I was out driving in the weekend, during the day, on a windy narrow road that I know cyclists like to use. I was very thankful to the one cyclist I came across as he had done a great job to make himself visible by attaching bike lights in a great way. He was riding during the day but he had two flashing rear lights that were vertically stacked. He had one mounted to the back of his helmet and the other to the back of his seatpost.
By doing such a great job attaching his bike lights I had an enjoyable experience sharing the road with him. He was enjoying his ride knowing that he had made himself as visible & safe as possible in a challenging environment. For more on riding with lights in different envirnoments see The Right Bike Light for your Riding Environment.
Attaching Bike Lights – Which Attachment System?
Let’s look at the different systems that can be used when attaching bike lights. What would work well for YOU?
Fixed Mount – 2 piece
- The bike light
- A mount that you permanently attach to your bike with a bike tool. The mounts are usually attached to the handlebars for the front bike light and the seat post for the rear light. This mount has a quick release system that allows you to attach & remove the bike light.
This type of mount and bike light is generally a cheaper light option and often quite large and bulky. This does mean that the mount is permanently attached to your bike and takes up some of that valuable handlebar space. As there is only one mount this bike light offers no flexibility to be shared between bikes and different users (eg. multiple members of the family). To ensure that these bike lights do not disappear, if you leave your bike unattended, it is important to remove the lights and carry them with you.
Fixed Mount – 1 piece
The bike light and the mount are all in one. This light is permanently fixed to the bike and the biggest benefit here is there is less of a requirement to remove the bike lights if you leave the bike unattended as someone is going to need a bike tool to remove these lights. Though the question you need to ask here is do I want my lights permanently attached to my bike?
A flexible mount system allows you to quickly and securely attach the bike light as and when you need to use your lights. This attachment system requires NO TOOLS meaning you can switch easily between bikes and between users. The light can be shared by all those in the family that may venture out in riding conditions that require them to be visible or to see where they are going. A flexible attachment offers you the ability to attach the light to a handlebar or seatpost as well as helmet, carrier, bag or clothing depending on the environment you are about to ride in. With multiple options of attachment this also provides you with the ability to vertically stack your lights. That is ride with 2 front lights or 2 rear lights, one higher than the other.
Flexible handlebar attachments clip on and off the handlebars as required.
Vertical Stacking of Rear Lights – Attached to a bag and the back of a carrier
Here are some thoughts and considerations to help you make decisions about attaching bike lights.
Where can you MOUNT your FRONT BIKE LIGHT
- Handle bars are a good urban commuting option to light the road directly in front of you. To attach a light to the handlebars you need space and to be able to clamp it shut without catching any brake or gear cables. Ideally you want to mount it as close to the centre as possible. You will need a light that will fit around the diameter of your handlebars. Handlebars generally have diameters of 25.4, 26 or 31.8mm.
- The Helmet is a good off-road front light riding option because the light will go where you look. If this is an option you want to consider then go for a light that is designed to attach to a helmet mount. Lights for off-road riding like mountain biking generally will attach to helmets and some lights like the Knog Blinder Road 250 front light come with the optional helmet mount. Flexible light attachments may offer the ability to attach anywhere on your helmet but this is dependant on the type of helmet you have…. To attach a light easily to the front or back of your helmet you need ventilation holes that are in the right place and not too wide apart. You need to make sure that the attachment does not affect the straps that are used to securely fit the helmet to the head.
Where can you MOUNT your REAR BIKE LIGHT
- The Seat Post is generally the best and the most obvious choice for attachment of a rear bike light. To attach a light to the seat post it needs to be able to fit around the diameter of your seat post. Seat post diameters are generally 27.2, 30.9 or 31.6mm. You will need space on the seatpost to fit the light. This could be an issue if you don’t have a lot of exposed seat post i.e. if you have short legs, prefer your seat to be low or you have a carrier and/or panniers that are in the way. You also need to be able to clamp it shut without catching any seat dropper cables (if you have a seat dropper). Remember the reason for the light is to be visible to others so be careful that the beam of the light is not obstructed by anything. For example; the top arch of your rear wheel or a seat post tool bag. Place the light on the seatpost where the beam of light will be most visible to others.
The following options for attaching a rear light can be used by themselves or are great used in combinations for rear vertical stacking – having 2 rear lights at different heights.
- Helmet – depending on the type of helmet you have…there are so many variations on the market. To attach a light easily to the back of your helmet you need a flexible attachment and ventilation holes. These ventilation holes need to be in the right place and not too wide apart. You need to make sure that the attachment does not affect the straps that are used to securely fit the helmet to the head.
- Bag – find a strap or loop at the top of your bag and using a small flexible attachment strap your rear light high on the back of the bag. Lightweight rear lights like the Frog Strobe rear and Blinder Mob rear and The Blinder R70 are ideal for this type of use.
- Clothing – some sports clothing/jackets may have a strap or loop that can offer an option for attachment
- Carrier – if you have a carrier the back of this may provide the best unobstructed view of your rear light
A flexible attachment mounted to the seatpost
An optional helmet mount- Blinder 250
A flexible attachment mounted to a bag
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