mountain biker riding trails at night with bike light
(Photo/Outbound Lighting)

The Best Mountain Bike Lights of 2022

Don’t put your mountain bike away for the season. Head out in the dark with an awesome mountain bike light attached to your handlebars and go have an adventure!

The greatest thing we’ve found about night riding is that all the trails feel new again. No matter how many times I’ve done a trail in the dark, it always surprises me how different and adventurous it feels. As professional adventure racers (you might remember Team Bend Racing from the World’s Toughest Race), we’ve spent countless hours riding at night. And we’ve learned firsthand the importance of a good light.

For this test, we put over 25 lights through countless night rides. Additionally, we performed runtime tests, charging tests, and even durability and waterproofness tests by way of river crossings and crashing into mud puddles (accidentally).

While testing, we considered beam quality, form factor, ease of use, battery life, price, and durability. Whether night riding is a novel thing or already in your arsenal for tackling the seasonal darkness, we’ve found a light for you!

These lights are the best technical mountain bike lights — and most have a price tag to match. They’re overkill for anyone needing a light for the daily commute or road riders looking to occasionally light up the road and be seen. But they’re totally worth it if you plan to hit up the trails after the sun sets.

Below, we’ve broken the list into categories to help you find the best light for your needs. And if you need more help choosing, be sure to read the buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions at the end of the article.

The Best Mountain Bike Lights of 2022

Best Overall: Light & Motion Seca Comp 2000

Seca Comp 2000

While we certainly appreciate all the amazing technology present in some of the premier brands we tested, unboxing the Light & Motion Seca Comp 2000 ($225) was a welcome throwback to simpler times. It’s just a light, a handlebar mount, and a charging cord.

The self-contained unit is intuitive and boasts plenty of power and burn time. It charges completely in 4 hours with any standard micro-USB cable, is waterproof to 1 m, and is about as idiot-proof as it gets.

It was the overall favorite for anyone who loves night riding but hates the tech complexity of many of the other brighter lights. We’d heartily recommend this as a beginner light to everyone exploring night riding for the first time.

Its brightness and decent flood/spot combo beam let you ride trails with confidence. And it’s equally at home in a commuting setting with great daytime visibility modes and optional side lighting.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 2,000 (max output)
  • Burn time: 1.5 hours on high
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget Light: Fenix BC30 Bike Light V2.0

fenix

The only sub-$100 light to make our list, the Fenix BC30 ($89) has a lot going for it. It’s also the only light on this list to use replaceable (2×18650 or 4xCR123) batteries. Our adventure race team has been using some variation of this light for the past 5 years, and it’s still our go-to for many expedition races.

The V2.0 has a wireless switch that is welcome on any hair-raising technical terrain. Its burst mode activates a 2,200-lumen blast for 30 seconds — a great feature that comes in handy on descents and doesn’t impact the burn time bottom line by too much.

For big trips, we love that we can stock up on readily available and relatively cheap rechargeable batteries and still have enough power for nights upon nights of riding. But that comes with one catch — the unit’s waterproofness.

Its robust IP67 rating only applies when it’s sealed. Changing batteries in the middle of a midnight rainstorm is a delicate procedure that could lead to a shorted light if water gets into the battery compartment.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 2,200 (max output)
  • Burn time: 2.3 hours at 1,500 lumens
  • Weight: 5.43 oz.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Fenix

Best Bikepacking Light: Light & Motion Vis Pro 1000 Trail

Vis Pro 1000

The Vis Pro 1000 Trail’s 1,000 max lumens are on the absolute minimal end of what we consider a viable light for serious night riding. However, we love it for bikepacking where light weight, durability, budget, and functionality reign supreme.

The Vis Pro 1000 ($135) has myriad features that make it our favorite for this discipline. At 120 g and waterproof to 1 m, the light is barely noticeable and bombproof. This self-contained unit also switches easily from bars to helmet so it can be used as a primary headlight in camp at night.

It charges completely via USB in 2.5 hours. And it can even maintain its 150-lumen output while charging, which is just enough light to grind gravel for as long as it takes to make that perfect camp.

