Bike light Database

Maybe people just like to boast about how much they spent on their lights, but to me, the major brands are a waste of money. You can buy brighter lights at a fraction of the cost. They are just as reliable, and if you ever need to replace a battery or any other part, they are much cheaper too.

Below are a selection of lights from the top brands, and cheaper alternatives.
To enable direct comparison of brightness, all beam photographs on the road are taken at: 3200 iso, f2.8, 1/4 sec
All beam photos on the wall are taken at iso 1600, f2.8, 1/15 sec. Any higher exposure results in whiteout with the most powerful lights. This does not show the lower power lights off to their best. Anything above the Cateyes and Niterider Ultrafazer produces half decent illumination.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Cateye Uno - maximum lux at 1mt: 540
Beam pattern     
Very poor light output. Does not illuminate the road, and not bright enough for a commuter light:
At around £15, a complete waste of money.

Cateye EL135 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,880
 Beam pattern

Doesn't light the road ahead, and unlikely to draw the attention of other road users.
 Save around £20 by not buying this light.
Cateye EL530 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,880
Beam pattern

Bright hot spot throws well ahead, but it's tiny and of no real use. Puts a little light ahead of the front wheel, but not enough to see anything. It would be a half decent commuter light if it had a flashing mode :
At around £25, you could buy something twice as bright with a better beam pattern for less.

Niterider Ultrafazer 5 - maximum lux at 1mt: 542
Beam pattern
Spreads the light wide. Has a flashing mode, but  would need to be a bit brighter  to use as a commuter light:
At around £20, it's probably the best value of the major brands. 
Exposure Spark - maximum lux at 1mt: 2,410
Beam pattern
Not a light to illuminate your way, only to be seen by other road users.
At around £60, It makes more sense to spend a few extra pounds on the vastly superior Exposure Sirius.

Moon X Power 300 - maximum lux at 1mt: 3,870
Beam pattern
A Large hot spot with a good spread of light across the beam.
At around £50, it makes it's going take a lot of business away from Exposure, Hope and Niterider. Looks well above the claimed 300 Lumens.

Exposure Sirius - maximum lux at 1mt: 5,390
Beam pattern

This is so similar to the Joystick in size and performance, it seems pointless for Exposure to produce both.

At around £70, two of these makes more sense than buying a Joystick 

 Hope Vision 1 (2013) - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,360

Beam pattern

New plastic body feels cheap and doesn't inspire confidence that the threads won't strip after a few removals of the end cap. Looks brighter than the original model though.

At around £60, there are better options out there. Snap up one of the originals while you can.

Niterider Lumina 350 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4.490

Beam pattern

A narrow beam with a decent throw and decent illumination from near to mid distance. On the road, it puts the light just where you need it. A bit narrow for off road.

At around £70, it's a better alternative to the Hope Vision One. Rechargeable and compact size give it the edge.

Exposure Joystick Mk7 - maximum lux at 1mt: 5,540
Beam pattern

Looks good, until you turn it on. Exposure keep improving the brightness, but it's still a very narrow beam:
At around £140, you would be better buying two Sirius. The spot is bright, but a very small area of illumination.

Led Lenser B7 - maximum lux at 1mt:12,660
Beam pattern - wide
 Beam pattern - spot

Peculiar lens design produces an excellent spot beam, but pretty useless wide beam, with not enough light in the centre:

At around £30, a better bet than the Hope vision One or Exposure Joystick Mk5, but there are better lights at a similar price.

Light and Motion Urban 300 - maximum lux at 1mt: 1,799

Beam pattern

A nice even spread of light with quite a wide angle. Side vision panels raise visibility to other road users.
At around £110, this light is greater than the sum of the parts.
The data doesn't look too impressive on paper, but on the road this is a first class little light. The "Urban" name is misleading, it sounds like it is only good for nipping down to the shops. This light is adequate for use in any situation.

Niterider Lumina 500 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,940
Beam pattern

Usual Niterider narrow beam gives good illumination from near to middle distance.
At around £80, you get a very nice light that puts light just where you want it. The narrow beam is probably only going to suit use on the road.  
Fluxient U2 Mini - maximum lux at 1mt: 3,510
Beam pattern

10% brighter than the T6 Mini that it replaces.
A wide spread of light and a decent spot. Gives good illumination from near to middle distance and beyond. Impressive output from such a small package.
At around £50, gives the best spread and level of light for this size and price of light. The kind of performance the Exposure Joystick should be aiming for. 

