- 4 / 5 Bee's Knees -
With increasing simplicity and efficiency encompassing entire lifestyle approaches, consolidating numerous tools into a single device – such as we see in smart phones – has become common and is widely embraced. Although bike lights aren’t to the point where they can tell you where the nearest bike shop is or determine your heart rate, we do have lights that have consolidated both front and rear facing lights into unit. This may not be as revolutionary as directions to properly froth milk for a solid latte, but it is something entirely practical and convenient.
With 650 lumens of maximum output from the front emitter, the Lumina Flare provides a great deal of light compared to that of many front/rear combined lights. Identical to the standard Lumina series, the Flares front beam pattern is well balanced with a confident spot and a generous flood. Output and pattern from the rear emitter is reassuring as a safety function. It may not pack as much punch as some dedicated rear lights but ultimately the rear element is well suited for most cyclists.
Without downplaying the bar mount, the design intent of the Flare more-or-less requires the use of a helmet setup to utilize the rear emitter function. Including a bar mount does give riders the option to mount the light on their bike when they find that more desirable and in this setup the light is very stable and jitter free. As for the helmet mount, I regret to say the system feels pretty cheap. With the assumption that this light is primarily designed for helmet use, one would expect extra attention would be given to the design of its helmet mount. Instead you are issued the same mount included with a standard Lumina...for those unfamiliar to this mount, they're anything but remarkable. Although the light does engage with confidence, the vertical adjustability is limited to a handful of clicks. The mount itself can achieve a secure fit on your helmet but the materials look unfinished and cheap. I can’t go so far as to say the helmet mount is poor or insecure but other lights such as Lezynes Macro Duo employ an infinitely adjustable helmet mount which is made of superior materials and is sold at a fraction of the Flares price…granted outputs are not comparable. The main point to be made here: this light deserves a robust helmet mount and doesn’t get one at this time.
Just like the Lumina 750, the Flare is very easy to use and quite intuitive. The rear emitter is operated independently from the front and does allow riders to turn the rear facing LED off completely so the light can be used as a bar light without blinding the rider. By depressing the rear light you cycle through each of its settings. A tactile response is lacking and because of this you may not be aware of the setting selected without removing your helmet or the light to see what's being cast. Regardless it does work effectively but the front button offers a superior click-response that reassures you of a setting change…granted you should see the change from the front.
Bringing more features and simplicity to bike products including lights is an inevitable progression that will be embraced by cyclists. When companies find new and innovative ways to bring these features to their products, others follow suit. In the case of the Lumina Flare, I think the ideas for a great design were there but the concept wasn’t carried through to encompass the products entire design. Case and point, the helmet mount is a weak link in an otherwise strong chain. Again, I can’t fault the mount too much because ultimately it works, but then again it could work so much better. Aside from this, the Flare is one of only a handful of lights to offer high output riding illumination as well as exceptional rear visibility in the convenience and simple package of a single light.