SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
RAVEMEN TR30M REAR LIGHT
The Ravemen TR30M Rear Light puts out a maximum of 30lumens and has sensible blend of modes. The clever optics mean it’s a lot more powerful than the numbers might suggest and though run times are modest, this is tempered by swift charging. A good choice if your commutes/training runs cover town and rural sections. However, while versatile, the bike mount is comparatively fiddly.
Pros: Relatively bright, nice lens design, rapid charge times.
Cons: Bike mount bracket merits revision.
The translucent monocoque body is made from high quality, optical specific PC (polycarbonate) and features an integrated luggage/clothing clip. Apparently, its inner structure has been designed to project the beam 360 degrees, while making it sharper at key points.
There are only two diodes, which deviate from the mainstream COB script. Power is courtesy of a 200 mAh 3.7 V Lithium Polymer battery. Lithium polymer batteries can be made to almost any shape, are lightweight and extremely resistant to impact trauma.
The light is designed to withstand drops of 1metre onto a hard surface, which should mean it takes thrills, spills and everyday carelessness in its stride.
A centre-mounted rubberised switch cum charge indicator is sensibly located and the charge port sits out of harms’ way, which is particularly important, given the unit “only” meets IPX4 for weatherproofing. The switch is very easily operated, even in gloved hands, despite the modest size. Depress for two seconds to power up, two to switch off. No issues with unwanted powering up, when it’s been holidaying in a pocket.
Those modes...There are five in total. The 30lumen flagship is flashing, followed by a high steady setting (20lumens), low (7 lumens), rapid flashing (2 lumens) and an 8lumen pulse-flashing. A memory function keeps your choice, too, which is also welcome; as is the charge indicator, with auto kick-down, although this function is factored into the overall run times, rather than offering any additional. You have been warned!
The post mount uses the ubiquitous rubber band (thus supposedly a universal fit) However, the hinged bracket (which is designed for precise alignment of the light, so it’s not aimed at your rear tyre/mudguard requires dedicated shims). Therefore, swapping between bikes is less convenient than many other designs. Nonetheless, it’s still superior to that of the Xeccon Mars 30 COB Rear Light which is hostage to its bracket. I have not only found the clothing/luggage clip extremely secure; it also permits the light to be mounted higher and behind, translating in more punch-from all angles. However, compatibility with luggage hooks proved unexpectedly hit 'n’ miss.
This is via the ubiquitous micro USB cable, which is great news, should you forget yours en route to the office, or indeed, loose that supplied. Talking of which, the OEM unit is adequate and seemingly reliable, albeit a little short. 90 minutes, zero to hero apparently and pretty much the case, when guzzling from the mains - expect another 20minutes, from a USB plug in, longer still (3 hours), if yours is supping from a dynamo plug in. Practical for commuting and indeed, touring/similar endurance events.
The TR30 seems much brighter than the numbers would imply. Flashing is 30 lumens and has held its own along unlit rural lanes, thanks in part to the broad arc of like and rapid tempo. I’ve regularly thundered along the backroads before dawn. Other traffic seemed to clock me at 180 metres - when it was mounted to luggage. This fell slightly -125-140metres when on seatposts. The peripheral punch is arguably better than its 50lumens cousin and, used as my only rear light, I felt more conspicuous when tackling roundabouts, or turning right.
Not that I’d want to be following it at close quarters, on a group ride but the pace and power sits just the right side of aggressive through town and suburban contexts; good for 100-120 metres in these contexts.
Mind you, the 8lumen pulsing flash has enough bite in built up areas but the slower oscillation and momentary “black outs” lead to uncomfortable stealth moments. Most notably when entering the flow of traffic or exiting a roundabout. 30lumens is a better choice for dusk, or open roads. One final thing about the 30lumens flash, those seeking a daylight running mode should go for its TR50 cousin, the TR30 isn’t fierce enough, especially in bright sunlight.
The 20lumen steady option also covers most bases. Its bright enough for unlit rural roads, yet not offensive in stop-go rush hour traffic. On a clear night and unlit roads, 100 metres, falling to 80 when there’s a blanket of cloud, through town, friends reckoned they could pick it out at 70 metres or so.
By the same token, the 7lumen low steady option is still bright enough and arguably rivalled some in my collection boasting 15. Sure, it wouldn’t be my first choice along pitch black B-roads but arguably strikes the best balance of performance and frugality through sub/urban and even semi-rural contexts, assuming you didn’t want to unleash a flashing mode.
The 8lumen pulsing mode I introduced a paragraph, or two back is also brighter than the numbers suggest and will cut it through quieter roads, say around dusk, or gloomier mornings. Again, I seemed to register on people’s radars at 60-70- metres and yet the tempo is just slow enough not to grate on riders following close behind. A good choice for group rides in the power to economy stakes.
Thanks to its tempo, the lowest, fast-flashing mode is surprisingly good. Much better than I’d initially thought-even along unlit backroads but necessity aside (or playing backing singer to a more powerful unit) I’d be opting for a higher setting.
Run Times 3.25/5
On the plus side, these are very faithful to those cited and good enough for middle distance commutes and training rides, provided you were disciplined with charging. I’ve consistently exceeded 2.2 hours from the 30-lumen flashing mode. It’s been good for 2hrs15minutes before the rapid flash kicked in.
The high steady (20 lumen) reckoned good fort 1.7 hours I’ve managed 90minutes from the steady, 20lumen setting before it “bailed”. The song remained the same across the board. Low steady cited as 3.2 hours, returned 3hrs 8 minutes real-world, rapid flash came within 4 minutes of the 15hours and pulsing, 7hrs 54 (8 claimed). I’ve yet to be plunged into darkness.
The main unit’s build quality is reassuringly good and the charge port sensibly positioned, away from cack. Ours passed my 3minute garden hose torture test without missing a beat, so wasn’t surprised that hard, thundery rain made zero impact.
Quite a lot around at this pricepoint. Oxford R75 as the name suggests, offers 75 lumens, better weather proofing and more powerful settings across the range but longer charge times. Infini Sword £29.99 offers 50 lumens and a 200hour flashing mode in the very lowest setting. Xeccon Mars 60 COB rear light features greater output, longer run times and a better mount. However, 5-hour charge times aren’t nearly so convenient.
The Ravemen TR30 is a competent and rugged light that does the basics very well. There’s more presence than the numbers might suggest and coupled with the swift charging, offsets middling run times in the higher settings. The spread of modes is well suited to middle distance commuting and training rides comprising of town and semi/rural sections.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Bright, quick charging rear light for most contexts but so-so mount.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH