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The Orb quick guide to bike lights

If you’re new to the world of cycling, or even if you just have better things to think about, buying any kind of accessory for your bike can be confusing and lights are no exception.

We’ve written a quick list to help guide you through the jargon and get to the core of some of the things you should be thinking about.

1.sSee or be seen

The first thing to consider is what are you going to use your light for. Do you need to see the road, or is it about other road users seeing you? Some of you might be wondering why there is a difference, but a light designed for seeing the road will usually have a fairly tightly focused beam meaning the light will be harder to see from a variety of angles amongst the lights of a town or city. Whereas a ‘be seen’ light will be great for getting you noticed, but not much good when the street lights run out.

2. USB or replaceable batteries (or Dynamo)

How do you want to power your lights? We’re a huge fan of USB charged lights, they’re simple, long lasting, and you’re helping reduce waste by not having to dispose of batteries. Dynamo lights are also great, but expensive to set up from scratch (think roughly £200 minimum). If you’re looking for a cheap, simple, but effective USB ‘Be seen’ lightset our Bugsy lights are great value at £25.

3. Side Visbility

A hugely overlooked area of lighting, but once you realise that ⅓ serious accidents that happen on the bike are caused by a side-impact from a vehicle, you start paying attention. Front and rear lights with side cutouts help, but a dedicated side-light such as our Orb bike light and bottle makes a bigger impact by highlighting the biomotion of your legs whilst pedalling.

4. Cost

You can spend anywhere from a few quid to hundreds of pounds on your lights. At the top end, look for full CNC alloy casings, longer runtimes, and high quality LEDs. In the middle you’ll find compromises on all of these areas, and at the bottom end expect lower build quality and lower runtimes. Look to buy a lightset of front and rear (and side if you choose) to save money.

5. Bracket

Something you might not immediately think of, but the light isn’t all about the light. If you live in a city, you’re likely to be removing your lights every time you stop and leave your bike to ensure they don’t stolen. If you can’t get them on and off your handlebars and seatpost, you’ll end up hating your lights no matter how many lumens you’re packing. If you’re looking for a lightset that is theft-proof and will stay permanently attached to your bike, we’re about to launch our Droid lights, which integrate with your bike and even help protect other vulnerable components.

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