Ravemen TR200 USB Rechargeable Sensored Rear LED Light
The Ravemen TR200 USB Rechargeable Sensored Rear Light is a six-mode model with great presence, build quality and sensible run times. Daylight flashing aside, the slow and fast flash are arguably a bit aggressive for the concrete jungle, but the constants will keep you very conspicuous, especially if you’ve got the “braking” function engaged.
Pros: Nice modes, great output, user friendly, decent run times and good weatherproofing.
Cons: 5+ hour charge times.
Let’s start with those six modes. Steady make up of 40, 20 and 5 lumens, which on paper at least, caters for unlit backwaters through to well-lit city streets. Traditionally, I’ve erred toward 10 lumens in the latter environment, but advances in diode and lens technology mean lower outputs are remarkably eye-catching. As for flashing, there’s a 200lumen day flash, 100lumen slow and fast flash.
An auto-kickdown feature, though hardly groundbreaking is really welcome, regardless of whether you’ve been doing an all nighter, or just a bit forgetful when it comes to charging. Continuing the convenient narrative, there’s a memory function, which defaults to your last mode upon powering down and an auto stop/start sensor is another nice touch.
The lens is made from polycarbonate with a convex centre strip to maximise those diodes and lumens, projecting them 270 degrees. Talking of which, Ravemen have gone for four “high efficiency” red diodes, rather than COB (Chips o Board).
These are fuelled by a sensibly beefy 800mAh 3.7V Lithium-Ion battery, which charges from a USB-C cable and reckoned to keep 70-80% of its capacity after 300 charge cycles. The port cover is a snug fitting affair, and the unit meets IPX6 for weatherproofing (sustained torrential rain, rather than immersion) and is designed to withstand drops onto terra firma from one metre. Oh, did I mention the two-year warranty?
OK, so we’ve all accidentally dropped a light at least once in our riding career, but my experience suggests it resists direct hits from stones and similar litter, boding well for more adventurous touring and moderate gravel escapades. The top mounted switch cum battery life indicator is clear and will communicate reserves at a glance.
The TR mount comprises of a rubber strap and adjustable clip. It’s designed to accommodate standard and aero posts and has been refined and given a steroid boost. My first experience with this mount a few years ago was mixed but over time, the design has grown on me. I suspected it was compatible with the TR30 and CLO6 stablemates . This proved so, although predictably the CLO6 was the best fit, holding the TR200 rock steady. On and off road.
The light’s clip also serves as a clothing/luggage mount and is similarly secure-I've switched ours between the Kinekt Waterproof Saddlebag , Axiom Oceanwave City+Seat Bag , and Carradice Carradry SQR Bag without incident. Otherwise, ours has largely served low on Ursula’s left-hand seat stay, right in the firing line of mucky water. No issues with posts between 25.4 and 31.8, or at the other extreme, pencil thin seat stays either.
This follows the switch and battery life indicator narrative and is none the worse for it. A sustained ½ second press powers up/down and the “traffic light” indicator gives a good visual gauge as to battery life. Engaged, the memory function will default to the last selected. Subsequent, single prods cruise through the modes; intuitive, to most of us.
Setup of the braking and stop/start functions is the same as its 500lumen sibling. With the light off, press the switch until the light blinks rapidly. Release and they’re on. The stop/start function will switch the light off after two minutes and power up when it senses movement. The braking function will pump out 100lumens of flashing light for two seconds, when it senses slowing. Accidental engagement has been a moot point in the everyday sense but be mindful if you’re bunging it in a bag.
Output & Run Times 4/5
Output is excellent across the board. I’ve been defaulting to the 200-lumen day flash for dawn and obviously, daylight duties and anecdotal reports for the odd rider and indeed, occasional farmer suggested I was visible at 250 metres, nearer 150 in harsh sunlight. As might be expected, it lacks the outright retina scorching clout of the TR500, but the 270-degree lens compensates for this in many respects-especially when navigating busy roundabouts and turning right.
Run solo, i.e., with braking and sensored function disengaged, I wasn’t surprised to return 7hrs 23 (against 7hrs 30) although I should point out, it then kicked down to the 5lumen low mode. The 100lumen fast flash could also pass as a daylight running mode and was visible to around the 100-metre mark in comparable contexts.
Used as my only form of lighting, the 100-lumen fast flash has a pacey, tempo, seems to hold the attention of approaching traffic. Sure, there’s been the odd Golf GTI doing some wheel sucking, but most seemed to spot me and slow from 200 metres, longer on some dark, clear nights.
