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Verdict: 
Expensive but tough, and the brightest rear light we've ever used
Weight: 
248g
Contact: 
www.hopetech.com
Hope Vision District 3 rear light
8 10

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.

Verdict

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

believe it!"

That about covers it. This light is incredibly bright and conspicuous

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
5/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

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.

22 comments

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Holy sunglasses Brettman!  16

When are Lumi going to bring out a new rear light, hmmm?

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handlebarcam [803 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

It's going to get you seen.

It's going to get you a queue of cars lined up behind you, chewing their steering wheels in sheer boiling hatred for you, unable to overtake safely because they cannot see past your light. Eventually, one of them will risk it, and "to teach you a lesson" will side-swipe you off the road.

I'm the last person to put appeasing motorists over cyclists' safety, but this is just dumb. Why not zip-tie frickin' laser beams on your seatpost if you want to get yourself seen from miles away? And it is such an incredible rip-off. You can get something verging on annoyingly bright, quite enough to be seen from half a mile away, for a tenth the price. Still, I'm sure there are lumentards out there who are willing to pay 165 quid so they can brag on club runs that their rear light emits more light than many people's front lights.

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mrchrispy [480 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

85 Lumens??

Pha....still not a patch on the Dinotte Rear 140L, 140Lumens of rear light love with an epilepsy inducing flash mode. I paid 75 quid for mine over 2 years ago.

//www.kk.org/cooltools/dinotte.jpg)

handlebarcam wrote:
Quote:

It's going to get you seen.

It's going to get you a queue of cars lined up behind you, chewing their steering wheels in sheer boiling hatred for you, unable to overtake safely because they cannot see past your light.

I doubt that's actually going to happen, if fact I've had a couple of drivers pull overs and comment on how good the light is as the fact the could see me miles away.

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cp [7 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

handlebarcam+1

I wonder if the testers sat in a car behind the light & tried to see past the rider to see if it's safe to overtake?

ever been stuck behind a car with it's rear fog light on in dark clear conditions? similar but far worse blinding effect with these lights I imagine.

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ir_bandito [58 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Rear lights need to be bright enough to be seen, but don't need to be any brighter. This has been discussed on "other" bike forums. Its too bright!
I'd really like to know Hope's thoughts on why they've made this.

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I've got a 1w BLT which has a very clear beam and has to be angled carefully to avoid dazzling people behind. I imagine that the Hope requires similar care. When 1w lights like the BLT came out I started to wonder if the rear light arms race was getting a little out of hand.

I'd love to see a big, old-fashioned rear light but with an LED instead of a crappy bulb. Big enough to have road presence and bright enough to look like the rear light of a car but without the ability to fry eggs from twenty yards.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
mrchrispy wrote:

85 Lumens??

Pha....still not a patch on the Dinotte Rear 140L, 140Lumens of rear light love with an epilepsy inducing flash mode. I paid 75 quid for mine over 2 years ago.

The Dinotte bracket is designed so that the light points down at the road, isn't it?

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cactuscat [284 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Rob Simmonds wrote:

I'd love to see a big, old-fashioned rear light but with an LED instead of a crappy bulb. Big enough to have road presence and bright enough to look like the rear light of a car but without the ability to fry eggs from twenty yards.

I remember at the Cycle show a couple of years back there were some chaps taking old remaindered lights and fixing them up with nice bright LEDs... can't remember who though  39

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Cervelo_Rider [13 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
cat1commuter wrote:
mrchrispy wrote:

85 Lumens??

Pha....still not a patch on the Dinotte Rear 140L, 140Lumens of rear light love with an epilepsy inducing flash mode. I paid 75 quid for mine over 2 years ago.

The Dinotte bracket is designed so that the light points down at the road, isn't it?

No. You can tilt the light as you wish.

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

That's what we do with front lights, we haven't done it with rear lights though - because we've always regarded them as "be seen" devices rather than aids to help you see where you are going. When Mat gets back from Italy we'll give this one a go with the beam pattern test.

http://road.cc/content/feature/28312-how-bright-your-beam-shedding-some-...

As for enraging drivers by using overly bright lights surely the point is that if a driver finds your lights too bright he or she should simply slow down to safely negotiate the 'hazard' in his or her path.

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jezzzer [329 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
tony_farrelly wrote:

As for enraging drivers by using overly bright lights surely the point is that if a driver finds your lights too bright he or she should simply slow down to safely negotiate the 'hazard' in his or her path.

I don't really agree, Tone. You wouldn't drive around with your lights on full-beam with that logic, would you? I cannot see the point of this product when, as has been noted above, you can get a light which will ensure you are seen from more than far enough away for sub-£20.

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Ush [755 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

QUOTE: "you can get a light which will ensure you are seen from more than far enough away"

What are the values for "ensure you are seen" in lux and what is the distance in meters of "far enough away"? How wide does the beam have to be? What happens when approaching vehicles are travelling at different speeds? What about rain/fog versus clear? How does that affect the ideal dispersal pattern and brightness?

I'm not having a go at you, I just think that there's precious little information on that stuff and you certainly don't get it from the marketers of lights and most reviews.

As Tony says, Road.cc is pretty good about providing shots of dispersal patterns for lights, so at least there's something to compare them with, but it would be nice if some of the energy which goes into promoting helmets and bike lanes were to go into gathering this basic safety information instead and pushing for industry-standard measurements on packaging so that we know what we're getting.

MTB review tends to do a pretty good job with light reviews too, but it also falls short of providing actual measurements in lux of the dispersal pattern at standard distances: they do however have a pretty good method of measuring ambient brightness of the light instead of relying simply on lumens.

Strikes me there's a good opportunity for a group of cycling physicists, engineers and journalists to develop a standard method for communicating and measuring this information for the rest of us.

