A Spectrum Of Lights: A Riding Gravel Round-Up – Part 2

A Spectrum Of Lights: A Riding Gravel Round-Up – Part 2 – by Grannygear

The light units featured in this Round-Up in their retail packaging on a gravel surface
This Riding Gravel Round-Up features these lights that Grannnygear has to test.

Editor’s Note: This Part 2 of “A Spectrum Of Lights” will detail each light in the Round-Up. For an overview of the Round-Up and its intentions, please see Part 1 here.

Thank you for joining me for Part 2 of this Round-Up. Hit that link above if you need to read Part 1 yet. Now then, let’s get back to the lights at hand. I am just doing a quick overview for now. When I look at these one at a time I will fill in more details.

Bontrager Ion Elite R: (Web link for product) Retail Price: $109.99.

The Bontrager Ion Elite light in its box

I have been using a set of daytime running lights from Trek/Bontrager for a couple of years now and they are by far the best I have used when it comes to light level, function, and run times. But they are for making me visible to traffic, not for me to see with. So with that good experience I reached out to Trek for a sample of what they have in a 1000L front light suitable for gravel riding. What I received was the Ion Elite R which is one step down from the top of the line. This what Trek has to say about the Ion Elite R.

Product details

  • Ion Elite R provides a powerful beam that lights up the full width of any road or trail
  • A warm, wide 1000 lumen beam allows confident night riding
  • Specifically designed focus, flash, and range flash patterns offer ultimate daytime visibility
  • Long-lasting brightness exceeds industry standards
  • 1000lm-1.5hrs, 650lm-3hrs, 350lm-6hrs, night flash-26hrs, day flash-22hrs
  • Adjustable hard mount attaches securely to handlebars between 25.4-35.0mm
  • Blendr compatible with available helmet mount
  • Includes an adjustable hard mount and micro USB charging cable

Spending an extra 20 bucks gets you the Ion Pro model which adds an interface to your Garmin computer and 300 more lumens.

The Light & Motion VIS Pro 1000 Trail light in its retail packaging

Light and Motion VIS Pro 1000 Trail: (Web Link for product) Retail Price: $134.99.

The VIS Trail Pro 1000 is at the cost of the Pro level Bontrager light but has a 1000L rating. One trick up it’s sleeve is the ability to run off of an external battery. This might be a typical power station/portable battery like you would have to charge your cell phone when you are not some place with commercial power. It only allows the light to run on low (250L) but it also trickle charges it at the same time. I would say that this is not really a way to extend the run time during serious use but more of a way to get you home if the light signs off before the ride is over. The Pro 1000 Trail also has a fast charge rate and will get to fully charged in a claimed 2.5 hours. However, I am not sure where the battery level would be beginning from…I assume low or dead, but that is not stated.

Product Details

1000 Lumen Output certified to the FL-1 Standard with high powered premium CREE LED Infinite Power Assist: Charge and light off external USB power with an output of 150 lumens for daylight safety. Steady mode or SafePulse. Visibility is enhanced with bright red side lighting providing maximum safety through intersections and high-traffic areas SafePulse light pattern scientifically designed for maximum driver awareness of approaching cyclist without the inherent dangers of flashing lights Micro-peened reflector optimizes the beam pattern for road riders providing a smooth, even spot beam void of distracting hard edges Multiple power settings include Race Mode: a one-touch High/Medium toggle so trail riders can rapidly switch power between climbs and descents without having to cycle through various settings Mounting is simple and effective with ultra-grippy rubber ensuring light doesn’t slip on regular or oversize handlebars Multi-color battery indicator is driven by custom firmware to provide accurate battery status throughout entire runtime Included helmet mount provides an ultra-lightweight and simple attachment solution so riders aren’t encumbered by a bulky/heavy light setup Quick release allows the removal of the light in seconds while leaving the base mount on the handlebar Waterproof design eliminates the leading cause of bike light failure – water immersion FC (Fast Charge) Electronics ideal for 24 Hour Racing or for those that always forget to recharge their light from the previous ride Handlebar, Helmet & GoPro mounts included.

The Nite Rider Lumina Boost 1100 light in its retail packaging

Nite Rider Lumina 1100 Boost: (Web Link for product) Retail Price: $109.95

This web link actually takes you to the Lumina 1200 Boost which is the current version of the light I have. I bought this 1100 version on sale, saved a lot of money in the process (like almost 50%), and gave up very little to my thinking, but regardless of that the Lumina 1200 is what you would compare this to if you go shopping*.
This is what the website has to say about the Lumina 1200 Boost:

Product Details

Lumen Output: 1200
•  7 Modes with Run Times: 1:00 – 18:00hrs
•  Charge Time: 3:00 / 6:00 hrs
•  Weight: 172g
•  Battery: Li-Ion
•  Low Battery Indicator
•  Boost Mode for Maximum LED Output
•  Water / Dust Resistant IP64 Rated

 – 6:00h at 275 Lumens
Med – 3:00h at 550 Lumens
High – 1:30h at 1000 Lumens
Boost – 1:00h at 1200 Lumens
Pulse Flash – 10:00h at 1000 Lumens
Fast Flash – 6:30h at 1000 Lumens

*Now I cannot say that the two lights are completely comparable, but looking at the specs of the 1100 it seems like run times are even, the operation modes are the same as far as I can see, and you gain about 100L across all light levels from the 1100 to the 1200. So I feel pretty good comparing them. As well, I have used different versions of the Nite Rider Luminas in the past and this one feels very familiar.