We were not huge fans of the beam pattern for high-speed singletrack. And the simple rubber mounting system was not 100% stable on extremely rough terrain.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 1,000 (max output)
  • Burn time: 2.5 hours on high
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best for Mountain or Road: RAVEMEN PR1600

RAVEMEN PR 1600 bike light

If you’re looking for one light to accommodate multiple disciplines — say, if your hardtail doubles as a commuter — the RAVEMEN PR1600 ($125) does a lot well on the trail or the road. For MTB use, it offers a remote switch, so you can amp up the lumens without stopping or taking your hands off the grips. And an external power pack allows you to extend the stated 1.4- to 4-hour runtime.

RAVEMEN’s design leverages a DuaLens approach. For sheer lumens and visibility while riding singletrack, the right-side lens boasts an automotive headlight-quality beam. This bright flood casts bright white light far ahead — up to nearly 500 feet — providing the visibility necessary to navigate challenging terrain.

In MTB mode, the lumens range from 400 up to the namesake 1,600. Plus, passthrough power allows you to extend runtime by connecting an external battery pack.

And when you hit the commuter bike path, the left lens has a dipped-beam design so the ground ahead is visible. Also, oncoming cyclists, pedestrians, or motorists won’t be dazzled by your light. In this mode, the light toggles between 100 to 800 lumens (plus a flashing option) with an eco-mode runtime of up to 20 hours.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 1,600 (max output)
  • Burn time: 1.4 hours on high
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at Amazon

Best Handlebar-Helmet Combo System: EVO Downhill Package

EVO Downhill Package 

Together, this handlebar light and Hangover helmet mount light make a super-beautiful combo ($365) that gives one of the most pleasant beam patterns we’ve experienced. One of our testers swears it’s the best light on the planet.

And when the lights were working as designed, they do seem magical — not so much turning night into day like some of the overpowered behemoths in this test, but more turning night trails into ribbons of beautiful vivid contrasts that beg to be ridden fast.

The helmet light’s simple slick GoPro mount and 105g lighthead weight make it disappear on the helmet. The handlebar light’s mounting is secure but nothing special. It’s not a center mount, but this is hardly noticeable due to the amazing beam pattern.

The beam — wow — is designed more akin to a car headlight, with the philosophy that brightness matters less than the actual pattern of the light. In practice, this translates to performing far beyond its listed 1,800 lumens. But we still wouldn’t call it a downhill-specific light.

Our only reservation with this system is we didn’t get near the advertised burn times in either light. The lights’ adaptive mode (which starts on high and slowly, unnoticeably dims as your eyes adapt to the dark) is great in theory, but we found it noticeable.

We had a great experience with customer service when one of our lightheads had a faulty cord connection. All of our testers loved this light the best for any short-duration (sub-90-minute) cross-country rides!

Specs:
  • Lumens: 3,000 (combined max output)
  • Burn time: 2 hours on high
  • Weight: 11 oz. (handlebar light + mount), 4.5 oz. (helmet light + mount)
  • Mounts: Handlebar and helmet

Check Price at Outbound Lighting

 Best User Experience: Lupine Lights Wilma R 7 Helmet Light System

Lupine Lights

If Apple and Tesla collaborated on a mountain bike light, the result would be something like the 3,200-lumen Wilma R 7 Light System ($605). Sleek, powerful, amazing form factor, expensive — and named after a Flintstone?

On the upside, all the batteries work with all the lightheads. And most of the seemingly infinite accessories are highly cross-compatible. Still, we found the process of building a light system and setting it up a bit  daunting.

For example, the lighthead bar mounts only fit a precise bar diameter, which will render your light unusable if you choose wrong. Once set up, this light felt and looked like it belonged on my custom-built dream bike.

We could spend an entire article on all the options and configurations available with Lupine. But instead, we’ll just say the possibilities feel endless compared to every other brand on this list. Want the light on your head, helmet, bar, boat? No problem.

Need a huge battery for a mega race or a tiny emergency battery for your huge light? Gotcha covered. Monitor your battery life and adapt the brightness settings via smartphone? OK.

Lupine is best thought of as a lifetime investment in a lighting system that can grow or adapt as your desires do.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 3,200 (max output)
  • Burn time: 1.45 hours on high
  • Weight: 4.3 oz. (without battery)
  • Mounts: Helmet

Check Price at Lupine

Best Value Light: Gloworm X2 Adventure

Best Mountain Bike Lights: gloworm x2

Designed in New Zealand (but readily available through U.S. distributors), the X2 Adventure ($269) was not a standout in any specific category. But it is certainly one of the best values out there for the money.

