People are raving about this light. Yeah, sorry, predictable but true. It started to gain some traction in early 2017 from a brand which, frankly, I’d never heard of. And all of the reviews were very positive. I saw no need to change, being quite happy with my Cateye Volt but, lately, I’ve felt it a bit more important to know just how much charge you have (or at least might have) left. That’s hard with the Cateye, regardless of how good it is. People were also raving (I’ll stop it soon I promise) over the output of the Ravemen in the real world and its ability to be far more other people friendly on the road as a result of its “dipped headlight” feature. It’s just a shade over £80 at the moment on Merlin Cycles which represents very good value for a (claimed) 1200 lumen light. In short, it’s well worth buying and offers something I feel over those that are similarly priced and those that cost an awful lot more.
Essentially the “difference” between this and others such as the Volt is that it has a DuaLens Optical Design for Road Biking Mode (“providing broad closed range flood light with anti-glare low beam for commuting, no dazzle and glare for oncoming riders and pedestrians”) and a HiLo Beam System for Mountain Biking (“providing illuminating light similar to automotive headlight with far reaching high beam and low beam.”) To put that another way, the clear lens turns off in road more leaving the dipped hatched lens to do all the work (slightly less light and thrown but more other road user friendly) and, if you’re off road or there’s nothing else around, stick it on dual lens and light the entire world up. The lenses are Cree XM-L2 with a claimed life of 50k hours plus.
It’s a pretty comprehensive package and has everything you really need. There’s the light itself, a USB cable, a very good bar mount and that remote button, more on that in a minute. The mount itself is very good but requires an allen key to tighten it, so that makes swapping between bikes more problematic. No issue, I bought a couple of additional mounts (which fit pretty much all Ravemen front lights) for about £6 each. They are arguably better in that they utilise a knurled thumb screw rather than an allen key, though the point is moot as each is now present on each of three bikes.
The unit itself it very premium, all hard coated anodized aluminium and a few bits of plastic. It’s IPX8, which means you could use it underwater up to 2 metres for 30 minutes but you’d be braver than me. It’s pretty hefty too which gives it an air of solidity. There are only two buttons. The larger of the two switches between one and two lenses (and turns the unit on and off) and the smaller varies the brightness. You won’t see this on the shot above but, in the dark, the buttons also glow in the dark because they’re actually glow in the dark, which is nice because a) you can see them and b) it doesn’t drain any power to do so. How long does it last? Well, I’ve not yet seen it “wear off.” Then there’s the display.
And it’s here really that the Ravemen really shines (!) you get a reminder of how many lights you have on (dipped and main) and also how much run time you have. So, in the above shot, 9.5 hours. Of course, much depends on the truth of that display. If it’s not truthful it means nothing. If anything I’ve found it more than truthful and that the quoted 2 hours runtime at 1200 lumens is actually quite conservative. In relation to that run time, you’ve got as follows.
So, for road more, where I use it most of the time, that’s enough for 3 1/2 commutes but, in practice, more like 4. In high mode, on the dark lanes, good enough each day for there and back. And that’s quite important, the Volt was pretty much the same, perhaps slightly shorter but, without a gauge, you didn’t really know how much was left. Swapping between modes is pretty easy, it’s simply about the number of lights that are on. So you swap between them using the big button then the small button for brightness. Of course, we all perceive we need that 1200 lumens on the road to really see where we’re going, and that defeats the object of the dual lens system. I will say, quite honestly, the 600 lumens is fabulous and feels like an awful lot more. Without the benefit of being able to capture how good I will leave it to Ravemen’s PR shots which, to my mind, are pretty representative of how good things look. The former is road mode on 600, the latter MTB mode on 1200.
Next, let’s talk about that button. On the face of it, it’s a good addition, save for a few pretty major points. The first is, with it plugged in at the back, there’s more chance of water ingress. Not a deal breaker. The second is what does it do? You’d expect, a al Exposure et all, for it to do the dipping. But it does not. It does the brightness. So, it’s useful, nice but, for me, just moving to do the button on the main unit is enough. It’s nice to have, but not essential.
The mounting plate under the light is very sturdy indeed, it clicks nicely into place and is released by pressure on the plastic tab on the light mount. Nothing moves, nothing wobbles.
And, if that was all, it would be a 10/10 light. It’s brilliant, well made, fantastic for commuting and generally all round lovely. But that’s not all. And I’m torn on whether, or not, the other feature makes it a masterpiece or is just, again, very nice to have.
As you will see, it has two ports. One for charging it (and taking the remote connector in use) and one for charging your other stuff. It’s a 5200mAh, 1.5A powerbank. But, and there is a but, only when it’s not working as a light. And, generally, that’s probably the sensible option. The complexity of trying to figure out how much charge is left for the lights while charging your phone is probably too much. The other limitation too is that the display defaults to a reading of “CC” when charging your gear. So you know it’s doing its job but without unplugging that gear and turning on the light you don’t know how much you have left. But, look, even that 100 lumen mode is more than enough for a Brevet or Audax, that mode lasts 21 hours so that’s more than enough. I’m verging therefore to this being the genius addition and something that really does mark out the Ravemen as being so much better than its competitors.
Let’s be clear, at £150 this would be a stonking good light. At £100 RPP and, with shopping around, £80 it’s an absolute steal. You could even find it cheaper if you’re prepared to wait a few weeks for it to arrive from the far east. You can really see why people are, well, singing their praises about it.