Blaze Burner rear light review

Blaze is a true Kickstarter success story. Their lazerlight is a great light for London as well as a beautiful piece of design and has recently been found to be the safest bike light available. Not only that, but the laser is currently being trailed in the Santander bikes with the hope of rolling it out across the whole fleet.

Burner rear light

Blaze are now branching out and extending their line to include a rear light. To continue with their tradition they launched the campaign on Kickstarter and smashed their target within a few days. The light will be produced and in backers hands early next year, but we got our hands on one early so we can give you the scoop on it while the campaign is still running.

Features

The light has 24 LEDs which combine to produce 100 lumens. The casing is metal inline with the quality you get from its big brother lazerlight. The light mounts into a clamp around the seat post. The mount is magnetic and super strong. It also allows the light to be mounted vertically or horizontally.

Having so many individual lights means that the options for flashing patterns and brightness settings are extensive. At the moment there are several programmed in but there may be even more by launch as Blaze are crowd sourcing ideas for modes from backers. The multiple LEDs also mean that the light can be super bright and act as a flare type light to increase your visibility in daylight, while also not being too dazzling for those following behind you.

Blaze on bike

The light charges with a special usb lead, the same one that charges the front light. The battery holds a charge for ages, so you can rest assured that the light you are keeping in your bag just incase is going to work when you need it. The battery also lasts a good amount of time when on as well, with 7.5 hours at full brightness.

There is an auto mode which allows the light to turn on when light levels drop. To make this work there is a smart sensor on the light to turn the brightness up when you go into a dark area, or the light level drops while you are riding.

In use

The Burner can be seriously bright. Blaze advise that you don’t use the brightest setting in a city, and I can see why: its just painfully bright to look at. However, as a flare type light during the day and in fog or out in the countryside it would be awesome.

The flash settings are really good for visibility. There is one that chases around the light and one that alternates sides. These are different enough from the standard flash of many lights that they are quite eye catching. They also mean that you don’t really loose the light at all for even a second, therefore making it safer is a driver is just briefly glancing in your direction.

The auto mode takes a little practice to get in place but is a really nice feature. It is possible to still scroll through the flash modes in auto. This means that when you go into a darker area you can have your desired flash setting come on.

The bracket is secure on the bike, fixing on a with a screw so you can happily leave it there when you take the light from the bike. The magnetic mount seems secure as well. I didn’t take it on any particularly rough cobbled streets but the roads around me are anything but smooth!

Blaze casing

Finish wise the light feels really robust. It is rated as completely waterproof so it is perfectly safe in the horrible weather London can throw at you. The metal finish is a really nice touch and makes it stand out from a pretty packed crowd of lighting options.

Problems?

So, it seems pretty great, right? Well it is, and I genuinely like the light and would like one for myself (they would probably notice if I don’t return one of the very few currently in existence). There are a couple of tweaks that could make this even better. Two of these will be addressed by the time the light is launched – more bracket options and smoother light programming, so nothing major to put you off there.

The main downside I can see with the light that is not possible to change at a later date is its side visibility. Blaze say that there is more than 180 degree visibility and to some extent this is true for an arc behind the bike. However, there really isn’t much visibility from the side. In a city it would be nice to have a larger perspex area to enhance this. It would eat up the lovely metal finish so aesthetically it might have an impact.

Conclusions

Blaze Burner

This is a really well made, functional light. It is everything you would expect from a rear light from Blaze. It can be super bright or eye-catching and does everything you need a rear light to do – help you be seen- and nothing you don’t need. I felt pretty visible cycling around with this on the bike, unlike some other options out there.

One of the things I like best about the lazerlight is how long the battery lasts when it is being stored. This is something carried through to the Burner and makes it highly usable all year round and perfect for storing in your bag in the summer months as well.

Currently with the Kickstarter the light is available for backing at £39, which makes it amazingly well priced for such a high spec, high powered light. When it arrives in the Spring, it will be £49 which, in my opinion is still excellent value. It will be interesting to see what they do in terms of further programming settings and brackets. The light is perfectly good without these things, but they would certainly make it more universally appealing.

There will also be a front light option for the same price and therefore with these two offerings Blaze have really become a full bike light company. To get your hands on a Burner, head over to the Kickstarter page.

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11 Responses to Blaze Burner rear light review

  1. Bob 04/12/2015 at 10:32 am #

    Looks very big, not for me. Side visibility is very important on all bike lights. Would need to be improved before I bought one.

  2. Andrew Smith 04/12/2015 at 11:00 am #

    So the original front light was very expensive and its major selling point was a rather pointless green splodge on the road that no one other than the rider could really see.
    The follow up is a very expensive rear light that has poor side visibility.
    Not sure why anyone would buy either.

  3. Phil 04/12/2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I don’t think B&M have anything to worry about; their most recent rear light has a brake light function like a car, which would be very helpful in traffic; their lights also have excellent side visibility designed in. And they aren’t anything like as expensive.

