November 19, 2013
Invaluable for committed year-round riders who have no friends or always ride at the back
Super-bright rear lights aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, or even needed by everybody. You’re not going to be making many friends if you try using this on a group night ride; it’s just too bright to be sociable. That retina-searing lumen count comes into its own on the road though, so if you’re a regular commuter or spend much time on dark lanes, it’s definitely worth a look.
The District is designed to form a homogenous system with Hope’s front lights. I’ve been running it from the battery pack of an R4, via the supplied splitter cable, and the impact on run times isn’t significant (though I’ve deliberately avoided running the highest settings on either front or rear lights when out for anything longer than a 90-minute blast, as the R4 lacks a charge status indicator and I lack the desire to be plunged into darkness at the farthest point from home). Care is needed with placement; the neat pivoting clamp allows you to angle it down a little and you need to do that to avoid blinding drivers – it’s dazzlingly bright. The clamp can be left in situ on your seatpost/frame while the head unit clicks on and off via a neat bayonet fitting. This was a little rattly out of the box, but nothing untoward has occurred thus far.
There are a multitude of settings, including flashing – Hope reckon there are six all told, though I don’t think I’ve managed to find more than three, in the same order, in one ride. Put it down to user error. I’m happiest when lights are simply plug and play, though, so just tend to run with whatever mode it arrives at first and that has been just fine. There’s not a great deal apparent in the way of side visibility but once the light is on, it tends to light up the rear tyre, the saddle, the back of your legs and the road behind you to such an extent that you are not likely to be missed.
If you’re used to running self-contained ‘bright rear lights’, i.e. something like Exposure’s Flare, then you might find the dangly cables aspect of the District irritating. If you’re going to run it off the front light’s (already separate) battery pack, then it’s an extra cable to find a rattle/snag-free home for. If you’re running it off its own battery (available as an extra), then it’s another whole battery to find a home for somewhere on your bike. Despite these annoyances though it’s still brighter than a small red sun and its dying-star glow is pretty much unbeatable in poor weather conditions or darkness.
Overall: Care needed to avoid blinding drivers, otherwise invaluable for committed year-round riders who have no friends or always ride at the back.