There are tons and tons of lights out there. If you’re looking to supplement your bar light (which is a great idea to help you see through corners), you won’t need something super duper bright. I’d recommend an all-in-one unit where the light and battery are integrated into one body. Those are nice because you don’t have to worry about routing a wire or the wire getting snagged.
I tested the CatEye Volt 800 and it’s still going strong after more than a year of heavy use. It’s on the more expensive end of the price range at $130 though. Check out the NiteRider Lumina series for something a little less expensive.
A 700-1000 lumen light is great for a helmet. Much brighter than that and the lights get weighty. For instance, I also used the CatEye Volt 1600, but it caused my helmet to slide around on my head and the weight was really noticeable.
I am a fan of the Cateye Volt series. I recently upgraded and run the 800 on the bar and 400 on the helmet. This seems to be plenty of light for now but it’s winter here in Minnesota and the snow on the ground reflects a lot of light. May need to go bigger in summer. These lights last about 2 hours on max output. They do have a removable, replaceable battery so bringing a backup battery in you pack is no big deal.
I’m testing the Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL and it sounds like it might fit the bill for you. It’s bright (1100 lumens) and unlike all the other all-in-one lights I’m testing, it comes with both helmet and bar mounts in the box, all for just $75.
Get yourself a Princeton Tec Fuel headlamp for about $15 from amazon or Cabelas. Separate it from the headband. Zip strip the light to your helmet. It’s designed to meet the widest range of applications while remaining small, lightweight and robust
Weighs only 78g with 70 lumens of brightness and 146 hours of burn time. A symmetrical single arm bracket that makes directing the light effortless and reliable
A large, easy to find push button switch and a virtually bulletproof, easy access battery door that protects the 3AAA s
I forgot to mention that my headlamp is secondary and compliments my main light that I have attached to the handlebars. Combined they light up the trail where I am and where I’m going. I also don’t turn the headlamp on until it’s really dark to spare some battery consumption. Having two lights also reduces the risk of being stuck out in the dark due to equipment failure.
And I agree that more is definitely better. The other night I rode about half my ride without my helmet light because the battery wasn’t fully charged and I wanted to save it until I needed it. I forgot how much it helps to have light where you’re looking as opposed to just where you’re going.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m a little scetched out on those Princeton Tec lights. I had two of them and the battery port door broke on both. I do like the idea of taking off the band of a head lamp and zip tieing it to a helmet. Nice hack.</p>
Weighs only 78g with 70 lumens of brightness and 146 hours of burn time.
70 lumens sounds a little low to me. Granted, I started out night riding with a 150 lumen Light & Motion Stella, but these days most riders will want 700 lumens or so. Not saying it’s impossible to ride on 70 lumens; it will just limit the speeds you can ride safely.