Double-review: Klarus BK30 (max 1200 lumens white) and TL1 (max 100 lumens red light)
When there's a Klarus release, it is often interesting and innovative. This autumn, they released the BK30, a bike light that has an unique feature: the BK30 has adjustable heads, so you can create your wished beam. The TL1 is a fresh release: a usb rechargeable backlight that has strong performance. Mr Schiermeier has sent both, thank you so much! Because we need as well a main spotlight as a backlight on a bike, I'll show the two you together in this review!
the BK30, bright bike light
two tints-in-one, thanks to two XP-G2 leds and a XM-L2(U2) led
the TL1, compact and rechargeable backlight
ultra-bright, thanks to total 25 leds
Let's start by looking at the features and the specs, given by Klarus:
• Patent protected, triple head, adjustable beam-angle bicycle light with 180 degree rotatableside lights • Extra-large illumination area leaves NO DARK SPOTS IN FRONT OF OR AROUND YOUR BICYCLE for improved safety on uneven surfaces
• Ultra compact and lightweight primary LED with long throw beam combine with dual high CIR natural white LED side floodlights for better visualization of road conditions
• Primary light and sidelights are switched on independently so you can choose as many modes as required for environmental and runtime needs
• High output 1280lm, max runtime is 46 hours
• Switch on and off using either the dual switch on the top of the flashlight body or the remote switch. Affix the remote switch to the bicycle handle for fast, convenient mode changing without lifting your hand; Change beam strength instantly by lightly depressing the switch to alert vehicles or pedestrains of your approach.
• Newest smart temperature control system protects the LEDs and internal components to ensure safety and stability.
• Battery capacity indicator light shows remaining charge, enabling you to control your ride time by choosing your mode according to the battery capacity
• Reverse-battery protection prevents damage to both flashlight and battery
• Aircraft aluminum body and battery holder, CNC precision machined cell, Military grade III hardened anodic oxidation, compact and rugged with rapid heat dissipation through heat-sink
• Main light has tempered glass with AR film plating for durability and scratch resistance. Side lights have optimized optical lenses for uniform intensity
• IPX-6 water-resistant standards protect against splashing and heavy rain.
• Main light: Utilizes CREE XM-L2 U2 LED for a maximum output of 1000 lumens Side lights: Utilize CREE XP-G2 LEDs for a maximum output of 280 lumens
Main Light has 3 lighting modes and 2 flashing modes, side light has 3 lighting modes
• Battery: 2x 18650 (use of 16340 batteries is not recommended)
•Headlamp: 58.8mm(2.31")(Head diameter) *54.3mm(2.14") (Body diameter) *25.5mm(1.00")(Length)
Battery case: 94.5mm(3.72")(Length) *48.5mm(1.91")(Width) *27mm(1.06")(Height)
• Net Weight: Headlamp 96g; battery case 150g(excluding battery)
• Working voltage: 5-8.4V
• Lens: Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
• Material: Aircraft grade aluminum
• Body colour: Black
• Water proof: IPX-6 for use in adverse weather conditions
Here the (output) specifications of the BK30:
• 25pcs LEDs are lighting for your safe • Rechargeable lithium polymer battery(3.7V 500mAh) • Quick release rubber strap handle bar/seatpost mount • Low battery, charging and fully charged indicator • Automatic fully charged cut-off system
and here the (output) specifications of the TL1:
Both bike-lights come in coloured boxes that have a window. Personally, I like Klarus-boxes because of the nice looks. No secrets are kept, because almost all specifications and features are mentioned on the cartons. The boxes are complete, and all you need is inside: only batteries are missing the BK30. Perhaps it would be better to provide the BK30 in a suitcase because it’s easier to store all parts and wires. Now it takes some effort to put back all parts in the box. Overall, nice and complete boxes. Have a look at the pictures that show the contents!
again, nice Klarus-boxes
complete, except 18650 cells
the TL1 box: all you need is there..
First impression of the BK30 is good: a robust and high quality light that is very well-finished. The lamp is pretty small, which is because the battery-pack is separate in contrast to other bike-lights. The leds are perfectly centered and the silver rings to the switch and the lamp give the BK30 exclusive looks. The BK30 has a clean reflector (in the middle), the others reflectors are not visible because they are covered by diffusor-lenses. The laser engraving is ok, and the icons at the battery pack leave no doubt how to insert the cells the right way. I noticed that not all (button top) batteries will fit: My "Nitecores" are a bit too long, so it’s a hard job to close the magazine. I used Eagtacs (3400 mAh) without problems.The mounting materials (cables, rings, etc.) look good. There’s also a remote control delivered by, that can be attached to the handlebar. Disadvantage of this design is that only the lamp is easily detachable and the cables and the battery still remain on the bike, with the risk of theft. So, the quality and finishing are good, the installation a complex job.
