Tips for staying seen this winter with lights
We’re at the time of year when it’s dark when you wake up and dark when you finish work, so if you want to get a ride outside this winter season, you will most likely encounter the darkness at some stage. But rather than shy away and hibernate on the turbo trainer until spring, why not get yourself some decent lights and enjoy riding in the dark.
On the road
Riding on the road in the dark presents its own sets of dangers, but also wonderful experiences. If you’re on quiet country lanes, there’s not much more peaceful than the sound of your bike whizzing along the tarmac and the occasional owl hoot. But, of course, you need to be able to see and also be visible to other road users. So we suggest buying a decent set of lights so you’re covered for even the darkest periods.
If you're going to be riding in the countryside you'll need lights that are much brighter than if you were riding in the city. This is because you can't rely on street lamps to shine on your route. Your lights will often be the only way you will see, and even roads you know well can feel and ride differently in the dark.
The 2020 Flux™ 900 Headlight is ideal for countryside riding. It emits 900 lumens of bright white light by using two different LEDs under dedicated optics. This means that you can see both far in front and to the side, as the light optimises the output. It works on most handlebar diameters and can be mounted above or below the stem so that you still have space on your bars, and it doesn’t interfere with cables. It offers a 1.75-30 hour runtime, which means you won’t need to charge it very often, although it only takes 1.5 hours to reach 90% charge – perfect for a quick recharge while you’re at your desk. 900 lumens sounds a lot and it is, it’s ideal for riding solo at night so you can see exactly where you’re going.
On the rear, you want to look for a brighter red light, as this is what drivers heading the same way as you will see first. Many riders pair their lights with reflective clothing, which enhances your visibility too. The 2020 Stix Elite 2 Taillight can help you to be seen from up to half a mile away. With its output of 100 lumens, you can be sure that it will enhance your visibility. It lasts for up to 77 hours as well, so charging it is not something you need to think about very often.
On the trail
If you're daredevil enough to ride your mountain bike at night then you need something that will light up what’s ahead. It may be worth going for a helmet-mounted light, something that you can move and use to see where you want to ride rather than just straight ahead. If you only use a light that is fixed to your handlebars, then it could miss out on details like the edge of a berm or a rock. Equally, if you're riding in a group you don't want something that will completely blind the rider in front or force them to adjust their own lighting.
Something with variable output like the Flux™ 800 Headlight works perfectly. It can be mounted to your helmet so you can direct the light where your eyes are looking, and it offers plenty of modes in varying degrees of brightness, so you can make adjustments depending on how dark it is and where you’re riding. It has been approved for use with several Specialized helmets, see the product page for more information.
A rear light is not as vital as a front light on the trail, but it's better to be safe. With the Stix Saddle Mount, you can mount a Stix tail light underneath a SWAT compatible saddle. The mount features a snap-in breakaway part that will protect the light in case of a crash.
In the city
If you’re riding in the city, there is usually a bit more light for you to play with, even after dark. What with the street lights and headlights from drivers, there’s no need for a 900-lumen light to shine your way. In the city, it’s more about being seen than it is ‘seeing’.
Something like the 2020 Flash Headlight/Taillight Combo works well in urban areas. It includes a 70-lumen front light and 20-lumen rear light and can be used on steady beams or as flashing lights.
If you want something a little brighter, then the Stix Sport Headlight works well in urban areas. It's a 95-lumen light and can be seen from multiple directions, enhancing your visibility. It can run for up to 14 hours and charges via USB. It can also be mounted in a number of places from your helmet to your legs or arms using the various Specialized mounts available.
We hope this guide has helped you to understand how you can be seen this winter and what type of lights you should look for depending on where you ride. If you would like some more advice, head to one of our Concept Stores where our knowledgeable staff will help you light up this winter season. Click here to find your nearest one.
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