Infini Metis 1-465R USB Rechargeable Rear Light
The Infini Metis 1-465R USB Rechargeable Rear Light is a five-mode model, producing a maximum of 80 lumens and a highly effective braking function. However, while it stops short of being anti-social at close quarters, the Metis is better suited to solo bikes and long, steady miles along dark roads, rather than built up areas.
Pros: Bright, good run times, auto kick down, effective braking function, 2-year limited warranty inspires confidence.
Cons: Bike mount good, rather than great, peripheral presence and output not ideal for built up areas.
Behind the lens we have a single SMD (Surface Mounted Diode) and 16 COB (Chips on Board) diodes, which on paper at least, supplies the best blend of focused and flood illumination. These are powered by a 220mAh lithium polymer cell.
A quick word about the braking function. Infini are one of the few that describe theirs as an accelerometer- motion sensing part, which is essentially a slowing sensor, rather than a “brake light” as typically understood when talking of motorcycles and cars for example. These engage when other components physically collide, switching the light on/off.
The sensor calculates when the bike/rider is slowing and triggers the “braking” light. Some are more readily triggered than others, so it affects run times, depending on riding style and gradients. Infini employs a 3 Axis model, which calculates acceleration along three axis points-forward and back, left and right, up and down. Less exciting is the IPX4 weatherproofing rating- rain in real terms. However, the micro-USB port plug fits very snugly, and I’ve not had any issues over the past 6 weeks and 600 miles.
Modes & Switch 3.5/5
We have a refreshingly restrained 5. 6 if we’re counting the smart mode, which detects ambient light and adjusts output accordingly. Two steady (40 and 80 lumens respectively) and three flashing- two (including the daylight flash) pack 80 lumens, the other a similarly punchy 40 lumens. The top mounted switch is a little firmer than some, and none the worse for it. Easily to find and use in gloved hands and in the dark. Standard MO. A sustained 1.5 second press powers up/down and subsequent prods cruise through the modes and there’s a handy memory function, too - intuitive really.
The Low beam (steady) is 40 lumens, with a claimed run time of 3 hours, high (80 lumens and 1.5 hours), flashing 1 is also 80 lumens, with a claimed run time of 4 hours, flashing 2 is 40 lumens (28 hours claimed), daytime flash is also 80 lumens (18hours cited), Smart mode is 10 lumens and reckoned good for 3-20 hours. In addition, we have standby, auto shut off and motion alert functions, which add to the tune-ability and great news, if you’re forgetful.
There are two - post/bike and a nicely executed clothing clip.
The bike mount is designed to embrace seat posts between 25.4 and 31.8mm diameters.
The bike mount’s composites feel slightly lower rent than some but in practice, it’s proven reliable, and the rubber strap is by contrast, better than I’ve come to expect. The clothing clip is also reassuringly solid and provides limpet like tenure luggage, jersey pockets etc. To date I’ve had no issues - even when belting through unmade roads and moderate bridlepath. However, releasing light from clip was a little counter intuitive, the first few times.
Run/Charge Times 3.5/5
The Metis refuels from a laptop in approximately three hours, using the short but adequate OEM cable. A little, side-mounted charge light blinks away to denote charging and low battery.
From the mains, 2hrs 40. Continuing this theme, I wasn’t surprised to discover ours delivered within a few minutes of quoted run times. At 10% the auto kick-down, defaults to low flashing, or steady. this seems reliable enough and has bought around 25minutes limp-home time.
Output in all modes is very impressive and while I’ve defaulted to the flashing options, given their blend of frugality and presence, the steady is also very practical and, aside from the smart setting, the lower is practical for built up areas. 100-125 metres seems to be the consensus amongst other riders following me along the outskirts of town. This dipped to around 75 metres through slower moving traffic. Peripheral prowess is helped by the output but in some respects, less captivating at roundabouts and other scenarios where I was entering the flow of traffic.
Beyond city limits, approaching riders and indeed, the odd friendly trucker reckoned they could spot the beam from 170 metres, 200 on a clear night. Duble this-loosely with its 80 lumen high sibling-again a bit fierce through town but not to the point of being aggressive, as a flashing, or pulsing setting of similar power would. It has been deployed (and a godsend) on some very murky mornings.
No issues with falling of anyone’s radar- busses and HGVs included. The braking function is also 80 lumens, so I’d be inclined to toggle down to the 40lumen constant, in built up areas. Again, whether other traffic realises its engagement says you are slowing down is up for debate, but anecdotally, approaching vehicles seemed to hold back a metre or so more than otherwise.
Accelerators in bicycle lights have been gradually improving and while I’d never describe it as seamless, it seems to dis-engage more crisply than others. A drop in pace by around 3.5mph seems to trigger it and accelerating by the same speed kicks it off. Flashing 1 is also 80 lumens and arguably overkill for all but the darkest lanes.
Indeed, its bright enough to pass as a daylight running mode and the strobing pace is the only thing superficially distinguishing them. Along unlit country lanes, a trucker and a couple of approaching riders said they could pick the light out at around 300 metres- that was on a cloudy, overcast night, this dipped to 220 on a misty morning- a context where I was grateful for the extra punch.
One of the few contexts I’d clip the Metis to a jacket, or jersey pocket. On the rare occasions I’ve run flashing 1 during the day, other riders reckoned they could pick it out at around 350 metres, 400 when it was dull and overcast.
Great for solo missions but unless you’re permanently hanging off the back, likely to inflame tempers on a group ride. Flashing 2 (describe tempo) is 40 lumens and strikes the best balance of output and economy. Feeback suggests its visible to around 250 metres on a clear night, dipping to 200, maybe 180 on a murky night. Great for faster sections of road, too.
The smart mode is quite clever and once I’d given it a few trial-and-error runs for accuracy, I risked on a few town-orientated rides. Reckoned to be 10 lumens, it seems brighter and has proved consistently accurate, so arguably the most practical option for group and urban contexts, save perhaps for the low steady. Finally, the daylight flashing mode’s tempo and output is very effective- approximately 400 metres when it’s been overcast, 250 in strong autumnal sunlight, according to friends.
As we’re always saying, IPX4 might not set pulses racing but all things being equal, perfectly adequate for road duties. I’ve had no issues traversing seriously wet, dung strewn lanes and battling some savage autumnal downpours. No water or ingress has crept inside either, although as with other lights conforming to IPX3 or 4, a quick squirt of WD40, or Motorex Joker 440 following extended journeys through monsoon conditions chases out any wet, damp and potentially ruinous stuff. That aside, keeping the battery charged and not habitually depleting it will serve you well.
£34.99 is a strong, arguably mid-point these days and while I’d say the Metis is well worth a closer look, there are a few serious competitors. If Uber Lumens are your thing and you can cope with a relatively big light, Lelumia The Beast boasts 150 lumens, daylight flashing mode and generous run times. I’m still very fond of ours and it’s an excellent choice for trailers and tag alongs, too. However, at 88g and with a minimum output of 65lumens, it could be a little too fierce for some.
Cat Eye Viz 100 Rear Light is another very capable model for most riding contexts. In common with some others, the 100lumen refers to the “hyperflash” (daylight running mode). It sips reserves in the 10- lumen flashing mode (which is also a bit brighter than numbers would imply) and has an auto kick down “bail out” for when the battery runs low. There’s also a 35 lumen “group ride” pulsing mode - all for £24.99. I’ve not been completely sold on the bike mount. Like the Metis, its reliable but could be better designed.
Magicshine See Me200 (£38.99) delivers a wide range of modes to suit conditions. 200 lumens refers to the braking function but there is a main and tracer light, three steady modes (140, 70 and 30 lumens), three flashing (all 140 lumens) and there’s also a smart function that decides output, ranging from 10 to 140 lumens. It’s a little cheaper than the Metis too at £33.95 and conforms to IPX6 for weatherproofing. Ravemen TR50 (rrp £39.99) packs a maximum of 50 lumens and has modes catering for most contexts, a potent, yet super frugal rapid flash and quick charge times. However, no braking function and peripheral punch could be improved, ditto the bike mounting kit.
The Infini Metis is a capable compact light better suited to solo bikes and darker roads first, town and around second. If this is your riding environment, then it's worth a closer look. The smart mode allows greater tunability than some favourites, too which is good news if your commute, or training rides cover the full spectrum of contexts, and the braking function isn’t overly sensitive either, ensuring less impact upon run times than some I’m still very fond of.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Competent rear light for darker roads with useful modes and a decent braking function.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2022