Top Mountain Bike LED Lights Under $300

Niterider MiNewt LED Mountain Bike Light

LED systems are natural choice for mountain bikers given their efficient power consumption, durable construction and distinctive white light. Finding quality LED light systems for mountain bikes under $300 isn’t easy, so we’ve scoured the net and studied dozens of reviews from Amazon, MTBR.com and retailers to find the LED systems that stand out as performance-meets-affordable. Read more on LED Light Reviews.

Comments

  1. says

    From riding frequently at night down a local washboard dirt road I chanced upon the most amazing discovery: the most effective and safe lights to use are helmet-mounted headlamps and not frame-mounted headlights!!

    Unconvinced? Give it the test. Would you rather have a light that shines where the handlebars point or where you want light to illuminate (from pointing your head)? I had a dog launch toward me from the dark edge of the road and by turning my head and lighting up the dog with my NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB Plus headlamp, I was able to quickly make the right moves and not crash into him. Had I use a handlebar-mounted headlight I would have most likely seen him as he ran into my headlight’s illumination swath as we smashed into one another.

    Still not convinced? My NiteRider MiNewt LED headlamp shines down from an angle at least 3 feet higher than my handlebars. This higher angle of incidence illuminates potholes with ease and gives obstacles a much better outline than a low angle of attack. As I dodge holes or rocky chunks, I can turn my head the opposite direction from my bike and handlebars to determine the best approach for the next obstacles, something I cannot do if my handlebars determine where my lighted path is outlined.

    It stunned me to discover the dexterity and utter simplicity of this lighting system.

    Even the $400, flamethrower-quality, lighting systems that only point where the handlebars are headed are sadly deficient in comparison to the simple flexibility and incredibly safety offered by any number of helmet-mounted headlamps available today. From LED lamps to Krypton bulb intensifiers, efficient choices are out there that make the new and “advanced” handlebar lights obsolete from the start.

  2. Joe says

    Good points James,

    Indeed the helmet-mount is important. I think the best configuration is to have one of each, and I know this is what is generally recommended. A larger torch for the bike and a small one like the MiNewt or Switchback 1 on the helmet. This way your bike is lighting up the trail in front, but you still can look around and light the area you’re trying to see without having to move the bike. Of course, “best” and “most practical” are different things when one light costs hundreds.

  3. Luke says

    I agree about the flexibility and ‘viewpoint’ of a helmet light – especially for offroad. If for no other reason that as you’re weaving on single track your handlebars are pointed straight ahead relative to the spot on the trail you’re on at that moment, while the trail and obstacles veer off to one side or another.

    But I have a counter argument to the helmet-mount, too. Because it is very close to your line of sight, you see very few shadows. Shadows are essential to quickly checking terrain and obstacles. Try this out at night: hold your light up at eye level and focus it on a rock. You’ll see almost no ‘topography’ – especially if the trail is largely dusty or muddy or any single color. Now lower the light to your waist and notice the nice beautiful shadow that extends behind the rock.

    I discovered this by accident one night on a moonless trail run (on foot) in Yosemite. I wore my headlamp but was very uncertain of my footing due to the lack of shadows. I couldn’t run anywhere near full speed because even though my light was plenty bright, there were no shadow details at the spot most brightly lit. I ended up putting my elastic head lamp on as a jock strap, with the light at my belt line and, POW! every little rock jumped out visibly from the trail.

  4. says

    Other than the fact that its dark, I’ve always been put off going out at night by the assumed weight of these lights. I assume they are quite heavy due to the batteries?

  5. Jack says

    $300 is far cheaper than a doctors bill and repeat doctors visits for something broken. Here in NC we have clubs that ride 7 nights a week, on single track and fire roads. If you ride a lot the system is well worth it. The dual lighting setup has even saved me from a deer hit at 30mph. Rechargable lithium battery setups are the best. I scoffed at the whole concept of the super bright headlamps until I bought a Dinotte system. Simply incredible.

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