A Spectrum Of Lights: Bontrager Ion Elite R

A Spectrum Of Lights: Bontrager Ion Elite R – by Grannygear

Moving on with our light review round-up, we have the light from Bontrager. As we mentioned in the intro post, what I received from Trek was the Ion Elite R which is one step down from the top of the line light. This what Trek has to say about the Ion Elite R. MSRP $109.99

Bontrager Ion Elite R lite held by Grannygear
The Bontrager Ion Elite R light

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 Bontrager Ion Elite R was the first light I used in the group of lights and it was actually a bit of a spoiler. That is because it is my favorite light of the bunch.

The contents of the box for the Bontrager Ion Elite R light

The Good:

To begin with, the clamp is beef. It not only installs easily but holds the light with no wiggle or waggle. Anyone could install this with no issues.

The button is easy to use even when riding and the light has a very solid feel to it. Remember that the light needs a rapid double click to go from off to on. This makes it pretty hard to have it turn on my mistake, like in a gear bag. It did give me a rise in heart rate though, when I used it again after trying all the other lights. I had forgotten about the double-click and thought I was in for a ruined ride.

But the best part for me is the ‘momma bear’ light it produces. It has this lovely beam pattern that walks the line between flood and spot and is the most rideable of them all. For some reason, I could wind the speeds up and still feel like I could see well with this light. The light color is in the middle as well, cooler than the Light and Motion but warmer than the Nite Rider, at least to my eyes.

Run times seemed to match the advertised rating. 

Another plus of this light is the huge Trek dealer network behind it. Have an issue? Find a Trek dealer. You might not have one near you, but then again…

The less than good:

What do I not like about it?  Ummmmm…cannot think of anything actually. 

The only issue I had at first was that you had to rotate through all the modes (including flash) to get from Low to High again. But discussions with Trek let me know that an 8 second press and hold on the light from Off puts it into more of a ’Trail’ mode, if you will, and now I just have three modes to rotate through. Perfect for me. And if I do want flashy-flashy, then another 8 second press and hold gets that back in the mix.

A view of the lens for the Bontrager Ion Elite R light.

Right now I am testing a helmet that Bontrager just came out with, the Circuit Wavecell. It has an integrated mount for both forward and rear facing lights. You could use the Ion Elite R with this helmet without any extra straps, etc. Clicks right on there. It might be a bit heavier than I would want on a helmet, but maybe not, and the Flare line of rear lights would be perfect for the rear of the helmet.

Add in the Blendr stem mounts that Trek does and the versatility of the Ion Elite scales up a bit more. 

It’s my pick of the bunch because of that excellent light beam it produces, the dealer network behind it, and the useful mounting options it allows for.

Next we see how the Amazon lights did for a budget buy. It was not as bad as you might have thought.

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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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1 thought on “A Spectrum Of Lights: Bontrager Ion Elite R

  1. Yeah buddy… I have a full suite of Bontrager lights, as well as their helmets, and the system is tough to beat. The mounts are awesome and the integration is pretty much unmatched by any other system, provided you’ve got the BLENDR compatible helmet(s) as well.

    I’ve used a lot of light brands over the years, and Bontrager’s system is by far my favorite.

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