Bontrager Ion Pro Light AndrewM
TWO-MINUTE REVIEWS

The Bontrager Ion Pro Light

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Nov 9, 2018

Pro Deal

When I double-tap the Ion Pro's on-button and the reward isn't merely a shining shaft of light cutting through a dank North Shore night. The little package kicks out a bright beam that Bontrager guarantees to rate at 1300-Lumens but the real story is the excellent trail definition the warm colour of said beam delivers. 

Even more impressive, is that the clean self-contained Ion Pro puts out trail-bright illumination for 1.5hrs on the high setting and only costs 100 USD | 140 CAD. 

Bontrager Ion Pro Light AndrewM

The Ion Pro can be attached to any GoPro mount using a Bontrager Blendr Mount. The light weighs 185-grams. 

Night Rides AndrewM

I've run the light on the Kali Interceptor using their clip in mount and with GoPro strap-on and stick-on mounts. 

Bontrager Ion Pro Light AndrewM

The magnetic mount on the Bontrager Rally MIPS helmet is the quickest and cleanest I've experienced. I wish all helmets had this feature. 

A lower 800-Lumen setting burns steady for 3hrs so with good light management - turning it off for breaks and down for climbs - most riders will find it last for a 2-3+ hour ride depending on the amount of stops and the trail difficulty. From empty to a full tank the charge time is 7-hours with the included micro-USB cable. The handlebar mount will fit anything from full-retro (25.4mm) to full-enduro (35mm) but you BMX and Klunker punks will need a lot of beer-can-shims to take up that extra 3.4mm. 

Superfluous Features

In my perfect world, there would be an Ion Pro Trail model to complement this Ion Pro RT. It would have just three settings - High, Low, and Off - as I'd prefer not to cycle through the two flasher settings and the lowest 400-Lumen* setting in toggling between the 1300-Lumen and 800-Lumen settings. 

The trail model would also ditch the little side mounted LEDs but they use virtually no juice and they are a nice safety feature when I'm riding to the trails

*I find the 400-Lumen setting useful as a flashlight for digging through my pack or looking for a friend's lost contact lens (is it just me or does everyone have a couple rides a year when they're rooting about because someone's lost the power of sight?).

Bontrager Ion Pro Light AndrewM

Green Means Go. Red Means (almost) Dead. The Ion Pro RT will talk to Garmin or ANT+ devices for the anxious battery watcher. 

Regular Usage

As I noted in this fall's welcome to night riding, I'm an extension-cord killer so I've been riding the self-contained Bontrager Ion Pro as my helmet mount exclusively since it arrived. I'm not going back to a corded headlamp & battery system. Ever. And I always night ride with a pack, so I can only imagine the additional benefit if I didn't. 

Whether new to night riding or trying to upgrade some ancient systems if I were without lights I'd buy a pair of Ion Pro RTs and happily ride any of the trails I'm hitting on The Shore. For riders like me, that already have a couple systems and are looking to upgrade I retired the oldy-moldy and moved my NiteRider to my handlebar. 

The colour of the light is awesome on the trail. The spread of the beam is impressive for the brightness delivered from such a tiny package. The price at 100 USD per system, plus 20 USD for the Blendr GoPro adapter, is excellent. 

More information at Bontrager or your prefered local Trek Bicycles dealer. 

Comments

dave_f
-2 Darryl Chereshkoff Zapp
dave_f  - Nov. 8, 2018, 11:38 p.m.

Do people use these on the road riding to the trails? If I were coming the other way in a car, I'd kick on the high beams since the output of both (car high beams and 1300 lumens with no cutoff) is going to look about the same.

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AndrewMajor
+3 PeterO Zapp RBWebb
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 6:19 a.m.

Not sure exactly what you’re going for Dave.

I usually (usually) turn my helmet lamp off on the road as looking around it can definitely be distracting for drivers, and I usually click the bar light down a setting or two to save battery (or run an extra light if it’s a long road ride) but why shouldn’t my lights be every bit as bright as a cars otherwise?

I had a guy pull up next to me (in motion) riding to the trails one night, roll down his window, and yell “your rear flasher is obnoxious!”... my reply?

“Thank You!”

There are so many distracted drivers on the road, not to mention the assholes, I’ll do anything to get noticed.

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THELEGENDMTB
+1 Andrew Major
THELEGENDMTB  - Nov. 9, 2018, 8:24 a.m.

Andrew after that comment about your rear flasher I have to ask, what are/were you running? Obnoxious sounds perfect, especially for commuting on Seattle streets.

