As a cyclist, I do not take bike safety lightly (no pun intended). Lights are essential to seeing the road ahead, and to not only be seen, but noticed by drivers and other cyclists.

No longer are bike lights used solely for night time visibility, but for daytime visibility as well. From a battery-powered Cateye, to more recently, a USB-powered Cygolight Metro 750- I have used several different brands of bike lights for road biking, mountain biking, and urban commuting. Naturally, I leapt at the chance to try out Bontrager’s Ion 800 RT light.

Bontrager’s bike lights are featured in its recent ABC’s of Awareness safety campaign to encourage cyclist safety with regular use of Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Drawing upon bike/motorist accident research, Bontrager maintains that cyclists greatly overestimate the distance in which they are noticed by drivers.

While cars and motorcycles have been using daylights for increased visibility for years, cyclists regularly utilizing DRL is a relatively recent phenomenon- a phenomenon that Bontrager hopes to become commonplace.

The first time I saw Daytime Running Lights (DRL) being used was a couple of years ago during the Elephant Rock Century Ride. Initially, I had thought it was a cyclist who had started at dawn and had forgotten to turn off her lights once the sun had fully risen.

I recall riding up alongside her and naïvely informing her that she forgot to turn off her lights. She smiled benevolently at me and said that she always kept her lights on for visibility. As I watched her speed along up the long stretch of highway ahead, I noticed that her taillights made her more visible from a distance than any of the other surrounding cyclists. Suddenly, it made sense.

Since then, I’ve made it a practice to use DRLs and have seen DRL being used in abundance during cycling events and also in the city during my daily commute. DRL is distinguished by the ability to direct or amplify output that intensifies its beam and extends its range.

Powerfully Bright at Night

Designed to be visible during both day and night rides, the Ion 800 RT light is the most powerful light I have ever used. Taken for a night mountain bike ride and then used for urban commuting, the Ion 800 RT light provided unparalleled brightness on the trail and on the road.

Out of curiosity, I placed the Ion 800 RT next to the Cygolight Metro 750 on the handlebars of my commuter. Both fully charged, the difference in brightness was astounding. The Ion 800 RT light provided powerful coverage and depth. Not only could I see what was directly in front of me, but in a surrounding area as well.

Bontrager Ion 800 RT review


Slightly heavier and sleeker than the Cygolight Metro 750, the Ion 800 RT features an LED indicator light to inform riders when the battery is low. It also comes with an adjustable silicone mount that makes it easy to remove when I reach my destination. I was impressed with how securely the silicone mount kept the light in place and did not budge when I rolled over bumps. After being used to a mount that required constant adjustment to prevent the light from swinging around, the Ion 800 RT was a dream.

Bontrager Ion 800 RT review

Key features include:
• 800 Lumens provides 1.2 – 1.5km of visibility and 6 hours of running time
• Five settings (800 LM 1.5 hours, 450 LM 3 hours, 200LM 6 hours, night flash and day flash 20 hours)
• Weatherproof and sealed micro USB port
• Transmitr for wireless on/off, battery status, high beams and mode selection
• Bontrager Helmet Mount compatible

Well worth the retail price of $119, the Ion 800 RT will light your way to a safer commute in the new year.
NOTE: The Ion 800 RT was not affected by last month’s recall. The recall included the Ion 700 RT light with slightly different internals that was sold as part of a transmitter package.