Bontrager's Transmitr Light Set is a front and rear light with a wireless four-way directional remote that controls each light independently or as a group. I would recommend the Transmitr for any commuter or midnight soloist who often finds themselves fumbling around their handlebar trying to find the right mode on their light.
It's very hard to make a light sexy, isn't it? An LED and a battery can only really look sexy if dressed to the nines in CNC'd aluminium, if you ask me, which can add needless cost. Bontrager's Transmitr – which I guess is trying to be sexy by way of a hipster naming convention – doesn't quite hit the mark like some German or English brands do, but it makes a fair go of it.
In the minimally designed box with 'peekaboo' window you get a 700-lumen Ion 700 RT front light, a rear Flare RT, and a Transmitr Remote. Yes, a remote. It's a four-way directional D-pad that attaches to your handlebar and lets you control up to seven ANT+ compatible lights. A central, fifth button toggles through the light modes, or powers the system on and off.
With a little engineering – read 'a 2.5mm Allen key' – the remote can be rotated 180 degrees from its front-facing orientation and placed in the under-slung position à la Shimano's Di2 climber's shifter. This provides easier access for the thumb to toggle modes. With that, whether you're on the bike path bearing down on another commuter or in a night-ride peloton about to take a turn as backstop, you are right there with the right mode, across your whole ensemble. Now that's sexy.
Being able to control your lights from a remote D-pad is all well and good, but what are the lights you're controlling actually like?
The star of the show, the Ion 700RT front light is punchy rather than wide, which is what you want in a light for seeing by, sitting comfortably at the higher end of the spectrum for lights at this price point but the lower end in terms of strength. It has a plethora of modes accessible from the button on top, which doubles as a battery indicator.
There are your standard high (700 lumen, 1.5 hours), medium (450 lumen, 3 hours), and low (200 lumen, 6.75 hours), with two flashes, one for day and one for night.
Used without the remote, the front light's button isn't placed well for quick changes, whether positioned over or under the handlebar. Also – and I'm splitting hairs here – I would like it if all manufacturers followed my usual brand's convention and put continuous and flash beams on two loops. Many don't, which results in multiple mode button presses and a brief light show when, say, you meet another cyclist on the local bike path.
The rear is another good effort, with solid (5.5 or 21 hours), and flashing (6.5 or 23 hours) modes, accessed from a top-mounted button. Happily, the light also has the often neglected 'mate's mode' – a dimmed beam that can be used in a group to stop dazzling a friend who's desperately trying to hold your wheel. Okay, easily holding your wheel.
As someone who has taken electrical tape to a rear light on multiple long-distance night rides and then ridden behind someone without that forethought, I can tell you: you will be thanked for it.
Mounting and charging
What else do you get in the box? Well, enough mounting solutions to shake a stick at is what. Bontrager has been very generous with the inclusion of front, back or helmet elasticated mounts with quick releases, a solid mount with quick release, and a handy backpack clip should you have an obstructed view to the rear. The mounts fit a wide range of bars and seatposts, though they are a little bulky if you have your cable routing particularly tight.
Finally, as both front and rear lights are USB-charged, you get a USB cable to charge them with. While it would have been nice to have two, I can forgive this as the 5-pin USB 2.0 connector is reasonably commonplace; you'll have one if you have a modern GPS unit, for example.
Charge time is reasonable, but the 'do not leave to charge overnight' warning is a little disconcerting. A device at this price should be able to handle over-charging.
The Transmitr is a solid package that would be good value even without a remote. The front is a punchy number and the rear gets extra points for having a courteous mode. There's a degree of future-proofing with ANT+ compatibility too, which could come in handy some day – but you can have the future today, so why wait?
Ideal for the commuter or night rider who is courteous and considerate to others
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Transmitr Light Set and Wireless Remote
Size tested: Includes two Sync brackets, a Micro USB charging cable, seat pack clip, seat stay clip and remote bracket
Tell us what the light set 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?
