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Verdict: 
Given the affordable price tag, it's a mighty little unit
Weight: 
27g

Oxford's Ultratorch Slimline R50 rear light is simplicity itself, and packs very good performance for the money.

  • Pros: Great value, decent performance, easy fitting
  • Cons: Not as bright as some, secureness of rubber insert

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.

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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.

> Buyer's Guide: 15 of the best rear lights for cycling

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.

Verdict

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?

Features:

- 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

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The unit itself is very good, but the rubber cover could fit a little more securely, I think.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
10/10

It's super-easy to use and fit.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

Doesn't get much better than this. Just a shame a bigger band isn't supplied for aero posts.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

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.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

Battery life isn't crazy good, but it's quick to recharge and it hits minimum sensible requirements easily enough.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

It performs like lights that cost significantly more.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Good all-round, although I suspect that the rubber insert might degrade over the long term.

Rate the light for weight:
 
10/10

27g is unnoticeable, frankly.

Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

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?

It makes the Infini Sword Super Bright 30 COB look a little overpriced, and if you don't mind not having a clip built in, it's good value versus the Ultratorch Pro R25 too.

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.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

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

7 comments

Avatar
RoubaixCube [100 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Almost £20?? I bought a Chinese one off amazon for a few quid that still works perfectly after 2 years. It looks exactly the same as this Oxford light. They are having a laugh at selling that for £18. 

Avatar
a1white [165 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Except Oxford would have put all the costs into designing and developing the product. The cheap chinese knock-off would have taken an oxford ight apart and copied it (no development or design), no doubt-assembling it in dubious factory conditions with cheaper parts. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Avatar
davel [2720 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
a1white wrote:

Except Oxford would have put all the costs into designing and developing the product. The cheap chinese knock-off would have taken an oxford ight apart and copied it (no development or design), no doubt-assembling it in dubious factory conditions with cheaper parts. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

It is amazing how many people just want to subsidise a race to the bottom. But hey, thats the free* market.

*In one direction.

Avatar
leqin [268 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
a1white wrote:

Except Oxford would have put all the costs into designing and developing the product. The cheap chinese knock-off would have taken an oxford ight apart and copied it (no development or design), no doubt-assembling it in dubious factory conditions with cheaper parts. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

 

I hate to break the shocking news, but the chinese have been making this light for ages and its only recently that other light manufacturers have jumped onto the bandwagon and had it rebadged with their name and selling it at a increased price. I own six of them all bought through Amazon and they work great and last - well I haven't had one fail yet, which is good for rear lights because in my experience rear lights fail pretty damned quickly if they arent designed and made correctly. This is and the chinese brands on Amazon are incredible value for money and going for as little as 10 quid.

Avatar
inicholson [33 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

"recharge ... with a mini USB cable (supplied)."

I'm hoping it's a micro-USB which has been standard on most devices for about a decade (but is now beginning to be replaced by USB-C), I haven't seen a device with a mini-USB for years.

Avatar
DaveE128 [1009 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
inicholson wrote:

"recharge ... with a mini USB cable (supplied)." I'm hoping it's a micro-USB which has been standard on most devices for about a decade (but is now beginning to be replaced by USB-C), I haven't seen a device with a mini-USB for years.

It's true that mini-USB has fallen out of favour since most mobile phone manufacturers standardised on micro, but I still prefer mini as the connectors and sockets are far more robust. I find that micro leads always end up failing and if you should snag a cable and pull a piece of charging equipment onto the floor, the socket often breaks if it's a phone or larger. I've never had a mini lead or socket break.

Avatar
MoralHazard [1 post] 4 months ago
0 likes
a1white wrote:

Except Oxford would have put all the costs into designing and developing the product. The cheap chinese knock-off would have taken an oxford ight apart and copied it (no development or design), no doubt-assembling it in dubious factory conditions with cheaper parts. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Funny you should say that. As soon as I saw this light, I thought it looks suspiciously like a cheap(er) imitation of the earlier, very well selling Moon Comet. Rechargable, almost identical shape, elastic wedge and ring...! Review of Moon Comet by road.cc here: https://road.cc/content/review/180893-moon-mkii-rechargeable-cob-rear-light

Given this, Oxfort putting all the costs into design and development seems a bit off the mark... And no prizes for guessing where Moon bike lights come from...