SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
OXFORD ULTRATORCH R50 SLIMLINE REAR LIGHT
The Oxford Ultratorch R50 Slimline LED Rear light; is a versatile and powerful, eight mode model, offering much bang for modest buck.
Each setting is relevant to a riding context, and run times are similarly sensible. Good enough that I’d choose it, over some commanding twice the R50’s asking price. That said; there are better options for tagalongs and trailers.
Pros: Excellent Output and comprehensive settings, decent build quality.
Cons: Best for solo bikes, sturdier rubber strap would be welcomed.
The R50 and F100 (link) share a fair bit of common technology. An ABS plastic lens, COB technology and 16 diodes, all powered by a 3.7v 500mAh lithium polymer cell. This charges surprise, surprise, from the ubiquitous micro USB cable. Not that refuelling should be a frequent occurrence for most riders, judging by our test period.
As I said in my opening paragraph, there are eight in total. Steady translates as High constant (50 lumens), medium constant (25 lumens) Low constant (13 lumens) Eco Constant (7 lumens). Flashing is much the same deal. Slow flash (low beam=13 lumens) Slow flash medium (25 lumens) Slow flash high beam (50lumens) and finally quick flash medium beam (25lumens).
Aside from the most potent flashing options, these are assertive, rather than aggressive, which is a consideration if your rides take in a mixture of environments.
The memory function is no less than I’d expect with this much choice, but very welcome, just the same. The half crescent switch is easily located and commanded, even in winter weight gloves and without feeling vague.
Charging & Run times
Bargain on 2 hours, from the mains, add another 20minutes, if its supping from a laptop/tablet, or similar third-party device. Run times for most lights, have close affinity to those cited these days, as battery technology has trickled downward.
In keeping with its more potent front sibling, times have been accurate, to within a few minutes. A cold (sub-zero) snap might put a dent in this, but with the mercury weaving between 15 and 3 degrees, give or take literally minutes. Only the most pedantic will grumble at that.
The lens forms a monocoque bracket, which the rubber band type strap wraps around. Credit where due, its ultra-convenient and coupled with the rubber “foot” provides a vice-like grip most diameters of tubing from round seat posts to seat stays. No hint of slip when I’ve been hustling through bridle path and dirt roads. Great for the bike but trickier than the Revolution Vision or Xeccon Mars 60, should you fancy tethering it to a helmet.
In the highest settings, there’s plenty pf presence. As a daytime running light, its up to the job and I wouldn’t want to be wheel sucking the highest flashing, along the open road. Let alone in stop start, rush hour traffic. At night, along unlit roads, other riders reckoned the could pick me out at 125metres (steady) and 250 slow flashing when post-mounted.
This dipped to 75 metres and 175 or so, on cloudier nights. Ours returned 1hr 57 (constant) 5hrs 56 flashing Medium, in constant mode is fine for town, although a second, flashing unit made me feel more conspicuous at roundabouts and junctions.
Mind you; allowing for competing neon, I appeared to trigger people’s radar at 40/50 metres. Used exclusively, I came within 3 minutes, of the 4 quoted. To be frank, paired with another lamp in flashing mode, there’s enough “get noticed” bite from low constant-13 lumens.
As you’d expect, its slow flash counterpart hit the sweet spot in built up areas-80 metres and 44 hours 56 from a full charge. Easily a month’s middle-distance commuting. Open roads, clear nights we’re talking 100 metres.
Less anti-social than some at close quarters but unless you’re hanging off the back, I’d slip to something lower on group rides. Going solo, out in the sticks, I’ve erred towards quick flash medium beam, when I’ve wanted something super distinctive AND frugal (Consistently returned 22 hours 54, six minutes short of quoted) or slow flash high beam, on misty outings (5hrs 55 actual, 6 quoted).
Despite the overall output Peripheral intensity isn’t quite on par with some models, including Moon Gemini , or at a different price point, Xeccon Mars 60. The latter would be a better choice for a tagalong or trailer.
This is a cracking light for the money and, I’d be inclined to purchase two. One post mounted, the other, seatstay. Being critical, an aero-post compatible bracket and a more rugged O-ring strap would be welcomed. However, these are very minor points.
Verdict: 4/5 Practical, wallet-friendly rear light for most, road biased riding.
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2018
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH