeing as well as being seen. If you’re in town, you’re unlikely to need something quite as bright as if you’re going to be riding on dark country lanes, but you do need to be visible. A light with good side visibility helps ensure that you can easily be seen when pulling out of a junction.

Lezyne KTV Drive Pro — £9.49

Lezyne KTV Pro front light.jpg

The Lezyne KTV Pro front light is a six mode safety light, intended mostly for being seen, that's just powerful enough for suburban navigation in blast mode. Its build and quality of output in lower settings are its most compelling features.

Read our review of the Lezyne KTV Drive Pro
Find a Lezyne dealer

Lezyne Macro Drive 600XL — £42.99

lezyne-macro-drive-600xl-mounted.jpg

The Macro Drive is designed for those who, along with the obvious need to be seen at night by other road users, need enough light to blaze their own trail through the night. 

Accessing any of the lighting modes up to 400 lumens is easy enough, you cycle through the modes with the single rubber button on the top of the light. When you want to access the top end 600-lumen setting, Lezyne has a separate "Overdrive" mode, enabled by holding the button down for five seconds. Once in Overdrive, you can then only switch between two modes – the 600 lumen one, and a 150-lumen 'economy' setting. It's very similar to driving a car down a dark road and switching between dip and full-beam. 

Read our review of the Lezyne Macro Drive 600XL 
Find a Lezyne dealer

Cateye Volt 800 — £69.98

cateye-volt-800-mounted.jpg

Last winter we called the Volt 800 "quite possibly the best single-barrel LED front light on the market right now". It was good for its original £100 RRP, it's very good for £70.

Read our review of the Cateye Volt 800 
Find a Cateye Dealer

K20 — £99.95

21474_merlin_led_2000_front_bike_light.jpg

Need stupendous amounts of light now and then? Maximum power on this mountain bike system only runs for three hours, but for road riding you'll just switch it to high beam when you need it, and run at lower power the rest of the time. If, say, you have a commute that takes in some unlit downhills, it'd be a bargain.

Rear lights

Rear lights are for being seen and many riders fit more than one to make themselves even more visible. As with front lights, it’s best to get a light with a wide angle of visibility.

Smart Lunar R1 — £7.99

Smart Lunar R1.jpg

Not long ago, this was the benchmark super-bright rear light, with a one-watt output and powered by a pair of AAA batteries. If you're  silly, you can pay £20 for this light, but if you're quick, Planet X is knocking off another 25% until the end of November.

Cateye Omni 5 Rear Light - £10.49

Cateye Omni 5 rear light

An inexpensive and dependable rear light that's easy to fit and use. There’s no USB charging or anything exotic like that, but it’s good and visible from all angles.

Read our review of the Cateye Omni 5

Topeak Redlite Mega Rear Light - £19.99

Topeak RedLite Mega rear light

This one’s down from £24.99. Surprisingly compact, it’s powered by AAA batteries and is very effective.

Read our review of the Topeak Redlite Mega

Moon Shield 60 rear light — £23.95

A high powered rear light with a range of modes that is guaranteed to get you noticed. It actually illuminates the road to a significant degree which can help encourage drivers to keep their distance.

Read our review of the Moon Shield

Lezyne Strip Drive Pro — £28.88

Lezyne Strip Drive Pro rear light

Lezyne's Strip Drive Pro packs plenty of punch and it's easy to fit to a range of bikes. Battery life is on the short side, but it's a good choice for faster roads where you want to maximise your visibility.

Read our review of the Lezyne Strip Drive Pro
Find a Lezyne dealer

Light sets

You’re going to need at least one of each and bargains can be had if you purchase your lights as a set.

Lezyne KTV Drive Front & Rear Light Set — £9.99

lezyne-ktv-drive-front-rear-light-set.jpeg

This is a great deal for a pair of rugged ‘be-seen-by’ lights that deliver decent light and battery life considering their size. Recharge via a built-in USB plug hidden underneath solid rubber covers. You can pick up the front light on its own for a fiver.

Read our review of the Lezyne KTV Drive Front 

Lezyne Zecto Drive Light Set — £39.49

Zecto-Pair.jpg

Great front light, great rear light, great pair of lights for a great price. It's important to note, however, that despite reasonable brightness, the Zecto Drive Front is primarily for alerting drivers of your presence, rather than for seeing your way.

Read our review of the Zecto Drive front light
Read our review of the Zecto Drive rear light

Exposure Trace Light Set — £69.99

Exposure Trace TraceR set

Exposure Lights' Trace and TraceR light set is a pricy but solidly made and extremely handy pair of LED lights.

Up front, The Trace pumps out a claimed 110 lumens. It's more than enough to be seen with and at a pinch it puts out enough light to see on unlit paths, as long as you don't try and take any Strava segment records on the way.

Out back, the TraceR is like a USB-rechargeable version of Exposure's classic Flare rear light and puts out bucketloads of light. It's a light for the back-marker on an evening group ride because following a rider with a TraceR (or a Flare) is almost painful. 

Read our review of the Exposure Trace set
Find an Exposure dealer

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

4 comments

Avatar
macrophotofly [333 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

The problem with that Volt and all other front Cateye lights is the release tab on the light eventually breaks leaving you with a light that slides off by itself. Thus it turns itself into an expensive torch rather than a bike light

If anyone knows how to buy the tab on the underside (it appears user replaceable but I cannot find it on the cateye parts list) I would be very grateful......

Avatar
spindi [16 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Avatar
Bikebikebike [387 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
macrophotofly wrote:

The problem with that Volt and all other front Cateye lights is the release tab on the light eventually breaks leaving you with a light that slides off by itself. Thus it turns itself into an expensive torch rather than a bike light

If anyone knows how to buy the tab on the underside (it appears user replaceable but I cannot find it on the cateye parts list) I would be very grateful......

This.

Although my old one only really fell off where there was some vibration e.g. cobbles, so I've got a helmet mount and I reckon it'll be fine on my noggin as it won't get so much of the impact there.

Avatar
nbrus [585 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
spindi wrote:

I have one of these...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Bikes-Cycling-Equipment/Rechargeable-Evolva-Future-Technology-Headlight/B01M1NKQMQ/

...and find it really good.

Thanks for that ... I've just ordered one ... though it doesn't have a beam cut-off, but at least the 15 lumen Eco mode should not dazzle anyone.