Bontrager Flare R Taillight Review
The Bontrager Flare R Taillight
With more and more cyclist involved accidents (and fatalities) occuring every year, safety should be a top priority on every cyclists mind. Here in Denver, it doesn’t seem to matter how many “share the road” signs we put up 0r how many dedicated bike lanes we create – cyclists get hit. Whether it’s the all too common texting and driving scenario, or just a lack of truly being aware of one’s surroundings, accidents with cyclists are on the rise at an alarming rate. Bontrager, in an effort to combat this and aid with cyclist safety, is offering a series of taillights and headlights which seek to blend style and ease of use all while keeping weight low. The result of this is the Bontrager Flare R Taillight.
There are a few offering in the “Flare” lineup; the Bontrager Flare R Taillight is second from the top. The step above the Bontrager Flare R Taillight is the Flare RT taillight, which includes ANT+ technology; this seems like a pretty neat feature to include, but it’s not tested here. As for the Bontrager Flare R Taillight, the function is exactly the same, the lumens are exactly the same, and the effective distance is exactly the same. For the $20 difference between the two, the only addition is the bluetooth connection – at a retail cost of $79.99 for the Bontrager Flare RT vs the retail cost of $59.99 for the Bontrager Flare R Taillight, I think many riders will choose the lesser of the two; my testing phase revealed you really can’t go wrong with that choice.
Initial Thoughts on the Bontrager Flare R Taillight
Opening the box of the Bontrager Flare R taillight, I was immediately struck by the simplicity of the device. Yes, it’s a bike taillight – it wasn’t going to be complicated. But the myriad of options, strobe patterns, and battery life capabilities written on the outside of the box made it seem fairly confusing. I needn’t have worried – it was straightforward and easy to set up. Essentially, just pull it out, plug it into whatever USB receptical happens to be handy, and leave it alone for awhile. There’s a handy indicator on the light which tells you when it’s done charging which is immediately obvious upon plugging it in, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s charged up prior to going for a ride. I will say that the cord that comes with the light is fairly useless; at six inches of length, it’s barely long enough to sit out on your desk from a standard socket. I keep an extension USB running to my wall at all times, as I prefer not to charge devices on my laptop battery. I realize this is the original intent, but for someone who runs SEVERAL devices all day which all need to be charged via USB port, it’s just not feasible to keep jacking things in and out of my PC or laptop and get anything done.
The light itself is on the small side, which at first glance didn’t seem all that remarkable; if you’ve tested any Led Lenser products, though, you’ll know that bright things CAN come in small packages. After a quick charge up (the light came partially charged out of the box, I gave it around a half hour or so on the charger the first time around to get it fully juiced up), I headed outside to see just how bright the light is. Before going into that, though – I should note why I was charging the light up at all (in case you missed it). Unlike the lights of old (or unlike the lights which run on a cyclist’s “leg” power, the Bontrager Flare R taillight does not have a removable battery; no more getting ready for a ride only to find out you need to make a run to the store for ridiculously (stupidly) expensive coin sized batteries. Bontrager doesn’t actually offer any lights such as this, preferring to use “AAA” batteries in the cheaper models, but USB charging is the method of power here.
Testing the Bontrager Flare R Taillight
Really, after a testing phase of a few weeks (in which I ran the light in Day Flash mode the entire time), I only had to charge the light once. A full charge promises to get a “day flash” of 5.75 hours continuously, but since I never rode six hours continuously, the light lasted just a bit longer. I set my computer up to get the time out of it before it began to do it’s warning flash – yet another cool feature is that the warning flash represents a pattern change from the traditional flash mode, making it easy to tell when you need to take it inside to charge up – and I got just over 6.5 hours of use out of it. This means that even though the warning flash was ongoing, the light still didn’t die mid-ride, which was a feature I appreciated. There are four modes available on the light in total; the two day modes are significantly brighter than the two night modes. Each set of modes offers either a steady light or a blinking pattern – predictably, night mode and blinking offers the longest battery life. I had thought that night mode was a bit superfluous, but the light is actually so bright that on one early morning ride with a few friends I was actually asked to turn the night mode on if I was going to ride up front.
As seen in the photo above, I chose to use the small clip to attach the Bontrager Flare R Taillight to my bike – I preferred this method, as it was easy to keep the light clear of my saddle bag this way. The rubber strap which is included in the box also does an excellent job of attaching the light to the saddle, and if you rode with higher seat clearance than I do it would be a great choice for mounting the light to your seatpost as it’s easily removable.
Final Thoughts on the Bontrager Flare R Taillight
In terms of safety, I’d advise all riders to purchase the Bontrager Flare R Taillight – anything you can do to avoid being hit is a good thing, and the Bontrager Flare R Taillight provides this in such a tiny package that even the weight weenies can’t complain about it too much. The battery life is excellent, and the difference in modes is a nice touch for riding in all light situations whether it be day or night. The 65 lumens offered in max bright mode allows for the Bontrager Flare R Taillight to be visible at distances of up to 2KM, which is very believable, especially at dusk or night settings. As seen in the photo above, it makes a rider that much more noticeable to an approaching car – this could be the difference between years of enjoyable riding or not. At a pricepoint of $59.99, the Bontrager Flare R Taillight is an excellent purchase for any rider who has to combat the evils of traffic. Stay safe out there, and head over to the Bontrager Website to check on the Bontrager Flare R Taillight for yourself. Cheers.