World's Brightest Bike Lights  



World's brightest topics on this page include:
(Note that most images are available in small resolution only - see Media rights)


World's brightest bike lights   World's Brightest Bike Lights  


World's most powerful flashlight  World's Brightest Flashight


Santa with Xmas tree and World's brightest bike lights  Xmas tree on World's brightest bike
     (links to Xmas page)

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World's Brightest Bike Lights  2010
I ride a bike to work.
I ride a bike home at night on an unlit country road.
I use a 5 watt LED bike light which gives a feeble spot of light ahead of my bike.
So, I think to myself "what if I had a brighter light on my bike"
I think to myself "what if I had a really, really bright light on my bike"
Hey, I'm Tesladownunder,  "what if I had the world's brightest light on my bike"
What would it take?
I have experience with a huge 100W LED that is brighter than a cars headlights.
But that is simple to do and I have already done that almost as a joke.
But what extreme can I take this to?
Lets make a real project of this and give it a real budget - say $5000. it is, ladies and gentlemen; welcome to the Worlds Brightest Bike Lights.
How bright?  100,000 lumens. Remember that figure.


 Full size images to come pending media release.

Bike mock up
OK. Doesn't look like much.  A ladies bike with some tacked on stuff and a big round thing in the front. A preliminary idea of where things will go.

 World's brightest bike lights
Bike in sunlightBike with rear lights open

LEDBIKE 1st Light on Bike Bike beam on building in park Bike in a bubble

Green hand in front of lights


Lighting a lighthouse!  Here is ONE 100 W 6000 lumen LED focussed to a 5 degree beam. I will be using 15 of these in the front of the bike. Check out my 100W LED page.   The Bunbury lighthouse is on but you cant see it's beams easily in the photo from this angle. The 100W LED runs on three 1.3 AH, 12 V SLA batteries attached to the LED which is resting on on the wooden fence here. It is fan cooled and runs around 3 A 34 V via a 0.4 ohm resistor, if I recall.  This is 6000 lumens - remember the 100,000 lumen total figure.

Lighting a lighthouse in colours

Lighthouse - blue Lighthouse - green Lighthouse purple lighthouse red Lighthouse Light off Lighthouse white

So being a bit more festive, let's light the lighthouse in colours. The last photo is with lights on full with much shorter exposure.


First light Blue  First light rear red  First light rear white

First light for the rear lights (above). These are separate red, blue and green and are mostly decorative at a "mere" 300 W.  Shown here with blue (left), red plus blue (center) and red, blue and green (right).

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Front lights: 
    15 x 100 W LEDs (12 white, 1 red, 1 blue 1 green: all approx 6000 lumens)
    1500 W total
    90,000 lumens
    Beam 5 degrees
Rear lights:
    3 x 100W LEDs (1 red, 1 blue 1 green)
    300 W total
    18,000 lumens
    Beam 20 degrees
    18 x 100 W LEDs (12 white, 2 red, 2 blue 2 green)
    1800 W total
    108,000 lumens (range 82,000 - 115,000)  
ie approx 100,000 lumens total
    3 x 12 V deep cycle 33 AH batteries
Run time:
    est. 10 mins at 60 A 33 V                   

LED data from  Led-world2007 are limited and to my mind insufficient and at variance with other similar LEDs. The lumen question marks in the tables below are for the quoted lumens from similar LEDs from a different manufacturer which might be closer to the true values.

100 W Cold white LED





Luminous Intensity




Color Temperature




Forward Voltage




Forward Current




100 W Red LED

Luminous Intensity


6000 (? 3500)


Wave Length




Forward Voltage




Forward Current




100 W Green LED

Luminous Intensity


6000 (? 5000)


Wave Length




Forward Voltage




Forward Current




100 W Blue LED

Luminous Intensity


6000 (? 1200)


Wave Length




Forward Voltage




Forward Current




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 In designing this bike at this time I am taking advantage of two things.  Firstly, my experience with a single 100W LED last year (when they cost $500) and secondly that pricing of the 100 W LEDs have dropped to around US$100 which makes a multi - LED project feasible. So with some expense I can make a leading edge project with massive light output that was not possible only a few months ago.