Re the behaviour of drivers, I agree with Tony that I expect someone blinded by a light to slow down and deal with it just as they would with the many other situations in which they're blinded by lights on the road.

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:

Re the behaviour of drivers, I agree with Tony that I expect someone blinded by a light to slow down and deal with it just as they would with the many other situations in which they're blinded by lights on the road.

I know what you're getting at but I'm not happy with the word 'blinded' being used in conjunction with the operator of several tons of speeding metal....  39

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Mat Brett [630 posts] 5 years ago
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As it says in the review, the photo is deceptive; it's not dangerously bright.

Also, as it says in the review, the pic is of the light on high power.

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

dunno about you, but in car or on bike if I'm dazzled by a light I don't have an over-powering urge to drive towards it, I slow down/take evasive action. These days lots of car lights are so bright even on dipped that being dazzled by them is a fairly regular occurence + in this case this is a rear light so it's red… one of those in front of me is automatically going to make me slow down.

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simonmb [353 posts] 5 years ago
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There must be a point of diminishing returns with regard to money spent on lights (or indeed on pretty much anything to do with a bike). I use Cateye rear-lights on all (ok, both) my bikes. Can't remember what I paid. Around twenty-five squidoons I think. I can see the sense in paying more for a front-light if riding unlit roads or tracks - purely from the 'able-to-see-where-I'm-going' point of view. But my Cateye surely provides ample safety coverage from behind. Can anyone convince me otherwise?

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mrchrispy [480 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

as I've said, it just doesn't happen. my dinotte is probably one of the brightest rear lights you can get and I do notice drivers giving my more room when Im using it.
only problem is I can't use it on group rides....no one can sit behind me  1
if I'm honest it only goes on the winter bike when I'm on my own and it's grotty, my rear of choice is a smart 1/2 watt and an exposure flare (awesome light btw)

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Ush [755 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Dude, lighten up  1

It is absolutely pointless to start ranting about a light having "too high" an output in terms of lumens. You need to also consider the diffusion pattern produced by the collimator/lenses with the light.

Lumens are a measure of the total light energy perceivable to the human eye. The same number of lumens can either be blindingly concentrated into a small area or dispersed over a larger area.

Until we know the measurement in lux[1] at different points of the hemisphere behind the light we have little idea how bright/blinding the light is ... that's why reviews of lights frequently include shots showing the dispersal pattern of the beam. (It would be better if someone actual ran a lux meter in some radial pattern and posted a graph of the results ... but that'd be quite a lot of work. It would however result in some more useful reviews).

Apart from that your fear-mongering about enraged drivers deliberately side-swiping us does nothing except promote fear and possibly normalise this highly unusual behaviour.

1. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lumen_%28unit%29#Explanation

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ilovemytinbred [161 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Maybe i am just unlucky but I get through a lot of rear lights. Whether its the rain or bumpy roads I broken and lost quite a few £20-30 lights in the last couple of years. So I am pretty happy to see a high quality light that has a decent mount. Hopes build quality is worth paying a bit for.

A bright light if well designed is a massive benefit, especially in towns. The Dinotte for example puts a massive glow on the ground that is much more useful than those 1w flashing lights that are popular at the moment.

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wyadvd [128 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

all those commenting that lights like this may be too bright need to consider the following:

1/ these uber bright rear lights are intended to be angled down onto the road in order to cast a very large pool of red light behind the bike.

see this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9OED8P9ybE

this provides visibility of the bike around blind corners even before the car knows what sort of vehicle it is approaching (light is cast onto the opposite side of the corner. I have followed my wife riding my bike with me driving behind her to test this out and it is **VERY** effective at slowing a car down before they encounter a bike round a blind corner.) this way they do not blind vehicles coming from behind either. Best mounted under a saddle bag so they are partially obscured when close to them, but visible from a distance and still casting light downwards.

2/ I have stood my dinotte 300r (300 lumens!) next to my car with its brake lights on, and it is objectively less bright than my car's brake lights. I don't think thats unreasonable. We owe it to ourselves to have lights at least as bright as a car's in any case.

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Municipal Waste [241 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I have to echo the comments of handlebar cam, if a rear light output is so high as to dazzle motorists then it is doing the opposite of what is required.

I think one of the best lights out there is the Fibre Flare because it doesn't so much 'emit' the light as... well it kind of keeps it all bottled up inside. It's extremly good as a visibility aid without blinding people!

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Fatoldman [2 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I have a hope district and yes they are bright. Lots of negative comments about that. But the adjustable light level is great for different times of day. I get a lot of comments from motorists, at work, to ask what light I have. They often want to buy one for their kids or themselves, until I mention the price. However, what price do you put on your safety?

Also, angle of the light is v easy to adjust.

I start using mine around September, because I'm very visible in low light conditions from about 2 miles. That is what people at work tell me. We knew it was you about two miles back, that's a Great light what is it etc! I have not had one complaint from any motorist that I know.

Now all I hear is there is, I saw a woman with the same light as you. That woman is my wife, we're a two light family. Great light - if you think your life isn't worth the money. Buy another light.

However, I have had one problem with splitter cable. I would suggest that a spare cable is a good idea, if you run a hope vision4 front light that is. It was the V4 front light that made me consider the district. Don't think the wife will be getting one of those any time soon! Not unless she pays for it herself. But, I always think the rear light is the most important light on the bike. I'm always surprised when I see cyclists with great front lights and some piece of cr@p on the back.

I have along list of lights that cost less but failed to stand the test of time. Also, had an exposure flare and a lezyne, what a waste of money they turned out to be, looked good new...but all failed miserably within a year. The hope district still looking good in year 3 and if it did give up soon I'd buy another ASAP!