How Many Lumens for Night Riding? You Should Know!

how many lumens for night riding

Isn’t it fun riding at night? But riding at night means taking some precautionary. One crucial accessory to have at any night riding is the bike light. And bike light means lumens. You must know that lumens vary from light to light, brand to brand. Now, how many lumens for night riding—how can you decide it?

Well, we are here to help you. Get a proper idea about the number of lumens you will need during your night tours. But firstly, you need to learn what exactly a lumen is. So let's start with it.

What Are Lumens?

Lumens are a medium to measure how bright a light is and how much visible light is emitted. Lighting is all about lumens.

Lumens are different depending on lights used for. Like—a rear light is usually between 5 and 100 lumens while a front light can be from 10 to 1000 lumens.

If you are unclear about the intensity of lumens, let's make it easy for you. We can compare 1 lumen with the full moon on a clear night. To make it easier, let's say the backlight of a smartphone is around 20 lumens.

How Many Lumens for Night Riding?

You will need a minimum of 600 lumens for riding on an unlit road. Well, you never want to disturb others with your bike lights. For this, you can use a narrow beam pattern. When you are riding off-road at night, opt for lights above 1000 lumens.

Let's see how many lumens you will probably need in different situations on a mountain bike.

For Handlebar Lights:

You must decide if you only want your lights to be on the handlebars. If so, then you must opt for handlebar lights of 2000 lumens. There are many advantages to it.

Firstly, you will be comfortable and safe. Secondly, you can see your way very clearly. Even if there are curves on the path, you will be able to see it ahead of time. Beam lights are wide, so you will have no problem with riding on wider roads. And most importantly, when you see what's ahead of you clearly, you feel confident. So, you can try these handlebar lights.

For Technical Trails:

It is more challenging to ride on a technical trail. And, you will need lights on both your handlebars and helmet. You should have handlebar lights of at least 1500 lumens. This will give you a beautiful bright light and lighten the path as you ride through the hilly and flat terrain.

While, in case of your helmet, it should be 800 lumens. You can quickly look for any upcoming turns or any obstacles in the way.

For Single-track Riding:

Bring on you’re A-game as you will have a twisty ride experience. You will need 1350 lumens handlebar lights. You won't be needing a wider light beam as the single tracks are narrower. A 700 lumens helmet light is enough to provide you head up of any upcoming twists and turns.

For Downhill Trail:

For an easy to moderate downhill trail ride, you will need 700 lumens on your handlebars and helmet. This is the case where you are not going so fast. Well, for a quicker ride, you will need 1000 lumens for both the helmet and handlebars. This way, you will not outrun the light beam and will be able to see further downhill more clearly.

Although, you know how many lumens for night riding you need, there are some factors you should look up to before you decide on it. Let’s go through the factors.

Factors you need to consider when deciding on the number of lumens:

Your Vision at Night:

Night vision varies from person to person. The amount of lumen will need at night somewhat depends on your vision at night. Can you see further away at night? If you have difficulty seeing at night, you will need more lumens. Also, you might need a broader beam light.

Your Riding Skill:

Now, if you are an amateur who just turned to ride, you should have an extra 500 lumens; for extra safety, you know. On the other hand, if you an experienced rider, you don't need to spend extra money on lumens. Before deciding on lumens, ask yourself if you are a beginner or an intermediate or an advanced rider.

The Terrain You Will Ride on:

Are you familiar with the terrain you will be using? If not, then get extra lumens or, if possible, ride slowly. Also, consider checking if the trail is technical or twisted. You must get such an amount of lumens with which you can see the upcoming turns and obstacles.


Have an idea of how fast your trail will be and how fast you will be riding. If you ride faster, you will need more lumens. So get extra lumens beforehand if you are riding faster than usual.

Beam Pattern:

It's better if your light illuminates the full width of your way. It should also illuminate enough to give you heads up of further turns and twists. The narrower your helmet lights are, the further will be the eye level.

Night Conditions:

Will there be a full moon or no moon? Take note of the night conditions. Well, a full moon without clouds gives an absolute amount of helpful light. Now, if the sky is cloudy, it will be darker.

Ask yourself if the trail is an open area or with lots of bushes and trees. If you are riding during late fall or winter, there will be few or no leaves. On the other hand, during summer and spring, you will have to ride through lots of leaves.

Things You Should Know:

  • Once you have enough light, additional light won’t help you much.
  • You will be faster with brighter lights. There may not be any linear relationship between the speed and brightness, but most of the riders agree to be riding faster with brightness.
  • There is a limit to the improvement you will see to lighting a bright light. Although we don't know the sweet spot, it might vary from riders to riders. You cannot necessarily say that 3000 lumens will allow you to ride thrice faster than 1000 lumen light.
  • You don’t need the brightest light available in the market.


You must be wondering if lumens are that important. Well, yes, they are. The perfect amount of lumen can save you from any upcoming turns and dangers at night. It will give you sweet riding experience.

So give the most priority on the amount of lumen during a night ride. You must decide on your trail before choosing the lumens amount. Also, you must consider the factors mentioned earlier. You must choose the right amount of lumen as it is a significant factor during night rides.

Also, remember that consistency of the brightness of the light depends on the battery. So, make sure you carry extra batteries during your journey. And have a safe ride.

How Many Lumens for Night Riding? You Should Know! 1

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