BONTRAGER FLARE RT TAILLIGHTS

Amazingly small, amazingly bright … but only if you can get them to work.

I bought two of them about a month ago and plan on taking both of them back for a refund today. I am not impressed with them. They won’t turn on so I have to do a factory reset on them each time to get them to turn on. Also the battery charge does not last very long. I was having this problem with just one of them at first so I took it back and got it replaced under warranty. That was less than a week ago. Now both of them are faulty. Nope, I am not at all impressed. They are expensive junk in my opinion.

 

Bontrager is owned by Trek Bikes and Trek Bikes only carry Bontrager lights in their stores. This light is designed to mount on the seat post of a DF bicycle. Seat posts are angled back so Bontrager makes the mount for this light angled so that the light itself ends up level as you can see in the picture above. This is fine if you are mounting it on a DF bike seat post but it presents a bit of a problem mounting it else where as the light ends up on an angle instead of being straight and level.

 

My inexpensive BV taillights are just as bright and have always worked great. It comes free with a headlight I love which I paid $12 for a few years ago. Now the price is up to $17 the last time I checked. That is still cheap and a great light for the price. I would not want or need anything brighter in the daytime. I have not had any problem with them whatsoever over the years. I will continue using them and save $140 the two Flare RT taillights cost me. Quite honestly I have had poor luck with more expensive brand name lights whether headlights or taillights.

Well, that is my story based on my personal experience. I can not recommend these taillights. Sorry Bontrager. You sell junk as far as I am concerned.

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STUPID Bright

Is it possible to have too bright of lights … front or rear? I say yes. And yet manufacturers keep increasing the power of lights. That would probably be okay if they included lenses which direct the light so it does not shine upward any higher than it needs to be.

But very few manufacturers do this. Most of the lights have the light beam going out 360 degrees shining upward illuminating everything out in front including the eyes of those who don’t appreciate  it. I have only had one headlight thus far with such optics.. I don’t use it as it has more lumens than I care to use in the daytime.

My 300 lumen headlights are certainly guilty of this. They are only rated at 300 lumen but man are they bright! I only use one at a time and I use it on flash mode. The picture below is with both on and on steady mode. That is STUPID  Bright!

Now I have a question to ask you … how bright are you? Riding at night in darkness we need lots of light as long as we are by ourselves.

We need lots of light so we can see the path ahead of us. It is downright dangerous to ride faster than our headlight is illuminating  the path ahead of us. In the daytime when most of us ride we still need lots of light but for an altogether different reason … to be seen by others. With headlights that shine the light beam equally 360 degrees  it does not do much good to aim the light downwards unless we aim it way way down. And if we do that we  then risk others not seeing us at all. So what is a person to do?

I am sure most of us have noticed and complained about newer motor vehicles whose headlights are blinding even on low beam. We often question whether or not they have their headlights on low beam as they are just too bright and seem to be aimed up at our eyes. I doubt very much if anyone is going to do anything about it. We are just stuck with dealing with it. Too bad, so sad! It also seems to be the case with bicycle lights. We want to be seen which means that others are just going to have to deal with it.

I was taught as a young child that if a driver in an oncoming car (truck, etc.) does have his  high beam headlights on and won’t/doesn’t dim them all I can do it look over at the right side of the road … hopefully at a white line painted along the side of the pavement. That is the best I can do in that situation. I would say the same is true for those dealing with our trike headlights. Don’t look at them. And if someone complains about our lights being too bright I suggest apologizing but explaining that I would rather offend someone than get hit by someone who says they didn’t see me.

Every once in awhile I encounter a bicyclist with an extremely bright headlight … so bright that it truly blinds me if I look toward it rather than look away at the side of the road or trail. As far as I am concerned there is no excuse for a cyclist to have such a bright light in use in the daytime. But they are out there and we just have to deal with it. I mean, after all, we can’t hardly shoot their light out. It is stupid and irresponsible to be STUPID  Bright. We all need to follow the commandment of Jesus … “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

I know this bicycle lighting subject is somewhat controversial and not everyone agrees with me. I just had someone say to me that my headlight is too bright and blinded the car driver who almost hit me yesterday when they turned in front of me forcing me to brake hard to avoid getting hit. I don’t agree with that person who said this. If this happened quite frequently I would have to consider it as a possibility. My headlight is bright, but it is not STUPID  Bright. BTW, there is a bicycle light named Stupid Bright. They make various lights besides this one I linked to.

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NOT ALL LIGHTS ARE CREATED EQUAL

That’s right … not all bicycle lights are created equal. It is possible to have a 35 lumen taillight appear to be brighter than  a 100 lumen taillight. How can that be you ask? I have written about this subject before. It is all about optics. Some lights just have better optics in them. The term optics here means lenses along with reflectors. They can sure make a big difference in lights. My 300 lumen headlights are amazingly bright on flash mode in the daytime. Anything brighter would be blinding. People find it hard to believe when I tell them they are only 300 lumen. They think they must be at least a thousand or more.

