- 4.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Last year I had the opportunity to review two lights from a company by the name of Ravemen. If I had any fears about reviewing those lights it was actually the fear that both would perform well for me but the product quality would be inconsistent from model to model or year to year, as I have seen from one particular manufacture over the years. Spoiler alert...nope...these are just damn good lights and the praise from numerous owners and reviewers isn't coincidental.
Both of these lights share a number of things in common. First, each is powered by an 18650 battery pushing Cree's XM-L2 emitter. The CR700 is a bit more throttled with a max output of 700 lumens and a runtime of 1.6-38 hours. At 900 lumens the CR900 does offer greater lumen output with similar runtimes of 1.5-36 hours but lacks the illuminated side windows found on the 700. Both lights have a similar chassis though the 900 is adorned with a heat dissipation body whereas the 700 opts for a smooth finish. Each feels as premium as premium gets, truly, no brand looks or feels better. A wired remote can be run to either light giving an alternate control method for the light settings as well as a long press function which immediately boosts the light up to max intensity without scrolling through other settings. Ravemen implements identical reflectors and lens on these two lights which casts a beam pattern best described by photos (see video). Using this design was a conscious decision to reduce road glare for oncoming motorists as well as focus light in its most usable areas. I find this beam pattern to be very efficient without spilling light into unusable areas while also spreading the entire output throughout a wide beam pattern. A noticeable difference seen between Ravemen lights and others is the color temperature which is quite cool with a slightly biased hue of green although both seem less green than last years models to the naked eye…this could me a result of the new emitters. Max output between these two lights is noticeable but both lights offer generous intensity by my standards.
Where these siblings start to differentiate themselves from one another is certainly in their features. The CR700 is a purist light with a traditional button operation whereas its bigger brother has an entirely different design that sports a depression-less mode selection button. While this touch surface lacks the feedback of a tactile button, it allows users to depress and hold for somewhat infinite adjustability of the lights output settings. Whether a rider runs one of these custom outputs or the presets, the digital display atop the 900 illuminates the remaining runtime in 1/10ths of hours. However, the 700 does have a feature that riders have been demanding for SO LONG and few if any manufactures have implemented, that is the ability to charge the light (with an external battery pack) while the light is on...a paramount feature for endurance riders, longer night races and touring cyclists. By any standard, the CR700 is a polished product that is completely solid with no gimmicks.
For testing, I received a myriad of mounting options at my request. These include the stock strap mount, a solid security bar mount, a go-pro strap mount and a helmet mount. First, the included strap mount is a nice design as strap mounts go, although it lacks the iron grip that is afforded by the allen/hex style bar mount. The interface between the light and mount of the hex style had much less slop and provided a more precise fit. Attaching the CR700 with its smooth housing to the go pro mount seemed more appropriate than doing so with CR900 due to the position of its selector button. However, with the included wired switch, either light is entirely compatible.
Now I can breathe a sigh of relief that last years value choice lights weren't flukes. Although the CR700 and CR900 are distinctively different lights, each caters to riders with different attributes to meet their riding style. For maximum output and a futuristic touchpad, the CR900 is too great a value to believe. Sparing just a couple hundred lumens, the CR700 offers a more pure experience with its own value card: simultaneous charging and operation. Pick your drum and beat it. As always, until next time, happy riding folks!