Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 Light: At The Finish

Giant Bicycles Recon HL 1600 Light: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted

The Giant Recon HL 1600 light has been put through the paces here and it is time to give the final verdict on this 1600 Lumen torch for cycling. My previous report on this three part review can be accessed here.

The Giant Recon HL 1600 mounted on a handle bar

Now for the final word on this light. You might recall that I used the molded plastic mount for the beginning of the test and that the light rattled in it with the obvious annoying results. I mentioned that the alternative “band clamp” style mount might prove to be better. It was. Rock solid, as a matter of fact. No rattles or noises at all while on gravel.

The HL 1600 shown mounted to a handle bar
This band clamp style mount was more secure and did not rattle versus the plastic molded one that comes with this light as well.

To be fair, I visited a local Giant dealer and they had a Recon HL 1600 on hand. So we compared the plastic molded mount from their stock against mine. While that mount was better, it still had some amount of looseness to it that may develop over time into the annoying rattle I experienced. My conclusion is that the band clamp mount is a better, noise free mount, and the alternate plastic mount may or may not be okay depending upon the sample.

Since my last update I haven’t found any reason to use this light in highest power mode. In my opinion, 1600 Lumens is too much light for the gravel we have. It washes out all detail and makes getting into the “good line” harder to do. even at the 800 Lumen setting, this is more difficult than it needs to be. Again, I may be an outlier here, but there comes a point where, much like photography, you are letting too much light into your composition.

The light pattern is also not focused as well as it could be. You are really lighting up a lot of useless space with a pattern that has no cut off to the top of the beam. This also is problematic if you use this light in traffic as it will blind oncoming drivers. Obviously, out in the sticks, this isn’t a big deal. I found the beam pattern to be just fine in those scenarios.

Status light/On-Off power switch on the Recon HL 1600
While the On/Off function and button use is easy, you have no indication of what power level you are on, which is difficult to tell from the saddle.

At The Finish: What I find here is a light with more than enough power to use it as a light for light duty mountain bike trail riding, but also has a lower power setting for great run time and still not quite so over powering that it washes out the road surface detail. If you have the Giant computer and sensor for speed, a couple options open up that are unique and interesting. However; for the rest of us mortals, the light is a simple, no frills unit with a lot of power. I was a bit dismayed that there was no easy way to tell what setting you were on. The two brightest settings are, oddly enough, both so bright it was hard to tell which was which, and with no status indicator, your guess is as good as mine where you are at on the switch. Also, the menu button works serially, and there is no way to ‘jump’ to a particular setting that you might want. That said, the light does turn on where you last left the power setting, so that is something nice there.

That plastic molded mount was disappointing, but fortunately the band clamp style mount is rock solid. The light has no pivoting feature to center the beam, so beware of where you mount it. This could be a problem with bars that have back-sweep which, ironically, the Giant D’fuse bar that Grannygear tested has.

The Recon HL 1600 is in a hotly contested category in the bike lighting market place. New contenders are out there with similar, and sometimes better, feature sets. As always, ‘caveat emptor‘ when looking at this category, but the Recon HL 1600 is a solidly built, reliable light. While it has a basic feature set, (unless you own the proprietary Giant computer which opens up more features), it holds its own at the asking price of $126.00USD. That said, for a little more cabbage you can get a light that addresses the shortcomings of this light. In the end, it is just so-so as far as high powered lights go at this time in history.

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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