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Weekend Reviews — Kryptonite Avenue R-45 Tail Light
Established leader in bicycle locks, Kryptonite, has now released a series of headlights and taillights, and I was recently given the opportunity to test a new product from the line. The 45 lumen, USB rechargeable Avenue R-45 taillight is listed at $29. It comes packaged in a small metal case with an instruction manual, a USB charging cable, and a set of interchangeable brackets for mounting the light on your bike or on your bag loop.
On a simple, price per lumen analysis, the Avenue R-45 provides less bang for your buck than the higher wattage 80 Lumen Lezyne Zecto Drive, which sells for $40. It is, however, on par with other lights in it's class, such as the $25 Serfas Cosmo 30. As you will see below, several elements of Kryptonite's design lead me to recommend other products over this one.
Looking at the product from the outset, the packaging is attractive but excessive. The customary Kryptonite yellow is eye-catching, but ultimately there is a lot of non-recyclable material here. The small metal case can be used to carry the light, USB cable and brackets when not in use, but it has been sitting unused on a shelf in my basement, and will no doubt find its way into the scrap metal bin at some point. Kryptonite designed a system of interchangeable brackets to mount their lights. When you switch from mounting the light on your bike to sliding it though a belt or backpack loop, there's a small plastic insert that has to be replaced on the back of the light. It's a unique system, and one worth demonstrating to our customers, except that the light is so securely locked into it's packaging that it cannot be removed without destroying the packaging and risking damage to the light.
In general, I am not a fan of the interchangeable clip system. Even for a fairly fastidious cyclist, there is a good chance one of these small adaptor pieces will get lost or broken. Also, the location of the belt loop clip attachment renders the light somewhat top-heavy, leaving it less secure than I would like on my commuter bag. Lastly, and regarding a crucial feature, the on/off button is difficult to operate. The switch element of the button is set so deeply into the body of the light that I have to contort my finger in order to turn the light on and off. This annoyance, taken in consideration with the packaging weaknesses and the fussy attachment system lead me to prefer some of the competitors over Kryptonite's Avenue R-45 taillight.