Bombing around in the dark may seem like a mad thing to do, but night riding is great! Here's our rundown of the best mountain bike lights as rated by our expert panel of testers.

Technology has developed to the point where the best mountain bike lights are now as bright as most car headlights. Which means more speed, more control and more confidence when riding off-road at night.

We’ve picked handlebar lights, best mountain bike helmet lights and e-bike specific in various price categories. If you want to just focus on helmet lights, check out our guide to the best MTB helmet lights. You’ll probably also want to check out our best mountain bike jackets, best riding pants/trousers guides and of course the tried and tested best mud tyres guide for the ultimate winter set-up.

Best mountain bike lights: helmet mount

Superlight and totally faff-free, the Exposure Zenith is our top head unit.

1. Exposure Zenith MK2

Best mountain bike helmet light

Weight: 161g | Max lumens: 2,100 | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Bright
  • Sturdy
  • Fully programmable

Reasons to avoid:

  • Pricey (but worth it)
  • Mounting issues with some helmets

Unmistakably from the stable of highly-regarded light brand, Exposure, the Zenith MK2 gets a CNC-machined body housing both the lamp and the battery. The all-in-one unit attaches to a helmet with Exposure’s slick vent mount, which keeps things secure and low-profile to avoid getting caught on low-hanging branches. Most of the time it’s an excellent solution, but we have experienced issues with some helmets using a MIPs liner.

The Zenith MK2 is a bit more powerful than the Joystick or the Diablo, but the flipside is extra weight. On balance we think the extra 20g or so is worth shouldering as you get a bigger battery, which means a longer run time for any given power output. And toggling between modes is particularly simple on the Zenith because you can use Tap mode to knock the power up or down without searching for the button. There are loads of advantages with the Exposure Zenith, but the bottom line is that we could ride faster with this light than any other on test.

Read the full Exposure Zenith MK2 review

Exposure Diablo Mk14 light

The latest Exposure Diablo is brighter and lasts longer than the previous version, although it costs a bit more.

2. Exposure Diablo MK14

All-in-one convenience

Weight: 149g | Max lumens: 2,000 | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Fully customisable
  • Low-profile helmet mount
  • In-saddle, user-friendly, Tap technology

Reasons to avoid:

  • Run time is a little lacking
  • Fiddly set-up and somewhat clunky App

Smaller and lighter than the Zenith, the Exposure Diablo is another great off-road option. It shares a similar CNC-machined aluminium case, with the lamp and battery enclosed in the single unit. With no wires to route, or manage, it works a dream mounted to your helmet. Exposure’s through-vent mount is also light, low-profile, and simple, although it can struggle for space on some modern MIPs-lined helmets.  Fortunately you can also use a GoPro-style mount, which is something a lot of the latest helmets include as standard.

There are loads of modes, all etched into the light body so you don’t have to check the instructions every time you use it. Better still, you can use Tap mode to cycle through the modes by simply tapping the light while you’re riding along, saving you fumbling around for buttons. There’s also a remote that can be mounted to the bars, and an App you can access via your smartphone. A crisp, white beam and ample power as a secondary light makes the Diablo highly recommended for serious night riding.

Read our full test review of the Exposure Diablo MK12

Gloworm X2 Adventure Lightset

The Gloworm uses a separate battery and lamp, which has its pros and cons.

3. Gloworm X2 Adventure Lightset

Best value helmet light

Weight: 299g | Max lumens: 2,000 | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent value
  • Customisable
  • Remote control app

Reasons to avoid:

  • Battery life on full beam is low

If you’re happy to forgo the convenience of an all-in-one unit, and run a wired unit with separate battery pack, the advantages are potentially a longer run time and less weight on your head (but more on your back). Of these types, the Gloworm X2 Adventure is our pick of the crop. There’s a twin-LED lamp unit that’s made from CNC-machined alloy, and this is tethered to a two-cell battery.  similar in size and build to the Hope R4+, using a twin LED machined alloy head, but combined with a lighter and smaller two-cell battery. There are a couple of helmet mounts in the box, but the GoPro style option is definitely the more secure.

There’s ample power in full beam, but battery life isn’t great, so we’d power the light down to the 1,400 lumen setting to eek out the run time. Or customise your own power mode using the brand’s latest smartphone app. As the lamp unit runs a spot and a flood beam, if you’re planning on running it as a helmet light, we’d also recommend swapping the flood for another spot – there’s a spare in the box. Overall, the lamp unit does sit a little high, but the Gloworm X2 is a great package at a cracking price.

