Review: Fenix BC21R

Nicely shaped beam for $80

Lights Lights Shootout

2016 Lights Shootout

The Fenix BC21R sports good construction.

The Fenix BC21R sports good construction (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: Fenix BC21R

The Fenix is a self-contained light from Fenix claiming 880 Lumens for an affordable price of $80. It features a field replaceable battery, thus allowing the rider as much run time as needed by carrying spare 18650 lithium batteries.

There is red side lighting available and there are cut-outs in the lens cap to give it good side visibility.

Additionally, Fenix prides itself in controlling the beam pattern well with a fairly distinct cut-off on the top and a secondary beam that illuminates the trail directly in front of the rider.

Stat Box
Claimed Lumens: 880 Lumens Mtbr Lux: 72
Measured Lumens: 750 Lumens Mounted weight: 155 grams
Lumens per $: 9.38 Lumens Category: Headlight
Lumens per gram: 4.84 Lumens Price: $80
Run time on high: 1:20 Hours Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 Chilis-out-of-5

  • Excellent brightness for the money at 9.38 Lumen/dollar
  • 750 measured Lumens doesn’t match up to 880 claimed
  • Beam pattern is shaped very nicely
  • Light is bigger than the competition
  • Side visibility is very good
  • Forward center spot is not as bright as its peers
  • Mount is simple and is removable
  • Plastic body does not dissipate heat very well
  • Beam pattern has two spots with good color

Full Review: Fenix BC21R

The highlight of this light is the beam pattern. It’s got a nice warm color that’s not too white so it’s easy to see shadows and trail contours.

More importantly, the beam is very well controlled. It has two spots, one that lights up the trail immediately ahead and one that reaches far ahead. Periphery is well lit with good spill at close range. Finally, the top is chopped off a little bit to conserve light from being wasted at the very top of the beam. It also allows the rider to avoid shining the top of the beam into drivers’ eyes when commuting on the road.

Fenix BC21R has good heat sinking.

Fenix BC21R has good heat sinking (click to enlarge).

Infinite battery is a good feature of this light, as it uses a standard 18650 lithium battery that is field replaceable. The battery is very easy to access with a removeable rear cap. This makes long rides a possibility well beyond the 1:20 run time at the highest setting. The rider simply needs to carry as many spare batteries as needed.

Continue to page 2 for more on the Fenix BC21R, the beam pattern and Lumen measurement »

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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  • fmcart says:

    You state that the BC21R is made of plastic and sells for $80.

    According to Fenix Lighting this unit is made of aluminum and sells for $96. I THINK Fenix Lighting is the official company website but there are others that use the Fenix name in their title.

    This is all somewhat confusing.

    • Bourec says:

      Fenix Lighting is just one of the US distributors, manufacturers website is really AFAIK the MSRP is actually 75 USD/75 EUR.

  • fmcart says:

    Fenix Lighting just lowered the priceof the BC21R to $75, just below MSRP.

  • Log81 says:

    It’s definitely made of alloy I got mine recently, great little light and I love the ability to carry replacement batteries! I got mine from rmoutdoors for just over £60!

  • OmegaMan says:

    Are there any helmet mounts that work with this light? Fenix doesn’t make one.

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    Love that there’s suddenly great options for torch-style bike headlights that take *standard* batteries. I’m really between this and the ITUO Wiz1 at this point.

    So is this thing metal or plastic? I’ve been reading & watching Francis’s reviews for years. He ought to know metal from plastic and he says this thing’s plastic. What gives? (@Francis, this would be a great time to post a little clarification – is it metalized plastic or powder coated metal or something?)

  • ReplaceableGuy says:

    Mine just arrived and it’s plastic exactly as described by Francis.

    The silver at the end around the lens is metal and has gaps to make it more visible from the sides. One of those gaps is at the very top. I suspect when I’m standing on my pedals and leaned a bit over the handlebars it’s going to shine in my eyes. Nothing that can’t be fixed w/ a spot of tape.

    The battery that shipped with it is as advertised: a Fenix ARB-L2-2300. It’s a flat top (almost a pure cylinder w/o a “button” on the positive end like you usually see with AA batteries). Amazon has 3000 mAh ones for like $10 for 4 of them and even some claiming to be 6000 mAh (I suspect that’s a bold faced lie)

    Last observation: when plugged into a microUSB charger, you can use it, but the only settings are “high” and “low” and “off”. Not sure how high or low those are compared to battery-only operation. Also, it works when plugged into USB w/o the battery, but makes an annoying high pitched sound and there’s only one mode (well, 2 – on and off).

  • android says:

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free.

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