Bontrager Ion 700 R – Review

We were pretty impressed by the Flare R when we reviewed it a few months back, so we had high hopes for Bontrager’s Ion 700 R. Fortunately for us, it didn’t disappoint.

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This little light packs a serious punch of 700 Lumens via a high-powered LED from Cree, one of the market leaders in LED lighting. And when we say little, we mean this is one of the smallest lights we’ve seen offering this kind of brightness. It’s a bit larger than a tube of lipstick, which is pretty darn impressive, especially the minute you turn it on.

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The Ion offers five operational modes: 700 lumens, 450 lumens, 250 lumens, and 50 lumens with an extra-bright flash/irregular strobe. You can easily toggle through each of them with the same button used to power the light on and off. And when it comes to battery life, you’ll get about 1.75 hours of light when in the 700-lumens mode. And from there, the battery life will increase to 3 hours at 450LM, 6.75 hours at 200LM, and an impressive 22 hours at 50LM. The irregular strobe will save you even more battery, offering about 40 hours of light.

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We tended to use the Ion the most in two modes. We chose the 700LM mode for nighttime or early morning rides, and we’d go with the 50LM with the irregular strobe during the day. At 700LM, we had no complaints about brightness. The Ion lit up the road ahead beautifully. In fact, our training partners actually asked us to tone it down on occasion. When that happened, we simply dropped down to 450LM when riding in a group. The 50LM irregular strobe was perfect for daytime rides when you wanted to increase your visibility to other vehicles and riders. However, we do think the super-bright flash/strobe effect might be a bit too intense for rides in the dark.

Recharging the battery is simple with the supplied USB cord which connects with a sealed Micro USB port. It takes just about five hours to fully charge the light. Oh, and there is also a low-battery indicator, too.

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Installing the light on the bike is a breeze with Bontrager’s adjustable Sync bracket mount. The mount attaches to your handlebars (or aerobars) with an elastic rubber strap. It’s this rubber strap that makes using the Sync bracket mount so easy since it can stretch to fit just about any bar diameter. Bontrager says that the mount can fit bars from 22.2 – 35.0mm. The mount also rotates easily so can be mounted to bars both parallel and angled to the road.

One of our favorite features of the Ion was that it “remembered” the last mode we used it in. So if we had just completed an afternoon ride the day before at the 50ML irregular strobe setting, the Ion would turn on there. While it seems like such a small thing, it was nice not to have to toggle through all the different modes to get to our favorite from the day before.

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We’ve all definitely become fans of the Ion. You’ll see all of us here at AG reach for it as we’re headed out the door for a ride any time of day. And at about $120, the price is right—especially for a light this compact.

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