First plans for bike lights  Bike Plans demos  

Some of my original concepts are shown above. Things have evolved a bit since.
Note that for static displays or media it will work better if it is not just a "one trick pony" but has other aspects of interest. So my primary goal is massive light output but in addition I want it to be a light that I can strobe, pulsate, dim, sync to music, or colourise to any colour at reduced power.

This is not meant to go on the road any more than a monster truck or an F1 racer is meant to go on the road. They are the expressions of the strongest and fastest extreme versions of the 4 wheel "car".
But we still enjoy watching them in their place.
These bike lights should never be shone at oncoming traffic. Nor the brake lights either. This is a display bike. I will have a very low power setting of a few watts that will suffice for road use and maybe a standard bike light set for emergencies.  So, this is definitely NOT a mountain bike setup. Apart from TV and print media, I envisage this being used in static displays, at bike shops and shows. I won't get many miles on the clock. It has 3 internal gears but is nothing like a proper bike to ride.
HID's/Xenons are a bit more efficient than the best LED's. They are also more compact and are much closer to a point source and can be focused tightly. So for that tight beam they would be great.
However, I don't have any special expertise with "glass" but do with 100 W LEDs so that seemed the natural way to go.

"Ohh really .... someone else claiming the biggest and best".
Well yes, but this here is the data.  My bike has 100,000 lumens.

Small LED flashlight


Bike lights LED


60 W household incandescent


34 W household fluorescent


70 W Halogen


Brightest custom bike lights I can find:


600 W high pressure sodium streetlight


This bike 1800W (total front 90,000 and rear 18,000)


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Bicycle: Electra, "Townie" ladies bike, cream AU$1300. Chosen by my wife. Ladies bike??? Big advantages of being able to step through and sit on the seat with feet flat on the ground to support the high center of gravity of the battery weight. The front tray is a big plus as well. No point in trying to make a heavily loaded racing bike or mountain bike I reckon. Old lady retro feel styling in cream. (I wanted the purple flowery one but my wife was firm).  It has 3 internal hub gears and back pedal brakes. And it has a bell...

Townie bike new  Amused cat 

Our cat and it's WTF expression on first ride of the new bike.  Cycle outfit is from my daily ride home on my "normal" bike.

Batteries: Three 35 AH Absorbed Power deep cycle batts . These are like car batteries but with better construction to allow greater discharging.  From the data sheet, these are good for 12.2 V 35 A dropping to 12.0 V at 12 mins. At 70 A, 11.8 V dropping to 11.7 A at 6 mins. Need 3 batteries to run 34 V at 52 A peak (1.8 kW) delivered to LEDs ie need to drop from (12.0 x 3=36) 36 V to 34 V. 2 V drop at 50 A is barely enough for heavy duty cabling and some big MOSFET's to do pulse width modulation (PWM).  This is all a bit on the edge and will call for some tricks.

Battery close up  Battery short circuit  Battery charger  

The left photo shows a battery close up, center photo shows shows what happens if you accidentally short circuit them while using a screwdriver to tighten a terminal and the right photo shows one of the three 2.7 A chargers.

Front LEDs
From eBay of course. Led-world2007  is the place I use.

100W LEDs x 11  Fans for front light 

I will use 11 x 100 W LEDs.  Rated at around 34 V (32 - 36 V) at 3.5 A (3.2 - 3.8 A) with luminous intensity 6000 - 6500 lumens from a 1.8 cm x 1.8 cm surface. Roughly 10 Watt light output by my calculations and hence have to lose the rest (90 - 110 W) as heat hence the decent fans.
In addition to the forward facing 11 white LEDs there will be 3 coloured LEDs (Red, green and blue all 100 W 6000 lumen) facing forward to a total of 14 LEDs facing forward ie 84,000 lumens. The 3 coloured LEDs in total will be white but will allow me to run them separately to generate any colour.
For info on white 100 W LEDs see 100W LED page about it. 

