As a stalwart of the UK cycling industry, Hope has been making lights for quite a number of years now, leading to incremental refinements of its range. In previous years we’ve reviewed the R4 LED, which fared well, and this year we wanted to see how its range-topping R8+ performs against some tough competition.
Hope R8+ LED details and specification
Pumping out a maximum claimed 4,000 lumens from eight individual LEDs housed in a separate light unit, Hope says that the R8+ turns night into day thanks to four spot lenses located on the top row of LEDs and two diffuser and elliptical lenses that sit beneath those spots.
It has one power button on the head unit that cycles between three modes with single pushes. Once the light is on, it’s possible to access another three modes with a long push of the button. It changes colour to signify which mode it is in.
Hope’s R8 comes with both helmet and head mounting options. Alex Evans
The separate battery pack has a five-light LED battery life display that illuminates when the ‘test’ button is pushed. This works whether it’s connected to the head unit or not.
The 71Wh battery uses six cells and has a metal casing with soft rubber ends. The battery pack is attached to the bike using a single elastic Velcro strap.
Eight LEDs flood the trail with light. Alex Evans
The cable that joins the light unit and battery pack is coiled, but when stretched out measures 56cm, and a 109cm extender cord is also supplied. Along with the bar clamp that works for both 31.8mm and 35mm handlebars, thanks to a shim, there’s a helmet mount and head torch mount.
The light connects to the mounts using a sprung bayonet fitting, and the offset handlebar mount fitting makes it possible to position the light directly over the bike’s stem.
The R8+ has in-built thermal throttling and is manufactured in the UK, like most of Hope’s products.
Hope R8+ LED performance
Despite Hope’s admission that the light’s 4,000-lumen output is only theoretical, the amount of light the R8 sends down the trail is enough to light up everything ahead of you and then some.
It’s very bright with a big enough range to make tackling even the trickiest or wiggliest sections of trail not much harder than it would be in daylight.
The side-to-side flooding is impressive, too. In fact, its spread is wide enough to give great visibility down the trail and illuminates obstacles around corners, so it’s possible to spot lines when the light isn’t pointing directly where you want to go.
The LEDs offer a fantastic spread of light Alex Evans
The cut-off between light and dark either side isn’t very harsh, either, which makes riding twisty trails easy and the more gradually the light fades into the distance, the easier it is to spot lines and obstacles.
Although this side-to-side performance is exceptional, it doesn’t quite top the Magicshine Monteer 6500’s ability to bend light around turns.
This side-to-side flood is matched and then beaten by how far ahead of the source the beam reaches. It’s impressive stuff, and on full power and on a long straight fireroad you can see more than enough.
Obviously, on tricky terrain this means that there’s loads of well-illuminated definition that makes it a doddle to pick out practically all obstacles. You’re not left wanting for more on the trail no matter the conditions.
The light emits a yellowy-white hue, which makes it easy on the eyes, reducing contrast and softening the beam. Luckily, this isn’t to the detriment of definition.
The bayonet fitting on some of our older test units did wear with time. Alex Evans
The head unit is easy to attach and remove from the clamp by pushing downwards and twisting 90 degrees.
When the unit is new, the light is impressively stable despite its weight, not getting shaken over bumps. However, on previous test units, which are over four years old and have the same mounting system, the plastic lugs on the bar mount that lock the light in place have worn, which can lead to the light twisting. This section of the mount is replaceable, but the parts aren’t available on Hope’s site.
The function button is easy to use while you’re riding and the distinct changes in colour make it obvious which mode it’s in. The battery life indicator seems fairly accurate but isn’t readable on the fly.
Hope’s R8+ spreads its lumens well, illuminating the trail and potential obstacles. Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
Once the battery hits 30 per cent or less it isn’t possible to select the brightest mode from a lower one and when it gets within 10 per cent of empty, if the light is in the brightest setting, it lowers to the second brightest, which puts out 2,100 lumens.
There is a last-ditch low battery warning too. The button cycles to a red colour and flashes twice every 30 seconds, with output dropping to 150 lumens.
When playing battery life roulette, this mode caught me by surprise, so if you’re a gambler, a backup light might be a good idea.
On maximum, the light lasted 1 hour 25 minutes, exceeding Hope’s claims of 1-hour at 4,000 lumens.
Hope R8+ LED bottom line
The R8+ is a fantastic light that puts out an impressive spread and intensity of light that does an especially competent job of making night riding more exhilarating, thanks to the speeds you can achieve.
This performance comes at a high purchase price, but you get British-built technology and, if there is a problem, after-sales support from Hope has legendary status.
The light isn’t perfect, though. The mount suffers from a lack of long-term robustness and the low power mode can be a bit of a surprise. If the light’s running as it should, there is very little to complain about, though.
How we tested
Testing lights objectively is a tough task. While it’s entirely possible to measure the number of lumens a light emits, there are a lot more variables that dictate how much of that light illuminates the trail. The colour of the light, its beam pattern and lens type have as much effect as the outright power.
With that in mind, we haven’t measured the number of lumens each light emits for this test. Instead, we’ve assessed how the light performs by describing the beam pattern, its colour and overall performance, while also measuring run time on the most powerful setting.