First published in Singletrack magazine issue 95
The R8 light is Hope’s flagship light model, which it claims “turns night into day”; a bold call. Every aspect of the R8, from the clamp to the light unit, is another fine example of Hope quality. They really do know how to machine metal to reassure you that this product is designed to last years of mountain biking in the worst UK weather.
The ‘8’ in the name simply refers to the number of Cree LEDs Hope have housed in the unit. They’re arranged in two rows of four and provide a whopping maximum claimed output of 3,000 lumens (2,200 measured). Burn time on ‘let’s light up the world’ maximum power is two hours. This is easily extended by selecting one of the other five power settings, which I cycled through on most rides; climbing or transitioning in mode one (850 lumens) and only going to full power when descending. There are two power sequences to choose from: quick click (Race) and press and hold (Trail), both have three power options. Flash mode is included in the trail sequence. The power level you have selected is indicated via the coloured backlit power button, which is still easy to operate when the light is mounted on your helmet (although the coloured indicator is then redundant).
With a powerful light like the R8 it comes as no surprise that you also need to run a large power supply. Hope have chosen to supply the R8 with a six cell Li-Ion battery pack with built-in power indicator. It’s secured by a Velcro elasticated strap and the power cord is coiled, which takes care of any excess. Don’t worry, Hope have thought about those who prefer to light up the trails by using helmet-mounted lights; the R8 comes with a cable extension too, giving you plenty of cable to put the battery in your pack.
On the trail, the quick-release bayonet fitting sets the head unit nice and high, centrally above your bar clamp. I think the permanent clamp is appropriate for the size of the unit; if you swap between bikes, it can be a pain changing it over each time but spare mounts are available for £32, which solves that problem.
Each time I twisted the lamp unit into its mount I had a little grin, knowing that it was not going anywhere. The best feeling though comes when you select mode three (‘brighter than the sun’) and light up the path ahead. Especially when some of my riding buddies opted to buy cheaper lights off the web…
In contrast, the beam pattern of the R8 is fantastic, spreading from the top of your wheel and well down the trail – any further and you might as well be out in daylight. This spread is created by combining four spot LEDs above two diffused and two elliptical optic LEDs. It’s relatively focused, with doubletrack-width lighting.
If I was to pick up on anything, it would be the weight. The lamp and battery unit together come in at 636g. You don’t notice it in the depths of winter when you’re carrying a ton of mud around with you as well but it is something to consider.
A light that comes with a price and weight tag, but for your money you’re getting a strong, well constructed light that is going to last the test of time. Your spend is rewarded when you kick in the power.
|Product:||R8 front light.|
|From:||Hope Technology, hopegb.com|
|Price:||£280.00, spare handlebar clamp £32.00|
|Tested:||by Richard for Three months.|