These will be cold white 9000 - 10,000 K colour temp like those annoying expensive blue Xenon car headlights.

The LED ballasting is a complicated issue.
While a switchmode buck convertor is ideal, there were cost and design considerations and a short timeframe.  Accordingly I have chosen to use a resistive ballast as is used with small LEDs.  Rather than a straight resistor, I have used 6 V 18+18 W globes as a combination ballast, current stabiliser and fuse all in one for each LED where it has to drop 6 V max. Globes are a non-linear resistor that has a very low resistance at startup when the filament is cold. Think about it: 3 amps almost constant current, no heatsinking problems. Anyhow, much better than a resistor. Now I just have to go and raid a lot of Kombie taillights... Actually sourced these from Delhi (6 V vintage motorcycle globes).
As an example, I recorded a peak current inrush of 6 A into my green LED today (rated 3.4 A) then settled nicely at 3.1 A using a 12 V 100 W globe which only glows to red heat. How ironic to use that as ballast for a 100 W LED!  Peak pulse rating for a 1/10 second pulse is 5 amps which is about 50% over continuous rating.

Light output at switch on is 5% greater Blue LED current at switch on

The left photo above shows the output of a photodetector taken at switch on of the white LEDs in the final array using a 6 V 18 W filament as ballast.  Note the 5% increased light output at switch on which tails off in the first 100 ms or so as the light globe ballasts heat up.  I had thought it might be greater. The right photo shows the current at switch on is almost 100% greater at 7 A reducing over the next 200 ms as the filament heats up. It suggests that I am running the LEDs (at least a single LED with a full battery charge), close to its maximum.

 Meters with power off 42.1V    Meters on 2682W  Power on 2004W 52.9A

Here are the current and voltages at switch on of all 18 LED's on the bike. Peak is 68.6 A (3.8 A per LED) which settles to 52.9 A (3 A per LED) 2.0 seconds later. Peak power is 2682 W settling to 2004 W.

Rear lights with globe ballast.  

The red LED uses both filaments of the 6V 18 W+18 W to drop 12 V, plus a 1.5 ohm 15 W resistor to drop a further 4 V, whereas the blue and green use one of the filaments only. I have a later option to switch in the second filament if the main voltage sags too much under load.

Here are some sources for 100 W LEDs and specs. Snowdragon.

Front Array initial construction  Front Array 2 layers construction  Front Array first light

The left photo above shows me starting the front array construction, center photo shows how the fans will sit and the right photo shows first light of a single 100 W LED. Note the weak 150 + 150 W shed lights.

Front view of Single R, G, B and white LEDs in front array  Rear view of single R, G, B and white LEDs in front array  First trial of partly assembled front array on bike

The left photo above shows the front array construction with red, green, blue and white LED's at low power. Center photo shows the rear view with the rats-nest of wiring becoming evident, and the right photo shows first light of the partial front array on the bike. "Only" drawing 700 W at this stage out of target 2000 W.

The rear control box which includes a 100 A keyswitch (1000 A peak) plus 6 switches for switching the rear lights (3 to control RBG independently plus one for road safe red stop light plus one for PWM dimming plus one spare). There are another 5 switches to control other 12-36 V functions as I might decide later. 

Control box rear  Control box rear underneath  Bile control panel left

So far only RGB switching basic capability at present.

Rear LEDs
Three coloured LEDs in the nominal 100 W and 6000 lumen range. If you believe the source data.  Or if you believe a similar 100 W LED manufacturer then red 88 W 3500 lumen, green 100 W 5000 lumen and blue 100 W 1200 lumen average. Bear in mind that lumens relate to the eyes sensitivity at that wavelength - greatest for yellow, least for blue.
These are facing backwards. ie approx 10,000 - 18,000 lumens to the rear as well. 
The colour gives capabilities of, for example, a red brake light or a flashing red and blue police light, or a smoothly colour changing light etc. This gives it more variety by far. And it gives crazy shadows.......

RGB and hand colors  Rear heatsinks and fans and one LED  Rear lights with lens

The red green and blue lights above left give really colourful shadows.  The basic LED mounted onto the heatsink is shown center and the effect of the lens shows the fine detail of the 1W 10 x 10 array of LEDs on the right.

Rear array in sunlight  Rear array 45 degrees  Rear array vertical

Above shows the mounted LED's in the rear array which can be tilted vertically (for the Xmas tree project).  The plastic toolbox is an excellent fit for the red, green and blue rear lights fans and optics. It is compact and I will be able to swivel it as well.

Rear array unwired  Rear array 9.3 A  

Above shows the as yet unwired rear array.  The center photo shows current of 9.3 A 37 V = 344 W. Love this clamp meter with 40 A DC scale - bought it especially for this project. Ballasting of the Blue and Green LEDs is via 6V 18 W globes. The Red LED runs a lower voltage so has 6 V 18 + 18 W plus a 1.5 ohm, 15 W resistor in series.

Tail light low power riding mode  

Above shows the low power (2 W) tail light riding mode with a normal tail light for comparison. Keeps it street legal (maybe).  You can see each of the 1 W LEDs in the array.

At the moment I have simple switching but my plans are for more electronic control.  I have a PIC driven MOSFET motor drive kit for 40 A at 24 V which I will adapt. to rate 70 A MOSFETS's x 4 in parallel are IRF1405's. 55 V 169 A. Peak voltage is a bit close but nothing much inductive here. The front RGB LEDs will be switched into the main PWM or onto an individual circuit.

LED Workbench   

Every man needs his shed...

Heatsinks and Fans
Each LED needs to dissipate about 90 W of heat, similar to a modern CPU in computer.  These fans and heatsinks are low weight but effective.  The bike uses 15 of these in front and 3 in the rear. Again from Led-world2007

Parcels of parts 

The 10 cm diam glass lenses need to be about 10 cm from the LED to focus to 5 degrees so you will lose some of the beam to side scatter.  Again from Led-world2007 .  I want a tight 5 degree beam in front and a wider beam in the rear.

Outrigger stand  LEDBIKE trailer

I made an outrigger stand in the left photo, as the inbuilt one would not handle the 33 kg battery weight so high up. I cut up a tri-bar set that I got for a few dollars from a tip years ago. These are extensions to the handlebar of a road or mountain bike out forward for a better racing position for triathletes in particular. Add a PVC conduit and these can provide a good support and can be flipped backwards out of the way when the bike is being ridden.  For trailer use a more solid setup was needed in the right photo.

Reminds me of the pun:        A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is "two tired". 

Bike Battery and control box 

Then I made a battery tray out of perforated angle iron and particle board. Simple and effective but quick. Downside is the centre of gravity is high but it is much more compact and unobtrusive than some other ideas I had.

First ride with batteries 

It handles like a tank but is still rideable. But don't I look stylish riding it! Don't forget that this is a show bike and not really for much road use.

Bike Cables 

Also able to do the heavy cabling to the front of the bike - needed as can't afford much voltage drop at all at 55 A+. Black cable had 85 mV and red cable 235 mV including switch ie a total of 0.3 V at full load.

Battery Test

Meters above, read 55 A, 33 V and water coolant 65 degrees C during a power test.  It took me a bit by surprise that the bucket of water reached almost 80 degrees C and I had to dash out to get more cooling water.  That's what 1800 W does.

Media rights will be through Barcroft Pacific Media.
There are two professional videos in HD with overlays, interviews etc available.
1 Worlds most powerful bike lights and Xmas tree
2 Worlds most powerful flashlight

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World's Brightest Flashlight  2010
Well this is really an offshoot of the bike project but will have more appeal to the non cyclist.  Using the front array of high powered LEDs to 90,000 lumens attached to a battery pack in a (sort of) flashlight body gives the "muscle" flashlight here.

