Keepers: Bontrager Ion RT/Flare RT- by Grannygear
Keepers: Editor’s Note: In conversations with the contributors of Riding Gravel, it became apparent that there were certain items we had reviewed, or purchased for ourselves in the past, which had become core parts of cycling kit for each of us. This, we all felt, deserved attention. So we thought it might be interesting to you, our readers, to learn what has “made the cut”. The things we rely on and find are “keepers” in our stable of bikes and gear.
I ride a lot of pure road here in So Cal, and even when I am on the gravel bike, there is a good amount of road riding to connect the dots on a typical outing. While nothing can keep you completely safe while sharing the road with motor vehicles, simple things like bright clothing and daytime running lights are well worth using. If you don’t think so, notice the next few times you see a cyclist on the road. Do you see him or her sooner or, to say it another way, was your attention more drawn to them if they were wearing bright clothing or using a blinking light? It’s not a guarantee of being seen, but we should give ourselves every advantage. It’s no coincidence that black clothing is worn to funerals.
So, even if you want to look all suave’ and ‘pro’ in your black or muted colored jersey, a small yet powerful front and rear blinking light is worth having on your bike for daytime rides, assuming it’s a road shared with motor vehicles.
I have used several of the more popular types, from inexpensive multi LED ‘bars’ to more costly front and rear light sets that combine a front light powerful enough to actually ride with at night with a bright flashing mode front and rear. That bigger set-up is fine for rides that might stretch into darkness, but those 500 lumen (or greater) lights that sit above the bars are a bit bulky, take up bar space, and are heavy. They do, however, give you long run times in flash mode, maybe even 12hrs of it, often more. I have found most of the smaller, cheaper types simply lack the ‘punch’ to be seen from enough distance, at speed, and in bright daylight and they do not run long enough to be good for longer rides either.
What I wanted was a smaller light form with as little weight as I could get, and with enough intensity front and rear to be worth using on open roads. I also wanted at least 8 hours of run time on a high level flash.
I found all that in the Bontrager Ion 200 RT/Flare RT light combo.
Small is good and the little rubber cubes are very tidy, taking up little room on a seat post or handlebar. They are not very tall, so if you have limited seat post extension, they should still fit in there. The mounts are simple and effective, the casings seem to be well sealed to the elements, and they have enough modes to get the job done. They also have an auto mode where ambient light is measured and the light pattern adjusts as it sees fit. I also understand they will connect to a Garmin and sense road speeds, adjusting the light mode to suit the moment. I would not have a Garmin if they paid me, so I use them in manual mode as I want to control that part of things.
They are bright enough to work at a useful distance on the open road when used in the daytime flash setting and I easily get 8 hours out them on that setting. The small size also allows you to carry a spare, either in a jersey pocket or bag, but also just strapped to the bike somewhere.
Honestly, they are just superb for my needs. At $114.99 for a set they are not cheap, but also are backed up by your local Trek dealer.
A peach, these are. Keepers.