6 Ways to Light Up Your Night Rides

Lupine Betty 7, $930, and Portland Design Works Radbot 1000, $32

When You Want All-Out Power

The Betty 7 is the BMW of lights, and not only because it's manufactured in Germany. The sharp, white light bites through the darkness even in rain and haze. Coming from a lens that attaches easily to handlebar or helmet, the light's 1,850 lumens help you see far ahead and be spotted by oncoming traffic. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery fits into your jersey pocket, on the frame or stem, or under the saddle.

The Radbot 1000 is a whimsical take on taillights with a 1-watt red LED blinker and built-in reflector. There are three flash patterns: zZz, zZzPOP! and Rock Steady. We got 40 hours of run time on rechargeable AAA batteries. This little piece of pop art is blindingly bright at its highest settings and looks equally great when clipped to a messenger bag or snapped onto a rack, fender or stay. Info: gretnabikes.com; ridepdw.com

Niterider MiNewt 350, $200, and Blackburn Flea USB+Solar, $40

When You Want Light Lights and a Bargain

The diminutive MiNewt weighs just 232 grams (headlamp and battery) yet throws an impressive 350 lumens. That's a lot of light for the money, with decent coverage forward and to each side, but this isn't one of those lights that will blind oncoming riders (or drivers). A run time of up to nine hours on low allows multiple rides between charges, and the built-in meter lets you know when it's time to plug in, so it's a good choice for commuting. The Flea rear light weighs a tiny 17 grams and, with a simple hook-and-loop strap and integrated hook, mounts just about anywhere on your body or bike. Four superbright red LEDs are powered by a lithium-ion battery that yields about five hours of run time on flash mode, and it recharges with an included small solar panel or through a computer's USB port. Like the MiNewt, its light-per-dollar ratio is high. Info: niterider.com; blackburndesign.com

Would you mountain bike at night?

Cateye SingleShot Headlamp, $100, and Cateye Reflex Auto Rear, $30

When Being Seen Is More Important Than Seeing

If you ride mostly on well-lit streets, the SingleShot's 1-watt, steady or flashing LED adds a little extra illumination to your view and helps make you visible from a distance. Cateye produces a lot of brightness from a lone watt, thanks to a clever lens design that directs all the light to the road instead of letting it splash and go to waste. The SingleShot mounts on the handlebar with a quick-release and recharges with a basic 120-volt plug-in adaptor. If you've ever finished a cold, wet ride in the dark focused solely on finding dry clothes and something warm to drink, you'll love the Reflex Auto taillight. With a combination of optic and motion sensors, it figures out when to turn itself on and off. There are five LEDs, powered by two AA batteries, with four flashing modes and one steady. The quick-release mount fits a rear rack or onto the seatpost. Info: www.cateye.com

Knog Boomer front and rear, $40

When You're On the Bike Path

As with most lights from this innovative and stylish Australian company, the Boomer's guts are encased in a stretchy silicone body available in six color choices. The integrated mounts are easy to use, and the lights stay secure on handlebar and seatpost. Both lights have four modes—constant, strobe flash, fast flash and random strobe—and are powered by two AA batteries. The front produces 50 lumens of clear, bright light and the 30-lumen rear light is red. Info: www.knog.com.au

Light & Motion VIS 360, $169

When You Want to Keep it Simple

This all-in-one helmet-mounted front and rear light system weighs just 130 grams and attaches with a simple quick-release strap. The front shoots 110 lumens down the road, and the four-lumen rear blinker also serves as the battery case. Rechargeable via USB, it runs two hours on high, five on low and has a flash mode that provides as many as 20 hours of illumination. Amber side lights provide the 360-degree visibility that gives this light its name. Info: lightandmotion.com

Nathans LED Cyclist's Vest, $30, and Trek Flare S Multipurpose LED, $8

When You Want Light Without a Light

Reflective vests are popular in Europe, and Nathans' version, which boosts visibility with a strip of LEDs running down the middle of the back, might fast-track the company's growth in the United States. The red LEDs have a steady and a flashing mode, and run on two CR2032 batteries (the flat, coin-size ones). The vest is constructed of breathable safety-yellow mesh, with adjustable straps for tuning the fit. (It's available in only one size.) The extended tail ensures that you can be seen easily even when you're hunched over riding in the drops. The vest also includes a waterproof, visible ID and emergency contact card. The Flare is a strip of red LEDs limited in versatility only by your imagination—strap it on your arm, your leg or over your dog's collar as you walk in the morning. In steady or flashing mode, it runs 45 hours on a single CR2032 battery. Info: nathansports.com; www.trekbikes.com

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