The Techalogic CR-1 Rear Light with HD Wide Angle Camera is a decent – if not class leading – light and a good camera too, at least for safety use. It's easy to work and runs for over five hours... okay, it's not the prettiest gadget ever, but it's a no-fuss option for keeping yourself a bit safer at a very reasonable price.
If you're used to the sleeker designs of modern lights, this chunky box feels like a step back to the old days. As far as the CR-1 is concerned this didn't bother me unduly (unlike the CF-1 front version...); after all, it's stuck away under your seat post, or in my case, on the rack.
> Buy now: Techalogic CR-1 Rear Light from Amazon for £104.95
It's conspicuous in the right way as well, though. The whole front acts as a diffuser for lots of bright surface area and some side visibility. When that stack of five LEDs is flashing away or chasing each other up and down, drivers will (probably) know it's there.
Mounted at the top is the camera lens, with a flush-fitted cover to reduce the risk of scratching. The buttons are on one side, and the USB/SD card ports are on the other.
The camera records in 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second, with the 120 degree field of view taking in the full width of the road. I thought the pictures were remarkably stable given that bike-mounted cameras are prone to vibration. Pausing on random frames in playback, I always got a sharp enough image; even at speed downhill it let me read the number plate of every car that passed.
The only exception was in very low sun where the light smeared across the image, and I found it had a consistently blue tinge – obviously the white balance is not adjusting to the winter light conditions.
The CR-1 records sound as well, and doesn't suffer much from wind noise – unlike the CF-1 up there on the bars – though it's probably more to do with its position than any extra technical ability. It mostly just records the rumblings and rattlings of the bike, and the range is quite limited.
Recording is indicated by a flashing amber light, but it's a little difficult to see among the flashing red lights (oddly the front version uses a green light, which is easier to see).
The light defaults to a dancing pattern up and down the LED column, and doesn't remember the last setting you used. Scrolling through the five (four flashing, one steady) options means pressing the middle button, which also does 'off'... so with the light hidden under your seat, it's not so easy to tell what you've done.
The third button switches between video or stills mode. In the latter, the camera takes a still image once a second, but the picture quality is grainy even at maximum (12mp) resolution, and I didn't find that particularly useful.
Whilst the buttons are easily accessible, they're quite low profile. I got used to using them by feel with a bit of trial and error, but if I was wearing thick gloves it was pretty hopeless. Some raised bumps on the rubber covers might be helpful.
All the camera functions (file length, sound, the timing watermark and the various resolutions) can also be controlled remotely from your smart device via wifi and an app, RICAM. It's very simple to use. My device was sometimes a bit slow to identify the wifi signal, but once connected it was very stable; I'd estimate the range to be around 30 metres.
There's a feature called 'G-sensor' which is designed to automatically lock the video file if the camera senses an impact. Thankfully, I had no cause to test this in real life so can't say for sure that it works, but you can adjust the sensitivity in the settings, so if you find the camera is protecting files automatically when you don't want it to, you can adjust it (or switch it off).
The time and date stamp are set automatically by the app and work very well; it's one less thing to mess on with.
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One cool feature is called 'sensor mirror' and sends a reversed image to your phone, so it's just using a mirror. This actually worked really well if I turned my phone to landscape mode and expanded the screen. There's also a nice big 'Record' button on the screen, which is easier to use than the camera's buttons.
Battery life is described as 'up to six hours' and 'over seven hours with the LED off.' Running the camera only I did indeed get 7hrs 20m, but in real-world use (flashing light, camera on), that dropped to around 5.5hrs.
Running the wifi reduces the battery life further, giving me 3hrs 40m of video-only; ample for a commute or two, but you will need to get used to recharging regularly, bearing in mind you'll be without lights as well. I found recharging quick at about 2.5 hours.
Halfway through the test period, Techalogic sent us a new set of mounts to replace the rather bulky setup you see in the photographs. The new mounts (below) are CNC aluminium, 'Techalogic' branded and secured with more discreet Allen bolts. They come in two sizes; the smaller for posts between 20 and 28mm diameter, and the larger for 26.6 to 32.5mm.
