More light for more safety
With a good bike light, you improve the view of the night road and thus your road safety – provided you make the right choice when buying an LED bicycle lamp. CHIP explains the most important criteria.
A decisive factor for the evaluation of a bicycle lamp is the luminance in Lux. This is even a very useful orientation: In the test, we have checked with the help of a calibrated Lux meters LED bicycle lamps on their luminance and are only in one case to a significant deviation down encountered. In some cases, the measured value is even significantly above the manufacturer’s specification. The great source of the best bicycle lights available the best bike us-
Note: The test field consisted exclusively of LED lamps. Halogen lamps are nowadays only found in the low-cost range as dynamo-powered headlamps.
Bicycle lights: interpret Lux correctly
According to the manufacturer, the luminance of the bicycle lamps usually ranges from 10 to 50 lux. The higher the value, the stronger the light. However, the lux numbers only give information about how much the lamp shines in the brightest spot. However, it is important how bright and evenly illuminated the road and the edge of the road near and far. The tendency is for lamps with higher luminance to shine better than others. With 40 to 50 lux you will usually get good results.
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On the right, you can see how the test winner Busch & Muller Ixon IQ Premium Speed (Bleach strength: 42.2 lux) against the Trelock LS 350(Illuminance: 20.7 lux) cuts off. The higher light intensity of the test winner illuminates the very dark test track far better than the Trelock with less lux. On well-lit streets but should also be a low lux number sufficient.
When buying this point can be considered bad, if you do not know the test values. Use the two weeks return period for a LED bicycle lamp from the mail order company and try out the lamp during this time. If you do not like it, you can return the lamp within two weeks without giving a reason.
Bicycle floodlights: lamps without StVZO
In addition, we also looked at three LED bicycle lamps of a special type from the manufacturer Lezyne. These are with good and like 100 euros all quite high priced, but clearly outperform the entire competition in terms of light output – and use on public roads is illegal. Because they do not meet the requirements of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO). This allows only dimmed bicycle lights, so drivers are not dazzled in oncoming traffic. Nevertheless, this lamp type – also from other manufacturers – is widely represented in the trade and freely available. However, the drivers risk a tapping in a police check.
Luminous intensity eats transit time
The brightest LED bicycle light does not do much good when the battery is short of energy. Many surprises do not exist at this point: The maximum running time largely depends on the capacity of the batteries and the brightness. Our test winner from Busch & Müller, for example, holds out a bit more than five hours at 42 lux. A Sigma Sports Lightster, however, limited to 27 lux and sets with more than eleven hours on a running time record. However, it comes only on a very unsatisfactory road illumination. Ultimately, it is, therefore, despite the long-term and the low price of only 20 € is not a good alternative.
Speaking of running time: Most lamps have an eco-mode. The light output can be regulated down step by step, which automatically extends the runtime. This makes it easier to find the optimum compromise between light intensity and runtime. In addition, lamps with replaceable batteries are recommended for longer distances.
Bicycle lamps: equipment and handling
In addition to the dominant criteria of luminance and running time, the features of the LED bicycle lamps play a much smaller role. The models differ, for example, by the different number of operating modes or a more or less sophisticated status display. Pay attention to the attachment! As a rule, these lamps are not fixed to the frame and thus offer virtually no theft protection. Therefore, they should be easy to detach from the bracket and re-attach if you want to park the bike for a while. Exemplary here are all three Trelock models. Once the holder has been fixed, the lamp itself can be released with just one hand at the press of a button and easily snaps back into the holder. Negative examples come from Sigma: Here you need both hands for loosening the holder and removing the lamp – in addition even short fingernails are easily endangered.