Review: Bontrager Ion 700 RT

Remote capable now

Lights Lights Shootout

2016 Lights Shootout

The Ion 700 RT is now  $160 but is controllable by a very powerful optional remote.

The Ion 700 RT is now $160 but is controllable by a very powerful optional remote (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2016 Bike Lights Shootout. See the 2016 Mtbr Headlights Index and the RoadBikeReview Commuter Lights Index.

The Lowdown: Bontrager Ion 700 RT

Two years ago, Bontrager floored us with the introduction of the Ion 700 for $100. It was an extremely compact and well-constructed light that was better than the competition, yet cheaper by $20-$40.

This year, the light is the same with just slightly better output. The big news is the light can now be part of a nice remote-controlled system (usually headlight and tail light) with many possibilities. It is certainly one of the best remotes we’ve seen as lights can be controlled by one remote. And all lights can be turned on/off with one button. Turn signals are a possibility as well.

But the competition has caught up now with brighter lights and the price of the Ion 700 has gone up $20 to $120. This remote model is $160 and that doesn’t include the $60 remote.

Stat Box
Claimed Lumens: 700 Lumens Mtbr Lux: 69
Measured Lumens: 706 Lumens Mounted weight: 119 grams
Lumens per $: 4.41 Lumens Category: Headlight
Lumens per gram: 5.93 Lumens Price: $160
Run time on high: 1:45 Hours Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilis-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Impressive and flexible remote
  • $60 remote not included
  • Lumen output now matches claims
  • Price on the Ion 700 actually went up to $120
  • Construction is top notch
  • No new options in the Bontrager headlight line
  • Good side lighting
  • No helmet mount included

Full Review: Bontrager Ion 700 RT

The Ion 700 was a great light a couple years ago, as it had the best form factor and price.

Today though, it’s stumbled a bit with price increases and is basically the same light. The remote is a good addition but it’s not a killer app for mountain biking. For commuting, it is a good option when part of a system. That can get very pricey though with a $60 remote and a $80 tail light to start with. We have no doubts though that Bontrager is about to introduce many more sophisticated light products in the near future.

The available remote is an engineering marvel as each light can be controlled separately with 4 independent buttons. Or the center button can control all at once.

The available remote is an engineering marvel as each light can be controlled separately with 4 independent buttons. Or the center button can control all at once (click to enlarge).

As it stands, this is still a very useable light because of its nice beam pattern and tiny form factor. It’s ideal for commuting but certainly powerful enough for trail riding. Use two of them on your bar and helmet, powered by one remote and that would be dandy.

We’d rather recommend the $120 version though without the remote. This $160 light needs another $60 to use the remote capability. This remote version of the Ion is fascinating technology, but it has more utility in the commuting arena and not as much on the trail, since tail lights and signal lights are more practical for city use.

Continue to page 2 for more on the Bontrager Ion 700 RT, beam pattern and Lumen measurement ยป

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Chad says:

    Small correction for the article. There is a helmet mount available for the 700 Ion now.
    http://www.bontrager.com/model/13492

  • don says:

    There is also a “blendr” accessory available by bontrager that lets you mount and vertically pivot the light when attached to a stem. Still one of the best lights at 50% of a car headlight’s power output. There is a non RT (remote transmission) white ion700 for about 30 dollars less.

  • David Wayne says:

    700 lumens is irrelevant in my book. The main attraction to this light is remote control so you can quickly turn it off when riding into a jogger, hiker, walker in the dark on a trail. How many people swear at you when your head lights blind them. That’s why I purchased this set of 700RT, tail light and remote.
    But, sadly, there are problems with 700 RT. Northwest rain, I think, leaked into the tail light and now it’s useless. That’s OK, I thought. The head light works remotely and that’s the main thing. But I found that battery would die without notice, three times. Third time, I have been unable to recharge 700 RT. Trek makes great bikes. But they don’t know how to make great bike lights, yet. It’s a great, great idea. Very needed, I think.

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