Read the full review of the Gloworm X2 Adventure Lightset

Sigma Buster 700

The Sigma Buster 700 shines bright for its performance and value.

4. Sigma Buster 700

Best helmet light under £50

Weight: 148g | Max lumens: 700 | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great value and good lens light

Reasons to avoid:

  • Modest battery life.

If you’re looking for a helmet light that costs less than £50, the Sigma Buster 700 is a great option. The lumen count sounds trifling, but out on the trail it has enough power and a sufficiently focused beam to light up the way ahead. Run time at full power is around 90 mins, which should be enough for most night rides, especially if you power it down (or turn it off) on the climbs.

We were impressed by the helmet mount – the flexible base deforms to the shape of your helmet. It sits a little high, but for the money the Sigma Buster 700 is a great way of getting into night riding without breaking the bank.

Read our full test review of the Sigma Buster 700

Best mountain bike lights: handlebar mount

Exposure Six Pack SYNC Mk 13 light

Exposure makes some of the best all-in-one MTB lights, and the Six Pack is no exception.

1. Exposure Six Pack Sync MK13

Best all-in-one handlebar light

Weight: 389g | Max lumens: 5,450 | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Lamp and battery in a single unit
  • Fully customisable
  • Superb optical clarity
  • Sturdy build quality

Reasons to avoid:

  • SYNC App needs work
  • It’s upper-end price wide
  • All the weight is on the handlebar

Best described as sunshine in a can, the Exposure Six Pack throws out over 5,000 lumens in a package about the size of a drinks can. Being all-in-one means no cables to attach or route along the tubes, and no unsightly velcro straps and battery packs mounted to the frame. The bar mount is also small and discreet, so you can happily leave it attached during the winter months without setting off any OCD.

There are loads of different settings, all etched into the body so you don’t have to remember a random sequence of button presses. There’s an app for tuning the modes and a run time display on the back. Using Reflex ++ mode lets the light automatically adjust output depending on your speed, which is great for maximising battery life on-the-fly. Packed with tech, durable, and boasting one of the best beam patterns out there, the Exposure Six-Pack gets our vote.

Read our full test review of the Exposure Six Pack Sync MK13

Magicshine Monteer 12000 light

The Magicshine Monteer 12000 is extremely bright in full power mode – actually too bright for tight woodland trails, but obviously you can turn it down.

2. Magicshine Monteer 12000

Best bar light for sheer brightness

Weight: 300g (light), 897g (battery) | Max lumens: 12,000 | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Light mode customisable using App
  • Incredible light output

Reasons to avoid:

  • Tool-free angle adjustment failed on our sample
  • Fussy remote mounting
  • Heavy battery
  • Do you really need this much power?

As the name suggests the Magicshine Monteer 12000 blasts out a staggering 12,000 lumens. That’s more than double the brightest car headlight. The good thing is that you can run the Monteer at a lower power setting and increase the run time.

In fact we’d recommend dropping down to around 3000 lumens in the trees as you get less glare and bounce back. The clamp is a hinged design, so you can attach it without moving the controls, and the fixing bolts are on the top so you can access them easily. You can adjust the angle of the lamp by loosening the small lever on one side – but unfortunately, this broke on our test sample. Ultimately this light is all about power. And as we said in the review “with the Monteer 12000, you can literally ride as hard and as fast at night as you do during the day”.

Read our full test review of the Magicshine Monteer 12000

RaveMen XR6000 light

The Ravemen XR6000 is good value and has a decent beam, but the burn time is a bit stingy.

3. Ravemen XR6000

Best value bar light

Weight: 240g (light), 385g (battery) | Max lumens: 6,000 | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Fast charging
  • Two fuel gauges
  • Easy-to-use remote switch
  • Excellent clamp system

Reasons to avoid:

  • Short Burn time on full power

We’ve tested Ravemen lights in the past and been underwhelmed by the power on offer. But this new light is a different proposition altogether. It has a separate light and battery pack with a claimed output of 6000 lumens – plenty enough for off-road use. The alloy lamp unit is sleek and comes with a secure mount that can be positioned centrally over the stem.

