Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 Light: Getting Rolling

Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 Light: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted

The season of Fall means shorter daylight hours, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut short the rides anymore. Within the last decade lighting technology for bicycles has advanced to the point that inexpensive, reliable, easy to use lighting is obtainable by most any cyclist. What we have now at our fingertips to use for low light/night time riding is simply astounding. One of the latest, feature-rich additions to those choices is Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 light.

Giant Recon HL 1600 bicycle light

What It Is: The Recon HL 1600 is at the top of the heap in the range of Recon lights that Giant Bicycles offers. It is a “self-contained” light, in that the battery and emitter are all in one enclosure. Like many lights in this category, the internal battery is recharged via a USB cord. Here is what Giant has to say about this particular model on the web page for this light:

  • SpeedBeam feature adjusts light output based on riding speed
  • Smart Mode light sensor monitors ambient light to adjust light output day or night
  • Pair with Garmin series computers and see the battery information and light mode on the computer screen
  • Lumens and runtime are ANSI-Standard certified
  • Focused optics with side light design for over 270-degrees of visibility
  • Heat-dissipating CNC-machined aluminum structure
  • Power status indicator alerts remaining run-time before powering off
  • Includes adjustable GoPro mount
  • For best results pair the Recon Light SpeedBeam mode through a Giant RideSense speed/cadence sensor (or other third-party speed sensors) and not a GPS computer.
  • Pairing the Recon HL1600 or HL900 Headlight with a Garmin computer will limit the ability to pair other accessories with the Garmin computer and may limit the features of the Recon headlight.

The specifications, including run times for the different modes is as follows:

Sizes: 105x35x47mmWeight: 204g without mount Colors: Black Output: 1600 lumens Runtime: High (1600LM) 1.5hrs, Middle 4.5hrs (800LM), Low 10hrs (300LM), Smart (800LM with flash output in Day) 50hrs; (800LM with steady output at Night) 4.5hrs; Flash (100LM) 100hrs Battery: Li-Ion polymer battery (6000mAh) Waterproof: IPX6 Certifications: ANSI-Standard FL-1

And the price? MSRP is $126.00USD. Pretty impressive feature set and spec for that amount of money, it would seem. But let’s dig into this light a bit further and see what else is in the box.

The recon HL 1600 light and included accessories.
You get everything you see here and instructions, which are not shown, in the box.

Inside the box you get a sturdy looking offset mount, a band clamp style mount with a couple of different band length options for different handle bar/tubing sizes, the bit to make this light mount to your existing GoPro mount, and some rubber shims and a 2.5mm wrench to tighten the band clamp. Of course, you get instructions, but they are in a “Dead Sea Scroll” format and the type set is so tiny in places that my old eyes cannot easily read the text, or read it at all in some places. (Especially the warnings.) Fortunately the pictographs are enough to get me up and running.

That said, by busting out my readers, I could see that charging the light from a fully discharged state should take 5 hours. I stuck the very short, provided USB cord into a USB port on my PC and the other end to the Recon HL 1600 and the charge started with the On/Off button flashing green. After approximately 4.5 hours the example I have was charged fully, which is indicated by a solid green light.

The Recon HL 1600 as mounted to theNoble GX5 w/Discovery PRO Brand handle bars
You can also use this mount to put the light under the handle bar.

I chose the offset mount initially to mount this light to the Discovery Series PRO handle bar (on test here) which is on the Noble GX5 (reviewed here). Right away I noted that there is no “aiming” feature to the mounts provided, so if you have, say, a swept flat bar, or one of those funky new flared drops that have sweep to the tops, the light is going to be aimed oddly and this may be a big negative for you. That seems to be a big oversight in the design of the mount, as there are more bars coming out now that are not 90° to the rider’s direction of travel.

Also, the speed/light intensity feature is only good, (as far as I can see by the directions) if you have a Giant speed sensor or equivalent on your bike. However; the pairing with a Garmin to see battery function/mode and life is still an option, as long as you have a Garmin. I may try pairing this with other GPS computers to confirm this. Finally, the Smart Mode, which decreases light intensity when more sun light is detected, looks interesting. This mode is reached by pressing and holding down the mode button for 7 seconds. I’ll be checking to see how that works as well.

So Far….. For the asking price, the Giant Bicycles recon HL 1600 light seems like it has a lot going for it. There is a proprietary element to the Speed Beam Mode though, which is going to minimize the value somewhat here. The Smart Mode looks interesting for those who ride at twilight on either end of the day. For power, the run times and choices here seem good from a gravel rider’s perspective. I’ll take a deeper dive into this and the light’s functionality in my upcoming “Checkpoint” post which should be published soon.

Giant Bicycles sent over the Recon HL 1600 light for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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1 thought on “Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 Light: Getting Rolling

  1. I like the inclusion of the GoPro mount. A nice feature would be phone pairing with an app, with battery status and low charge alert.

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