If you’re an avid rider, or commute to and from work, you probably spend a good bit of time riding in the dark. Which means you’ve probably also spent time researching what lights to buy. There are a ton of options out there, many with very similar looking specs. Where Ravemen’s light designs get interesting is in the following sentence: “To our regret, most of the high-output bike lights on the market have no anti-glare capability, which is dangerous to oncoming traffic.”
This blurb gives the impression the company’s lights are designed with a lens that won’t blind oncoming drivers, but at the same time, provide a meaningful beam pattern to illuminate your path.
Ravemen CR900 Features & Specs
Pictured above is the Ravemen CR900 model, which, as the name suggests, touts 900 lumens.
As listed beneath the product features, the Ravemen CR900 features a lens optimized for road cycling, sans glare, and with a broad flood beam pattern.
Unboxed, the Ravemen CR900 is indeed a very small package. Measuring 98mm x 30mm x 33mm and with a claimed weight of 115 grams including battery, it feels light, yet solid in construction. In fact, the CR900 has served well as a ultra-bright, portable flashlight for those times one needs to go pottering in the back yard, late at night (which is totally normal around my place). For this, a spotlight setting would be helpful, but that’s getting off topic…
115 grams of weight is all well and good for just the light body, but with the bicycle handlebar mount, the true value of the light’s functionality and total system weight are better recognized. Pictured above with the supplied bike mount and an O-Ring, which isn’t needed at all for mounting the light (more on these later), deduct about 1.5 grams for that, and you’re looking at approximately 132 grams for the Ravemen CR900.
Above, bottom of the CR900 light body and its bike mount interface.
Above is the CR900’s unique split lens, behind which resides a Cree XM-L2 LED. Once upon a time when it was financially viable, I made my own bicycle lights. The housings of my home-made light builds mostly resembled a roughly hewn, broken off piece of the International Space Station, but Cree LEDs were the ones to buy. I haven’t dissected the CR900, but typically behind the lens in a tube shape light design resides the LED, with a reflector strategically placed to surround the LED at its base and project that light forward. The lens in front of the reflect does the rest of the work.
At the rear of the CR900’s body is the on/off button and charging port, hidden behind a snug fitting protective rubber cover. Somewhere inside the housing lies a 3000mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. This battery jives comparatively with the mAh (milli-amp-hours) capacity of many modern mobile phone batteries.
Above, the exposed charging port accepts a Micro-USB connector. This port also doubles as the interface for a remote switch to control the CR900’s various modes, more on that below.
Above, the CR900’s handlebar mount in all its glory, designed for 31.8mm handlebars. If you need a mount for a 35mm handlebar, you’re out of luck, but for an older 26.0mm handlebar, it’s easy enough to find a strip of rubber or two for a home-made shim.
Pictured above is a really neat accessory that accompanies the Ravemen CR900. The wired remote button plugs into the CR900’s charging port, and allows the rider to change the light’s brightness, without lifting one’s hand off the handlebars.
The photo above, supplied by Ravemen, demonstrates how one could run the remote button. Unfortunately, the handlebar I mounted the remote to, was too flat and wide for me to attach the remote and be held on by the supplied rubber O-rings. An easy fix with a bigger O-ring, but bear this in mind.
If I were using the CR900 for commuting, or on a dedicated bike that is ridden often at nighttime, I would discreetly run remote’s the wire beneath the handlebar tape, and fit the remote in a location that doesn’t get in the way of my hands on the bar.
Pictured above and below are images of the CR900 in charge mode, with lights running a neat little pattern as the battery charges.
Those same LEDs on the top of the light body display approximate remaining run time, recalculated anytime you switch between light modes. This is a super handy feature.
Once the CR900 has been powered on by pressing the Power on/off button for about two seconds, switching between light modes is accomplished by gently pressing the touch pad.
The touch pad requires only a light touch to switch between light modes. The touch is so light, that Ravemen recommend you place the CR900 into Lock mode whenever rain is present.
Lock mode is actuated by quickly pressing the Power on/off button when the light is active. A small orange dot will appear below the run time estimator (see above), which prevents the touch pad from activating. Press the Power on/off button quickly again to disengage lock mode.
Above, the CR900 runs in High at a claimed 900 lumens, with about an hour of projected burn time remaining in this photo. Factory spec is a claimed 1.5 hours of burn time on a fresh charge.
