Monday, December 14, 2015

Bontrager Flare RT Bike Tail Light Review

Hey hey, how was your weekend? Did you get a long run or ride in? Maybe both? I did a short-ish ride Saturday of about 20 miles, with a ladies only group. Sometimes these rides are good learning experiences, I get to learn things about bikes and routes and what's going on in the local cycling community. It was a good ride. I think I've decided  to switch my run and ride days when I can though. It's tough to have a good, long run the day after a ride and since running is my focus right now, I need to put it first. I was still able to get my long run in Sunday morning at the beautiful Miccosukee Greenway, but my legs felt spent pretty early on. I actually took in two gels, which I've never had to do before.


The Review


Back to my bike ride though. I used my Bontrager Flare RT tail light again on this ride, I really like this little bugger. It's really marketed as a daytime light, which is great. I don't really ride in the dark, at least not on purpose. Most of the time I just want to be noticed during the day and sometimes I'm out as it starts to get dark in the evenings. This light definitely gets you noticed. When I first turned it on, I was surprised at how bright it was (it's 65 lumens). It has 4 modes: high brightness strobe, low strobe, high always on, low always on. Actually, to be technical, it has a fifth mode; when the battery gets low, it will do a lower power strobe to give you time to get home before it dies. I like how you can cycle through the modes on this light. You simply press the button on top to cycle and it doesn't turn off while going through them, instead you hold the same button down to turn it off and when you turn it back on it's in the same mode you last used. I love that I don't have to cycle back through to get to the mode I want. I mainly leave it on full strobe.






The Flare RT is an ANT+ enabled bike light that has 3 ways of attaching to your bike, or whatever else you may attach it too. It has your basic stem/bar mount, that screws on and comes with several rubber spacers. It has a more heavy-duty feeling adjustable, rubber mount that stretches around your stem and can allow you to rotate the light. The third mount, I though would be really useful but have found it the least so because I don't trust it. It's a plastic and metal clip that allows you to attach the light to pretty much anything you can clip it on to. This is the first mount that I used when I got the light, I attached it to the bike trailer that I pull my kids in by clipping it to the fabric back of the trailer. We went for a ride of 10 miles or so and when we got back home the light was gone. I was pretty upset (like crying upset, not angry upset).

This is the low mode because taking a photo of the full brightness would pretty much blind me

The kids were tired of riding and much to their dismay I had to put them in the car and drive around looking for the light. I found it less than a mile from my house, which means it fell off less than a mile from my house. Very disappointing. Fortunately, it just had one little scrape on it and it was still blinking, lying in the edge of the road, which really helped me find it. I haven't used that mount since. I used the adjustable rubber mount and attach it to my stem.

Back view
Now, if you've checked out Bontrager's lights before, you've noticed that there is a Flare R and a Flare RT, the difference is that the RT version works with their remote "Transmitr". This allows you to control the light (and others you may have) with a remote that you can buy separately. I don't have the remote, so I can't give any feedback on using the system. If you have two of these lights, you can also use them as turn signals which is pretty cool. I wish that the Flare RT could be controlled through the Bontrager Trip 300 bike computer, which I also have.

The light is usb chargeable and the battery life is amazing, up to 23 hours (on the brighter, "day flashing" mode it's 5.75 hours). I've only charged mine a few times since I got it, when it doesn't need a charge I can just leave it on my bike and not worry about forgetting it on my next ride. Price wise, at $79.99, the Flare RT is comparable to similar rear lights. However, many remote rear lights come with the remote, whereas with the Flare RT, the Transmitr is a seperate $70 purchase. Those lights are not Bontrager though and don't have their guarantee and lifetime warranty. If you don't need the remote control capability, you can opt for the non Transmitr version, the Flare R, and save $20.

 

Summary

Bontrager's Flare RT bike tail light is a surprisingly bright day time option that will get you noticed by cars. The price is what is to be expected for the quality of Bontrager products. Max battery life is excellent as well as having a feature to conserve battery once it gets to 5%. The four modes and turn signal capability provide all of the functions you may need from a tail light. Three included mounts provide numerous options, though I've found the clip to not be secure enough for me to trust it. I'm happy to say though, that the clip is the only negative I have to point out about this product.


Now I just need a matching headlight!

This Bontrager light was provided to me free of charge, that has not affected my opinion on the product and all words and opinions are my own.

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