The Topeak Redlite Race rear LED light is like a Blackburn Mars Click that's been fed a heavy course of steroids. It's delightfully simple to operate, offers a decent arc of useable light while being cheap as chips to buy and run. There are brighter models for similar money and replacing the batteries proved more frustrating than a Rubik's cube on our sample.
Designed primarily for seat post or stay mounting, it attaches via a silicone band, so it'll fit all seatpost diameters and even your helmet, which is where ours got the most attention. We've also had pleasing results on racks and trailers so long as it's not directly in the firing line of road gloop. Tidy freaks will be pleased to hear it also fits some seat-stay bridges, overcoming the problem of accidental misalignment or damage arising from a spill when mounted lower down.
Build and design quality are surprisingly high given the asking price. The lens doubles as a switch and is remarkably sensible, enabling effortless engagement on the fly, while tucking sensitive electrical components deep in the shell, improving weather resistance. A predominantly moist test period confirmed it should be reliable in everyday service, though the hosepipe torture test got water past the the lens cover. Removal and a swift shot of water displacer saved the day.
The Topeak Redlite Racer's two modes won't win bragging rights on the chain gang but are arguably all you'll need. One firm, three second prod brings those two little diodes alive in steady, nudge again and you've a perky flasher.
Perhaps because the glow is a bit softer, the steady mode wasn't particularly eye-catching at morning or evening twilight but a decent reflector and wraparound lenses give enough visibility to quash claims of 'Sorry mate I didn't see you'.
Things improves considerably come nightfall proper. The warm bordello-esque arc is visible to around 100 metres, 60 in town. The flashing mode is vastly superior: its frantic pace gets drivers' attention between 90 and 120 metres, and the light ran for about 127 hours from the original cells. To remove and replace them you insert a 50p coin or tyre lever into the slot, and twist carefully till it relents. Superficially simple, this takes practice to master in the comfort of home, let alone on the roadside on a cold, dark and rainy night.
Great little light for the money, let down by tricky battery hatch.
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Make and model: Topeak Redlite Race rear light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"2 rear facing super bright Red LEDs provide excellent visibility. Rubber strap allows tool-free mounting/ removal and multi mounting positions". Will also entertain helmet mounting.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
"2 Super Bright Red LEDs
CR2032 x 2 (included)
2 Modes, Constant/Blinking
70 hrs / 140 hrs
Injection Molded Plastic
Fits Seatpost and Seatstay (ø25.4-ø 34.9mm)
7 x 3.6 x 3.8 cm
2.8' x 1.4' x 1.5'
37.6 g / 1.32 oz"
Simple "click" lens cum switch but battery removal proved unusually difficult on our sample.
Generally good but hosepipe torture testing saw water sneak behind the lens, requiring a generous WD40 flush-through.
127 hours in flashing mode is very impressive in my book, although 13 hours short of that quoted by Topeak.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performance is much better than pricing would suggest, offering a decent 220 degree arc visible to around 100 metres in the uber frugal flashing mode. Click-it lenses are the last word in user-friendliness, overcoming faff while seemingly giving the internals better protection from Mother Nature.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Simple design, versatile mounting options, keen pricing and very reasonable output.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Reluctant battery hatch on our sample.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)