Review: Bontrager Ion 700

The Ion 700 delivers with the smallest package and the lowest price in the 700 lumen category

Lights Lights Shootout

2015 Lights Shootout

Bontrager Ion 700 Front

Bontrager is taking the bike lights category seriously as evidenced by the 700 Lumen Ion 700. Introduced late last year, users continue to be surprised by the size and power of this light. Another attraction too is the quality of construction is extremely high and it really feels quite slick on the bike or in one’s pocket as the ultimate stealth flashlight.

The price is $100 and that trumps all of the competition. In this category of self-contained bike lights, the contenders sit at $120 with the NiteRider Lumina 750, Lezyne Super Drive, CatEye Volt 700 and the Light & Motion Urban 700.

The Bontrager Ion 700 is the smallest of the lot as well, as it manages to best even the tiny Light & Motion Urban 700. The mount is tiny as well, as it’s nothing more than a rotating platform with a one-size fits all rubber loop. The length of the rubber loop can even be adjusted by loosening the screw on top of the mount. Weight is 118 grams by itself and 141 grams with the bar mount.

Video: Test loop with the Bontrager Ion 700. Camera is on a locked ISO setting and is set to Wide Angle mode

Of course not everything is a bed of roses, as the light does not come with a helmet mount, although this one would be ideal as one. The light had a bit of play too on the mount, but we were able to minimize that by tightening the Phillips screw on the mount.

Beam Pattern Photo

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photos were taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. These photos feature many objects and a distinct background to analyze detail and beam pattern. Compare all Beam Patterns here »

Bontrager Ion 700 Backyard Beam Pattern

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 682 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 700 Lumens. The Lumen-hour graph below shows how the light performs over the first three minutes of its battery cycle. Compare all Lumen Tests here »

Bontrager Ion 700 Lumen Chart

Strengths
  • Construction and beam quality are top-notch
  • $100 price point bests the competition in the 700 Lumen category
  • Side lighting is just perfect, as it aids commuters but doesn’t get in the way of mountain bikers
  • Size and weight are smallest in this category
  • It is highly modular and versatile as the cyclist can use two or three in tandem to achieve any brightness level
Weaknesses
  • The light can get hot as there is not a lot of heatsinking
  • Light switch is tiny and bit hard to activate with gloves on
  • Mount is not very sophisticated and no helmet mount is included
Specifications
  • Price: $100
  • Claimed Lumens: 700 Lumens
  • Measured Lumens: 682 Lumens
  • Lumens per $: 6.82 Lumens
  • Lumens per gram: 4.84 Lumens
  • Time on High: 1:45 Hours
  • Charge Time: 5:00 Hours
  • Mounted Weight: 141 grams
  • Category: Flashlight/Commuter
Overall Rating

4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

For more information visit www.bontrager.com.

This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2015 Lights Shootout. To see all the bike lights tested CLICK HERE.


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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  • sparks 29er says:

    Very nice good price!!

  • 802bikeguy.com says:

    The Cygolite 720 is 140 grams mounted.

  • Charles says:

    The mount is not a fixed size, just loosen the phillips screw and adjust the position of the hook. There’s nothing in the manual about it but once I figured it out I was able to fit it on my 35mm bars. Good little light!

  • Fletch says:

    “It is highly modular and versatile as the cyclist can use two or three in tandem to achieve any brightness level”
    This brings up a question that I’ve wanted to ask, do two lights of a lower brightness equal a single brighter light of the same brightness as the sum of the two? For example do two true 750 lumen lights equal a single true 1500 lumen light? It seems to me that the total light would be the same, but that the performance on the single light might be better because the reflector is tuned for greater throw. What has been your experienc in all this testing?

    I ask as I’m in the market for a 1,500 lumen light and keep looking at two 750 lumen lights for less $$

    • Rob says:

      @Fletch, the advantage of using 2 is that you can adjust the focal points rather easily. In night riding on trails, I frequently use one light aimed straight forward, and the other I rotate the swivel to the side so that I can see, for example, a trail turn-off. It’s very convenient.
      I don’t know that it’s as bright as, say, a 1400 lumen light, but I’ll say this much. I have *very* poor night vision, and I have no reservations about tromping through the woods at 5 in the morning, and I have been commuting with these lights for a good 1000+ miles and their performance has been excellent.
      That said, i’m also quite interested in Fletch’s question. Do a pair of 750 lumen lights equal a true 1500 single?

  • Jim says:

    This is a great light on or off the bike, but I wonder about the longevity of the LED. At full power, the case gets quite hot. Most high lumen LEDs have some sort of heat sink to dissipate the high heat which is a killer of LEDs. I wonder if the mfg. took this into consideration? How long has anyone had one before LEd failure??

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