It just does everything pretty well and is super customizable. It comes with the hardware to center mount on bars as well as helmet (GoPro) and headlamp strap mounting configurations. Unlike some lights in this review, the svelte 209g battery and lighthead make it barely noticeable up top.

The max 1,700 lumens is just enough to let you feel confident at speed. And the 1.5-hour burn time (on high) is just enough for most of our casual night outings.

The light is preprogrammed with a commuter mode with two brightness levels. Plus, it has a flash (with a much longer burn time) and a trail mode with four lighting levels.

It’s also completely programmable, allowing the more particular user to set light levels (and needed burn times). But the features that really clinched its best-value status were the wireless remote switch and the multiple lenses included, which allowed us to optimize a beam pattern for each rider’s personal preference.

Specs:
  • Lumens: 2,000 (max output)
  • Burn time: 2 hours on high
  • Weight: 10.2 oz. (total system)
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at Jenson USA

Best Smart Race Light: Exposure Six Pack MK 11

exposure sixpack mk11

The Six Pack ($533) was one of the most unique lights we tested and a hands-down favorite for a few of the riders. It’s a whopping self-contained unit (about the size of a beer can), and its name comes from the cluster of six intense LEDs.

With an anodized aluminum body, a robust centered bar mount that adjusts for 31-35mm bars, and a max 5,000-lumen output, the light would be a solid contender for several categories.

Its Reflex+ technology uses four sensors in the light to collect data. It automatically changes the light to maximize burn time and output, depending on the need. It brightens when you are raging downhill or taking corners at speed, and then it dims on those long, arduous climbs.

Stop to take a break, and the sensors dim to almost nothing. In short, it does all the things you would normally do if you were riding and trying to conserve power but with no buttons to push.

For me, this was a game-changer. I’m normally the one on the team who drops their bike to get a remote race checkpoint on foot, only to return 30 minutes later to find I’d left it on high beam and don’t have enough power left for the rest of the ride.

With the Reflex+, I know the light will create the best possible adaptive lighting for an all-night ride. The light has several other programmable modes and some simple online tutorials to ease the complexity for a technophobe.

The Six Pack is available in a sync version if you want a wireless remote, but we found this unnecessary due to the reflex mode. The Exposure MK15 Race is nearly identical in features but features half the lumens, half the weight, and half the price ($300).

Specs:
    • Lumens: 3,600 (max output)
    • Burn time: 2 hours on high
    • Weight: 13.6 oz.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at Chain Reaction

Best Downhill Light: NiteRider Pro 4200 Enduro

Best Mountain Bike Lights: Nite Rider 4200

One tester dubbed this the “portable sun.” The NiteRider Pro 4200 Enduro ($600) is the pinnacle light designed for high-speed, long-duration, intense trail riding.

Many lights in this test have better beam patterns, more programmability, nicer form factors, and wireless functionality. However, few can compare with the Pro 4200 Enduro’s ultimate usability when it comes to going fast downhill after sundown.

Most of our testers never even felt the need to switch it to the blazing 4,200-lumen high beam. The Pro 4200 Enduro feels a bit brutish rather than elegant. It has a wired remote switch and a massive eight-cell battery that can give the light a 16.5-hour burn time at 600 lumens. NiteRider’s center bar mount will also fit the new enduro standard 35mm bar.

It comes at a high price tag, but if you want to strap on your armor and ride things at night that make most mountain bikers tremble during the daytime, there’s no better light system. And if you’re concerned about weight or price, it’s worth checking out the Pro 2200 Race ($360).

The only potential downside is the IP64 water-resistant rating. It will stand up to serious rain, but it might not fare as well as some of the other lights we tested if your adventures see you swimming your bike across rivers. For this, check out the Lumina Dual 1800 ($180).

Specs:
  • Lumens: 4,200 (max output)
  • Burn time: Up to 3 hours on high
  • Weight: 3.1 lb.
  • Mounts: Handlebar

Check Price at AmazonCheck Price at Jenson USA

How to Choose the Best MTB Light

When the time comes to select a mountain biking lighting system, there are a few key factors to consider. In this how-to-choose guide, we’ll cover the major variables that will help inform your decision.

Types of Riding

If your trails are super technical and steep, you’ll want to look for a light that won’t bounce around and is super bright.

