It was a pretty bold move on the part of the Trek-owned company because although people have been riding with lights during the day time for years, marketing one specifically for the day was always likely to produce as many scoffers as it was admirers. It may not be the first thing you think of when heading out for a ride during the day, but we think having a rear light year-round is a good thing, only serving to improve your visibility in the road. Besides, even in the daytime, the sun can shine bright enough to distract a driver, or bad weather can quickly turn things murky.
The headline features of the Flare R are its 65-lumen brightness coupled with 270-degree visibility. Basically, there isn’t just one set of red LEDs at the back, but an amber light from either side, too, with side visibility being one feature that all too many rear lights forgo.
Sixty five lumens may not sound like a lot, but compared to most other rear lights it’s a pretty decent punch and helps boost the Flare R’s daytime visibility. For example, Light and Motion’s Vis180 is usually my go to rear light, and that’s pretty bright at 50 lumens, so another 15 on top of that is not to be sniffed at. Bontrager claim that the Flare R can be seen from up to 2km away in daylight (although that would require a 2km long stretch of straight, flat road, obviously) and up to 5km at night (an even more difficult test). But the main point is that it’s plenty bright enough to help drivers see you.
The Flare has four different functions: two constant, two flashing. The flashing mode’s aren’t regular, either, in the sense that you get two slow flashes followed by three quick ones which adds another degree of eye-catching visibility. Of the four modes, one constant and one flashing are designed for daytime (read: brighter) and one constant and one flashing mode for night time that are a little less bright.
There are two mounting options for the Flare. The first is a traditional rubber post mount that works very well with round seatposts (with a claimed range of 22.2mm-35mm diameters), but doesn’t really cope with oversized aero posts both in terms of capacity and the shape of the mounting surface – although making one mount that can cater for both is a pretty tall order. The mounting surface is rounded and rubberised, so even if the fit isn’t exact, there shouldn’t be much trouble with the light moving around while you ride.
The light attaches to the mount through a side-entry clip that holds the light in place extremely well, and means there’s a smaller risk of bounce-out over any particularly rough stretches of road than there would be with a top-entry clip. The second mount is a clip, made to fasten to jerseys, bags and similar items. It means if you’re not out for a full-on road ride you can just clip the light onto your bag and ready go.
Claimed battery life ranges from 4:15 hours for the high-powered constant mode to 23 hours for ‘night flash’ mode. In all honesty, day steady is probably the least useful of the modes anyway, and you get an extra hour and a half for day flash (up to 5:45 hours) meaning that unless you’re out for a proper epic then you shouldn’t have it run out mid-ride. Recharging is done via micro USB, so you can charge it from the wall or easily at your desk through a computer. There’s also a battery save mode when you hit five per cent that kicks in to drop the lumens down and notch and provide an extra 1-2 hours of illumination help you make it home without the light failing.
Working as both a high powered daytime light or a very capable nighttime equivalent, Bontrager’s Flare R is a quality light for a smart price. Whether or not you think lights in the day are worth the bother – and we certainly do – the Flare R is a very good rear light for either daytime or nighttime that’s well worth considering.
– High power means excellent visibility
– Daytime flash mode is very good
– Mounting to aero posts is tricky