Light, compact and really nicely made with a powerful 1000 lumen output and good spread of light, the Hope R4 LED light is a top choice for night riding.
Four Cree XPG LEDs are arranged in the beautifully CNC-machined lamp unit, and together they pump put 1000 lumens. We found the beam pattern a good one, with a nice bright centre spot and well managed decline to the outer limits of the spread. It's a broad spread of light but does lack a bit of reach when you get up to higher speeds.
Hope updated the R4 this year with the main focus being to extend the battery life. The four-cell 5200mAh Li-Ion battery pack is the standard choice Hope offer. Also available is an endurance option with a two 5200mAh batteries; a lightweight 2600mAh (two-cell) Li-Ion battery; a 'lightweight endurance' version with two 2600mAh batteries and an 'all sport' edition which includes one 5200mAh battery and one 2600mAh battery. Plenty of flexibility so you can buy a system depending on your needs.
Rather cleverly, the light has two separate sequences, Race and Trail. A quick press of the rubber button puts you into the most powerful Race setting, the one you want to use for off-road riding. This gives the three brightest settings and means you can cycle through the modes without having to go through the lowest and flash settings.
Alternatively, press and hold the on button and you access a more modest Trail sequence that includes a flashing mode and the lower output settings. In this sequence the R4 is a good choice for commuting to work or sections of road riding to get to the trail in the first place. Together the six available modes offer a good balance for all riding situations.
Talking of the battery life, Hope claim 2.5 hours on the maximum setting which is pretty good. In testing we got that as well, so it's a genuine claim. However managing the battery life is a tad tricky as there's no fuel gauge. Instead the light will automatically switch to the lowest setting and flash when you're running low on juice. It would be nice to have some sort of fuel remaining indicator. Use the lower available settings and Hope claim 20 hours in Race and 50 hours in Trail.
Included in the box is a sturdy CNC-machined handlebar clamp. Its off-set design places the light unit slap bang in the middle of the bars for perfect trail illumination. That also means it doesn't take up much space on your handlebars. It's held firmly in place with two Allen bolts and a third bolt allows the angle to be easily adjusted. The light uses a bayonet fitting so with a simple depress and twist it can be removed, it's very easy to use and better than many other systems we've used.
To remove the light from the clamp is a simple case of pressing the unit down, to depress the metal stud underneath, and twisting 90 degrees. It's a good design that works reliably. If you're going to use the light on the handlebars the battery has two hooks which Velcro straps to the top tube. It's soft-lined so it won't scratch the paint.
Also in the box is a helmet mount. It's not the easiest contraption we've used (at least compared to Exposure's brilliant helmet mount). An extension cable means the battery can be stored in your hydration pack. The lamp unit is lightweight enough that it is a very good choice for locating on the helmet so that you get the full 1000 lumens exactly where you want it when racing through tight tree-lined singletrack.
Of course you get a charger included. From empty it takes about 6 hours to top the battery up. Weight for the light, clamp and battery is 372g on our scales.
A well designed light with a decent beam pattern, good burn time and clever lighting sequence makes it a versatile system. We'd really like a fuel gauge though to make it a complete system.
Works on handlebars or helmet
Good beam pattern
No fuel gauge
Beam lacks a little reach
Lightweight Endurance: £250
All Sports: £275
More information: Hope R4
What Hope says about the R4
The R4 lamp has undergone some refinements for the 2012/2013 season with extended battery life being the main feature. The lower power levels in the Trail sequence have been modified to offer huge benefits in burn time.
Mode 1 in Trail sequence will now run for a massively extended 50 hours, and mode 2 in Trail now runs for over 20 hours.
This makes the R4 lamp even more versatile in terms of getting exactly the level of light that you need, whilst preserving the battery life during periods when only a low level of light is sufficient.
The standard system now includes the 5200mAh (Epic/4 cell) rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack as standard so burn time in max mode is now 2.5 hours. The endurance option is still available but now includes two 5200mAh (Epic/4 cell) batteries. The new ‘lightweight’ option includes the smaller 2600mAh (2 cell) Li-Ion battery which offers half the burn times of the 5200mAh (Epic) battery for shorter duration activities, although it is worth noting that the 2600mAh battery will now provide over 25 hours of light in the new low mode. Also new for 2012/13 is the ‘lightweight endurance’ which includes 2 x 2600mAh (2 cell) Li-Ion battery packs, and the ‘All Sport’ option which includes 1 x 5200mAh battery and 1 x 2600mAh battery.
Designed, tested and CNC machined in Barnoldswick, England.
Light Source: 4 x Cree XPG, R5 Bin.
Light Output: 1000 measured lumens, 1446 generated lumens.
Power levels: 6 (two sequences of three), including flash. Newly programmed ‘Trail’ sequence for 2012/13 offering up to 50 hours burn time.
Battery: New for 2012/13 – 5200mAh (4 cell) Li-Ion battery pack as standard.
Burn time: 2:30 hrs – 50:00 hrs.
Charge time: 6 Hours.
Beam: Diffused uniform beam (+/- 12.5°).
Mounting: CNC machined aluminium QR bayonet mount for handlebar, helmet or head.
Weight: 338g (std).