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The Bookman Block Rear Light is a basic 'be seen' light that's bright enough to get you noticed. It's extremely simple to operate and quick to recharge. Its size means it's easy to squeeze onto short seatposts and it's perfect for keen roadies who count the grams, but slacker seat angles will leave it pointing too far down.
This is, unsurprisingly, very similar to the Bookman Block Front Light I reviewed previously – but with one unique, unfortunate flaw of its own. The mounting is not angled to allow for your seatpost leaning backwards, so unless your seat tube is at 90 degrees (spoiler: it's not) the Block will point downwards. The more laid back your seat tube, the less effective the light is.
Beyond this, it has all the benefits of the front version, though it's (deliberately) less powerful at 18 lumens. The low power mode is 5 lumens.
The four modes are navigated via the large button, and it's easy to operate even in gloves. A prolonged press switches the light on or off, and quick clicks cycle through 100% (power) steady, 100% flashing, 25% steady and 25% flashing. There's no memory mode – it always starts at 100% steady.
Actual run-times all exceeded Bookman's claims and, as with the front light, by a good way. I got just over the claimed 1.5 hours in 100% steady, and 5.5 hours in 100% flashing against a claimed 3. At 25% output I got 7 hours steady (claimed 5) and 30 hours (claimed 25) flashing. These times stayed consistent throughout the test period.
I found it consistently recharges from flat in under two hours, either directly or via a computer.
Light is certainly visible from the side (Bookman says visibility is 180 degrees), but it's not as junction-friendly as some. The low battery warning could be better, too. Turn the light off or on as it nears empty and you get a flashing orange warning, but in order to see it (it's very small), you have to look directly into the light.
I was initially sceptical about the mount – the channel isn't that deep and it feels like the band could jump out, but I tested it on a variety of seatposts including aero designs and it never shifted. I also mounted it on my helmet.
Bad weather doesn't seem to bother it either (Bookman makes no claims about waterproofing) and while the USB port's rubber seal is fiddly, it works well. It's a well-sealed unit that can handle heavy rain.
The Block rear costs the same as the front, and like the front it's outshone slightly by brighter options for the same money: the Vel 20 Lumen is also £20 but slightly brighter and has a better mount, and while the Giant Recon TL 100 is £5 more, it's slightly smaller (it's a 3cm cube) and a whopping 82 lumens brighter than the Block. Lezyne's KTV Pro Drive 75 is also £25, slightly bulkier, but well waterproofed with 270-degree visibility and a 75-lumen output.
The Bookman Block has simplicity, low weight, good run-times and quick recharges in its favour. It's also usefully bright, if massively outperformed by many similarly priced lights. However, the mount leaves what light it does pump out at the mercy of your seat tube, meaning it will rarely, if ever, sit at its most effective angle.
Bright, simple and very useful, but it's stuck at the angle of your seatpost
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bookman Block Light Rear
Size tested: 18 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?
Bookman says the Block Light "is a strong, compact, rechargeable bicycle light. The design is based on the now classic, well-known Bookman Light – with the addition of a sleek lens to distribute the light perfectly."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
-Up to 25 hours
-2 hours from flat
– Block Light Front
– Micro USB cable
The clamp assumes you have a vertical seatpost. Fine if it's close, but the beam angles down if not.
No claims, but has stood up to some very heavy showers. The unit is well sealed: I've had it mounted on a mudguardless bike for some time and it's had a lot thrown at it.
All times have matched or exceeded claimed ones, and a full recharge takes under two hours.
Great on an otherwise unobstructed and relatively steep seatpost.
The fixed-size mounting band can't be replaced.
12g, what more can I say, it's light!
You can brighter lights for the same money or just a little more, and with much better mounts.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does a brilliant job from dawn to dusk.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Simple operation and mounting. Brightness for its size.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Mount doesn't allow for the angles of seatposts.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Unlikely
Use this box to explain your overall score
Packs a punch for its size and is not just limited to commuting, but it really needs an appropriately angled mount.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…