The Izone Curve 2 rear light ranks as one of the best blinkies I've used at almost any price point and for a very long time. Bucking the plug-in trend, it combines old school AAA practicality with contemporary output and five modes. Oh, and it's extremely well sealed against the elements.
Behind the 360-degree red lens sit three LEDs. The central unit is quoted as being 1 watt (a measure of consumption, rather than output). Apparently, this lead singer projects the greatest punch. Claimed total output is a tame-sounding 11 lumens, but the phrase about wolf and sheep's clothing springs to mind.
The composite material used to build the Curve 2 isn't quite up to the same standards you'd expect from high-end units, but it all still feels very solid.
Access to the battery tray is via a coin slot, though thinner flat screwdrivers common to most multi-tools will also do the job without leaving nasty gouge marks.
I was expecting a simple 'rubber band on steroids' seal, but while the two AAA batteries are accessible, circuitry and diodes are well and truly locked away. No surprise that it sniggered at heavy, persistent rain and passed my hosepipe torture test hands down, then...
On the subject of switches, this one is a surprisingly narrow and very positive grey button, which requires quite a deliberate prod in gloved hands. Relatively thin, it sometimes proved elusive, so is best engaged from standstill rather than attempted on the fly.
The Curve 2 mounts limpet fashion to most seatpost/tubing shapes and diameters or luggage via the increasingly default wraparound 'rubber doughnut' strap. Just remember to take it with you when parking up in the street...
So then, these five modes. We have constant, fast flash, slow flash, strobe and chase (essentially a fast strobe), which oscillate at just the right pace to court attention from a good safe distance without dazzling.
Constant is surprisingly frugal, although I've not quite managed the full 30 hours reckoned possible from fresh batteries. But even discount shop specials have seen it creep well into 28, which should be enough for most riders.
Visibility is around the 180m mark on clear, cloudless nights, dipping to about 125 round town – still very useful but I've preferred to combine it with a second, bijoux blinkie in this setting. Mounted vertically, fast flash is by far the most potent – 600m-plus seems a fairly conservative estimate given feedback from other riders, and is still beaming away 40 hours hence.
This felt the safest option through town, especially when tackling larger roundabouts and similarly ominous junctions. Slow flash is distinctive and seemingly very effective on those drab grey afternoons, although its slower pace left me feeling slightly vulnerable when negotiating bigger roundabouts at dusk. This was particularly true when fitted on my low-slung touring trailer. Otherwise we're talking 250m (450 in the sticks).
Strobe and chase have come in particularly handy on long, steady dusk-til-dawn rural runs. I swapped over to rechargeable batteries for these outings but, as we speak, I've done 20 hours apiece and they're still going strong. Presence is almost on par with fast flash – a good 500m in Sticksville.
Ultimately, the Curve 2 might not match the outright firepower of some über-lumen models, but it still delivers excellent presence and is an obvious option for audax, weekend and longer haul touring. I think it's well worth its rrp, and an even bigger bargain online.
Just the right balance of modes, output and decent run times – recommended
road.cc test report
Make and model: Izone Curve 2 rear light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Izone says: "Another very bright light from Izone, this 3 led rear light puts out an exceptional amount of light. The lens is optically engineered to send light out via the super-bright central LED and out to the sides using the flanking LEDs. In addition to the 180 degrees lens output, the translucent rear casing effectively gives the Curve 2 a 360 degree light spread."
A genuinely impressive rear light at a favourable price.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* 1 Watt central LED
* 11 Lumen output
* Constant, Fast Flash, Slow Flash, Strobe and Chase modes
* Up to 30 hours runtime on Constant mode
* Exceptional side visibility
* Secure angled mounting bracket
* 2 x AAA batteries
Intelligent design means it's easily spotted from decent distances without dazzling other traffic like some über-lumen models can.
Solid composites and impervious design.
Switch could have been more user-friendly but it's by no means fiddly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Izone Curve 2, with its five potent modes and ultra frugal run times, is pretty much everything you could want from a rear LED light. Build quality knocks some popular household names into a cocked hat – it's completely waterproof and the simple yet secure bracket accommodates most shapes and diameters of tubing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Switch good but not great.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)