Fluxient XM-L2  - maximum lux at 1mt:17,040

 Beam pattern 

Ultra bright spot that throws as far as you could want, and really bright ahead of the front wheel. Good gradation from near to distance. Upgraded to XM-L2 for 2014 and featuring the new Fluxient Lightpass lens.
At around £70, one of the best value lights available

Fluxient Photon 1 - maximum lux at 1mt: 8310

Beam pattern

 Outwardly  similar to the Fluxient XM-L2 light, the photon 1 uses the Phillips Luxeon led instead of the usual Cree resulting in what they claim is the brightest single led bike light on the market.
At around £100, the Photon 1 produces a much bigger hotspot and more even illumination compared to the XM-L2 resulting in a beam that is great for the road, but also much more useful for off road.

Exposure Race Mk7 - maximum lux at 1mt: 12,480

 Beam pattern

Very bright spot that throws well ahead. Llittle light elsewhere though.
For aroubd £200, I would want a bit of light ahead of my front wheel. If they made one of the lamps wide angle, instead of both spot,  they would have the perfect bike light.  
Cateye Sumo 2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4510
Beam pattern
A big, heavy and solidly built light that adds a lot of weight to the bike.

At around £300, the Sumo 2 is pretty disappointing. Big and heavy, and using the very old technology of Seoul P-7 leds, it lags way behind lights that are half the price.

Solar Storm X2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,520

Beam pattern
Good spread of light and good forward throw from bright spot.
At he time of writing, these are selling for under £20 without battery or charger. The sample I tried came with a battery and charger, both very poor quality. I reckon it would be cheaper to go for the Torchy Oriole 2x T6 which is similar in size and performance.

Hope Vision 2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 5,860
Beam pattern
A neat little lamp head housing 2x l;eds, and a nice size bright spot. Could do with a bit more spread of light. 
At around £160, it produces a similar beam to the Lupine Wilma, only brighter, at a third of the price. Doesn't match a good single XM-L T6 light.

Exposure Diablo Mk3 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,740

Beam pattern

The Usual Exposure beam of a large central area of illumination and not much else.
At around £180, with only 1 run time hour on high, it is a lot of money for a light that can only really be used as a backup, or as a spot to augment a wider beam light for off road. 
Exposure Toro Mk3 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,921
Beam pattern
More or less identical beam to the Diablo Mk3.
At around £250, the Toro gives three hours run time on high.Makes more sense than the Diablo. A decent output for road use, but it will need a wide beam light with it for off road.

Niterider Pro 1500- maximum lux at 1mt: 7,880
Beam pattern

Very bright wide angle beam. A big improvement in the Trinewt which it replaces.
 At around £300 for the Race version, it produces plenty of light for off road, and even illumination from a small compact lamp - look out Hope Vision 4.

Magicshine MJ 816E - maximum lux at 1mt: 5,920

Beam pattern
Now with a T6 centre light and 2x R2 side lights, the MJ-816E still throws a wide beam.
At around £100, the MJ-816E is a bit pricey compared to similar lights on the market. 180 days warranty on the batteries and charger doesn't inspire confidence.

Lezyne Mega Drive - maximum lux at 1mt: 7,600
Beam pattern
Wide, even spread of light with abig spot that reaches well into the distance.
At around £140, this is a much better option compared to Exposure Diablo or Race, The big brands will have to look to their laurels.

Beema AS-2000 - maximum lux at 1mt: 12,310

Beam pattern
Nice spread of light in the near to middle distance and a big bright spot that throws well in to the distance.
At around £130, you are looking at a rival to the Magicshine MJ-880U. It may be slightly larger, but it's brighter, has a better design for heat loss.

Torchy BK2200 - maximum lux at 1mt: 9,830
Beam pattern

Wide spread of light and a far throwing spot from a tiny lamp head. Ideal for on or off road.
At under £100,  it looks a better option than Magicshine MJ-880U. Similar size and brightness.

