RAVEMEN PR 1200 DUAL LENS FRONT LIGHT
The Ravemen PR1200 USB Rechargeable Dual Lens Front Light is a clever and relatively compact high-power light, capable of producing 1200 lumens and designed for road and trail duties. Highly tuneable, and with the ability to charge phones and other tech, it's arguably very practical for everyday riding.
However, despite a well engineered lens making 600 lumens feel MUCH brighter, I've needed to unleash the full 1200 when traversing the darkest backroads, at warp speed.
Pros: Surprisingly bright, with sensible modes, run times and nice features.
Cons: Charge indicator a bit crude.
Inside the nicely executed, waterproof aluminium housing (IPX8 i.e. full submersible to two metres, for up to 30mins) we have two Cree XM L2 diodes, projected through an optical grade polycarbonate lens fuelled by a 5,200mAh lithium ion cell.
The lens is technically split into two. The road (spot) features a squared off section, which projects that beam at the road, where you need it. Rather than the collimators, it employs "Total internal reflection and refraction to achieve the low, broad beam. So, loose bracket, or poor mounting allowing, dazzling oncoming vehicles is a moot point, and the road settings more practical, than figures alone would suggest.
Look closely, and you'll notice two switches. These glow in the dark, reducing the likelihood of selecting the wrong one. One engages the light and toggles between road and mtct. Depressing the other, adjusts power output. Since we're on the subject, have a look around the back and you'll spot two charge ports. One is designed to refuel the light, the other, so you can charge your phone, action cam, or similar tech.
I was also pleased to note the simple, yet intelligent mode and charge/life indicator.
Aside from defending the light from physical knocks, aluminium casings dissipate heat very effectively. So, diodes, circuitry, switchgear and other intricates the best chance of long, productive lives. Obviously, good charging habits help, in this regard. Nonetheless, we're told the battery capacity only dips to 80%, after 300 charge cycles. Most of us should have a very reliable unit, two years, or so down the line.
Bob Elliot & Co (their UK importers) advise it's not user serviceable, but batteries can be replaced. Economics and ever advancing LED technology means most of us will simply purchase a new model, when performance really starts to wane. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, Ravemen offer a two-year warrantee as standard, and a limited lifetime warrantee.
The kit comes complete with a remote. One that plugs into the charge port, so you can toggle up/down/off without moving your fingers from the bars. Cabling is relatively short, compared with Moon Meteor Storm Pro and Xeccon 1300. Some suggested they'd run it beneath the bar wrap, if the light was staying put but otherwise, its unobtrusive and easily ported between bikes.
Plenty to choose from- 9 modes in total. 5 road and 3mtb (It’s important to note that you can run both spot and flood settings simultaneously) and one "emergency". High (600 lumens-3.5 hours claimed run time) mid (400 lumens-5 hours cited), low (200 lumens- 9.5 hours cited) Eco (100 lumens-21 hours cited).
Pulse flashing is also 100 lumens and reckoned good for 13 hours. MTB boils down to high (1200 lumens-2 hours cited), mid (600 lumens-3.5 cited), Low (300 lumens-8.5 cited).
Finally, we have "Turbo"; which unleashes the full 1200), sufficient for scooting through well lit town centres/limping home after a very long ride, unlit rural roads and, theoretically, pretty much everything in between
Complete with shims, its not particularly elegant, though solid enough and genuinely accommodating of diameters between 22 and 31.8. That said; I've needed to engineer a shim from old inner tube, when anchoring it to less conservative handlebar shapes, including these Genetic D-Riser 16 bars . A quick drop of oil on the clam's threaded section helps when nipping everything tight (and removal). Thus far, I've not experienced any annoying slippage/chatter-on or indeed off road.
Very straightforward. Plug in your micro USB cable and it will charge. Mains is best, zero to hero in approximately 3.5 hours, bargain on 4+ if its supping from a laptop/PC port. Not ideal, if you'd been a little forgetful on the refuelling front and needed the higher modes. Nonetheless, ample scope for nipping across town/ limping home in the lower 200, or 100 lumen settings.