There's also another one that ensures you're not filming everything sideways from a seatpost, and a seat rail mount, which I thought was a tidier solution all round. I found I could also adapt it to mount on my winter bike's pannier rack.
I found the thumbscrew needs to be done up very tight to prevent the camera moving on the mount and, and being quite short that's quite fiddly (especially with cold fingers). Techalogic is now supplying a nice blue thumbscrew spanner, which is nice but negates the whole 'thumb' thing...
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Interestingly, the company says it's keen to meet customers needs with the mounts, and to get in touch if you have any different requirements.
The camera accepts a micro-SD card of up to 128mb; cards are an optional extra from Techalogic (and it won't work at all without one fitted). I had an issue with one of the ones they supplied which resulted in the camera turning itself off all the time and disabling the controls (though the light continued to work). Two other cards I had lying around wouldn't work either. In the end I bought a SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB and had no further problems.
There's no need to remove the card to get files off, and a USB cable is supplied just in case you haven't got twenty in a drawer already. File transfer is quick and easy and I was able to play the video files directly from the SD card.
I've found unbranded, identical-looking units to this on eBay for £145, so Techalogic's price looks good there. Otherwise, the obvious competition is the Cycliq Fly6, which we last reviewed in 2019. That certainly got a mixed review; the latest incarnation (3rd gen) promises improvements but has also gone up to £199.
That's twice the price of the Techalogic, which has comparable charge and running times, a 12-month guarantee and – in our experience – excellent customer service.
If you've already invested in a quality set of lights, the CR-1 may not be high spec enough to lure you in – you may be better investing in a stand-alone camera. However, it's more visible than its 60 lumen rating suggests, thanks to the eye-catching flash and big diffuser, and as a traffic camera it's straightforward and effective. If you want one unit to do it all, this is a strong option.
Easy to use, good as both a traffic camera and a rear light, and attractively priced
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Make and model: Techalogic CR-1 Rear Light with HD Wide Angle Camera
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?
Techalogic says: "Minimise clutter on your bike with our unique, integrated rear light and camera 'ALL IN ONE' small compact and neat looking, lightweight unit. Cycle rear light with integrated Full HD 1080P Wide Angle Camera. Records in crisp FULL 1080 HD. The high-quality 120 wide-angle lens captures everything important behind you in clear visual detail. Settings can easily be configured through the RICAM app."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
920 x 1080 @ 30 fps Resolution
120 degrees sensor viewing angle
Voltage 3.7v battery
Different LED Modes
60 Lumen light output
Micro USB charging
AVI Video File Type
Battery Capacity 1500mAh
Rate the light for quality of construction:
Simple but sturdy and well sealed.
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
Both the unit and the app are simple and straightforward, though the unit's buttons are only just about identifiable by feel, and not at all when wearing bulky gloves.
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
Techalogic supplies a selection of mounts including a seat post clamp and a saddle rail mount which I also found could be adapted to fit on the reflector mount on my pannier rack.
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
It's IPX5 water resistant – safe against a low pressure water stream from any angle. It took poor weather and hose cleanings without issue.
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
With the camera on and a flashing light, I got over five hours (it's less with a steady light or the wifi on). Camera only got me 7hrs 20m, which is as claimed. Recharging takes less than three hours.
Rate the light for performance:
Actually a pretty good tail light, and the camera is more than good enough for accident/incident recording.
Rate the light for durability:
Rate the light for weight:
Rate the light for value:
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The CR-1 does everything promised, and does it well. It may not be the highest-spec available as either a light or camera but for commuting duties it's more than adequate and is a good deal cheaper than the main rivals.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Simple and sturdy build, decent battery life, simple app, good customer support.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Rather ugly, and the smooth flat buttons aren't good for working by feel.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The obvious competitor is the Cycliq Fly6 CE Camera and rear light; the latest incarnation retails at £199 and is (in my view) a better-looking unit with extra bells and whistles, but then you're paying for it 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
The CR-1's simplicity, sturdy build, decent performance and low price make it a definite contender. While the looks and middle-rung spec may not appeal to all, as a low-faff commuting or touring option it's more than up to the job.
Age: 54 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg and holding steady
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
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