RAVEMEN CR800 FRONT LIGHT
110g Black £64.99
The Ravemen CR800 Front Light sits nicely in their CR range of general and road-biased lights, with the PR range offering more power and mixed-use potential. With a max of 800 lumens, it may not claim to be the most powerful available, but light is more than just numbers. I’ll confess to liking the Ravemen models I have tested before, and have come to appreciate clever optics and sound build quality at a price that won’t break the bank. On pre-dawn commutes along narrow canal towpath and night-tripping on the road, I’ve found it a very amiable companion.
Pros: well-built, compatible with other CR and some PR mounts and CR remotes, sensible run times and modes.
Cons: very ‘road’ orientated, no charge display – other than the power button, a hundred more lumens would be really good.
The Ravement CR range are torch-type front lights with their anti-glare tech, which gives a T-shaped beam, with the bar of the T closest to the bike, designed to avoid confrontation with other road-users, including fellow cyclists. As a consequence, there’s a clear light directed onto the road rather than into outer-space. Even better, the area in front of the bike is clearly illuminated for quick steering adjustments, whilst the spot beam focuses well down the road. This is Ravemen’s “second generation” of lens technology. As such, Ravemen designate it as a light for the faster night-time road rider.
The aluminium body has an anodised hard coat, except for a durable plastic element to the rear. The mount is made from similarly durable plastic. The whole gives a feeling of solidity, whilst the aluminium acts as an effective heat sink.
Protected by this are the ubiquitous 6v rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, a single highly effective LED – sheltering within those clever optics and a plastic lens – and the technical gubbins to support the whole package.
A useful addition, compared to some older models in the Ravemen range, are two apertures on the sides of the barrel, which should increase presence at junctions.
The charging point is well-protected from the weather, and the IPX6 rating gives protection against all kinds of rain and spay. The input Micro USB port is covered by a flush-fitting rubber flap.
There’s a wired remote control, secured with a simple ‘o’ ring.
Bracket and mount 3.75/5
A ‘watchstrap’ stretches easily to fit 22.5-35mm bars., to secure he plastic mount.
The light is easy enough to slip on and off, when necessary, although it remains solid when on the move. Mind, it’s easy enough to remove the whole lot, even if it will not fit into your pocket so easily.
Switch and remote 3.5/5
The switch acts in three capacities: power, switching modes,
and as a power indicator. A simple soft rubber push button, it requires a firm push to activate. That’s easy to achieve, even in full-finger gloves. It is also good news when it comes to avoiding pocket or pannier activation. Charge indication is intuitive. The button is luminescent green when out at night.
Where you stick the wired remote is up to you. I‘ve tended to put it on the inner side of the hoods – my favoured riding position – but faster riders may fit it on he drops. Fact is, the simple ‘o’ ring and lengthy wire give plenty of flexibility. With the remote on the hoods, I’ve tended to give the wire a twist or two around bars to keep it from snagging on fingers.
A long press on the remote allows you to give a short sharp full-power (800 lumens) blast. That is quite handy for emergency illumination, or to encourage dipping of on-coming lights.
Charge, run times, modes 4/5
Six modes, four steady, one pulse, one flash. That’s plenty enough of a range for me, covering a good day-time runner to a really bright light for back-road night-tripping. After powering off, you’ll return to the last used mode, thanks to the memory function.
Charging from zero took around two and a half hours via the mains. This is pretty good, in my opinion, allowing a full
charge-up in under half-a-day a work. Add fifteen minutes or so for charging via a laptop. Mind you, being good little cyclists, we do not let our batteries run right down, do we? Help there comes via the power button, which as a charge indicator: red means low, and red flashing red means you are in emergency mode (800 lumens). I’ve had between fifteen and twenty minutes on emergency. Should be plenty to skedaddle to a charging point or sort out your spare light.
There are four steady modes, plus one pulse, and one flashing. Let’s start with the steady: high offers 800 lumens for one hour and thirty minutes; medium, two and a half hours for two and a half hours; low, four and a half hours of 200 lumens; and eco a lowly 70 lumens for 17 hours. Pulse gives 150 lumens, for twenty-two hours, and flashing 100 lumens for twenty hours. We’ll talk about performance below, but the clever optics – and this is true of competitor quality lights – mean there’s more to the numbers than might appear.
I have achieved run times pretty close to all of the above. Of course, in reality one rarely sticks to just one mode. However, one hour and thirty-eight minutes at full blast with the temperature around 8C, seems close enough, and there was similar proximity – always above – to the other stated times. Run times can be increased with the use of a power-bank. That starts to edge it towards lengthier winter training rides for faster road riders.
Eco is very much a get-me-seen-to limp home sort of light. Very useful, and actually just about adequate for use in street-lit, quiet suburban roads. However, even there, I’d tend to go for the low. That has certainly been enough to get on-coming traffic dipping lights at 100 metres or so. Medium has been fine for hitting 20mph on familiar unlit roads, and, indeed, for familiar stretches of canal towpath – some quite narrow – on early morning commutes. I’ve used it, too, when proceeding at a statelier 12mph along narrow country lanes. That broad illumination close to the bike comes in handy for rapid steering adjustments around the plentiful pot-holes. I’ve tended to reserve the top whack for those dark lanes, less familiar roads, and short blasts to keep things clear. Indeed, this is a light for the faster rider. True, you’ll get a stronger bean from both the PR1600 and the PR2400, but both are considerably bigger and heavier.
I’ve not tended to go for the pulse mode much. Certainly, a decent day-time runner, I generally use a specific, smaller light for that. Having said that, the flash mode is an even stronger day-time runner. The latter gives a very good presence at between 75 and 90 metres, on an overcast day. Top whack does not light up the night like the PR2400 – at three times the lumens -but stretches its beam to around forty or fifty metres, and can light up road signs and such like, even further ahead.
Whilst the sidelights are handy, and actually show p surprisingly well, I’ll not be ditching the reflective strips in my commuter’s tyres quite yet.
Good optics give the Ravemen CR800 more punch than might be expected. Mind you, other quality manufactures and claim similar. The Sigma Buster 700 Review to follow) I s good example. However, it is more of a general purpose light, either on the bars or helmet mounted for off-roading. In my opinion, the CR800 wins for the road because its more precisely focussed beam ad that ad extra power.
You can get considerably cheaper 800 lumen lights – ETC Capella, for example, costs £40. You’ll almost certainly find that, at that price point, the beam will be less focussed and other functions will be less sophisticated.
The Cat Eye Ammp is obtainable at much the same price as the CR800, with a similar spec. The Kryptonite Alley F-800 is a tenner more costly, with a comparable spec.
Whilst toward the top end of the price range, you do get a lot of functionality and a very, very good beam for your money. A lot will depend on your kind of cycling. It is very much a road light – although you wouldn’t rule out other cycling contexts at gentler speeds. Faster road riders, however, should definitely take a good look.