Muscle torch

The front array of high powered LEDs of 90,000 lumens attached to a battery pack in a (sort of) flashlight body  gives the "muscle" flashlight here.
(This was empty - you won't pick it up easily at 57 kg when full with batteries included)

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First light at 400W   First light 200W handheld

LEDs at 2.5km LED (Green) at 2.5km

The three photos above are from my first distance shot. 2.5km along the straight stretch of Lillydale Rd out of Bunbury.
The left photo shows the 1/4 moon for brightness reference and a car heading down that stretch about 100m away. My son's car taillights are in the foreground.
The center photo shows the flashlight firing the white LED's 1200W from 2.5km. The moon has moved to be a bit obscured by trees (long wait for a car free period).
The right photo shows the green light alone to confirm the source.

Chris Russell (4HV admin) stated "And, just for fun, if TDU were to stand on a mountaintop and shine his flashlight at an observer far below, 10km away, on a clear night: 0.0701 lux, -11.1 apparent visual magnitude. That's brighter than a half-full moon, and given the beam profile, probably bright enough to start triggering alien abduction stories."

Now I want to try Bunbury to Busselton (up to 45k) but I will need to get a vantage point either end to allow it to get over earth curvature (3.6m drop). This pic of the comet shows a 35 km view to Busselton (horizon lights on left) to Cape Naturaliste lighthouse on right.

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Front lights: 
    15 x 100 W LEDs (12 white, 1 red, 1 blue 1 green: all approx 6000 lumens)
    1500 W total
    90,000 lumens
    Beam 5 degrees
    3 x 12 V deep cycle 33 AH batteries
Run time:
    est. 10 mins at 50 A 33 V             
Weight: 57 kg      

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This will have a total light output of 150 W (10% efficiency at 1500 W input). So like a 150 W laser unfocused to whatever beam size so a lot of total output. Sounds dangerous.
A single 10 W light output from a single 100 W electrical input LED focused at 5 degrees is perhaps 20 cm diam (= 0.04 m2) ,at 1m. i.e. 250 W/m2. Sunlight is 1000 W/m2 of which only 20 % is visible. ie 200 W/m2. It comes from a 1 degree source.
Hence at 1m, using back of an envelope figures you will see 11 large (5X) weak suns in a circle and a red, green and blue sun in the middle. You will blink and look away reflexively . You will not get an excessive dose as in a laser which will focus to a point and burn in a short time.
It should be fairly safe but still should not be used irresponsibly.

It is bright but not focused in a manner to cause damage.
I am much more concerned about my 40 mW Blu-ray laser as an eye risk.

It's easy to make a claim of being the "World's best" at anything and rather hard to refute particularly if there is no independent arbiter such as Guinness World Records, particularly if it has not appeared on the net. Of course, sometimes it's comparing apples and oranges. Like mine is not commercially useful, theirs is. Mine can't be focussed well, theirs can. Hence theirs will have higher peak intensity at a distance (candlepower) due to better focus. But mine has more total light output (lumens).

I have now applied to the Guinness World Records as world's most powerful flashlight.  However on further perusal, there is no online reference to any flashlight as being brightest or most powerful. Why might this be? I speculate that the "brightest" handheld light is going to be a laser with unrivalled intensity at 1 mile in a small spot. The beam divergence is so low that it will be hugely bright at a distance if looked at or measured.  So brightness at a distance is not really a good measure of what a flashlight is all about. What about total light output measured in lumens?  This is the best measure of light power output and is in common use, however, it is very hard to measure with a non uniform beam.  Sure it is easier with a source projecting evenly throughout 180 degrees but few light sources are like this. My 100,000 lm is the summation of LEDs derived from manufacturers information when the LEDs are driven to specification.

So what to do?

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Some construction shots.

Torch bin and tank Torch mock up 

Take one domestic kitchen bin with defunct automatic lid opener removed plus the top of a domestic rainwater tank. Presto!

World's brightest flashlight construction.  World's brightest flashlight construction of internal frame  World's brightest flashlightfirst light (Green)

World's brightest flashlight construction Red  World's brightest flashlight construction RGBW 400W 
Led Torch internal frame  Led Torch assembled.    



Bike Xmas tree 2010
 This tree for 2010 is powered by the World's brightest Bike lights.   Images to come after media release.



This page was last updated March 02, 2011