At Eurobike this year, Michael Browne from Bontrager said "I have a cool light for you!" I said, "Send it over and we'll check it out," with polite skepticism. After all, Bontrager has never made a bike light before and this is a very crowded field.
Well, I've used the light for a month now and color me impressed. Just like with many new Bontrager products, they did their research with this one and they're offering a competitive advantage in this market. And what's special about it are two things, price and form factor.
Brightness and Form Factor
It is a tiny light that is manufactured to the highest standards. It is bright light in a tiny package. It'll fit on your bars, your helmet or in your pocket.
The price is $100 and that trumps all of the competition. Measured Lumens for the Ion 700 is 661 Lumens The closest competitors are:
Niterider Lumina 700 - $140 for 692 measured Lumens
Serfas True 750 - $160 for 773 measured Lumens
Light and Motion Urban 700 - $160 for 708 measured Lumens
So as you can see, the Ion 700 has some very good competitors that have been doing this for a while. But with its price and form factor, it's got something to offer to consumers.
Heat and Temperature
The Ion 700 does not have a lot of heatsinking and it does not step down in brightness as it gets hot. The LED is allowed to dim itself if there is not a lot of moving air. Thus this light can get quite hot and it becomes less efficient in warm temperatures without a lot of moving air.
It's fine for normal use, but there's better options in areas in warm climates and conditions where the rider is stopping a lot.
- Price: $100
- Claimed Lumens: 700 Lumens
- Measured Lumens: 661 Lumens
- Measured MTBR Lux: 68 Lux
- Lumens per $: 6.61 Lumens
- Lumens per gram: 5.51 Lumens
- Time on High: 1:45 Hours claimed
- Charge Time: 5 Hours
- Mounted Weight: 141 grams
- Category: Flashlight
- Construction and beam quality are top-notch
- $100 price point bests the competition in the 700 Lumen category
- Side lighting is just perfect as it aids commuters but doesn't get in the way of mountain bikers
- Size and weight are smallest in this category
- The light can get hot as there is not a lot of heatsinking
- Not quite up to 700 Lumen claims (but within LED bin error range)
- Run time of 1:45 is optimistic since light is allowed to go down to 10% of initial brightness
- Mount is not very sophisticated and no helmet mount is included
Mounting is done with a small rubber mount with a hook strap with one length. This strap is built to accommodate all handlebar diameter by stretching. We tested it with a 31.8 bar and it worked fine. It is adjustable for smaller diameter bars by unscrewing a tension screw and adjusting the rubber strap. The light can be aimed left to right with a ratcheting swivel with fairly big degrees of adjustment. The tightness of the swivel can be adjusted by a retention screw.
Charging is performed with a micro USB port at the bottom of the light.
Mtbr Light Meter Measurements
This light measured 68 Lux on our ambient light measurement facility. The light output measurement is performed by placing a Lux light meter beside the light. Both are pointed at the ceiling (five feet above) of a dark room. This measurement uses the ambient light produced by the bike light.
Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens
This light measured 661 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 700 Lumens. The Lumen-hour graph below shows how the light performs over the first three minutes of its battery cycle.
Compare all Lumen Tests here »
Beam Pattern Photo
We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photos were taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. These photos feature many objects and a distinct background to analyze detail and beam pattern.
Compare all Beam Patterns here »
If you can find this light, buy it. Buy two or three and set up one or two on the bars and one on the helmet. It is well-engineered and at $100 it is an amazing value.
For more information visit bontrager.com.