What to Consider when Buying a Bike and Bike Lights
Putting aside the numerous considerations to be made with regards to your whole cycling outfit (e.g. what type of bike lights do I need? What safety clothing should I invest in?) there is one simple question that needs to be asked. What is the main purpose of my bike? There are a vast range of bikes available on today’s market, varying in features and functions fit for a specific purpose, be it leisure, commuter travel, fitness or competition. Equally, there are many types of bike lights available, each suited to different circumstances. The urban commuter will require a different set of functions from their equipment than those who intend to cycle for pleasure on country lanes. So, first things first, what type of bike do you require?
Types of Bikes
If fitness or road competition are your goal, the road bike, or drop-handle racer, is a lightweight, aerodynamic design purpose built for speed, with thin tyres specifically made for use on tarmac. The BMX, which comes in a variety of styles itself, is geared towards leisure and competition. As a popular sport, BMX bikes come in designs constructed specifically for jumps, ramps and track racing. The highly popular mountain bike style, whilst used by many commuter cyclists, is more appropriate for off-road use, with its high grip tyres and front suspension. For most first time buyers, the mountain bike is a common choice. If what you have in mind, however, is an all purpose mode of transport, fit for both the work commute and those leisurely weekend rides, consider investing in a hybrid model. Combining the comfort and durability of the mountain bike with the lightweight design of the road bike, hybrids are the perfect choice for those looking for an all in one bike.
Types of Bike Lights
Having chosen your bike, you now need to consider your bike lights. Again, there is a huge availability of bike lights all fit for differing purposes. If you are a short haul commuter, rarely using your bike in the hours of darkness, the standard filament bulb light will probably meet your needs. These are the most basic models on the market, powered by ordinary batteries. LED’s and high power rechargeables come in a range of styles themselves, varying greatly in price. Some operate on integrated rechargeable batteries, others have detachable battery packs. LED’s are a common investment for the mid-heavy cyclist, but you should carefully consider their functionality. The brightness you require will depend upon the areas you most regularly cycle through (e.g. well lit urban streets or dark country lanes). This consideration will also affect your suited beam pattern. For the uninitiated, buying bike lights can seem like a minefield, so be sure to do your research.