I'm def adding this light to my short list for this season. Solid review, thanks.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 8:39 a.m.

It’s a NiteRider Sentinel on the long pulse mode.

I originally bought it for the back of my Chariot Trailor for the Laser-Bike-Lane feature — which I will say was awesome in getting drivers to give my daughter and I a bit more room.

I don’t use the laser much anymore now that she’s out of the trailer so I’d buy the Solas if buying again.

Either way 250 Lumens of rear light with a ramping pulse is definitely noticeable on a dark raincouver night.

Thanks for reading!

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THELEGENDMTB
+1 Andrew Major
THELEGENDMTB  - Nov. 9, 2018, 8:51 a.m.

Will check out the Solas 250, thanks.

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shoreboy
+1 Andrew Major
Shoreboy  - Nov. 9, 2018, 10:18 a.m.

I have the Lezyne Laser Drive rear light.  Sounds similar to Andrews in that it has the laser-bike-lane feature (that you can turn off) and 250 lumens.  I agree a rear light can never be bright enough, and have often been told its TOO bright.  My usual response is 'Thank you!  Thats what I was going for'  As for it 'blinding' other drivers, who stares directly into the bright lights of oncoming vehicles?  First thing you are taught when driving is NOT to do that....

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dave_f
0
dave_f  - Nov. 9, 2018, 11:04 p.m.

Hey Andrew, I'm not going for anything. Sorry if I came across the wrong way. Also a bit off topic regarding offroad use. The light has side LEDs and comes with a bar mount, so I thought I'd ask.

Not too long ago a 1300 lumen light would have been bulky and expensive, but battery capacity and LEDs keep improving as the cost comes down.

Nowadays that high end class of light is billed as having the lumens (6500) and beam pattern of aircraft landing lights. So based on the props and comments I guess the answer is yeah, give it three years and there will be a lot of folks out on the road with that type of light.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 10, 2018, 10:32 a.m.

Hi Dave, I apologize that I took it the wrong way. In addition to mountain biking, I'm a regular commuter cyclist and pedestrian, my wife rides to work regularly, and I take my daughter all over with a trailer-bike. Most drivers give us a lot of space and we're very cautious about the routes we take but the reality of riding in a city is that sometimes we have to take a lane and cross a 'dangerous' intersection and even with bright lights, clothes, a flag, and etc it sometimes scary. 

The fact is that beyond ~1200 lumens (real / not claimed) there is a massively diminishing return in terms of performance-benefit on the trail. I'll happily take a wider swath of light vs. a spot beam but I'm not being cheeky at all when I suggest that the all the trails on The Shore are rideable with a pair of these Ion Pro lights. 

I'd guess that rather than seeing aircraft landing lights on the road we'll see lights in the 800-1300 lumen range that get smaller and lighter with much longer run times. That would mean more people using them as daytime running lights and being able to ride multiple commutes without recharging. I for one would definitely prefer weight savings and longer run time over a brighter system.

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Vikb
+1 ZigaK
Vik Banerjee  - Nov. 9, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

For road use I use a headlamp with a vertical cut off like a car's headlight. Puts the light down on the road where you want it and out of driver's eyes. As a cyclist, pedestrian and driver I never understand why people think blinding oncoming folks is a good thing for safety?

Same goes for rear flashers. At some point the brightness and strobe are so intense it's dangerous. Last thing I want is the guy driving a truck behind me to be blinded by my rear light.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Zapp
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 9:50 a.m.

By “headlamp” do you mean handlebar light or you’re wearing it on your head?

With a lamp on my head no cut-off would keep me from flashing drivers when I shoulder check. Hence why I usually turn it off - I’m sure you mean headlamp on your bar; the terminology is just confusing

I haven’t come across a rear light that is too bright yet. 250-lumens still gets washed out entirely by the headlights on many of the high end cars around here.

I guess it also comes down to experiences. I’m all about mutual respect when I’m a road user. I only take a lane when I need to for safety and I will even time road crossings not to interrupt the flow of automobile traffic and I always appreciate when a driver gives me the right of way - and show it.

BUT, I’ve been hit and doored more than once and if a driver puts me, and especially my little commuter buddy, at risk because they’re ignorant or arrogant I think nothing of lighting them up with both beams or worse. It’s not that they’re bad people or I wish them harm, but sometimes zombies driving about need a wake up.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Nov. 9, 2018, 6:24 a.m.