Overall performance has been pleasantly surprising all round, something I attribute to the blend of sensible modes, decent battery and high quality optics. Traditionally (and indeed, until very recently) 600 lumens was very much the preserve of torch type models, designed for suburban riders. Though the power/mode buttons are fairly user friendly, the plug in, bar mounted switch makes chopping 'n' changing so much easier.
I was still slightly dubious, so initially paired ours with my fixed gear winter trainer (and its hub dynamo setup , just in case I found myself wanting. Pleasantly surprised, output trumped that of UGOE 1000 lumen headlight .
In terms of navigational prowess, unlit backroads were passable at a steady 18-20 mph. Hardly warp speed but a decent tempo, giving ample warning of holes, twigs, hedgehogs traffic, and other rural hazards. 20 feet on average, further on clear nights.
Certainly no call for dipping either, although I've had to unleash the full 1200 a few times to prompt said courtesy from a few SUV pilots. Since we're here, the full monty is actually very close to Moon Meteor Storm Pro at 1500 lumens, and permits similar speeds. Hazard perception was to around 20/25 feet, giving ample opportunity to change course.
I've had no problems screaming down local 1in4s at 35mph, the flood giving an excellent generic sweep, while the spot picks out the detail. Ported over to my Univega, it’s been much the same story, through bridle paths and wooded sections, between 17 and 23mph.
Fast as I dare, when paired to its Exposure Revo MK1 dynamo and Ultegra dynohub combination. The ability to dial the mtb (flood) down a few notches also keeps things bright, though not retina tickling, while conserving power. Since we're here, 200 is pretty much all that's required for suburban riding.
I've plumped for the mtb low (300 lumens) if I've been creeping into semi-rural sections, or canal towpaths. Otherwise, the road 200 lumen road beam delivers enough bite for being seen, even along unlit stretches, without feeling OTT through town centres.
Opinions wavered a bit, but 100 is adequate for town, although I'd still pair it with a Blinky, or simply default to pulse/flashing, which seems to snare attention (even with competing illuminations) at 50 metres.
Build Quality/Weatherproofing 4.75/5
IPX8 is seriously impressive for this end of the market. I've subjected ours to heavy rain, extended hosepipe torture testing, full blown submersion and the usual, everyday carelessness without it missing a beat, or collecting any calling cards. Though I’d never suggest the switches were difficult to operate - even in full finger gloves, and on the fly, the plug in remote was really welcomed.
Run Times 4.25/5
These days save for a dodgy sample, real world run times are pretty close to those quoted by the manufacturer. I wasn't surprised to discover ours coming within 8 minutes, across the board.
The charge life indicator is a useful gauge but rather like the traffic light types, lacks the precision of those employed by higher end models, such as Moon Meteor Storm Pro. However, there's also a massive price differential, so hardly a deal breaker. When it comes to rechargeable lithium ion and lithium polymer cells, keeping them charged goes a long way to keeping them happy and faithful.
Year on year, we're getting more bang for buck. More compact size, yet greater output. Even so, at £99.99 and for the spec, the PR1200 is very hard to beat. This makes direct comparisons tricky. I still have a fondness for Ugoe 2000 headlight (£99.99) but like for like, the PR1200 literally blows it into the weeds.
Moon Meteor Storm Pro boasts ten modes and has some very likeable touches. We've also seen it for around £80 online. Batteries can be replaced, to extend back of beyond ride-times, and the battery life indicator is easier to read, at a glance. However, there's no charging options for phones etc. Whereas the PR1200 complies with IPX8, the Meteor Storm Pro only complies with IPX4 for weatherproofing. Fine for road riding but limits the appeal, if you fancied tackling the trails, especially in winter.
For £99.00 the Ravemen PR1200 is an absolute bargain, if you're looking for a lightweight, tuneable design that is every bit as useful in town, as it is the back doubles. There's scope for all-nighters, if you're conscious of regulating power (although a high-power dynamo setup is arguably the better option, for fast paced marathon rides.). A marginally better bracket and more sophisticated charge-indicator, and the PL1200 would almost certainly get top marks, from me.