Hope’s bigger R8+ LED lamp scored well in last year’s test, and although this smaller R4+ LED puts out half the lumen count, it should have the same quality as the bigger unit. So I hit the trails to find .
Hope R4+ LED specifications
Hope’s R4+ LED light puts out a claimed 2,000 lumens in maximum mode from four CREE LEDs that form a cross pattern.
The head unit has a single button and mode selector that changes colour to indicate its current output.
It has six modes; three constant and three flashing in two sequential programmes, accessed by a short or long initial push of the power button. The button has a low battery indicator, too.
The separate 6,200mAh battery pack — the larger of two options available with the R4+ LED — has a traffic light battery indicator, too, that requires the ‘test’ button to be pushed to activate it.
Supplied with the light is a 31.8mm and 35mm diameter bar-compatible clamp that positions the light centrally over the stem. A Velcro-strapped helmet mount and an adjustable and elasticated head mount are also included. Each mount uses Hope’s bayonet-style fitment and there’s a spare fitting.
The battery pack is supplied with an elasticated Velcro strap that can be used to attach to the bike’s frame or rear of the supplied head mount.
The wound cable connecting the two units measures up to 38cm long at its longest, but a 105cm extender is supplied.
Hope R4+ LED performance
The R4’s power is impressive and looks as if it offers more than Hope’s 2,000-lumen claims, with plenty of light to confidently ride straighter technical trails.
There’s enough light on tap to highlight rocks and roots far off into the distance ahead, but the beam pattern prohibits a lot of that power spreading usefully to the sides.
The beam has a fairly round beam with a narrow focal point, and although the cut-off to the sides is very gradual – which lulled me into believing the light was able to light up the exits of turns and lines outside of its main focus well – there isn’t quite enough light emitted to make the tapered edges useful.
With the light mounted to the handlebars, as soon as the trail got twisty the light’s limits were quite easy to find and spotting lines around corners on particularly difficult sections wasn’t as easy as lights with a wider beam pattern.
Despite this, along with the good projection of forward light, there was enough to reduce shadows appearing on take-offs, rises and drops below the bike. The light emitted has a white hue which makes it easy on the eyes to spot obstacles and scan terrain by reducing distractingly harsh contrast, normally experienced with bluer lights.
Because the beam focusses its power, the R4 is best suited to either being a companion light mounted on a helmet or, if having a second light isn’t an option, used on its own mounted to a helmet to tackle more technical trails. Luckily, if you do want to mount it to your lid, all of the kit needed is included in the box and price.
Operation is intuitive and easy thanks to the single button, and the mode indicator is easily readable. The low battery indicator came on quite late, but the battery’s dedicated traffic light did give more accurate information – even though it was frustrating not being able to see how much juice was left at a glance.
Run-time on max power was 2 hours 30 minutes, longer than Hope’s claims. Once the battery had depleted enough to stop the maximum setting working, the light continued to operate in a restricted output for considerably longer.
The mount was easy to attach to the handlebars using two 3mm Allen key bolts and it was possible to rotate the clamp so the head unit was directly in front of the stem, helping increase handlebar space for other accessories such as GPS units.
The bayonetted fitting works well and held the light in place, but I did have issues with the heavier R8 head unit wearing out the plastic lugs quite quickly.
The battery pack’s Velcro strap stretches, which makes attaching it to the frame easy, and its rubberised ends stop it from damaging frame paint and reduce rattles. It’s not very large, so should fit most bike frames.
My test unit’s thermal throttling was quite sensitive and after a short period of being stationary – around two minutes – with the light on max power in 14ºC temperatures, it reduced output to the middle setting. It then needed to be turned off for 15 seconds before it would return to maximum power. Throttling didn’t happen while riding, though, and this will be less of an issue if the air temperature is cooler.
Hope R4+ LED bottom line
The R4+ LED is a quality light that’s easy to operate and mount, and is backed up by Hope’s fantastic after-sales care.
Its beam spread isn’t as wide as I expected given the power on offer, making it less versatile than it could be. Strap it to your helmet or, better yet, use it with another, wider spreading light and you should be able to ride confidently over most terrain the mountain can throw in your direction.
How we tested
We put 12 high-power front lights to the test that should let you head to the hills after night falls to discover a brave new world of riding.
Other lights on test:
- Exposure MaXx D MK13
- Gemini Duo 2200 Multisport
- Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
- Lezyne Mega Drive 1800i
- LifeLine Ara 2000L
- Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack
- Magicshine Monteer 8000S
- Moon X-Power 1800
- MTB Batteries Lumenator 20
- NiteRider Pro 2200 Race
- Knog PWR Mountain Kit