The "Burning Sun" Amazon sourced light Number 1 in its retail packaging

Amazon Light Number 1: (Web Link for product) Retail Price: $31.99

BurningSun light, or to be more specific…BurningSun Bike Light Set 5 Mode 1000 Lumens Super Bright 360 Degree Rotatable IP65 Waterproof USB Rechargeable Bicycle Headlight Front and Taillight Rear Back Light Cycling Riding Lamp LED Flashlight“.

Yeah…that is a mouthful. But you have to appreciate the effort and enthusiasm. SO this is the first of two Amazon China based lights. The thing that is common with most all China based stuff that is focused on the consumer is that there are typically only a few (or one) factories that make a product but there will be many vendors who resell that one product, often with custom branding sold under different names. So this light might also be sold somewhere else as the Nuclear Night Light or the Stunning Brightness light. This is some of what the ad says about the light: 

Product Details:

  • ★ ULTRA BRIGHT – The bike light has 2 units T6 ultra bright lamp beads ,1000 lumens, 600ft valid distance .5 working modes (low,medium,high,strobe,SOS).
  • ★ POWERFUL BATTERY – 4400mAh built-in high quality and capacity lithium ion battery , 3 hours endurance in highest brightness mode ,Powerful energy guarantees strong brightness. USB rechargeable bike headlight.
  • ★ STRONG SHELL AND HOLDER – High-strength aluminum alloy 6063 material casing. Firm light holder,the light holder can hold up with heavy mountain trails. Easy to Install And Remove.More than 100,000 hours of lamp beads life.
  • ★ 360 DEGREE ROTATE – This light holder is 360 degree rotatable, More convenient for night riding.
  • ★ IP65 WATERPROOF AND POWER INDICATOR – IP65 Waterproof ,Rainproof ,no worry about rain. 3 level power indicator, 100%,50%,25%.

So when I chose the two Amazon lights I looked for a lot of sales and reviews and a price point that was low enough to sway a buyer into taking a shot at it. I also needed to keep it at the same advertised light level. I was not sure what to expect for $40.00 but I have to say that I was pretty impressed taking this thing out of the box. It looks very well made, mount too, and they even include a separate LED taillight.
If it works as well as it looks it will be a compelling item to consider for under 50 bucks. It had almost 1200 ratings on Amazon.

Wastou Bike Light, Amazon sourced Bike Light Number 2 in its retail packaging

Amazon Light Number Two: (Web Link for product) Retail Price: $19.98

This one is named “Wastou Bike Lights, Super Bright Bike Front Light 1200 Lumen, IPX6 Waterproof 6 Modes Cycling Light Flashlight Torch with USB Rechargeable Tail Light(USB Cable Included) ”

With over 3500 ratings, this thing is popular and for 20 bucks, I get it. When I took it out of the package I was not surprised to find it to be more like a toy, or at least less than a serious light. It is quite small, weighs about nothing, and is, at first glance, not what I would take into the deep dark unknown. But it is only 20 bucks so if it is even somewhat decent, then not everyone needs a $50.00 expense to ride down a bike path or get home if the day goes long.

We shall see.

NOTE: The Bontrager and the Light and Motion lights were provided at no cost for review. The Nite Rider and the Amazon lights were purchased at retail.We are not being paid, nor bribed for this post. We always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.


Author: Grannygear

Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.

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2 thoughts on “A Spectrum Of Lights: A Riding Gravel Round-Up – Part 2

  1. Going into the Amazon lighting options a little deeper should reveal a few options that have separate power packs. The advantage of these is that most USB power packs can be used, providing a power source for brighter and longer rides. I’ve been using two different models with USB connectivity, for a few years now. Both are great! One has a wide beam pattern which I use for off-road, and the other has a more narrow focused pattern that I use on roads.
    But there is the convenience of a self-contained unit. I also have the Bontrager light you reviewed, great product, but the high output setting will not last long enough to prevent constant switching to conserve power, and it will not “charge through” for longer outings.
    In the last six months, I was able to acquire two wheels with Shutter Precision dyno hubs. These bring many lighting and charging options to my rides. As I have been using front and rear lights on all traffic rides for a few years, this has been a game changer. Yes, there’s the costs, minor weight factor, and some drag, (only noticeable while spinning the wheel on the work stand). With both of these negatives, I have been setting PR’s from when I was much fitter a few years ago.
    You should go down the rabbit hole of dyno hubs and light options for a review, but many people have already done this, and I found no negative characteristics sufficient to prevent my conversion to dynos. After putting these on two allroad bikes, the mtb is next!

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