  4. Alan Southern 04/12/2015 at 11:00 pm #

    One thing that has not been addressed in the review, and this is common to ALL rear lights for cyclists, is the matter of the flashing modes. I believe, please correct me if I am wrong, that flashing modes are allowed in the UK only if they are simple on and off. Those that chase or have some other flashing mode (a cycling friend has one of these and I was made aware of this yesterday afternoon when cycling in south Wales) are illegal. Whether the police would do anything about this I have no idea. My understanding of this legal requirement was reading two or three years ago when moves were being made to allow flashing front and rear lights legally. Perhaps London Cyclist could find out and get an article on this point.

    • AJ 15/12/2015 at 10:08 am #

      Rule 60!
      At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.

      So basically you’re over thinking it, so long as you have a light on the front and back you should be fine.

  5. Kie 05/12/2015 at 4:37 pm #

    I think if you’re going to make a light very bright then the light output should be spread out over an area IE not point sources but a large square or shape like with motor vehicle rear lights.

    And agree about flashing modes, they shouldn’t be annoying, overly distracting or unsafe.

  6. Brian 24/12/2015 at 8:09 am #

    Why have they used a special USB cable? If you need to charge at the office, you’ll have to have it with you. Barking! My Cateye lights use standard mini or micro USB, which is much more practical/ sensible.

  7. Mark 06/01/2016 at 1:58 pm #

    I think that the rear light might be a good item to have, if you don’t care about the side visibility cause I don’t believe that these lights would be noticed. I also like that they are only 100 lumen, which should be sufficient for most London roads and won’t annoy me if I were riding behind the user. As with the front light, well, I have never quite supported it unless it’s used in combination with a separate standard white light. I believe that there is a danger of some users substituting the white light with the projector of the pretty green logo.

  8. Alastair 28/09/2016 at 9:30 am #

    I’ve just got one (my wife joined the crowdfunding). I like the front light (never use the green gimmick, apart from playing with the kids) because it’s got a long battery life, is very bright but not obnoxiously so, and has a durable metal fitting (it’s always the brackets and straps that let bike lights down.

    The Burner is not as happy a story. It has the smack of something that has been rushed out … very, very slowly.

    It’s taken aeons to surface in the market, but feels like a beta release. So far as I can tell my example cannot charge fully (the LEDs wrap round to become a complete ellipse when fully charged: my last four or five never illuminate when charging, despite a good long first charge over several hours.

    The controls over light levels, flashes etc are not intuitive. There are lights inside that are not part of the display that seem to flash at random when changing modes. At one point it moved on its own into a mode where it would flash normally and then turn off for several seconds (long enough to be dangerous on a road).

    The bespoke charging cable is bad enough on the front light, but on my example of the Burner is dysfunctional. It relies on magnetism to attach it, but (unlike, say, the Macbook magnetic charging socket) there is no socket, no recess to hold it in place. So a pretty weak magnet (on the front light) holds two small round terminals on the cable in place against a matching pair on the light. In practice this means balancing the cable delicately in position and hoping it doesn’t slip.

    On the Burner the magnet to hold the cable in place is barely magnetized. You have to prop it in place with great care to get the thing charged.

    The fixing magnet is very strong and seems to do the trick, though I worry about it for the long run. The solid, metal, mechanical fixing on the front was a strength, the magnetic fixing on the back feels like a gimmick.

    Beautiful design, good seat post fixing, and equally beautiful packaging and promotional materials. It reminds me of another “cute” start-up (same feel of beauty over function): the amazing pre-paid debit card called Monzo, formerly Mondo. A bank for the twenty-first century with a product that every convenience store in London already sells. Oh, but just look at the .js.

    • N+1bikelights 04/10/2016 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi Alastair,
      I have mine too. Blaze have acknowledged the charger magnets are not great but wanted 1 cable for both lights. It really is not fit for purpose on the Burner, my cable wants to coil up and twist back to packaged shape which breaks the connection unless you as you say prop it with books etc.
      The red lights in battery level indicator mode never show 100% charged (3 never light) but it is as long as your green light has dimmed it is fully charged- this is a software glitch according to Joe at Blaze but they are fully charged.

      I am disappointed after so much waiting and talk of perfection in case quality etc that there are 2 distinct flaws. They report they are working on it but how we are going to update our software is a mystery, they could send a new cable though with also magnetised & sunken pins (so there is now a female end on the cable). It appears the box has a purpose to assist charging…

      Their communication is not good at all – a modern company using crowdfunding should be very noisy on Twitter and Facebook, they haven’t even emailed everyone about the faults so no-one knows about the charging issue or maybe assumes it just them. I asked other owners on Twitter and got similar complaints about charging. Several people report they are just using it, regardless of the fact the first charge is critical to battery health.

      The light however looks good, is well made, the mounting bracket (any angle possible) and mounting magnet are great (although the magnet allows the light to rotate over very bumpy road) and it is plenty bright but charging is a critical issue when there is a high quality battery inside.

      • N+1bikelights 04/10/2016 at 4:29 pm #

        As a PS so you don’t get run over Alastair: each light pattern mode has the same mode after it (as you scroll through) but with that lighting pattern in darkness activated mode. You can tell by the white LED flashing that it is in a darkness activated mode. The included paper instructions are terrible at explaining the use. The website instructions are also out of date compared to the finally created light software! Modes are not intuitive like Cateye light operations at all.

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