We like the fact that it comes with dual fuel gauges, and you can also use the battery to charge a phone, if you need a top up in the middle of nowhere. This beam is quite special in that it’s similar to a modern car headlight. There’s a spotlight that illuminates the distance, and a floodlight to pool around the foreground. But we needed to run all the LEDs to get sufficient light, and this reduced the run time to an hour. So you’ll need to be cautious with power management to make it last a two hour ride.

Read our full test review of the Ravemen XR6000

Lupine Wilma

The Lupine Wilma R7 is a quality product.

4. Lupine Wilma R7

Best for build quality

Weight: 383g | Max lumens: 3,200 | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Portable sunshine
  • Customisable
  • Versatile mounting
  • Excellent quality

Reasons to avoid:

  • You pay a premium
  • There are brighter lights now

The Lupine Wilma R7 impressed us enough when we tested it to earn a perfect 10/10 rating and a coveted Editor’s Choice badge. Helping it achieve this award is the superb build quality and the perfectly judged beam pattern. It’s stunningly bright but without causing any hotspots, glare, or harsh shadows.

Underlining the thought that has gone into the Wilma’s design is the included remote and comprehensive mounts. It’s also fully customisable in the app and dual fuel gauges and an audible alarm mean you’ll never unexpectedly run out of juice.

Read our full test review of the Lupine Wilma R 7

Exposure Flex MTB

The Exposure Flex MTB is a neat e-bike light, but the bar clamp might not gel with all stem designs. 

5. Exposure Flex MTB

Best e-bike-specific handlebar light

Weight: 100g | Max lumens: 3,200 | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Fantastically well made product
  • Reflex technology adjusts power automatically
  • Small and light

Reasons to avoid:

  • Expensive for just a lamp unit
  • We couldn’t centre the lamp unit over our Race Face stem

To make the Flex, Exposure has basically taken the front end of a Diablo, lopped off the back, and wired in a cable so that you can power it off your e-bike battery. That’s no bad thing seeing as the Diablo is one of our top helmet lights, with a crisp, white beam and low overall weight. The total amount of power you get depends on the voltage of your e-bike, but the Flex automatically adjusts this for you.

The Flex is well made and very discreet. You do have to buy an extra cable to run it on your e-bike, but that should set you back less than £15. However, the Flex comes as standard with Reflex technology, so you can let the light power up and down automatically depending on your speed. Which helps conserve battery.

Read our full test review of the Exposure Flex MTB

Ready to night ride

Ready to night ride

How we tested the best mountain bike lights

To put the lights through their paces we mapped out a 20-minute test loop with a long technical climb and long descent with some tech at the top and fast bridleway at the bottom and did repeat loops on a Whyte G-170. This mixed terrain allowed us to play around with the light’s built-in modes, toggling down to dimmer settings when riding slowly and up to full power for the descent and that final sprint.

Managing output in this way extends battery life, but we haven’t printed run times because they don’t always discharge at a constant rate. They’re also affected by things like temperature (and age) – on a cold night, your battery just won’t last as long.

We used the e-bike lights on a Bosch-equipped Whyte E-180 e-bike. For purposes of convenience we routed the lights externally, even though the optimum is to place the cable inside the frame.

The trails were our test bed

Lower power means less bounce-back in the trees

What to look out for in the best mountain bike lights

As the evenings draw in it might seam like opportunities for a mid-week blast are fading with the light, but night riding is not only a great way to extend your riding season; it’s brilliant fun too. Blasting around the woods at night brings new life to familiar trails, sharpens your skills and hones your fitness. And it’s a good excuse to get warmed up with a pint in the local pub afterwards.

To get the best experience possible, a good set of lights is essential. Fortunately there’s a vast array of options on the market at a range of price points to suit most budgets. Once you’ve decided how much you’re going to spend, the next decision to make is whether to run one big powerful light or spread your output between a helmet light and a bar light.

When you’re out on the moors you want all the light you can get

The latter are going to be more versatile, but it’s important to match the brightness and run times of the two lights, and a lot depends on the type of terrain you’re riding – for example, you can easily use a single bar-mounted light with about 1,500 lumens if you’re riding big wide gravel roads. If you’re ducking off into the trees and riding harder and faster on technical singletrack, we’d advise doubling the output or adding that secondary helmet-mounted light.