The Transmitr Light set is aimed squarely at the commuter or night rider looking for a light to see by rather than be seen by. It differentiates itself with a wireless remote that can be used to control each light independently or as a group and with the possibility of expanding the set to include indicators.
Bontrager says: "The Wireless Light Bundle is a futuristic lighting package featuring the Transmitr remote, which can remotely control the included Ion 700 RT front light and Flare RT rear light."
In my view it's for anyone who finds themselves constantly dipping their lights for oncoming cyclists or other traffic on and off the road. I would happily invest in this light set if I were commuting regularly along my local shared-use pathway.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
A 700-lumen front light with a plethora of modes running from 1.5 to 6.75 hours depending on how many carrots you eat; a solid rear light (65 lumens) again with plenty of modes; and an ANT+ compatible remote that can switch modes for up to seven connected lights independently or as a group.
Transmitr remote can simultaneously control up to 7 lights
ANT+-enabled for use with all Transmitr products
Includes Ion 700 RT, Flare RT and Transmitr Remote
Includes two Sync brackets, a Micro USB charging cable, seat pack clip, seat stay clip and remote bracket
Transmitr ready for the simple brilliance of wireless control
ANT+ enabled for use with all Transmitr products
See with our focused optics and over 270 degrees of visibility
Brightness: 700 Lumens via high-power CREE LED
700LM-1.75hrs, 450LM-3hrs, 200LM-6.75hrs, 50LM+ Flash-22hrs,Irregular Strobe-40hrs
Fully charged in 5 hours through sealed Micro USB port
Includes 20 degree +/- adjustable Sync bracket that fits bars from 22.2-35.0mm
Use Transmitr for wireless on/off, battery status, indicators and mode selection
65 Lumens provide visibility from over 2km, day or night
Be seen with balanced optics designed for 270-degree visibility near and far
Two daytime visibility modes, two night modes and indicator capability
Day modes: 65LM flash-5.75hrs, 35LM all-day-10hrs, 25LM steady-4.5hrs
Night modes: 65LM flash-23hrs, 5LM steady-21hrs
Battery save mode at 5% life helps to ensure a safe ride home with a depleted battery
The front and rear are made from a solid plastic. I had no concerns about mounting plates snapping or taking a knock. The rear does feel a little less rugged than the front, but I'm assured by those who've been using one for over a year that it isn't.
I love the remote, which makes my criticism of the front light's button placement – it's less than ideal in my opinion – redundant. You do have to cycle through the flashing modes to return to solid.
Clamps were of solid construction, the inclusion of a quick release alongside a simple elasticated rubber mount was nice to see, but the slightly bulky design made it difficult to mount on tightly cabled handlebars.
The Transmitr set will happily stave off the British winter, but a hose-down revealed some ingress in the rear charging port, which meant green pins on the USB connector inside. (I might have been unlucky; road.cc editor Tony has been using one for over a year "frequently in the rain without mudguards" and no water has got into his.)
I would have liked to see a lower power setting lasting for longer on the front. Charge times were as expected, but I would have also preferred not to worry about overnight charging. Both lights trail off just under an hour after a low-battery warning.
The front light is a solid, punchy affair, more than adequate for commuting, road or cyclo-cross riding in pitch black at speed.
I never felt the Transmitr would be affected by the odd knock on or off the road.
The Transmitr set didn't make me check my tyre pressure on the climbs, despite the inclusion of a remote.
The Transmitr light set is on the money for value and performance without the remote; with it, it's punching well above.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
I found the front and rear to be on par for the price, and really missed the remote once the Transmitr was sent home.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Isn't it obvious? Other than 'freakin' laser beams' on sharks' heads I haven't adored a vision future as much as this for a long time.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Nothing really, maybe that the Ion 700RT is possibly a little over-specced and a little underpowered.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Without the remote this review would be a solid but unremarkable 7/10; with it, it's a definite 8. And I found myself sadly thumbing at the bars for the remote once the Transmitr was sent home.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: