- 4.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
If you’ve read any reviews here on Subjective Cyclist, you know what gets the blue ribbon. That’s right, intelligent design. I’ve often wondered why more manufactures weren’t utilizing advanced optics or lens to drop light exactly where a rider needs it for any given application. Slowly some companies have tried both successfully and unsuccessfully to utilize these designs. Taking a crack at this design is a manufacture who is entirely new to me, Ravemen with their PR1200 MTB/Road Light.
In a nutshell, the PR1200 seeks to be an all-purpose light with a wide casting low beam and center focused high beam or spot. Ravemen defines these two setups as Road and Mountain mode though either can be used in any environment as the rider sees fit.
I have to start by complimenting the Ravemen team on their material selection and construction because the PR1200, though hefty, offers one of the cleanest case designs and overall proportions of anything I’ve tested. The placement of the buttons and LCD runtime readout as well as the simple appearance of the entire unit reflects very highly on the product even before using it. Thinking back to some lights I just reviewed, the organization of the PR’s 8 settings could have been overly complicated but instead are set up perfectly. A large dimpled button functions as a power button and mode selector switch while on. The modes are again defined as MTB and Road but could more simply be considered low beam (road) or low & high beam (MTB). A smaller raised button selects the intensities or outputs within each mode. Additionally, this same button when held will immediately force the full output of the light without needing to cycle through other modes or outputs to get there. This is also defined as Emergency Mode but again it is not accessed from the large power/mode switch but rather from holding down the intensity switch. Identical in function to the intensity button is the remote switch which can be placed beneath bar tape or wherever you see fit. This remote connects to the light through the same micro USB used to charge the light. And speaking of charging, the PR1200 also features a standard female USB port to enable you to charge devices with the lights own battery--a great emergency safety feature for charging your phone or GPS when all else fails.
First and foremost, the PR1200 is a light…it slices and dices but does it outshine the competition? In road mode, the beam pattern is excellent for riders who appreciate avoiding the projection of glare. Cast in stages, 3 or 4 rectangles gradually gain in width approaching the top of the beam pattern which is somewhat of a clean cutoff. For mountain bikers, the added spot emitter is a must for flying down tightly spaced single track trails. While testing this light in a MTB environment, I gladly accepted the shorter run times and pushed both emitters for a fuller beam pattern on the fast switchback trails of Amity East/West. Output claims seem appropriate. If anything I think Ravemen are being conservative considering the max theoretical output of 2 XM-L2 is 1,600lm. Additionally, I’m sure they don’t want to establish themselves as the Lumen Liars that the industry is completely plagued with. My only criticism I have with the light in this department is the emitters temperature. Especially in a road environment and at lower settings the LEDs cast a greenish hue rather than the common white/blue you find on LED’s. Within the beam you’ll also find those standard 5,000-6,000k temps but the green overcast is predominant enough to bug me. After contacting Ravemen to get the scoop, they advised be that their source (Cree) doesn’t have a way to guarantee the temperature, so I suppose each lights temp could vary though two of the lights I reviewed both looked identical. I had originally postulated that the lens were refracting light in a manner that created this green hue since numerous colors were present, but again Ravemen suggests otherwise. If your primary use of the light will be on the trail, you won’t notice the color. For road users, you may find the color off-putting but only if you’re particular or spoiled (let me just clear my throat).
Mounts, yes, my make-or-break category. Well, here we have a mixed bag. Overall the design of the mounting system for the PR1200 is relatively basic. A plastic construction pinch style setup with a tightening thumbscrew provides somewhat adequate tension but less than I’d like for a light of this weight. A bigger issue for the mount is the degree of play exhibited between the light and mount. This play is noticed laterally (front to back) and was identical on both the PR1200 and CR500 tested. While this poor tolerance isn’t crippling, the play does equate to some light dancing over sharp bumps. Beyond that, the mounting style is intuitive and works well enough. Furthermore, shimming the model with thick paper/card stock resolves the tolerance issues.
Again the winning edge of the PR1200 has to be its fit and finish. The housing, lens, buttons…everything about the Ravemen looks, feels and responds so nice. These materials do add a considerable amount of weight compared to its molded counterparts, however I support the aluminum setup with its subtle heat-sinks and robust character. Where I loose support is again with regards to the color/temperature of the emitters which exuded a green hue. After riding the light for 15+ minutes my eyes seemed to adjust but while simultaneously testing other lights there was a constant reminder of the temp against truer white/blue emitters. Additionally, I was disappointed to find the mount isn’t very taught and proved too shaky for perfection. All things considered, especially the price, the Ravemen PR1200 is a sharp attack at triple-priced lights that are as ordinary as butter on toast. While it doesn’t earn 5 buzzing bees knees, I’m a big fan of this product and look forward to seeing what Ravemen can do with any of their products in the future.