- 4 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Ultra compact and ultra affordable, Ravemen Lights serves up the CR500 road oriented bike light. Make no mistake however, this light is anything but ultra ordinary.
Claiming an output of 500lm this light may not seem competitive with most battery-in-unit lights commonly claiming 700-900lm, but look deeper and you’ll see that this sleek single emitter package offers smart optics and responsible output claims. By implementing a refracting array lens, the 500 and it’s younger siblings are able to cast a beam pattern that I’ve described as stacking larger and larger rectangles on top of one another. At the top of the beam pattern the light stops rather abruptly with the purpose of shielding motorists from oncoming glare. On the road, this beam pattern offers great width and dispersion while providing adequate output. In a MTB setting by contrast, the output leaves something to be desired though the beam pattern is equally welcomed with its wide cast reaching around each corner. Additionally, this light exudes the same color or temperature attributes described in the CR1200 review. In a nutshell, the beam pattern has a slight green hue or overtone which is slightly unappealing to me. Other riders may easily overlook or dismiss this color hue with no complaints.
With all the elegance of a well machined hub, the CR500 housing is a mix of machined alloys mated to a plastic bar clamp. Like the CR1200, this clamp also exhibits some slack which results in noticeable light shaking over rough surfaces though considerably less than that of other lights with this all-too-common issue. Somewhat adequate torque can be applied by hand to lock the mount in place, though I found myself readjusting the mount a number of times during moderate MTB descents. In summation, road use clearly exposes light shaking within the mounting bracket while MTBing seems to cover most of the small jittering up. At times however, big MTB hits can toss the entire bracket out of position. Road shaking can be eliminated by jamming a piece of card stock or business card between the light and mount. So too can the mount be better secured with tools. In either case, a better mount design or better manufacturing tolerances would negate this necessity.
Because this light only offers a single emitter, the operation and organization of the light settings is entirely straightforward. This light offers High, Med, Low, Eco, Pulse Flash and Quick Flash. In addition, the included remote switch enables the switching of these settings via another location. Again, like the CR1200, holding the button of the remote switch will provide the lights highest output without needing to cycle past other output settings.
With less features but deserving every bit as much attention as its bigger sibling, the CR500 is a clean looking light with great optics that creates an optimal road beam pattern. Where I would like to see improvements is in the temp/color of the emitters and the tolerances of the mount where it joins the light. Because there is limited space, the mode selector button is awfully small and may not appeal to thick gloved riders. None-the-less, at this price point, the Ravemen CR500 is hard to beat in terms of build quality, materials and design.