REVOLUTION VISION COB REAR LIGHT
The Revolution Vision COB light rear is a 5 mode light capable of producing 30 lumens in its highest setting. This may lack the retina ticking wow-factor of some but in practice, provides more than enough power and practical touches for the darkest nights. There are some very clear nods in the direction of Cat Eye Rapid X and its Rapid Micro sibling.
COB (Chips on Board) technology, as the name suggests is where diodes are laced directly on the PCB, which has several advantages.
From a safety perspective, this allows more diodes to fit in the same space, thus creating a much brighter light. This is also less labour intensive, so we also get cheaper lights into the bargain.
Edinburgh Bicycles tell me, the vision’s output doesn’t demand the customary aluminium heat sink, but make no mistake, it’s still very bright, regardless of setting. There are three steady options. 30, 15 and 7 lumens, coupled with flashing and pulsing modes. This should be more than adequate for most riders and real world riding conditions.
Switch and Charge
This is intuitively positioned at one end; the micro USB port lies at the other. Easily engaged while wearing winter weight gloves; the Vision also features a memory function, reverting to the last mode for fast, faff-free getaways. The switch doesn’t feel mushy but, proved susceptible to accidental engagement when bouncing around in panniers or rucksacks.
The charge/life indicator is sensibly positioned halfway along the main unit and flips from red to green. A little vague for some tastes, perhaps but good enough. The unit also emits an audible shriek to denote its slipping into red. This was loud enough to make me flinch first time round, some 10 miles from home. An automatic kick down defaults to flashing when reserves dwindle, so the risk of being plunged into darkness is pretty small.
Charge times for the lithium polymer cell are a good three hours, add another fifteen minutes or so if you’re charging from PCs laptops or tables. Middling. Realistic for desk bound commuters and when overall run times are thrown into the mix.
The port’s a pretty universal android pattern, so little danger of being left high n’ dry. Talking of which, the cover fits very well, so under normal road use, water ingress is pretty unlikely. However, a quick lick of silicone grease is sensible on a gravel or cross bike shunning mudguards during the wetter months.
Edinburgh Bicycles have spurned the wraparound O-ring in favour of a stretchy rubberised watch-strap type that achieves a very secure fit around most diameters of post - at least those between 26.4 and 31.6.
Most of us tend to position ours inline on the post (or even seat stay) for sleekest effect but the bracket can be flipped horizontally, engaging with a reassuringly audible click. Ours didn’t require too much persuasion to accommodate racier road and trail helmets either. It’s easily whipped on and off when parking in the street, too.
Output and run times
All modes are suitably extrovert, although flashing and pulse arguably have the edge. 30 lumens steady is more than enough for pitch black lanes, though stops short of being annoying at close quarters. Coming from some Moon models producing a 220 degree arc, the Vision’s 180 degree cloak doesn’t feel quite so conspicuous, although in practice there’s more than enough peripheral presence.
Along unlit and semi-rural sections, friends reckoned they could pick me out at 150 metres on clear nights, further when helmet mounted. Predictably this dropped to around 80/100 metres through well-lit town centres.
The downside. Well, two hours is your lot - tops. After 45minutes, there is an audible beep announcing you’re in the red. I’m pleased to report the auto kick down is very reliable!
Medium (15 lumens) strikes a better balance between presence and economy. I’ve teetered on the full three hours, which is loosely comparable with Cat Eye rapid micro X and this sort of power is still fine for being seen along country lanes.
Flashing is my typical default but of the three constants, this has been strong enough peripherally to prevent stealth moments when turning, or emerging from concealed junctions. The pulsing is a good alternative to the lowest 7 lumens, it’s a very slow beat, comfortable for riding companions to follow but suitably assertive on dark roads.
Flashing is easily the biggest surprise all-round. The swift tempo is visible at around 220 metres along dark lanes, nearer 100 through town and bike mounted. High up on a helmet has left me feeling more conspicuous to busses and lorries of varying sizes. Better still is the run time - reckoned to be 40 hours! I’ve been running ours in this setting for several weeks and at least 60 minutes a day - the charge indicator has only just cruised into the red.
Bottom line, the vision has a few minor shortcomings - close to and below freezing, our lithium polymer cell didn’t hold out as well as some premium models and a more positive switch would be welcomed. Otherwise it’s a really bright and capable light that represents seriously good value for money.