With various mounting options available for front and rear lights, knowing the best fit for your bike and riding style can be challenging.
This article discusses the different types of front and rear bike light mounting options available, how they work, and their pros and cons to help you decide which mounting option is best.
Front light mounting options
Handlebar mounting is a popular method of attaching bike lights to handlebars. This mounting type typically involves a bracket or clamp that attaches to the handlebars and holds the light in place.
Various handlebar mounting options are available, depending on the type of bike and light being used.
How handlebar mount works
All front bike lights have a bracket for a 27.2mm diameter handlebar, the most commonly used handlebar.
However, the proliferation of aero handlebars with a flat surface limits the front light choices. Most bike light manufacturers don’t provide a mount for aero handlebars.
Some brands, such as Exposure Lights and Lezyne, get around this by using a silicone band. Alternatively, consider 3D printing the bracket yourself, or get one from RaceWare Direct, which manufactures many 3D printed brackets.
A good and popular alternative is the GoPro mounting, discussed below.
Pros of handlebar mount
- Provides easy access to the light buttons
- Very secure and stable if properly mounted
Cons of handlebar mount
- Takes up space on the handlebars
- Doesn’t fit aero handlebars
Below bike computer (GoPro mount)
This type of mounting involves attaching a light to the underside of the bike computer using a specific mounting bracket or an adapter, commonly referred to as a GoPro mount.
It allows the rider to free up space on the handlebars or helmet, allowing them to use these areas for accessories such as a handlebar bag, smartphone, or bike bell.
How GoPro mount works
Some lights, such as the Garmin Varia UT800 come with a special bracket to fit into the GoPro mount. Others, such as the Exposure Lights, Nite Rider, and Light & Motion require the light to be mounted on a specially designed bracket before being mounted on the GoPro mount.
You can get around this by 3D printing the adapter yourself or purchasing it from retailers such as RaceWare Direct, which manufactures 3D-printed mounts compatible with most brands.
Pros of GoPro mount
- Provides a clean and minimalist solution for mounting a light
- Frees up space on the handlebars for other accessories
Cons of GoPro mount
- Adapters or brackets may not be widely available for all light models
- May be more difficult to access for turning on and off while riding
Helmet mounting is best suited for front lights as you can point them in different directions. They can be mounted with a strap or clip and easily removed when not in use.
Helmet-mounted lights may not be as widely available as handlebar-mounted lights. Brands such as Exposure Lights design their lights to be in a cylinder shape, suitable for both helmet and handlebar mounts.
How helmet mount works
Some lights come with a specific helmet mount for various helmet sizes and styles, while others may come with a separate mount that can be attached to the helmet using adhesive or zip ties.
One advantage of helmet mounting is that it allows the light to move with your head which can be useful when riding on technical trails.
A common concern is that helmet-mounted lights can be heavier and less comfortable than handlebar-mounted lights, particularly over longer rides. It’s also important to ensure that the light is securely attached to the helmet to avoid any risk of it coming loose or falling off during a ride.
For example, the Light & Motion Vis 360 Pro has a specific helmet mount for various helmet sizes and styles. Others, such as the Cygolite Metro Pro, come with a separate mount that can be attached to the helmet using adhesive or zip ties.
Pros of helmet mounting
- Allows the light to move with your head, which can be useful when riding on technical trails
- Frees up space on the handlebars for other accessories
- Easy to move between helmets
Cons of helmet mounting
- Heavy and strains the neck on longer rides
- Mounts may be sold separately, increasing the overall cost of the light
More on bike lights
Rear light mounting options
Seat post mount
The most common location for mounting a rear light is on the seat post, the vertical tube connecting the saddle to the frame. Many rear lights come with a bracket or rubber/plastic strap that can be attached to the seat post.
How seat post mounting works
You will need a light with a bracket or strap for seat post mounting. The bracket or strap will typically be adjustable, allowing it to fit different seat post sizes.
To attach the light, slide the bracket or strap onto the seat post and tighten it. Some brackets or straps may have a quick-release mechanism that makes it easy to remove the light when not in use.
Pros of seat post mounting
- Easily accessible for turning the light on and off
- Visible to other road users, especially if the light is mounted high on the post
- Many rear lights come with brackets or straps designed for seat post mounting
Cons of seat post mounting
- May be obscured by panniers or other gear if the rider is carrying a heavy load on a rear rack
- Light may be prone to shaking or bouncing on rough terrain, making it less stable
Mounting bike lights on clothing is a less common but still viable option. Clothing mounting involves a clip or strap that attaches the light to the clothing, such as a jacket, cycling jersey, or even a backpack.
How clothing mounting works
You will need a light with a clip or strap. The clip or strap will typically be adjustable, allowing it to fit different clothing or gear.
To attach the light, slide the clip or strap onto the clothing and tighten it. It’s worth noting that certain clips or straps may come with a quick-release mechanism, making it convenient to remove the light when it is not needed.
Pros of clothing mount
- Easily move the light from one piece of clothing to another
- Frees up space on the handlebars
- Provides additional visibility from various angles, increasing your visibility
Cons of clothing mount
- May not be as stable or secure as a bike-mounted light
- Harder to access the light buttons
Seat stay mount
The seat stay is the diagonal tube that connects the seat tube to the rear dropouts. Some rear lights can be mounted on the seat stay using a clamp or bracket.
How seat stay mount works
The standard bracket for the seat post will not work as the seat stay has a smaller diameter than a seat post. You will need a rear light with a rubber or silicone strap to overcome this.
One such example is the Cateye Rapid X3.
Pros of seat stay mount
- Frees up the seat post area for a larger saddle bag, especially if one is using a short seat post
Cons of seat stay mount
- May be less visible as the rear light is pointing upwards at a 45º angle
- Most rear lights cannot be mounted on the seat stay by design
Pannier rack mount
This is ideal for bicycles with a rear rack installed. The flat structure mounted on the back of the bike allows riders to carry cargo, such as panniers or bags.
If your bike has a rear rack, you can mount a rear light on the rack instead of the seat post.
How pannier rack mount works
You’ll need a rear light specially designed for rack mounting or one with a bracket or strap.
For example, the Cateye Reflect Rack and Knog Blinder Link.
Pros of pannier rack mount
- Provides an unobstructed view of the light to other road users, making it easily visible from behind the rider.
- Doesn’t take up space at the seat post, especially if one is using a short seat post
Cons of pannier rack mount
- Very limited rear light choices
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