Thursday , 14 December 2017

Latest News

TESTED: BONTRAGER FLARE R / ION R LIGHTS

Lights are an important safety feature, not just to see but to be seen. Sadly the ‘be seen’ part is something that’s becoming more important in today’s world with inattentive and/or careless drivers. The reality is that as much as we like to imagine ourselves cloaked in outdoors bliss, we often use public roads – tarred and untarred – to access trails.

Also, if you’re a regular lone wolf on the trails, it’s always a good idea to at least have one light that can help any would-be rescuers find you (touch wood) if you fall and there’s cause for a search and rescue.

We’ve run a few in-depth reviews on lighting in the past, including measuring of claimed lumen strength and luminance. This was geared more around lights for trail riding though, but it gave us great insight into what makes a good light. When Bontrager sent us their Flare R and Ion R lights though, their emphasis was on the ‘be seen’ aspect (ABC).

With that in mind, we spent over a month with both the Flare R and Ion R on a mix of trail, various roads and light conditions. As a combo, both lights use CREE Leds, focussed optics and have a waterproof rating of IPV6. The rating covers exposure to solids and fluids. We didn’t really have any wet riding conditions during the test, so we left both lights on when washing the bikes as well submerging them in a sink for a bit, they lasted and still performed throughout the test period.

The mounting brackets can be interchanged between the two as well, in case one breaks or is lost. If you really want to go all out, Bontrager has a full range of integrated mounts called Blendr which accommodate a full range of lighting/accessories, as well as a wireless transmittor bundle (Transmitr) that can control upto 7 lights remotely, to the extent that lights could be configured to be operated as indicators. Impressive.

ION 700/800R – FRONT LIGHT

 

We were sent the 700R, although the 800R is the model currently available. The only difference is the claimed lumen rating at 700 versus 800 lumen. All functionality is identical.
There are five modes; high, medium, low, night flash and day flash. The various modes last from 1.5 hours to 6 hours for ‘on’ use while the two flash options last up to 20 hours.
We predominately used the medium light and day flash mode on most rides, from dark through to fading and full daytime light.

We found that on average 2-3 hour rides we’d get three rides, at a push four rides, before needing to recharge. A full charge takes approxiamately 6 hours and uses the universal micro USB (cable supplied).

What stands out?

Solid alloy construction and feel as well as clean compact design and finish. A firm/solid USB closure protecting the USB connection from moisture. The shape also means the light can be handled easily or set down without rolling off any surfaces.

What we like:

Ease of installation with a rubber mount that is also adjustable. The spread of light is even and without distortion along the trail, whilst the high beam is focussed enough to judge objects in the distance along the trail as well as general riding.

A definite plus was the extra security during daylight rides, most evident with traffic that would be turning out from a side road or filter lane.
We left the light on during the day on a stretch of road and can definitely say that both the strobe and high beam were plenty visible from over 200m away without being blinding.

What we don’t like:

Button can be difficult to use with full finger gloves while rotating through the different light modes. The rubber sync bracket tends to move over very rough terrain. Lack of a helmet mount. 

 

VERDICT

Who should buy this product & why?

Riders looking for a reliable, simple and long-term light setup that can be used for commutes or trail rides.

Value for money?

Given the guarantee and build quality, this is a light that will probably last a lot longer than many cheaper brands.

SPEC SUMMARY

Colour: White

Price: R1799

Contact/Spec: Bontrager Ion R Bicycle Light

TREAD score: 8/10

 

FLARE R – REAR LIGHT

 

With the Flare R at a claimed 65 lumen there are five modes; day flash, all-day flash, night flash, day steady and night steady. The various modes last from 4.5/10 hours on day modes to 23 hours on night modes.
We predominately used the medium light and day flash and night flash modes on most rides, from dark through to fading and full daytime light.

We found that on average on 2-3 hour rides, we’d get three rides, at a push four rides, before needing to recharge. A full charge takes approxiamately 2.5 hours and uses the universal micro USB (cable supplied).

What stands out?

The Flare R itself! It stood out a mile away, or more accurately, 2km away! It’s well made and compact with rubberised edges. The translucent shell shows the circuit board inside. While we used the night flash on some points of a ride, it was to save battery life and also not to blind anyone during group rides. If on our own though we’d tend to use the day flash mode even at night.
Our perception was that it made a difference in the width given to us by most cars when passing. Ironically, some of the tightest gaps offered were SUVs with a ‘stay wider of the rider sticker’
That aside, we definitely felt more visible and, by default, safer.

What we like:

Clean compact and rugged build quality. The button is easy to access and use, even with full finger gloves. The quick-connect bracket allowed us to quickly and easily swop the Flare R between different bikes. The battery-save mode is also welcome feature if your light has used up charge and automatically kicks in at 5% on a lower mode.

What we don’t like:

The plastic housing isn’t as rugged as the Bontrager Ion’s solid alloy construction, although it is in more protected space on the bike at the rear. We’re also not sure about the closure for the USB port, it’s not as solid as on the Ion and could wear over time to allow water ingress. Keeping that in mind we didn’t experience any issues and it is IP46 rated.

 

VERDICT

Who should buy this product & why?

Riders looking for a reliable, simple and long term-light setup that can be used for commutes or trail rides that can be switched between bikes.

Value for money?

Given the guarantee and build quality, this is a light that will probably last a lot longer than many cheaper brands and ease of use.

As both a single light or combo, the Ion and Flare may seem pricey compared to other compact lights, but they pack many more features and carry one of the best guaranteess in the industry

To put it into perspective, you’d spend more on high-vis clothing for all conditions than you would on a decent light setup that’s equally effective.

SPEC SUMMARY

Colour: Black with red detail

Price: R849

Contact/Spec: Bontrager Flare R Tail Light 

TREAD score: 8/10

We filmed a short video on an access road in a trail park, Central Park MTB Modderfontein. A typical midday in winter with dappled light;

 

All rights reserved.

TESTED: BONTRAGER FLARE R / ION R LIGHTS Reviewed by on . Lights are an important safety feature, not just to see but to be seen. Sadly the ‘be seen’ part is something that’s becoming more important in today’s world wi Lights are an important safety feature, not just to see but to be seen. Sadly the ‘be seen’ part is something that’s becoming more important in today’s world wi Rating: 0

scroll to top