Compared to Exposure, Hope and Cateye et al., Ravemen is a relatively unknown brand that has consistently offered great-performing lights at reasonable prices.
In last year’s test for MBUK magazine, the Ravemen PR1200 was awarded 4.5 out 5 stars, so how does its more powerful but still value-packed sibling, the £129.99 PR1600, fare out on the trails?
Ravemen PR1600 details and specification
The PR1600 has a claimed maximum output of 1,600 lumens created by two CREE LEDs, each with its own lens to create a specific beam pattern, depending which mode it’s in.
The lens gives one of the LED bulbs a sharp cut off to help reduce glare and dazzle for on-coming riders or vehicles and is best suited to conditions where you’re likely to meet people coming the other way such as on the road or cycle path. This, Ravemen say, is akin to a car’s low headlight beam.
The full-fat 1600-lumen mode makes simultaneous use of the two LEDs, the second providing a flood of light with more range and graduated cut-off. This is like turning on a car headlight’s high beam which, when combined with the low beam, should put out a good spread of light designed for mountain biking.
There’s an LED display on the light’s body which indicates run time and the mode you’re in. The light has two buttons: one to toggle between full and dipped beams, and one to cycle through the light’s modes in its respective beam pattern. There are five low beam modes (from 100 to 800 lumens, including one flashing mode) and three high beam modes (from 400 to 1,600 lumens, all constant).
The wireless remote uses a Velcro strap to attach to the bars and has the same controls as the light’s body.
The PR1600 is charged using a USB-C port on the rear and it’s possible to use the light to charge other USB accessories or plug in an external USB battery pack to give it more run time.
The plastic bar mount is fastened using a single, supplied Allen key and is compatible with both 31.8mm and 35mm bar clamps using rubber shims. The light attaches to the clamp with a simple railed and tabbed quick-release system.
Ravemen PR1600 performance
At 1,600 lumens, the Ravemen is only 100 lumens higher than our recommended 1,500-lumen lower limit for mountain biking.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have enough oomph to get you out on the trails and the power provided is more than enough for average trail riding with small blasts into the techy stuff. We probably wouldn’t want to take on a proper downhill track at speed with only this light, though.
The PR1600 has a good range and the flood gives plenty of context into the distance ahead of the light. In fact, the light’s ability to illuminate the trail is impressive considering how many lumens it claims to push out.
There is a compromise here, though, and side-to-side illumination is limited — the beam’s spread is quite narrow close to the light which makes it difficult when the trail is particularly twisty or you’re turning the bars a lot.
This focused spot light does mean that the ground in front of you is brightly and well illuminated with a very warm-coloured light. It’s pretty easy to spot dips, bumps, rocks and roots in the trail within the confines of the light’s illumination but outside of the light’s spread the trail is shrouded in darkness.
To overcome this, you could purchase a second PR1600, using it as a helmet mounted light. The helmet mount costs £7.99, keeping a full-on 3,200 lumen, dual light set up under £270.
The remote is easy to use and a handy addition for riders who like to change modes frequently. It means you don’t need to remove your hands from the bars to adjust the light’s power, but the Velcro strap makes it quite hard to get tight enough to use the remote in anger.
The battery life indicator is clear and the remaining run time logically corresponds with which more you’re in. The way the buttons work on the light and remote is logical, too, and you don’t need to read the manual to work out how to use it proficiently. The battery life indicator changes from a time to displaying ‘lo’ when the battery nears the end of its life.
Running at full chat (1,600 lumens) for 1 hour 35 minutes during our test, the Ravemen lasted 11 minutes longer than its claimed run time. Of course, if you switch to a more economical mode, you’ll extend the battery life (you get a claimed 2 hours for 800 lumens in full beam, for example, or 2 hours and 30 minutes for 800 lumens in dipped beam).
Unlike some lights, the Ravemen doesn’t have a motion sensitive dimming mode but this isn’t a feature we expect to see on a light at this price level.
The bar clamp was easy to tighten up in use and the light attaches using a small quick release tab. It didn’t shake or come loose under tough riding conditions and having compatibility for two bar sizes is a bonus.
Ravemen PR1600 bottom line
For the price, the Ravemen PR1600 is an incredible light. It will get you out on the trails with absolutely no fuss, providing a great base to get into night riding with a relatively limited initial investment.
It doesn’t have the beam spread that more expensive, multiple LED lights can offer, but the light it does emit isn’t prohibitive for the type of rider who’s likely to buy it.
With full and dipped beam modes, and good run times in the lower power settings, it could also be a great companion for commuters or riders who like to train at night on roads. Because of its versatility, it’s also well suited to someone who rides a mix of off- and on-road.
If you’re left wanting more power, a helmet mounted light would supplement PR1600 very well.
How we tested
Testing lights objectively is a tough task. Whilst it’s entirely possible to measure the number of lumens a light emits with the correct tools, there are a lot more variables that change how much of that light illuminates the trail. The colour of the light, the beam pattern and lens types have as much effect as the outright power.
For those reasons we’ve not gone out and measured the number of lumens a light emits, instead we’ve tried our hardest to describe how and why the lights do and do not excel by describing the beam pattern, its colour and overall performance. Subjective opinions aren’t infallible, though, but hopefully they’re more valuable than just scientific numbers in this case.