Here is an excellent example of what I mean. Bontrager offers their Flare R City  taillight pictured above. It is very small in size and is rated at only 35 lumen. Years ago 35 lumen was a powerful taillight but nowadays it would be considered low powered. Yet this particular taillight is quite bright. You would have to see it to believe it.

I just bought a 350 lumen Cygolite Hypershot taillight (pictured above). It is extremely bright of course. I would not think of using it at night time as it would be blinding unless it can be “dialed down” sufficiently. But I ride in the daytime almost exclusively and I WANT TO BE SEEN.  Anyway, I have the same brand of taillights in 150 lumen and they are extremely bright as well. 150 lumens was their most powerful taillight when I first bought mine.  Cygolite first came out with a much lower powered taillight and then kept making new models increasing the lumens each time. They have 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and now 350. I wonder what is next.

You don’t want to look at it up close as you will be seeing a dot before your eyes for awhile. Would you believe that the 35 lumen Flare R taillight is as bright as this 150 lumen? It would seem impossible but I have witnessed it with my own eyes.

I have some 35 lumen taillights (pictured above) made by BV that came free with their 300 lumen headlights I use.

The taillights are very bright but they are not as bright as the 35 lumen Flare R City cube. And the battery charge only last 4 or 5 hours on flash mode. At present I am using my new 350 lumen taillight along with two of the 35 lumen BV taillights. They are working very good together. Here is a video of them flashing.

I was going to buy the Bontrager Flare R cubes to use but I already have these BV taillights and they offer much better side visibility. I still have the 150 lumen taillights I can use if the 350 turns out to be too much as in too bright, obnoxious, overbearing. I don’t want to be guilty of “STUPID Bright” which is the title of a soon upcoming article on this website.

I have such a difficult time understanding most British people when they talk. I found another one I wanted to share but I could not hardly understand a word they were saying. This one is a little better.

 

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NICE LIGHT SETUP

I came across this video of a fellow trike rider illustrating the lighting he has on his trike. I really like it. It’s got everything needed … bright headlights, bright taillight, brake lights, side light and turn signals front and back.

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CYGOLITE HOTSHOT PRO TAILLIGHTS

Thru the passing years I have tried a number of different headlights and taillights. Some were near the best available at the time I bought them but as time passed other lights came along which were superior to what I had already bought and had been using. That’s the way the cookie crumbles as they say. Or as a good friend used to say … “you’ll have that!” I have not been much of a fan of USB rechargeable lights for a couple of reasons … 1) the charge often does not last long enough and when it is depleted the light no longer works. It this happens in the middle of a ride it leaves you without a working light. And 2) I have experienced too much trouble with the USB charging ports going bad and the  charging cable plug no longer plugging into the light leaving me with no way to recharge it. So I have purposely stayed clear of most USB rechargeable lights. I do have  6 or 7 rechargeable taillights at this time. One of them is difficult to recharge because of this problem mentioned. Just today I received a new light to replace the one I am having trouble with. This is a  quality control problem in manufacturing as far as I am concerned. From brand new out of the box there were problems with the USB port. I like and want bright flashing taillights and headlights on my trike as I want to be seen. I rarely ever ride at night so I don’t need an extremely bright headlight so I can see where I am going. I just need lights that others can readily see in the daytime. Besides rechargeable lights I also have lights that run on AA and AAA batteries. For taillights I like the Niterider Cherry Bomb 35. I use my Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150 taillights as my main taillights but if they should fail during a ride I have the battery powered lights to use and I carry extra batteries along with me should they fail. Cygolite Hotshot Pro taillights are offered in different brightnesses. When I first bought mine the most powerful one they had was 150 lumens. Since then they have come out with 200 as well as 250. The 150 is plenty bright so I never bought a 200 or 250. They not only cost more but the charge in these models don’t last as long as the 150. I think they come in 50, 80, 100, 150, 200 and 250 lumens. I know one needs to be careful when shopping for them online. You may be looking up 150 but the search results often show other powers and you many not notice this when looking at the search results.

I have changed my light configuration several times over the years. Just recently I made a major change in the taillight dept. I removed all of the battery powered lights and just have the rechargeable lights now. Even the BV 35 lumen taillights are very bright and would do the job all by themselves. They are just smaller than I care for plus the charge doesn’t last long enough in them.They came free with my headlights so the price was right.

Just a side note – – – I have had problems with the USB charging port in one of my tailights. I finally threw the taillight in the trash and ordered another one.

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A FREE GIFT awaits you!

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