Four high-quality front lights that won’t break the bank

By Jeffrey Stern

A couple weeks ago we covered four great options for rear lights while riding late into the day and evening during summer adventures on your favorite backgrounds. Now that we have your tail covered, we want to make sure you can see everything in your path. There’s nothing worse than a flimsy, dim light with a short battery capacity.

In that light (pun intended), we went on the hunt for a few high-quality, USB rechargeable front lights to complete your cycling illumination package.

Featuring panels to emit light visible to motorists and other cyclists from the side, the Blackburn Central 200 front light is a powerful 200 lumen light in a small package. An LED charge indicator has four colors to let you know how much of the three hour (low mode) runtime you have remaining. A swivel mount allows for easy adjustment and the silicon attachment strap fits handlebars from 22-35mm and even doubles as a helmet attachment. The Central 200 comes in four different waterproof colors, weighs only 63 grams and will set you back $40.

BlackburnCentral200FrontLight

NiteRider is known for making powerful lights with wired battery packs allowing you to run a near spotlight beam for hours on end into the night. Their Swift 350 front light is one of actually a few exceptions to that norm, delivering reliable performance in a compact and economical bundle. This light from the night riding specialists boasts 350 lumens with five different flashing modes. In high mode, you can expect 1.5 hours of illumination, but in low mode (70 lumens) the battery is estimated to last 6.5 hours. The body of the light is made of fiberglass reinforced plastic that’s water/dust proof. It also features a unique walk mode with 21 hours of battery life, just in case you find your bike inoperable in the middle of the woods and you have to hoof it home – all for just $35.

NiteRiderSwift350FrontLight

If you’re looking to step your light game up a few notches for not much more of an investment, the Cygolite Dash 460 offers more lumens with 5 LEDs, a maximum 63-hour battery life (in quad LED flash mode) and eight separate beam modes to cover all types of scenarios in the dark or low light settings. The lithium ion-charged, powerful package is a bit heavier at 75 grams, but takes only three hours to fill up completely. Enhanced cycling optics help to widen and lengthen the lights beam ahead creating a bright path. For additional safety, the day lighting mode emits lightning-like flashes for high visibility even during the middle of the afternoon heat. In the low light, night setting mode, the Dash 460 will last an estimated and impressive nine hours at the cool price of $55.

CygoliteDash460FrontLight

Some of the most lumens in the sleekest packages are delivered by the San Luis Obispo, California-based Lezyne. Their Macro Drive 800XL light is the heaviest, but stoutest of the list for good reason. The CNC machined aluminum parts and body create a durable construction for 800 lumens of power from this high performance front cycling light. At max power in the overdrive mode, the ultrahigh LED lights will blast for 1 hour and 40 minutes while in the conservative femto mode the light lasts for a reported 63 hours. A robust silicone strap secures the Macro Drive 800XL easily in place over many types of handlebars. Choose from silver or black, both so stylish they might become your favorite bike accessory for $70.

Once you’re covered from front to rear with the lights of your choice, get out there this summer and ride more miles than you ever have before without fear of losing the sun’s rays!

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