Winner: Ravemen PR1200 and PR900
We get to test over 50 new lights each year so this year's best light winner is a refreshing surprise. It's not expensive or the product of a well-known brand. Rather it is a very novel concept from a start-up light maker. And no, it's not one of those Kickstarter projects from a garage 'expert.' Rather it is from a group of people who have insight on the needs of cyclists, as well as manufacturing relationships to build a quality product cost effectively.
The light is the Ravemen PR1200 which retails for $90. It looks and feels like a quality piece of machinery with two LEDs and an OLED digital display screen. The screen displays run-time in the brightness mode that one is using. So, on a full charge, it can indicate 1.5 hours on full bright all the way to 18 hours for the dimmest setting.
The magic of this light is that it has two distinct lenses for each LED. One LED is very wide and flat, allowing the rider to see the periphery. This light also has a beam with a very distinct cut-off line horizontally, much like car headlamps and bike legal lights sold in Germany. Round beam patterns found in most lights waste a lot of the light output and it blinds or distracts drivers and pedestrians. This makes the Ravemen very safe to use on the street.
When it comes to trail riding, another click of the main button turns on the traditional, round beam that throws a bright beam very far. The two beams work very well in conjunction. Another button is used to dim and scroll the light through its levels.
Finally, a USB port allows users to charge their devices using the light. It features a 5200mah battery so it's quite a powerful charger for one's smartphone. And the light is very flat and compact so it can be carried in the pocket as a handy flashlight and charger.
We've been testing the PR600, PR900 and PR1200 and all are fine products with the same features. The PR1200 should be widely available shortly but the PR900 and PR600 are available today. For more info visit www.ravemen.com.
Runner Up: Lupine Piko 4 Smartcore
Lupine impressed us five years ago with the introduction of the first Piko with an output of 550 lumens. We were wowed by the output and heat management from such a small package. But how could it wow us this year while maintaining its small, useable form factor? Meet the Piko 4 with 1500 lab-validated lumens and a $375 price tag. Add in a wireless remote that's easily mounted on your bars and a sophisticated smartphone app that can control, configure and monitor the light, and this is the total package. Want five levels of light or two? No longer will you have to play Morse code with your light switch. The app handles that. You can also have infinite light adjustment via an app slider bar for ultimate light control while riding. For more info please visit www.lupinenorthamerica.com
Honorable Mention: Lezyne Super Drive 1250XL
The highlights of this Lezyne light are wide optics and excellent form factor. The beam has a wide swath and fairly oval spot. It's also quite the powerhouse with 3 LEDs for a big beam pattern. The mount is now a rubber strap that has a molded base to ensure it stays in place. And its output is an impressive 1300 lumens of big, beautiful beam pattern for $120. This truly is a great combination of weight, power and price. For more info please visit www.lezyne.com
This post is part of the Mtbr Best of 2016 awards series. You can see all this year's announced winners here.