Your Guide to Buying Rechargeable Bike Lights

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Your Guide to Buying Rechargeable Bike Lights
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Your Guide to Buying Rechargeable Bike Lights

Bike lights are essential for nearly every type of cyclist, whether out at rain, shine, or night. The first bike lights required batteries to operate, but advances in technology have improved the original design. One such stride was rechargeable bike lights that have permanent, rechargeable batteries incorporated into the structure. Eco-conscious bike riders no longer have to fumble with batteries to power their lights. These types of lights rely on power outlets, and some are even using USB connectors.

In order to purchase the right type of rechargeable bike light, first consider when and how you intend to use the light. Mountain bikers have different needs than evening commuters. Once you have defined the parameters of use, then you can decide where the light should be mounted. The last decision to be made before choosing a bike light is what type of rechargeable battery you want. Before purchasing rechargeable bike lights, you should be familiar with all the options on the market including the position of the light, battery options, and intended use.

Considerations When Buying Rechargeable Bike Lights

Selecting the right rechargeable bike light involves knowing how it is to be used. For example, decide if the light is being purchased to help you see others, for others to see you, or both. Moreover, what type of climate and conditions you intend to ride in. Rain or shine, bikers need a light tough enough to handle extreme cold. The last factor to consider is how often and for how long should the light function.

Overall Purpose

Rechargeable bike lights have two major functions: to illuminate the cyclist's path and to make the cyclist more visible to other drivers. On-road cyclists need bike lights for both functions, while off-road cyclists only need to see the path ahead. Cyclists who traverse the streets during the day do not need high-powered lights; even the low-power function on many models is acceptable. If riding at night, bright lights are recommended.

Outdoor Conditions

From sunshine to thunderstorms, some cyclists ride through the toughest conditions. Others prefer to leisurely pedal only on the best days. Knowing the conditions you plan to bike in is an integral part of choosing the right lights. All-weather bikers need a light with superior seals and a battery to match. Even though these lights can get pricey, they are a worthwhile investment. Casual riders can opt for basic lights that are a fraction of the cost.

Time Spent

Cyclists must also have an idea of how often and for how long they intend on using the light. Daily commuters with a 30-minute ride each way need at least an hour per day or five hours per week. Riders should calculate how much time they need and research how long each rechargeable bike light can go in between charges. Additionally, buyers should look at how long each battery takes to charge.

Styles of Bike Lights

Rechargeable bike lights are available in a variation of sizes, styles, and lighting displays. The overall use for the lights defines your needs. Headlights, tail lights, and helmet lights are the most common places for installation. In addition to choosing placement, cyclists must then consider style of lighting. The three options are flashing, standard beam, and low-power models; some bike lights have all three types in a single fixture.

Positioning

The first stylistic choice is where you want your light to be. Headlights are mounted to handlebars and depending on the type of light, serve several purposes. Tail lights have a single purpose: to promote visibility to motorists behind you. Helmet lights are popular both on and off road, and like headlights, your activities dictate what kind of light is needed.

Headlights

Rechargeable bike headlights are typically mounted to the handlebars with the light pointing ahead; most headlights allow you to adjust the angle. All cyclists are recommended to have a headlight, as it is a light source that helps drivers notice you. On-road cyclists commuting at night need a strong, bright light to see in front of them. Similarly, off-roaders need a high-powered headlight with a wide-angle spread to view as much of the land as possible. In many cases, headlights are coupled with helmet lights for better detection by others.

Tail Lights

Rechargeable t ail lights, also referred to as rear lights, are placed at the back of the bike and designed to alert motorists of your presence. Red is the most common colour, although there are other options available. If you are riding your bike at night, a flashing rechargeable tail light is highly recommended. When mounting a tail light, make sure it is placed in a visible location.

Helmet Lights

Rechargeable helmet lights are mounted on top of your bike helmet and function similarly to a headlight. These are not essential lights to have if you are a casual, on-road rider, but regular commuters are encouraged to have them. The light sits closer to eye level for most motorists, making riders easier to see. Combining helmet lights and headlights is a great way to increase both yours and other motorists' visibility. For mountain bikers, helmet lights increase the spread and helping bikers see low hanging branches and other obstacles.

