Wow! Hope’s brand spanking new Vision District 3 rear light isn’t just the brightest rear light we’ve ever seen, it’s the brightest by a distance.
You know that bit in Crocodile Dundee… “He’s got a knife.”
“That’s not a knife.” [Pulls out massive Bowie knife]. “THAT’S a knife.”
Switch the subject matter to bike lights and you’ve got some idea of just how visible this thing is. We’re talking 84 lumens. For comparison, the Light and Motion Vis 180 that we tested a while back is 35 lumens, and that’s bright.
Check out this pic of the District being used at night. The two red lights on the left are the tail lights of a van. The one on the right is the Hope on high power, the same distance away. The photo is a bit deceptive. It doesn't actually look like the sun. It's not dangerously bright. But you get the idea that it's going to get you seen.
The lamp is CNC machined – a really sturdy piece of work – and it contains three red LEDs. You can have them on standard constant power, mega blow-yer-socks-off power, slow flashing, quick flashing, and intermittent quick flashing. You can hardly miss any of them even in broad daylight, and little windows ensure you’re seen from the side at junctions and so on.
Power comes from a separate 7.4v Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack that you attach to your frame or underneath your saddle with an adjustable Velcro strap. It takes no time. We slung it on the seat tube, tucked the excess cable away, and it never shifted. It’s weatherproof and won’t start acting weird after a few wet rides – believe us, we’ve had plenty.
If you already have a Hope front light, you can just buy the rear lamp (£95), use a splitter cable and run both front and rear lights from the same battery. Hope reckon this will reduce the battery life by less than 10% even if you run the District at max power.
Speaking of battery life, we got over 11hrs out of this system when running it at maximum; it’ll vary a bit according to conditions. Hope say it’ll last 104 hours in flashing mode. They could be right but we got fed up of waiting for it to run out. It’s kind of academic anyway. That’s over four days of continuous use. If you can’t remember to recharge it in that time, you deserve to get caught out in the dark. Full charge time is about three hours.
To fit the lamp, you first need to attach the right little shim for your diameter of seat post, and bolt the alloy mount on top of that. Then you just twist the actual lamp in and out whenever you want to. It’s a lot like fitting a bayonet light bulb and takes about as long – seconds. We found initially setting the mount so the light was parallel to the ground rather than at right angles to the seat post a little bit fiddly, but once done, it stays done.
Downsides? Well, the District – Red light. District. Geddit? That Hope lot are very naughty boys – is bulkier than a standard blinky, obviously, and heavier. The lamp, mount and shim weigh 118g, and the battery 130g for an all-up weight of 248g. And it’s clearly much more expensive than a normal little LED.
On the other hand, it’ll last much longer too and it’s way, way more conspicuous. You really are massively visible on the roads at night with this light on board. Look on it as an investment in your safety and that price becomes a lot easier to swallow.
Expensive but tough, and the brightest rear light we've ever used
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hope Vision District 3 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?
Hope say, "The new District 3 rear safety light is bright! Now that may sound like
an obvious statement - but until you’ve seen one of these on, in the dark
- amongst other lights, reflectives and distractions you won’t quite
That about covers it. This light is incredibly bright and conspicuous
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.