RAVEMEN CR300 FRONT LIGHT
105g (including bracket) (Remote Control 9g) £44.99
300lumens max puts the Ravemen CR300 Front Light firmly in the urban bracket. However, the anti-glare lens and modern optics pack a punch above 300lumen lights. With a couple of nice touches thrown in and realistic run and charge times, there’s a lot to be said for this as a light for the city road commute and as an auxiliary or emergency light.
Pros: handy remote control, uncomplicated, decent charge time.
Cons: limited potential beyond commuting or auxiliary use.
Encased in the torch-type anodised aluminium body, which helps keep things cool, you will find a single LED and a 7v Lithium-ion battery. There’s a USB charging port, weatherproofed by a rubber flap. Nothing especially unusual about all that – although it is all very well-made.
The lens is Ravemen’s DuaLens anti-glare technology. This aims to avoid upsetting fellow cyclists and other road-users by providing a bright spread of light without dazzle – even at more retina-threatening lumens. Does 300lumen really require this? Well, less so than some more powerful lights, perhaps, but don’t write it off – more of that later. Equally, the CR300 seems to punch out 300lumens plus.
Operation is controlled by a push button at the end of the barrel, which combines as a battery level and charging indicator.
The mount is the same as other Ravemen front lights. Great for portage – or emergency substitution. Designed to encompass 22.2-35mm diameter bars.
A rating of IPX6 should offer protection against high pressure jest of water and heavy rain. Certainly, I’ve not managed to induce failure with a hose, nor has the weather with a couple of hefty storms. Mind you, it should not be submerged, so I’ve avoided falling in to the canal on the towpath section of my commute.
Intuitive, really. The watch-strap conveniently hooks onto the main body. The latter has a durable feel. Better, the bracket into which the light slips pivots a little, allowing some lateral adjustment. Removal of either the light or the whole mounting unit along with it is simple: perfect for the urban commuter.
As with the CR500, the button switch, to be found on the end of the barrel, acts as charge indicator as well as the switch. A prolonged firm push powers things up and down; a firm push toggles between settings. So far, there’s been no unintentional activation.
Five modes offer an unfussy range of sensible setting. There are three steady settings (from 60 – 150 – 300) supplemented by pulse (100) and flash (30 rapid). Whilst this is all very much in urban commuting or auxiliary light territory, it is not a bad range, and seems to punch above official rates.
I’ve tended to use the low steady setting for quiet, well-lit urban roads, upping to the 150 when things have got busier. There’s presence in traffic at around fifty metres with the latter, and that is where the remote comes in handy – allowing a quick burst of light at junctions and roundabouts. It comes in handy, too, on short, unlit stretches of cycle path or urban cut-through.
Pulse flashing has been my go-to for daytime running, with the 100lumens offering plenty of presence at over 50 metres. On really dull days, the 30lumens flash can eke power out much more. Having said that, I have used it mainly as an auxiliary to supplement a larger dynamo powered lamp when riding in city traffic.
Unlit country lanes require a good deal of caution, even at 300lumens. Even so, if I did not have the CR500, I may well stick this in the pannier on tour – just in case – or to help with roadside repair when out and about at night.
Charging and run times 3.5/5
A couple of hours charging from the mains seems to see things go from empty to full. This has been longer from a laptop, but still fast enough to have potential for a charge on the sly at work. Of course, good cyclists remember to charge before the battery is fully drained: watch out for the red indicator light.
Charging times seem to be getting shorter, but two hours remains pretty good. Run times, too, a pretty good. Stated run times are; High (300) 1.6hours, Mid (150) 4 hours, Low (60) 11, Pulse (100) 13 hours, Rapid Flash (30) 42hours.
All these have been a little less than I have achieved – however, the relatively warm weather during testing may account for this. I’ve also found twenty to thirty minutes between the appearance of the low charge indicator and the death knell very handy.
Despite these attractive features, regular commuters or those covering more than five miles or so, may well find run-times a little on the low side. However, for short commutes on well-lit streets, even with occasional blasts at max, you may well get a full week’s travel. As an auxiliary light, on longer journeys, then the 42 hours on flash is pretty impressive. In the real world, most riders will toggle between settings, so I’d think a weekly charge, at least, will be necessary if used twice daily.
Putting that all together, the CR300 strikes me as a handy option for shorter commutes or utility trips in urban situations. It’ll get you seen, and will manage short stretches of unlit cycle-path or track. There’s not much potential for post-work frolics down dark country lanes, but there’d be enough to get you home at moderate speed if your main light gave up the ghost.
As the Ravemen blurb suggests, the CR300 gives a broad tunnel of light. Viewed from an oncoming vehicle, the anti-glare technology works. The top of the beam is flattened effectively – keeping the road well-lit and on-coming road-users happy.
Although the CR300 is well made and punches above its weight, there are many who would regard forty-four pounds as very much the top end of what they might pay for a 300lumens light. Mind you, as with the Sigma Buster 200, not all 200 or 300 lumens lights are equal.
Equally, there’d be some who would suggest splashing out the extra £5 for the Ravemen CR500 may well add that bit extra needed for suburban and some out of town riding. The Ravemen LR500S has a different lens, giving a broader beam for more mixed surface commuting, and is cheaper than both. How much do you value good relations with other road-users?
Then you’ll find cheaper, too. The Oxford UT500 may not be as sophisticated, but it does whack out a pretty fierce beam or day-time running flash.
As ever, Ravemen have produced a well-made bit of gear that has many nice touches, is not overly complicated and does the job really well. However, 300lumens will always leave something to be desired if you are looking for do-all illumination. The ability to give a blast at 300lumens will appeal to many urban cyclists who find themselves hitting both the city lights and the suburban back streets. It’s also a decent bet alongside a more powerful, in my case, hub-dynamo lamp for that little extra presence in flash or pulse mode.