Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

29 Aug

I enjoy riding my bike at night and as a result I have a lot of cool lights, reflectors and assorted gizmos to keep me from getting hit (I don’t use them all at the same time). This past winter I bought a pair of Trek Beacon Bar End Lights for the road bike I usually use at night and while the product looked great at the bike shop it failed to live up to its potential.

Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

As the name suggests, Trek Beacon Bar End Lights are lights that slip into the ends of your handlebar, and Trek offers models for both dropbars and flatbars. The flatbar model for mountain bikes has two rear facing LEDs, while the dropbar model for road bikes only has one LED. These lights operate in either a steady or a flashing mode. These lights run on a single AAA battery (per light) and Trek claims you should be able to get 30 hours of run time per battery (I only got about 25 hours, but cold weather hurts battery life). To install these bar end lights you just have to remove the caps on both ends of your handlebars and slide the Beacon Bar End Lights into the ends of the handlebar.

Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

In my opinion, there are three main problems with these lights. First, they are not very bright—they might be good for 1,000 feet or so, but not much more. Second, on most road bikes the rider is going to be in the way and make it impossible for cars coming up behind them to see the lights (unless you are a really skinny cyclist). And third, these lights self-destruct the first time you take them out of your bar ends.

When I get new products that include batteries I usually toss the batteries out and never use them because more often than not they are old, off-brand batteries. I am not sure why, but I decided the install the batteries that Trek included with the Beacon Bar End Lights—and as expected they only lasted about ten hours. When I tried to remove the lights from my bar ends to replace the batteries the rubber seal around the lights simply shredded. The folks at the local bike shop kindly replaced the lights, but the second pair also ripped the first time I tried to replace the batteries. While these lights were a great idea, they are poorly designed. Therefore, I can’t recommend these lights unless you buy them with the understanding that they are disposable after the first use.

Trek Beacon Bar End Lights retail for $20 a pair and should be available at your local bike shop. However, you would be a lot better off buying a good taillight like the Plant Bike Superflash Turbo or the Portland Design Works RADBOT 1000. Another great option is the Fire Eye 2.0 Helmet Light from Illuminated Cycling.


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11 responses to “Trek Beacon Bar End Lights

  1. courtneyrj

    August 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I want some!XO

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 29, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Riding at night is a blast — just make sure the cars can see you!

  2. Old 454

    August 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    It is a cool idea. Too bad. Also, I think I’d prefer they illuminate to the side.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 30, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      The model they have for mountain bike handlebars actually does have a small light on the side, but again it is not all that bright — reflective clothing would actually be brighter.

  3. Anna

    August 30, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Thanks for the honest review! Now the nights are drawing in, more of my rides end in the dark….I need to upgrade my lights!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 30, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Thank you for the kind words! I ride a lot at night and hate to see other cyclists on the roads with inadequate lighting / reflectors.

      • Anna

        September 4, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        I agree! Tonight I was in my car and drove past a cyclist who was coming toward me on my side of the road with no lights at all….that could’ve ended very badly!

  4. redrobinsnest

    August 31, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Thanks for the review this is something that would catch my eye at the bike shop {you just saved me $20}

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 31, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      redrobinsnest — the problem is that is caught MY eye — and cost me $20 (I am an impulse buyer).

  5. bamboogirl

    August 31, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Hmm. Have you tried Light&Motion helmet mounted light? It clips on with a mount at the front and a separate one at the rear of your helmet. There are two side lights (yellow color) and the back houses a rechargeable Li-ion battery. These battery cells actually work better in cold conditions so maybe for winter you could try rechargeable options. They also have a new front light rear light commuter combo. The body is half metal/ half plastic to dissipate heat from the LED. I use this riding road day AND night. They are significantly more expensive than a $20 blinky, but emits more lumens (than Superflash) and can be fixed or repaired by the manufacturer. According to Bicycling stats in this country, although fewer percentage of accidents happen from the rear, they tend to the highest in terms of hospitalization or deaths. Side lighting is important,but it sounds like Trek just missed the mark.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 31, 2012 at 11:13 PM

      I’ve saw the Light & Motion helmet mounted light at REI, but I had a few others that are powerful (1000 watts). Good point about rear collisions — no use taking chances at night when you don’t have to.


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