I'm really impressed with the Bontrager light program in general... nice review.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Rob Gretchen
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 8:45 a.m.

Thanks Rob!

As I said in my Line Dropper review, before this year the last time I wanted a Bontrager product I wasn’t old enough for a drivers licence.  

I just ordered a fresh 29x2.6 SE2 and 29x3 SE4 (best 29+ tire on the market), have had a great experience with this light, the Line Comp wheels exceeded every expectation for their price (with engagement upgrade) and the dropper is good. 

I’m also on some of the new Line plastic pedals and they’re great (review pending).

I’m genuinely interested to see what other great stuff they release.

Reply

GladePlayboy
+1 Andrew Major
Rob Gretchen  - Nov. 9, 2018, 2:34 p.m.

And Bontrager just launched a new 2 year no questions asked warranty on their carbon wheels...

Reply

kos
+1 Andrew Major
Kos  - Nov. 9, 2018, 7:20 a.m.

This is a damn fine light, and if you happen to have a Bontrager Rally helmet, the magnetic mounting system is great, too.

I don't do any night riding, so can't comment on that.  I ride dirt bikes a bit, on two-way trails, so I quickly modified the light's mount to screw onto my front fender.  I run it on the high-flash mode, and it really lets other riders notice you coming towards them in the woods, so I'm glad for that option.

Andrew, your comment about the driver being annoyed by the tail light's brightness is funny.  In three seasons of using the tail light on a road bike, I've had two similar comments.  WTF?!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 8:52 a.m.

Yeah, included a picture of the Rally in the piece for that reason - I wish every helmet had a magnetic GoPro/Light mount. It isn’t just quick to install. I hit the deck hard last year and my light popped off unscathed.

That’s a interesting take on the flasher. I wouldn’t get rid of this version - I’d just add a trail version with less clicks. 

Worse than getting comments for the tail light on my bike, a fellow pedestrian (dressed head to toe in black) tried to get into it with me last winter about the “very annoying” flashing light I had clipped to my daughters jacket.

Walking or riding, I don’t want to get hit by a car. Driving, I don’t want to hit anybody with my car. Bright lights for everybody seems like a no brainer to me!

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LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Nov. 10, 2018, 10:02 a.m.

The more people I meet, the more i like my cats.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Mike-E
Agleck7  - Nov. 9, 2018, 11:46 a.m.

Self contained lights are sweet but the run time is really reduced in the extreme cold (Minnesota winter)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 3:51 p.m.

Do you find that is true of lights in general or does keeping a Lithium Ion battery in a pack negate that somewhat?

I haven’t had the Ion Pro out with temperatures below freezing yet and it never really gets cold enough around here to have a real affect on runtimes.

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - Nov. 9, 2018, 3:57 p.m.

I love the idea of the self contained light/battery, but I always feel happier with a spare battery pack (or two) in my pack when I'm out - is there any way to plug a spare into these style of lights via the micro USB ?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Nov. 9, 2018, 5:17 p.m.

Great question - short answer, no. 

Long answer, I’ve tried on-trail trickle charging with a few different batteries I’ve had around. Some lights will run-and-charge and some won’t but either way the answer in practical terms is still no.

I love long night rides and it’s pretty techy around here so I am often pushing the runtime of the Ion Pro. My solution has been to have a back-up  all-in-one light in my pack.

I recognize not everyone can justify the expense (I Love night riding and I do it a lot) but after having to use the older 800 (white - pictured above in the Bontrager Rally helmet photo) a couple of times on really challenging trails this year I picked up a second Ion Pro. Easy piece of mind and relative to the use I get out of it a great value.

(Anyone who wants to check them out locally BSP has them available in all their stores).

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GladePlayboy
0
Rob Gretchen  - Nov. 11, 2018, 6:48 a.m.

This is where a light system like Exposure has big advantages.   You can piggy-back batteries onto the light during your ride to extend burn time... it works great and the cells are tiny.

Reply

Domane
0
Domane  - Nov. 13, 2018, 3:55 p.m.

Do you really find the upgrade from the ion 800 is worth it? Im currently using 2 ion 800s, but wouldn't mind some more light from my helmet mount.

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zigak
0
ZigaK  - Nov. 10, 2018, 10:35 a.m.

I have a bush and muller ixon iq something. It is the same type as the reviewed one, but it has 4 AA rechargeable batteries, so you could bring spare ones with you. I don't know how would it fare in the woods, on the road it is perfect. It has curved mirrors that shape the light so the road is uniformly lighted - the same way the car headlamps optics work.

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