If you ride on trails that are flowy with lots of turns, it pays dividends to have both a helmet- and bar-mounted light. Most of our testers preferred the lights that center mount directly in front of the stem.

man riding mountain bike with lights at night
(Photo/Darren Steinbach)

Ride Duration and Burn Time

Burn time is the total length of time a bike light can stay on before its battery is depleted.

Are you looking for something to brighten up your trails for an all-nighter? Or are you just looking for a light that you can use once or twice a week on a 2-hour ride? Answer these questions and then look for a light that best suits your needs.

For example, if I’m only going to ride twice a week for a few hours in the dark, burn time is less critical and I can charge it between rides. However, if I’m a 24-hour mountain bike racer, I want to pick out a light that will either last 8-plus hours or comes with an extra battery.

Bikepackers and adventure racers may be looking for a system that’s chargeable via solar or power bank — or something that can go for days with careful output management.

Brightness and Lumens

The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. While mountain biking in low light, you’ll definitely want a bright light that adequately illuminates the terrain ahead.

If you plan to ride in the full darkness, we recommend a light with at least 500 lumens on your handlebars and 500 lumens on your helmet. Depending on the quality of the lights, this should be enough to create good visibility in dark foliage-covered areas.

It’s important to understand lumens are not the only factor to determine a light’s brightness and performance. Other factors to be considered include beam pattern and burn time.

A light’s beam pattern refers to how it disperses light across the trail. An excellent beam pattern will fill the entire trail with light and focus the brightness where you need it most. While lumens are important, a light with tons of lumens only fulfills its potential if the beam pattern is effective.

Burn time is another key consideration. If your light doesn’t last as long as you need it to, its lumen count doesn’t really matter.

User Experience

Are you able and excited to put in the time to program and set up your light system? Or do you want to take it out of the box, clamp it on, and have it ready to go? There are many lights out there that cater to both as well as some in-between.

There are many that are ultra-fancy, like a really expensive watch that can do nearly everything you can imagine (and more you’ll likely never use), and then there are others that are super simple. They charge by the cord you already have or, better yet, just take batteries.

Take some time before you buy to think about the amount of time you’re willing to put into your lighting system. Systems like the Lupine are easily upgradeable in nearly every way.

Outbound Mountain Bike Lights
(Photo/Outbound Lighting)

Budget

Whether you have money to spend or are pinching pennies right now, you can always find something that will get you out there having fun and lighting up your trails. If you’re trying to save money, it may just take a little more patience to find what you want.

A great place to look is on Facebook Marketplace and at your local used gear store. We’ve found some screaming deals lately from people who have moved on to other sports or hobbies. The nice thing about lights is you can instantly tell if they are still in good working order with the push of a button!

We tested a number of uber-cheap specials and found they did work somewhat. However, they invariably failed to match the durability, battery life, beam pattern, or burn time of the similar lights we tested. We now have a drawer full of sub-$15 lights for our kids to use while mountain biking!

Bottom line? It’s worth spending a bit more to get a light that works and lasts.

FAQ

Do I Need Mountain Bike Lights if I Only Ride During the Day?

That depends. If you’re out riding at midday, chances are you won’t need to use a light. Still, it’s wise to come prepared for a variety of situations and changes in weather. Generally, we recommend that all mountain bike riders carry some form of lighting system — even during daytime rides.

In foggy or cloudy conditions, it can be helpful to supplement the sun with a bit of extra light.

How Long Do Mountain Bike Lights Last?

Eventually, all battery-powered mountain bike lights will die and need a recharge. The battery life or burn time of a light ultimately depends on the quality of the battery and light, the setting used, and the air temperature.

If you’re running a high-quality bike light at peak power, it will generally only stay on for between 90 and 150 minutes. At lower outputs, the same lights may be able to last for twice as long or longer. The mountain bike lights with the biggest and most powerful battery packs may be able to stay on at full output for up to 4 hours.

To get the most out of your light, we recommend always starting your ride at full charge.

Do I Need Lights on Both My Handlebars and My Helmet?

A helmet-mounted light will move with your head and always point where you are looking. On trails with lots of technical features and tight turns, a helmet-mounted light is invaluable.

Meanwhile, a handlebar-mounted light will point toward where your bike is headed — which is not always the direction you want to go.

In low-light and nighttime conditions, we recommend riding with both a helmet light and a handlebar light. If you must choose one, a helmet light is a top priority.

mountain bike riding Yeti SB140 Slovenia
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