Just about every year I buy a bike light, mainly because technology keeps getting better. Today’s LED lights offer the best lighting ever.
Three technologies account for the improvement: better batteries (lithium ion), power management ICs (mostly analog) and light emitting diodes (LEDs).
The ICs have been shrunk to incredibly small sizes (2mm x 2mm) and they have plenty of intelligence, allowing various light settings (high, medium low), flashing, etc.
Lithium-ion batteries have been around a while, but it’s only recently they’ve become common in bike lights. I’m impressed with the advances over just the past three years.
Most cyclists will go with a traditional bike light. It has the mounting equipment and that’s huge.
However, I opted for a flashlight and rubber band for handlebar mounting. After a couple of months use, I like my choice. It’s an incredibly small light, but puts out 548 lumens and the rechargeable Li-ion battery lasts at least a week of daily use (about 40 minutes a day). It can flash and has a half-dozen different light settings.
The brand is EagleTac, model D25LC2 Clicky, and sells for about $62. An equivalent bike light, such as NiteRider Lumina 550, sells for about $82 online. The difference is that you get the bike mount hardware. If you’re using rechargeable batteries, be sure to charge them at least once a month, otherwise they’ll lose their ability to recharge.
MTBR has an extensive 2014 light comparison on its website.