Splitting the light between your bar and helmet is always a good idea because the low-mounted bar light creates shadows and texture, allowing you to read the trail, while the high helmet light allows you to scan for obstacles, illuminate around turns and see what you’re doing off the bike.

How the lights are packaged is also important – there are two basic set-ups. Integrated systems, where the battery and lamp are contained in a single unit, and two- piece systems, where you have a lamp unit and a separate battery, connected via a cable.

Either type can be mounted on the bar or helmet but obviously using a two-piece system up top does mean you’ll have a cable running down the back of your helmet.

Light and Motion Seca Enduro beam

We add photos of all the beam patterns so you can compare and contrast relative light output.


Lumen is a measurement of light output – the higher the number the brighter the light. Some manufacturers quote measured lumens, which is a truer reflection of the actual light output.

Most lights also have several settings (high, low, medium beam), but also a secondary mode with lower or different options – these are often accessed when you turn the light on. Some lights are also programmable using an app or via sequencing built into the On switch.

best mountain bike lights

A powerful light on your bars combined with a decent light on your helmet is the ideal combo

Helmet mounting

Some bar lights can be attached to a helmet mount, which is usually plastic and held in place with two Velcro straps that loop through the vents. There are also dedicated helmet lights using a similar system, and some manufacturers, like Exposure and Knog, employ a clamp that bolts through a single vent.

Bar mounting

Rubber straps are convenient but can stretch and tear over time

Bar mounting

An O-ring is the easiest attachment because it can be removed quickly, expands to accommodate different diameter bars, including 35mm, and the lamp can be angled up or down easily.

Clamp-on mounts (aluminium or plastic) are better for heavy lights because they’re more secure. Most are 35mm with optional shims for 31.8mm bars, although some are size specific.

Fuel guage

A fuel gauge is handy for checking battery life

Fuel gauge

A fuel gauge is essential for showing remaining power. The simplest are just flashing LEDs (green for good, red for bad) but some of the best use a read-out or percentage countdown displayed on the back of the light.

Getting set up before dark is a good idea; better still is Lupine’s clever app


With the controls at your fingertips, you don’t have to reach up to toggle the light on or off and you’re also more likely to use the different power levels and preserve battery life.

Cable management can be a nightmare with some lights.


The most versatile option is to have a short cable to which you can add an extension. Use the short cable when the light is on the bar and battery is on top tube, and then plug in a longer extension when running the light on a helmet/backpack.

How we tested the lights

We shot the beam patterns of all the lights tested, so you can compare power and spread

Beam pattern

We’ve included pictures of all the beam patterns in each of the specific in-depth reviews. to show what the light looks like on the trail. Click through to those if you want to see how they compare. Ideally you want soft transitions and edges and a pool around the front wheel for picking your way through technical terrain. If there are hot spots, or hard edges to the beam, these can be distracting, making it more difficult to use peripheral vision when riding.

E-bike lights

Using your e-bike’s battery to power your lights increases run-time and can save the weight of an extra battery, but does involve routing cables

E-bike specific lights

If you just ride an e-bike, it makes a lot of sense to buy a dedicated light, because the battery in your e-bike is typically 10 times more powerful than the one used to power a bike light. Also, most motors have a built-in port or extra connector, where you can plug a light straight in.

You may need to activate the software, so the bike recognises the light, but an approved dealer can do that for you in about five minutes.

Easy connection straight to your bike’s motor

Easy connection straight to your bike’s motor

However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind before taking the plunge. Some lights are not compatible with older e-bikes, and this is because they run on a different voltage. And if they do work, they’re likely to run at a reduced output.

Primed and ready to trail blaze

Primed and ready to trail blaze

The other thing to be aware of when running a light is that it will reduce the run time of your bike, anywhere between 4% and 10%. This is because e-bike lights are covered by an EU directive that requires the bike to have a certain amount of residual charge for emergencies.

Obviously, we’re not in the EU anymore, but e-bikes may come into the UK configured this way and it may also come with the light functionality turned off. That’s something a manufacturer may choose to do when it’s building the bike, although we’ve been told it can be reactivated for certain brands. Also, if an electrical product is modified beyond a certain level it no longer complies to EMC testing, which has implications for your warranty.

Our advice is to always check with the bike manufacturer before purchasing an e-bike light to see if it’s compatible, and if there are any issues regarding your warranty. We’d also check light compatibility – most light manufacturers have a chart on their website.