This time, the CR900 has been switched to Medium at a claimed 450 lumens, with approximately 2.5 hours of burn time remaining. Factory spec is a claimed 3.0 hours of burn time on a fresh battery charge.
There are six modes of light operation and a user-defined mode as follows:
- High – 900 Lumens – 1.5 Hours Run Time
- Medium – 450 Lumens – 3.0 Hours Run Time
- Low – 200 Lumens – 9.0 Hours Run Time
- Eco – 35 Lumens – 36 Hours Run Time
- Pulse Flashing – 350 Lumens – 16 Hours Run Time
- Rapid Flashing – 100 Lumens – 25 Hours Run Time
There is a user-defined mode where Lumens can be set anywhere from 35 – 900. I didn’t bother experimenting with this mode, as Medium cut the mustard just about every time, with High used once in a while. I never did use Pulse or Rapid flashing modes at night time, but they are well-suited to daytime running.
The Ravemen CR900 handlebar mount is a doddle to use, and the front strap works just like a waist belt. Pull the strap through a plastic buckle to the appropriate hole to tighten, and you’re done. The light slides in from the front of the bike and clicks into place onto the mounting rails, and is released by a small tab at the rear of the mount.
The uber-compact CR900 doesn’t take up a lot of room on the handlebar. The main light body is constructed from anodized aluminium, and the touch pad and other parts, a durable plastic of some kind. All components have stood up well to a few weeks of regular use, including some heavy Florida rainstorms. The light is IPX6 water resistant, meaning the light is capable of being exposed to the elements with no risk of failing. Additionally, it is rated to impact resistance of one metre.
Above, even without the remote switch plugged into the rear of the CR900, the light is simple to use without taking one’s eyes off the road ahead.
The anti-blinding-people feature
Here’s how Ravemen describes it: “Through professional optical software modeling and simulation and using a highly efficient lens, we successfully created a light similar to automotive low beam headlight, providing broad (close) range flood light with anti-glare cut-off line, no dazzle and glare for oncoming riders and pedestrians.” To which we would add “cars”.
I had a distinct lack of willing volunteers to test the anti-glare feature, but did chance upon two runners on a local shared pathway at night. As we rode and ran towards each other, I noticed the runners didn’t characteristically shield their face with their hands as they came into the beam pattern of the CR900. Speaking of range, Raveman claim a maximum of 105 metres / 340 feet.
Beam Shots and Run Time
Above, the CR900 on High. I don’t have any way of determining if the those lumen counts are accurate, but the cool white of the Cree XM-L2’s flood beam provide excellent coverage of the pavement or gravel road. There is no spot whatsoever in this beam pattern, which could be perceived as a negative by some. (Tyler’s note: In my experience, the lack of a spot or concentrated center beam creates more of a distraction and unintended “tunnel vision” effect, so this broad, even pattern is a good thing.)
Above and below are two perspectives of Medium mode. This was my go-to mode for most of my time with the CR900.
I didn’t bother to photograph Low mode, its dim beam wasn’t to my liking.
Pictured above is Eco mode. With just 35 lumens of light in Eco mode, it is a helpful mode for roadside bike maintenance. The CR900 works well as a small torch / flashlight in this situation.
Run times were a little shorter than advertised. I ran High and Medium until the battery was depleted, and had light for about 15 minutes shorter than advertised. Regardless, these are pretty solid burn times for such a diminutive light.
The Ravemen CR900 is almost the perfect bicycle light. The remaining battery run-time feature is superb and the light body is compact and lightweight. Personally, I love the beam pattern emitted by this light and it would be my go to light for road and gravel cycling (sans heavy duty descending), but only if I could extend the run-time with an external battery.
As it stands now, the CR900 reverts to charge mode as soon as an external battery source is detected. The manufacturer’s representative informed me the next version of the CR900 will likely feature support for an external battery.
Priced at $75.00 USD depending on where you look, the Raveman CR900 is a well-priced bicycle light, especially you consider the remote switch, easy-to-use touch pad, seemingly high quality construction and good looks (even if lights aren’t that pretty). An optional GoPro type mount to sling the CR900 below one’s handlebars is available, as is a helmet mount.
Version 1 of the Raveman 900 is a solid effort, but I’m looking forward to the potential improvements offered in the next version. Until then, if long run times aren’t a consideration for you, this is a fantastic light for most genres of cycling.
Article by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.