Having a bright light during daytime riding is pretty important to me, as even as driver I find it hard to spot cyclists during daylight hours. Which is why I always ride with a rear light, and for the past couple years I’ve been using Australia-based Knog’s Blinder Road Rear (currently known as the R70).
Don’t get me wrong, the Knog Blinder Road Rear is excellent, but I’ve been wondering about getting more side illumination, and after looking into reviews of the Bontrager Flare R, which is specifically made for daylight riding, I just had to pick one up.
So off I went to my lock Trek store in Victoria, BC, and nabbed a Bontrager Flare R rear light for $79.99 CAD. Sure, it’s not exactly cheap, but can you put a price on your safety?
The Flare R from Bontrager claims it can be seen from up to 2 kilometres away. This latest third generation unit comes with an ambient sensor (which can be disabled), to intelligently manage brightness levels during the day and at night, depending on light available. If it’s darker out, the light will not shine as bright (it’s still super bright), but during the day, it will shine brighter to let traffic see you.
Unboxing the Bontrager Flare R, you get the seat post mount and also a micro USB cable and instructions (which are also found online). In Canada, it appears there’s no included bag mount clip. As for the seat post mount, I don’t have an aero seat post, so I don’t think this will work with super aero mounts (unless you have a Trek bike and its integrated system for these lights).
The Bontrager Flare R has provide a max 65 lumens from its single CREE LED, while it has 270 degrees of visibility, better than the Knog Blinder R70 and its thin strip.
Now, it’s not just all about lumens when it comes to rear lights. The Flare R has a wide beam, so it’s actually more piercing to the eyes, plus it has an irregular flash pattern, to get you noticed better by drivers. We immediately noticed the beam to be ‘larger’ than the CREE LED on the Knog Blinder R70.
The Flare R also includes a low power mode, which will automatically lower flash levels so you have 2 hours of backup juice to make it home and keep you safe. I really like this, because with the Blinder R70, there’s been times on long rides my main flashing mode would die and I wouldn’t notice until I get home, which is not a good thing.
The Bontrager Flare R comes with a solid mount which can be rotated and the light clips onto the mount more securely than the Blinder Road Rear and its flimsy clip. Both lights charge via micro USB.
Riding with the Bontrager Flare R
After going on a few rides with the Flare R, I immediately noticed cars were giving me and my group more room when passing. I’m talking cars going fully into the other lane and just giving way more space, compared to when I was using my Knog Blinder Road rear.
Here’s how both lights look side by side:
…and here’s the Knog Blinder R70/Road Rear versus the Bontrager Flare R side by side:
As you can see, the Bontrager Flare R LED is larger and casts a wider beam, which means you can be seen from further away and drivers will notice. Holy crap, is the Flare R a bright light–do not look into the beam!
I left the ambient light sensor on, which then brings only 3 modes: night flash, day flash and solid mode. I have to admit it’s hard to determine which is day or night flash, since the sensor is pretty light sensitive.
At the end of the day, it was money well spent for the Bontrager Flare R rear light, as it has definitely lived up to the hype. It’s not exactly cheap, but if you’re looking to stay safe out there and want the best rear light available, you can’t go wrong with Bontrager’s Flare R. As for my Knog Blinder Road Rear (only $33 USD on Amazon), it’s not retiring just yet, but the Flare R is the one I’m going to be riding with from now on (found at your local Trek dealer), and its super visibility gets me excited every time I turn it on for a ride.