Magicshine MJ-880U - maximum lux at 1mt: 9,830

Beam pattern

Even spread of light and decent distance from a tiny lamp head.
At around £140, the upgrade from T6 to U2 leds makes a noticeable difference. Still has a heat problem, continually stepping down power to a lower level Can be a bit of a nuisance.

Hope Vision R4 - maximum lux at 1mt: 5,120

Beam pattern
A wide spread of light with even illumination, but limited throw. Fine for off road.
 At around £180, for the smallest battery version, it's much better value than the original 4. Smaller size, brighter output and cheaper - worth upgrading. 

Magicshine MJ 872 - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,340
Beam pattern

The heavily textured lens scatters the light wide, and probably prevents the leds throwing out the maximum lumens. An even spread of light in the near distance, but doesn't throw far enough:

At around £90, a further throw and brighter beam would be expected (and a longer warranty than 180 days on the battery and charger). Has a real problem with heat and keeps stepping down to a lower setting until it cools down. Even with a decent airflow the problem still persists.

Fluxient 4x XP-G2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,250
Beam pattern

The polished aluminium lamp head looks fantastic, and fortunately the performance matches the looks. A bright, even spread of light with plenty of forward throw:
At around £90, the best looking light on show, and excellent performance too.

Lupine Wilma 12 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,540
 Beam pattern

4 leds producing 1500 lumens in a moderately wide beam with even illumination.
 At around £400, Lupine are one of the most expensive lights on the market. The Wilma 12 costs more than I would be prepared to pay for a bike, never mind a light, and I would have expected more for the money. The light does not throw far enough for fast road use, but just about spreads wide enough for off road,

Light and Motion Seca 1400 - maximum lux at 1mt: 8,700

Beam pattern

A different approach from Light and Motion. 3 leds produce the throw and 3 leds produce the spread. And the result is pretty near perfect.
At around £400 for 1400 lumen, it appears a bit expensive. But either Light and Motion are being accurate while others exaggerate, or they manage to put every lumen to good use. Either way, this is a very nice light.

Exposure Maxx-D Mk5 - maximum lux at 1mt: 12,230
Beam pattern

A large bright spot combined with a wide spread of light. Even illumination from near to far.
At around £300,it's probably the best value Exposure light, but you can something just as bright, if not brighter, and still be left with plenty of change.

Troute Liberator - maximum lux at 1mt: 4,040
Beam pattern
Six leds with three different types of lens give produce a wide spread beam giving even illumination from literally under the front wheel to mid distance.
At around £300, it is one of the coolest looking lights, with probably the widest spread of light on the market.

Exposure Six Pack Mk2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 15,450
Beam pattern

Usual Exposure beam, large central area with good throw.
At around £320, it is a bit brighter than the Maxx-D, but is it worth the extra? Lumen junkies will go for it, the more practical will settle for the Maxx-D. 
Fluxient 3x XM-L2 - maximum lux at 1mt: 26,900

 Beam pattern

Upgraded for 2014 from XM-L U2 to XM-L2 and a new Lightpass lens resulting in 25% increase in light output.
At around £125, Fluxient have taken things too far. Nobody needs this much light, but that's not the same as saying a lot of people don't want this much light. Why spend more than twice as much on Exposure and end up with less light?

Exposure Reflex - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,800
Beam pattern

Produces a good spread of light across the beam and decent forward throw. Compare this photo with the Fluxient 3x U2 above. They were taken within minutes of each other at the same exposure using the same camera.
At at around £350.00, it's more expensive than the Maxx-D, but nowhere near as bright. I would go for the latter and pocket the difference.

Niterider Pro 3000 - maximum lux at 1mt: 16,300
Beam pattern
If you want the brightest light on the market, this is probably it. The beam pattern isn't all that important when you have this much output. It illuminates as far and as wide as you could wish for.
At around £500, it's better than anything Lupine has to offer, but can you justify spending that amount on a light?

Lupine Betty 12 - maximum lux at 1mt: 6,490
Beam pattern

Throws a big pool of light into the middle distance. Not really bright enough in the near or far distance.
At over £700, the money would be better spent on one of the lights around £90, or the Exposure Maxx-D if you want a brand. Think of what you could do with the money you would save.