UK cycle component designer and manufacturer Hope has released two new lights in its road/commute range, the R2 and the R2i. Both are twin-LED-based units, with the only difference being the R2i in for testing has the battery integrated within the unit itself. It's impressively built and offers a decent beam pattern, and I was glad to have my initial concerns about short burn times proved wrong.
Hope always includes measured lumen outputs from its lights rather than just the figure quoted for the LED itself. For instance, the R2i outputs between 1300 and 1400, but Hope measures that at 1000. Whatever the figures, the R2i is a bright light even on its lower settings.
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Scanning the burn times, Hope quotes just one hour for the maximum 1000-lumen setting (we managed 1:06) from the 3200mAh 2 cell rechargeable li-ion battery. At first I had concerns that to get in even a decent couple of hours' riding I'd need to be constantly number crunching to make sure I made it home. After the first ride it became clear this wouldn't be an issue.
The R2i offers two modes, Race and Trail, with the former being the one I spent most time in on the road, and within each mode you get three settings.
In Race, alongside the max (1000 lumen) you get high (700) and medium (400). On the medium setting, the beam offers plenty of punch in the middle, while spreading out enough to the side to light up the hedges for a bit of perspective. Combine this with the actual output and visibility is that good that even on unlit country lanes this is all the light you need for speeds up to 25mph. If you go faster, downhill for instance, you can toggle between the other two modes for a bit of a boost.
The burn time for high was just under two hours, with medium giving just under four. Using the settings as you needed them meant I could easily get a 3.5-hour ride out of a battery charge, and thanks to the test button you can check how much charge you have left by way of the LED indicator on the back of the light.
Should you run low on power, the R2i will let you let you know by changing modes. If you are in the max setting it will drop to the high mode and won't let you reselect max. If things get even more desperate, the button goes red and the light drops into the lowest setting. The light then flashes every 30 seconds just to let you know darkness is on its way. A full recharge takes three and a half hours.
It's easy to scroll through the modes, using the on/off button, and each mode you enter lights the button in a different colour so it's easy to know what setting you're in.
The Trail mode offers ultra-low (40 lumen/30hrs), low (200/8hrs) and pulse, which basically goes on for hours and hours. The LEDs stay on at low power with a brighter flash to get you noticed in lit up areas or filtering through traffic.
The lower modes are usable on main roads, if you knock the speed back a touch, and with a bit of toggling you could get a full night's riding out of one charge.
The entire light body is machined in-house by Hope and it makes for a very robust and finely finished unit, with each section joined using stainless steel bolts. The only weak point could be the charge point sitting at the rear, but it's behind a silicone cover which provides a snug fit. The R2i saw plenty of wet rides and certainly didn't have any issues at all with water ingress.
Hope uses a bayonet style fitting for most of its lights and it's a very secure way of doing it. The bracket itself is machined in various pieces, which allows for plenty of options with regards to fitting the R2i above or below the handlebar.
You just push the light down and twist, whether you want to fit or remove it. There is some play when the light is in position, which I thought was going to be an issue when riding on rough roads, but in fact it was a benefit. The bike was shaking and vibrating but the light stayed put, absorbing the movement and casting a constant beam on the road.
Priced at £185, the R2i is much more expensive than some with similar light outputs on the market, but you're paying for long-term reliability and impressive engineering. It's a robust, pretty much waterproof unit that puts out a decent beam for fast road riding.
I've used Hope lights for a while, my District+ rear has been taking on everything winter can throw at it for the last couple of years without the slightest issue, and I can't see the R2i being any different.
> Check out our guide to the best front lights and our beam comparison engine here
Overall the Hope R2i is a really good, dependable light. The non-conformance to German lighting regulations will disappoint some buyers, but I found it a very usable light in pretty much all conditions, and with courteous setting selection and angle I didn't get any complaints from oncoming drivers.
It has a feeling of quality about it and if you ride a lot of miles in the dark it is a worthy investment. The options allow you to control your burn times against how much power you want, making it a winner for those through-the-night rides or a quick full-power blast.
The only thing I would to see would be a pulse mode in both the Race and Trail modes for when you encounter lit-up areas and traffic.
The R2i also comes with a helmet mount, but at 253g the light is a bit too heavy to wear on your head.
A beautiful piece of British engineering offering a decent beam, good brightness and perfectly adequate burn times
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Make and model: Hope R2i front light
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?
Hope says, "The R2i shares the same performance and lamp as the R2 but uses a neat alternate integrated 2 cell battery for those who like to keep it compact and tidy."
It may not be road specific but it does a good job of lighting up the road with plenty of power options.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Produces 1300 lumens (1000 measured)
6 different power settings
Includes bayonet handlebar and helmet mount fittings
3200mAh 2 cell rechargeable ES integrated Li-Lon battery
Burn time 1 hour-30 hours
2 powerful cree LEDs
Coloured backlit switch indicates which power setting is being used
Weight 252g for complete light unit
ES (Energy status) battery uses an integrated power level button so no more guessing
Rate the light for quality of construction:
Really well made and assembled, a solid feeling quality object.
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
Clear instructions although they were missing the quoted burn times.
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
The machined bayonet design holds the light secure no matter what the terrain.
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
Not bad considering the size, especially if you make full use of the different settings.
Rate the light for performance:
A pretty good beam pattern for fast road riding even on the lower settings.
Rate the light for durability:
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
On par with the likes of Exposure's Strada.
Rate the light for value:
You pay for the quality, overall finish and longevity. A light that will last many winters.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Much more impressive than I originally expected after looking at the burn time/lumen ratio, but the R2i uses those lumens effectively to give great visibility from lower settings.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Lack of side visibility, and a pulse mode would be nice on both Race and Trail modes.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Lights are basically a battery, an LED and something to put them in, but quality lights like the Hope R2i use technology like reflectors to create decent beam patterns to get more from the product, allowing you to get more out of them (lumens isn't everything). On top of this the manufacturing is top notch – the Hope is beautifully made and easy to use, and this is what you are paying for.
Age: 37 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
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