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Oxford's Ultratorch Slimline R50 rear light is simplicity itself, and packs very good performance for the money.
Sometimes bike lights can be over-thought, over-complicated, over-priced things. Be-seen safety is all well and good, but just how many modes and clever fitting systems do you really need? Surely, as long as it fits well, sends out enough light to attract attention in a given mode for long enough, that's enough.
Thankfully, for a relatively paltry £17.99, Oxford has in the R50 a light that ticks all the important boxes without emptying your wallet.
The bracket is a simple case of a rubber wedge that fits to the back of the unit via protruding nodules to create a mouldable interface between it and a seatpost or seatstay, held on by a rubber band.
Unfortunately that rubber band is quite small, so aero seatposts are out unless you can source a bigger one separately, but it's good for standard posts and narrow stays.
The rubber insert covers (and protects) the USB charging port, and you can partially pull it away to easily access it. It's not naturally the tightest-fitting thing, so you need to take care to make sure the indents are properly slotted in place to ensure decent protection from water ingress. I found that a good fit on the bike provides the necessary pressure to create a decent seal against wet rides, but – perhaps indicatively – Oxford doesn't state any certified waterproofing ratings for the R50.
In terms of output, the R50's COB LED can put out an adequate 50 lumens in its high mode, with medium, low and eco modes available too. You can cycle through these with a single click of the power button, and switch them off with a long press. There are also four flash modes which you can access with a double-press of the power button – these come in a corresponding high, medium and low modes, as well as a nifty strobe/quick flash mode at medium light output.
You get 2hrs claimed burn time (mine tapped out at 1:52hrs) on the brightest static setting, and near-enough 6hrs if you have it on the highest flash setting. The standout settings are the high flash mode as it offers look-at-me visibility for the duration that most of us are likely to be out for a weekend winter ride, as well as the medium strobe-like setting.
While it's not as bright in terms of actual light output, it does add credence to the theory that 'disruptive' flashes – those that jar with natural light wavelengths – are as effective as sheer bright light. You really are forced to notice it, and the great thing is that it gives you a whopping 23 hours of life out of the rechargeable 500mAh Li-pol unit too.
Because battery size and capacity aren't that big, recharge times are handily quick – a couple of hours at most – and the unit weighs only 27g. That means it's a convenient unit to fit, unfit, carry with you and recharge at a moment's notice with a mini USB cable (supplied).
At £17.99 it's cheap too, so you could easily afford to buy two of these units and fit one to each of your seatstays if you wanted without really feeling much of a financial pinch. The only thing it's missing is a clip to fit it directly to saddlebags or backpacks (like the one built into Blackburn's DayBlazer 65 and 125 units), but at this price it's hard to criticise it for this.
All-in, this is a simple rear light that does the job of making sure you're well seen, with ample light output, good mode choices, and easy operation and fitting, in a conveniently sized package at a very good price.
Given the affordable price tag, it's a mighty little unit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Oxford Ultratorch Slimline R50 Rear LED
Size tested: 50 Lumens
Tell us what the light 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?
It's a small-scale easy-fit rear light, ideal for commuters and roadies looking for winter and night-time visibility.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
- USB Rechargeable Li-pol battery
- Chip-On-Board LED
- Integrated tool free seatpost fitting
- Micro USB cable and rubber strap included
Modes and claimed run times:
- High Constant: 2hrs,
- Medium Constant: 4hrs,
- Low Constant: 8hrs,
- Eco Constant: 15hr,
- Slow Flash Low Beam: 45hrs,
- Slow Flash Med Beam: 10hr,
- Slow Flash High Beam: 6hr,
- Quick Flash Med Beam: 23hr
The unit itself is very good, but the rubber cover could fit a little more securely, I think.
It's super-easy to use and fit.
Doesn't get much better than this. Just a shame a bigger band isn't supplied for aero posts.
In truth, absolutely fine during testing. However, the rubber insert could fit more securely to the light unit in order to create a theoretically better seal. No official waterproofness claims from Oxford either.
Battery life isn't crazy good, but it's quick to recharge and it hits minimum sensible requirements easily enough.
It performs like lights that cost significantly more.
Good all-round, although I suspect that the rubber insert might degrade over the long term.
27g is unnoticeable, frankly.
I'll take two, please.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Great value, decent performance, easy fitting.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The secureness of the rubber insert.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
As a value-for-money proposition, the Ultratorch Slimline R50 is hard to beat, ticking the major boxes as well as it does.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding