RAVEMEN TR300 REAR LIGHT
82g (not including watch strap mount) £49.99
The Ravemen TR300 Rear Light is an imaginatively thought out and well-designed bit of gear. Offering a max of 300 lumens, it is also amongst the brightest of rear lights I have come across. It has a solid feel, and even the watch-strap mount has a nice touch. Range of modes may no be as numerous as some, but tthey seem to me to cover all bases, and run times are pretty good.
Pros: powerful impact, decent run times, portability.
Cons: might benefit from a mid-range steady option.
As well as the light itself, the box includes a charging cable, two watch-strap mounts (long and short), and two pads (round and aero). The latter are not always needed, but are a rather nice touch.
A high quality polycarbonate lens cover and a robust aluminium casing, measuring 41x33x65mm, contains three red Cree LEDs, a 7v Lithium-ion battery – and acts as a heat sink. Ravemen suggest it will survive being dropped from a metre, and I’ve taken their word for this.
Water-resistant is IPX4 – not unusual for lights – which technically means it will keep spray out, but, can be expected to survive very heavy rain: in fact, just about anything short of submersion. On that front, the snugly fitting charging port cover has kept the rain out.
There are lights with more modes. The TR300 has six: High (45 lumens), Low (8 lumens), Flashing 1 (300), Flashing 2 (145), Rapid flashing (30) and Pulse Flashing (300). Yes, three hundred lumens - twice.
The switch is a rectangular button.
Two straps should manage any seat-post girth, combined with the two pads for round or aero posts. These also offer unintended options. The long strap has held the TR300 onto the Surly Ted Trailer. In addition, the aero pad adapted very nicely to the pencil seat stays of the aged single-speed.
On route things are held tightly in place. The aero pad has made a bid for freedom when porting the light between bikes, so keep it safe.
I’ve also managed to get the strap tight enough to hold things steady on the lock-pin of the dog-trailer and on the light loops of the BTR Waterproof Rack Pack and the Zefal Traveller 60 Rack Pack.
A firm push gets things going. Whilst not immune from accidental pocket-activation, it seems as safe as any. Although quite small, it is easy to us, in all but the thickest winter gloves.
The allows you to toggle between modes – and there is a mode memory to start at your last choice – also accessing the auto on-off mode. In that mode, it’ll turn off automatically when still for two minutes. Move off, and it springs into life.
Charge and Run Times 3.75/5
2.8 (sic) hours is the advertised charge time. On the mains, I’ve got it from zilch to max in 2 hours and three-quarters. The charge indicator is clearly visible when charging. Neither is unusual. Ravemen say there is an anti-over-charging feature, too.
Whatever we do in reality, rechargeable batteries should bit be drained to the last drop. Set low mode means things are getting low. Fortunately run times, as advertised, seem to underestimate things a little, and I have had a good twenty-five minutes on low mode when the rest of the have given up the ghost.
UK summer testing may account for some hearty run times –however, the official times seem to be a good indicator that it is time to recharge.
The massive 300 lumen flashing mode gives just two hours of runtime, during which the casing will heat up. This will get you seem on even a bright summer day – or could be handy as an emergency beacon. In both contexts the 8 hours on pulse flash is a better option if you are a regular commuter. In both cases, I’ve had twenty minutes above the stated runtime. It’ll be interesting to see how things go in the depth of winter.
At the other extreme, rapid flash at 30 lumens will cover my commute for a couple of weeks without charging. In most contexts 30 lumens is fine for dusk and dark. Use of flashing lights on bikes and whether they need to be accompanied by a steady light varies from country to country: so bear that in mind.
So, when it is on its own, I’ve gone for the 45 lumens solid mode (9 hrs 30, officially, around ten, in my summer experience), in built up commutes. On the other hand, I have been happy to drop down to the eight lumens mode in quieter situations.
Whilst there’s no denying that the TR300 packs plenty of punch, its merits don’t end there. The lens cover gives good side-on presence for those tricky junctions.
As I have mentioned 300 lumens is visible on even a very bright day, let alone the misty, moisty ones when I tend to run a daytime light. I am told, on a long old rail path, that the light was visible some 200 metres away. I’ve avoided those modes at night, simply because they seem like overkill. For group rides, indeed, the low 8 lumens is ideal when in the middle.
The 145 lumens flash has presence at nigh on 150 metres of straight, dark canal towpath, but also offers high impact on busier, well-lit roads. My regular commute is mixed – city centre, unlit tow-path, country lanes and suburban roads. Thus, the forty-five lumens solid has been a good option, without clumsy fiddling around for the switch.
The best part of fifty pounds sterling can easily be trumped by some very good blinkie-type lights. However, the TR300 more in full-on rear light territory. I am still a big fan of Knog’s Mr. Chips, which come in cheaper, pack a lot of punch, but lacks the extensive peripheral presence.
Knog’s Cobber Mid Rear Light comes in ten pounds more expensive, but is tuneable. Many would regard its 170 lumens max whack as plenty, too. In addition, it is more tuneable, and presence all-round is similarly good.
Having said that, if you want to go the whole hog, the See Sense Icon+ will set you back a good deal, but goes well beyond what one demands of a rear light.
On the other hand, particularly if you run a dynamo, you may want to go for something like the Moon Gemini – which I have found excellent in daytime or as auxiliaries - or the Oxford 75 Rear Light. Or, even Ravemen's TR50.
Overall, I am highly impressed by the TR300. Ravemen have maintained their reputation for innovative design and produced a very solid light that gives a lot of options without being fussy. This will definitely be on my winter commuter, but may also go on tour in autumn or spring for those misty days and dull evenings – or just when one tarries too long.