review

Giant Recon TL 200 rear light

9
£34.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Excellent bright and reliable rear light for day and nighttime cycling
Bright
Compact
Good run-times
Waterproof, reliable and durable
Easy to use
Tricky to separate light from bracket (but at least you won't lose it on bumpy ground)
Weight: 
51g

Giant isn't the most obvious choice in the bicycle lights market but its new Recon TL 200 is an excellent rear light, offering lots of brightness, useful modes and decent run-times. It's become my favourite rear light for all rides, day and night.

The Recon TL 200 is a bigger and brighter version of the previously tested TL 100. Which you choose comes down to personal preference, but for the extra tenner the 200 gets my vote for the extra brightness and run-time it offers.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The rectangular housing contains two LEDs pushing out a maximum 200 lumens, with 270 degrees of visibility thanks to two strips in the side of the light unit. That's useful for ensuring you are visible to motorists approaching from side streets and at junctions.

You can mount the light vertically or horizontally; I favoured the former as it sits on the seatpost nicely this way. The light can be removed from the bracket, but I found it an incredibly tight fit and resorted to simply using the silicone band to remove the entire thing when it needed charging.

Giant Recon TL 200 - mount.jpg

Charging is via USB with the port nicely protected under a rubber flap. On the opposite end is the on/off and mode cycle button. As mentioned, there's a silicone band for attaching the light to the bicycle, and once mounted it's secure and doesn't wobble.

Giant Recon TL 200 - USB charging port.jpg

There are seven modes to choose from, with high providing 100 lumens for a real-world verified 2.5 hours. Low mode drops the brightness to 50 lumens and doubles the run-time. I favoured the flash modes, with the high flash mode delivering 6 hours using the full 200 lumens – I've used this on several 100-mile/6-hour rides and it's kept flashing from start to finish.

> Buyer's Guide: 17 of the best rear lights for cycling

You get a power status indicator – the on/off switch lights up – to let you know the battery is running low before it eventually runs flat.

Also included are two smart modes, one for the night and one for daytime. The smart mode will automatically switch from steady to flash at night, and according to Giant allows motorists to see you from as far away as 1km. I've started using a light during the day, and the 6-hour smart day mode has been my go-to setting for day rides.

Giant Recon TL 200 - side.jpg

A nice little detail is the light memory mode. It means when you switch the light on it'll use whatever mode you were using the last time. So once you find a favourite, it's a simple case of turning it on and off. All those seconds you save not cycling through the different modes to find the one you want do add up!

Durability has been excellent. I've ridden through horrendous rain and mud, jet washed the light and dropped it in a bucket of water, and it stills works just fine. Giant says it's IPX7 waterproof rated, which means it's good for immersion in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes.

Value

It's not the cheapest light out there, but when you look at outputs it compares very favourably. The Strip Drive 150 Rear from Lezyne is £35 and offers fewer lumens at 150, though it's arguably more than bright enough and has lots of low modes to extend the battery life – up to 30 hours in the economy mode.

Spend less and the Blackburn DayBlazer 65 Rear (£28) is a usable, small and bright light at a decent price, but it doesn't have the same IPX7 waterproof rating.

Conclusion

Overall, I've been highly impressed with the Giant Recon TL 200. It's bright, easy to use (apart from the sticky mount), reliable and very bright, with a good selection of modes and decent run-times. No wonder it now lives on my bike.

Verdict

Excellent bright and reliable rear light for day and nighttime cycling

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Giant Recon TL 200 rear light

Size tested: 53x28x28mm

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?

Giant says: "The new Recon TL200 has a compact design, an integrated power indicator, complies with the ANSI safety standard and is IPX7 waterproof certified. Additionally, the smart light sensor can auto adjust the light output, day or night, to ensure you can be seen all the time. A perfect package."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Giant lists:

Maximum output to 200 lumens

ANSI-Standard certified lumen output and runtime

Waterproof to IPX7 standard

Two-lens focused and dispersed optics with side light design for over 270-degrees of visibility

Power status indicator alerts remaining run-time before powering off

Light memory mode

Compatible with Rev Comp, Compel, Roost and Prompt series helmets

Compatible with saddle rail mount, providing optimal angle for visibility

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

It's solidly made with IPX7 waterproof rating, so you can ride it through any weather and conditions with no concerns that it'll stop working.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

A doddle to turn on and off, and that it turns on to the last mode you used is a nice detail.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

The clamp works well with a generous silicone band with vertical and horizontal orientation available, but removing the light from the actual clamp is tricky.

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

Passed my rigorous testing here with no issues.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

The run-time is good for such a small light, and my testing shows the suggested run-times are on the money.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

Overall it's just an excellent light that gets on with the task at hand with no issues.

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10

I've used it in the most horrible weather and many muddy gravel rides and it's durable as you need.

Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

Great value compared with others; given the impressive performance and attention to detail and the durability I've found with it, this light is well worth the money.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It does exactly what you want from a rear light with no fuss.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Brightness, mode choices, waterproof and easy to strap to any bike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Separating the light from the bracket is tricky.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

From Lezyne is the Strip Drive 150 Rear (£35) which offers lower max output of 150 lumens, though it's arguably more than bright enough and has lots of low modes to extend the battery life, up to 30 hours in the economy mode.

Spend less and the Blackburn DayBlazer 65 Rear (£28) is a usable, small and bright light at a decent price, but it doesn't have the same IPX7 waterproof rating.

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

It's an excellent light that has proven to be ultra-reliable and durable. It's bright with good run-times and is easy to use, that's good enough for me to highly recommend it.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

Latest Comments