Helping You Ride Stronger, Look Better, and Feel Great!

Tested: Fenix BC21R Bike Light

fenix bc21r bike light

When it comes to bike lights for all-around use, I want something that’s easy to use, very bright, and affordable. For those requirements, it’s hard to beat something like the Fenix BC21R Bike Light.

This handlebar light puts out a claimed 880 lumens at a retail price of just $96 (even better, it was on sale for $74.95, which is even cheaper than I’ve seen it listed at Amazon.com).

And it couldn’t be simpler to use. There is one button for operation, and one rubber strap to attach the quick-release mount to your handlebar. That’s it.

There are four brightness levels and a flashing mode for added rider safety, all cycled using the on/off button.

Let’s get to it!

The Unboxing

It starts with a fairly compact cardboard box:

fenix bc21r bike light

Inside, the light is packed in foam:

fenix bc21r bike light

The light is basically ready to use:

fenix bc21r bike light

You just have to remove the insulation sheet:

fenix bc21r bike light

Wait, what?

Yeah, there is a thin piece of plastic film in front of the battery, deep inside the light (I’m guessing it’s stuck up in there thanks to static electricity.) It’s virtually impossible to remove by hand, but if you blow in it or use compressed air, it should fly out.

Then replace the battery and you’re good to go!

Here’s what you get:

fenix bc21r bike light

That’s the light and its mount, some spare pieces of rubber, and the charging cable. The rechargeable 18650 battery is included; it’s already inside.

Charging

Let’s look at charging first, because, well, that’s the first thing you’ll have to do!

Look underneath the light and you’ll see this rubber tab:

fenix bc21r bike light

Pull back that tab to reveal the micro USB charging port:

fenix bc21r bike light

Just plug it in and let it charge. The power button will glow red when it’s charging, then green when it’s charged.

Once it’s charged, replace the rubber tab to seal up the charging port:

fenix bc21r bike light

It’s rather annoying, but not impossible, to seal up the port and get the tab back into those grooves. Take the time to do it right, especially if there is rain in the forecast.

Battery Life

Powered by an 18650 3.6V/2300mAh rechargeable battery, this Fenix light is going to last you at least one hour on the brightest setting (brand new battery, good weather conditions, etc.)

I haven’t had the light long enough to provide detailed estimates!

What I can tell you is that it’s not a big deal to carry spare batteries, just in case. They’re not particularly expensive ($9), not that big (just a bit bigger than a AA battery), and it’s a super simple replacement, even if you’re out on the trail!

There’s a low battery indicator, but again, I haven’t used this enough to know just how low it is indicating!

If you’re bike commuting, you could just recharge the light at work and at home to be safe.

Mounting

This light is cool because there are two parts to the mount.

fenix bc21r bike light

First is the mount, with the rubber strap attaching it to the handlebar. Second is the light itself, which uses a quick-release so that you can remove the light while leaving the mount in place.

fenix bc21r bike light

It’s a simple push to mount and a press and pull to release. This means you don’t have to leave the light attached to your bike if you lock it up somewhere. Just depress the lever and slide the light off the mount.

fenix bc21r bike light

If you’ve ever attached something to your handlebar, you can figure this out!

The instructions show the process nicely:

fenix bc21r bike light

Follow the instructions and you’ll end up with this:

fenix bc21r bike light

It’s also very cool how the mount swivels!

It swivels left and right about 30 degrees, so you can point it exactly where you want the beam to go.

This is the mount in the default setting:

fenix bc21r bike light

And here it is after I gave it a twist:

fenix bc21r bike light

Is the mount secure?

From my tests using the light on rough dirt roads, the mount is very secure. It never budged. This depends on how tight you can get the rubber strap, but since it has multiple notches like a belt, it should work with whatever handlebar size you have.

That doesn’t mean it’s going to handle extreme mountain biking! I don’t think I would trust it to hold up. Nor does it mean that there is no vibration. Because depending on your road (or trail) surface, the light may vibrate and shake a little, just like the rest of your bike.

Note that there is no helmet mount. This light only mounts to your handlebar.

Operating

After some lights I’ve had the misfortune of testing, this one was a huge relief in the ease of operation.

There is one button. That’s it. It’s obvious how to use it.

No need to learn some weird touchscreen interface!

To turn the light on or off, just press and hold the button until it turns on or off. Then press the button quickly to cycle through the different brightness levels.

To make things even easier, the on/off button glows in the dark:

fenix bc21r bike light

No need to feel around for it.

Brightness and Beam Pattern

For the price, this light is bright! I was surprised when I first turned it on in a dark basement and it lit up the place better than three ceiling light bulbs do!

Take a look at the light:

fenix bc21r bike light

Do you want to be visible? Combined with a tail light, this light definitely helps! It’s bright, and it offers a flashing mode, which should catch the attention of oncoming motorists and pedestrians.

It also lights up the road (or bike path) in front of you! Just take a look at these comparison pictures:

Brightness level 1:

fenix bc21r bike light

Brightness level 2:

fenix bc21r bike light

Brightness level 3:

fenix bc21r bike light

Brightness level 4:

fenix bc21r bike light

*I used the same camera setting and a similar angle each time, but there’s nothing scientific here. The angle does change slightly, but that’s mainly due to the brighter settings allowing a greater field of view, so I used a better camera angle to capture it all. (My goal was to make the pictures seem as realistic as possible.)

The beam pattern is pretty sweet, partially thanks to this design:

fenix bc21r bike light

On bike paths or city streets, the lower settings are good. For riding off-road in very dark conditions, you want the highest setting. For real mountain bike trails, especially at speed, you want the highest setting, in addition to a brighter, primary light on your helmet.

(Want something smaller? Something brighter? I think this BC21R is the most versatile of the Fenix lights, but you can see all their bike lights here. Definitely look at the BTR20 which is smaller, still bright, and has a helmet mount option.)

Durability

The light seems well-built.

But, I have only managed a month of testing so far, so stay tuned!

fenix bc21r bike light

My final verdict is…

This is an awesome, versatile light! And it’s simple – all you have to do is figure out the order of button presses to get the desired mode (brightness level) you want. My only complaint is how difficult it is to get the rubber cover over the micro USB port to stick down flush.

For serious night riding (mountain biking), I highly suggest a helmet light as your primary light, then something like this for extra light. But this is good as a standalone light for many situations (bike commuting, bike paths, etc.) on top of being a great value.

Official website: www.FenixLighting.com

Buy online: www.FenixLighting.com

Product Review Details
Company: Fenix Lighting
Product: Fenix BC21R Bike Light
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Date last updated: 2016-06-13
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

Click here if you would like to get your product reviewed on CoachLevi.com.
More articles you will probably enjoy:
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

Leave a Reply

coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

usa cycling certified coach


pn1 certified coach
Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
Coach Levi's Mom
Hometown, PA