Lighting

After deciding on placement, the kind of lighting is your next choice. Standard beams of light come in various spreads. Some are used to help cyclists see what is ahead, and others are designed to make the rider seen. Flashing lights are always great attention getters but do little to help riders see at night. Low-power lights are favoured for their energy conservation features, but they also have drawbacks as well. Although some of these lighting options are sometimes sold individually, many rechargeable bike lights have all three options in a single device. The sections below expand on the different lighting options available.

Standard

A standard light refers to any light with an uninterrupted, concentrated beam. These lights are beneficial to many types of cyclists on- and off- road. On-road cyclists can use standard beam lights in the rain, sun, or dark to let motorists see where they are. If travelling down a particularly dark street, a full beam light helps cyclists see what is in front of them. Similarly, standard beams with a wide spread are favoured by mountain bikers as these lights are designed to illuminate uneven terrain.

Flashing

The primary function for flashing lights is to help other drivers see the cyclist. Flashing rechargeable bike lights trump the standard beam in this particular task because other people on the road take quick notice to the flashing, especially at night or during rain. The flashing function does little to help bikers see the road in front of them.

Low-Power

The low-power function on rechargeable bike lights comes in handy when you are down to your last bit of battery. Although not as bright as the standard setting, low-power lights are better than none. Low-powered lights are not sufficient for night or inclement weather use but can be used during the day time.

Types of Batteries

There are four main options when it comes to choosing what type of battery is used in rechargeable bike lights. The chart below outlines the pros and cons of each type of battery.

Type of Battery

Pros

Cons

Lead

Most common and inexpensive option; hold initial charges well

Inexpensive models last 200 to 400 charging cycles and the best last 300 to 2000; lose charge quickly in cold weather

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cads)

Lighter than lead, and less affected by cold temperatures; reasonably priced

Adequate battery selection, but there are two other better options on the market

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Lighter and smaller than Ni-Cads; long operating time

Must not be overcharged since batteries can be damaged; models are available with "smart chargers" to prevent overcharging

Lithium Ion (Li-ion)

Lightest and longest lasting available

Most expensive and cannot be overcharged; lose power repeated recycling

Lead rechargeable batteries have been around the longest, and they are tried and true; however, newer types of batteries can get the job done with just a fraction of the bulk. The less bulky and more powerful rechargeable batteries are, the more expensive they seem to be.

Buying Rechargeable Bike Lights on eBay

Finding the right bike lights on eBay is easy; enter in a few terms, such as "rechargeable bike light&" to see all of eBay's results. Using a few keywords such as the placement, battery, or style of your choice to focus your search. For example, searches for "LED rechargeable bike light&" and "flashing rechargeable bike light&" yield two different types of bike lights.

Custom Sorting

After receiving your initial results, shoppers can custom sort items by their top priorities. If you are interested in getting the best bike light for the best price, list results from lowest to highest price. Customers concerned with getting their bike lights as quick as possible can arrange bike lights by distance from seller. See if you can arrange an in-store pickup to eliminate shipping fees and expedite receiving the item. Buyers can also sort items by time left in auction and new or used condition.

Conclusion

Rechargeable bike lights are a great, eco-friendly replacement for battery operated models. Knowing when, how, and where you want to use bike lights determines which light or lights are best suited for you. All bikers should have some sort of lighting to make themselves more detectable by drivers. Cyclists with the sole purpose of making themselves visible to others should strongly consider flashing lights and a helmet light for the ultimate combination. Off-road night mountain bikers need high powered bike lights to see uneven terrain and low hanging branches.

Bikers on a budget should consider high quality lights as opposed to cheap models. Li-ion is the most expensive battery option, but its superior performance saves you money in the long run. Moderately active bikers do not have to pay top price for quality, but they should never sacrifice quality for a lesser cost. Rechargeable bike lights can be purchased at local athletic stores, specialty shops, and online website such as eBay..

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