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Bontrager Ion 700 RT review

Bontrager Ion 700 RT
12 Jan 2016

Bontrager has packed a lot of punch into the Ion 700 RT but the small size can lead to a short runtime.

Cyclist Rating: 
Small compact unit
Relatively short run time

If you scribbled down a wish list for a high power front light, it would probably read like this: compact, easy to fit/remove, several hours of burn time, lightweight and last but not least, a fast recharge. Well, it seems your wishes are Bontrager’s command, as its Ion 700RT light will grant you everything you ask for, especially if your rides are mostly under two hours. 

Starting with fitting, the handlebar mount is ultra simple, with a durable rubber strap making light work of attaching/detaching the unit to various bar diameters. Once in place it grips well, holding firm on rough roads and through the occasional pothole strike, helped by the fact the light body is small and also svelte so not placing excessive stresses on the mount. The bracket is small enough to leave on the bars with the light removed without being unsightly but equally, with such rapid fitment you might as well take the lot off. 

Bontrager Ion 700

The high output Cree LEDs provide a claimed 700 lumens on the brightest setting with a run time of 1hr 45mins. That’s ample to see well enough in unlit lanes with a decent beam pattern that spreads light evenly across a wide area with no dark spots. There’s enough throw of light to be comfortable up to around 40kph, although if speed creeps up any faster you start to feel like you’d like to be able to see a bit further up the road. In a perfect world Bontrager would have stretched the burn time (on high) to two hours as my rides often creep more towards this length, and it would save having to remember to dim the light as and when possible to extend its life. But really that feels like nitpicking at what is a superb light for such a tiny unit. 

Micro USB charging is takes just 5 hours, so can be fully charged during the working day, to be ready for the ride home. Three brightness levels, the lowest of which (200 lumens) extends the run time to 6hrs 45mins, means if you ride in predominantly lit areas there’s little chance of running the batteries down in a single ride. The irregular strobe is a useful feature as it’ll be sure to get you seen, even during daylight hours. This light can be paired with Bontrager’s Transmitr remote which means changing modes can potentially be achieved more safely while riding, although this feature seems more applicable to rear lights, as the button on the front light is relatively easy to reach anyway.

At a glance

Bontrager Ion 700 RT trans
£110 (£160 w/ remote)

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