Again, great for roundabouts and entering the flow of traffic from concealed junctions. A couple of riders reckoned they spotted the light from 350 metres along unlit roads Slow flash is similarly effective, especially along dark and lonely lanes and anecdotally, equally eye catching but the fast flash enjoys better economy. 8 hours is cited and run without the sensored technology-I’ve consistently come within eight minutes of this.
The fast flash’s quicker, dare I say nagging tempo left me feeling more conspicuous. Crossing A road roundabouts before ducking down a green lane, or similarly lonely B roads being prime examples.
Not what you’d want on a group ride obviously, unless you were doing a longer turn at the back. In misty contexts, I’ve occasionally gone over to the 200lumen warning flash- solo and sociable outings, but otherwise the 20 lumen (medium) or 5 lumens (low) are where it’s at.
A straw poll suggested the 20-lumen constant was visible to 100 metres on dark country roads, nearer 60-70 through town and suburbs, given the competing illumination. Anecdotally, the optical technology gave the impression it was close to some long serving 30lumen models, like for like and the 5, close to those pumping out 10.
The braking function obviously gives both a boost- say in slow moving traffic and encourages following riders not to get too close, potentially resulting in a touch of wheels.
Again, run times were faithful to those cited by Ravemen- 7hrs 11 (7 hours 30) and 25hrs 51 (26 hours) with the sensors disengaged. Much of the braking functions impact will depend on conditions-stop-go rush hour traffic and or/long climbs, trailers/tagalongs will make their mark. Ditto if you’re knackered and grinding home but as a rough n’ ready, bargain on 15% drop-in run times.
Regarding these, those cited by Ravemen were performed in constant, laboratory conditions and at 25 degrees. Therefore, though lithium-Ion cells are far less sensitive to temperature variance, in my experience bitterly wintry weather (zero and lower) can knock off a few minutes.
Finally, the 40-lumen steady...Given the optics, 120-150 metres on country roads, 80-90 through sub/urban settings. A bit OTT, especially on a solo and if you’ve engaged the braking function. Then again, combined with the lens’ wide surface area, its assertive, rather than aggressive. Indeed, I’d probably go this route with a low-slung touring, or child trailer.
Regularly charging the light will not only mean power downs will be a rare event, but the battery will reward with long service. A two-year warranty (and limited lifetime warranty-against manufacturing defects) should boost confidence too. Obviously ensuring you’ve seated the port cover properly post charging, there shouldn’t be any issues. I’ve used ours in torrential rain, incorporating some boggy bridlepath into the return loop and then given it a sustained, liberal blast from the garden hose; never missed a beat.
For all its charms, TR200 faces a fair bit of competition. Magicshine See Mee 200 Version 2 is a small cube shaped light with 5 modes (including a smart mode that automatically adjusts to suit conditions), and a braking function. The design also has a secondary, “tracer” lens that casts a broad arc at the road, illuminating the rider very effectively. It also charges very quickly. However, the braking function still puts a dent in run times, and it “only” meets IPX6. £38.99.
BBB Signal Brake (£36.95) is another model with a brake light, tuneable modes (without need for phone app), auto kick-down when reserves tumble. It also meets IPX7 for weather resistance. However, while brighter than numbers suggest, it pumps out a maximum of 50 lumens.
If you can do without sensored technology, Lelumia The Beast (Now £41.99) produces 150lumens, has decent run and charge times. Indeed, it remains one of my favourites. However, it’s a bit too potent for town duties, there’s no auto kick down and it only meets IPX4 for weatherproofing. Topeak Taillux 100 USB rear light (£44.99) is a bright and relatively simple model that offers 100 lumens, 4 modes and meets IPX6 for weatherproofing. Lezyne Strip Pro Alert Drive (£57.00) has 5 modes, a 300lumen day flash and a braking function. The flashing modes are 60 lumens apiece but the jump from 35lumen to 5 lumens in constant/steady might be too great for some.
Then of course, there’s Knog Cobber Mid Rear Light which has tuneable modes and packs a mighty punch. However, there’s no braking technology and by no means poor, the switch was a little fiddly and the mount a little delicate. It’s also a good bit dearer at £62.99.
The TR200 is a sophisticated, versatile, powerful and crucially very user-friendly light. In some respects, slightly biased towards very dark and potentially faster roads, rather than town work. However, this is tempered by the 20 and 5-lumen steady modes. With braking function engaged, these arguably strike a great balance in built up areas and on group rides, without doing nasty things to run times.
I remain a huge fan of the TR500, and would go that route on a tandem, or trailer towing beast of burden. However, in my view, the TR200 is a better choice for solos, especially if you’re doing big mileages along unlit roads.
Verdict: 4/5 Powerful, yet very practical light with decent runtimes and reliable sensors.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2023