The TL1 is "all-in-one". Because of the built-in battery and the micro-USB port, this backlight is almost immediately ready for use. The TL1 is completely made of plastic, so it has cheaper looks and feels when compared to the BK30. For example the rubber cover of the USB-port is not that sturdy, and I'm afraid that it won’t last that long...a weak point of the TL1 here. Using the solid rubber, adding on the TL1 is a very easy job that just takes a couple of seconds. So, I really like this one! Many users need such a light: mounting and removing take only a few seconds, quick and easy recharge-option and a logical interface.
Scroll down for more impression-pictures...
the Klarus BK30
compact, but bright
made of nice materials
one XM-L2(U2) and two XP-G2‘s
good build-quality and excellent finishing
not all 18650’s will fit
a look inside the battery-pack
fixation-rings in two sizes
the remote-controller: also two buttons hidden under the Klarus logo
a smooth reflector for the headlight, the sidelights have diffusors
clear instructions on the battery holder how to insert your cells
hidden in the holster
the BK30’s head can be fixed in only a few seconds
you can fix also the accupack at your bike
but it takes some effort
the powerbuttons have built-in voltage indicators
the TL1, a real „lightweight“
thanks to its little dimensions no problem to carry it in your coat pocket
a close-up to the build-in power-indicator
not that durable: the weak usb-port cover
charging is easy: every micro-usb charger will fit
a close-up to the 25 leds
fully charged: green light
both lights in action: mind the difference in tint at the BK30
Attaching the BK30 to the handlebar is an easy job, but mounting the battery pack takes too long for me. The lights with built-in battery packs clearly have an advantage here. The long cables really make the mounting a task... Option two: The battery pack fits well in the pocket, and can be carried without problems, but be careful with the cables! Good job that Klarus has added a large and small ring to mount the BK30 on the handlebar. Installing and removing the BK30’s head takes only some seconds. The cables and the remote controller can be fixed with the included straps. Totally, it takes several minutes before everything is mounted, for me to long.
The BK30s’ unit has two buttons, and the operation is logical. One button for main light and one for the sidelights. A short press for on, and a longer for off. Cycle through the three normal modes by short clicks. As expected, the operation the sidelights is the same. The head main light and sidelights work independently of each other, so you can create your ideal light profile. Hau cockpit has as well as strobe mode as SOS. The strobe is a direct mode: quick press twice to activate it, no matter or the light is on or off. A double press in Strobe will give SOS. The remote control has three buttons, and two have the same function. The most recognizable (left) is for on or turning off, not for mode selecting. The others buttons are for "Big light”: all lights on at maximum mode. A practical, but only signaling mode for oncoming traffic. This mode works both from on or off. Summarizing, no problems with the interface; everything work fine, and during cycling you don’t need a bunch of (special) modes.
Mounting the TL1 is simply and quick. Good point! The light can be mounted both horizontally and vertically to the holder. This gives the opportunity to add a to your handlebar, carrier or seat tube. So, no problems and finished in a few seconds here!
The TL1 has one button for all modes. Also backlight has to be activated by a short press, after that, you go through the three normal modes by short clicks. To turn off, you hold the key to two seconds; typical detail is that the TL1 before shutting off once completely lights up to maximum mode and then slowly shuts off. You can use only the three special modes when the lamp is turned on in the "second" mode. Pressing and holding for more than a second activates special mode, which starts in slowly flashing. Click to go into strobe and quickly flashing. Press and hold to shut off. For me, good interface, I’ve had no problems with it.
The BK30 has three normal modes: LOW > MID > HIGH. The spacing is rather good, but a lower level would be useful: for example as marking-light. The sidelight have the same levels, but, as expected, less bright. Those ones are more useful to use as a marking-light... Only the main light has two special modes: STROBE and SOS. It's great feature for me that the BK30 has INSTANT TURBO, but it can only be activated via the remote control: all the lamps on the HIGHest mode until you release the button. Both lamps have LOCK-OUT: activate this by pressing and holding the buttons for 5 seconds. The red LED in the switch flickers three times when the BK30 is locked.
The TL1 has three normal modes: STANDARD > HIGH > OVERDRIVE. So, for me the same as LOW > MID > HIGH. Enough levels here, also because a backlight is used to be seen. Three special modes here: 50% FLASH > STROBE > 100% FLASH. The flashing-modes will save power and are more noticable. No LOCKOUT here.
The XM-L2(U2) of the main light has a cool white color and (as often this kind of led) a little blue in the spill. The XP-G2 have a neutral, warm-white tint. If mixed, we get a profile: the XM-L2 for throw, and the XP-G2’s to light up a big area and to give good color rendering. The color of the TL1 is red to orange, but okay. The picture below shows the BK30 against another bike-light, the Fenix BC30R, powered by XM-L2 T6 leds.
The BK30 would be a real thrower without the sidelights. The main light has a medium spot and corona, and a rather big spill. Because the sidelights’ profile is very floody, this is a nice combination. No defects in both beam, they look neat. Unfortunately, several modes of the BK30 show PWM, especially the LOW and MID-mode. Outside, it will be barely noticeable, but for some, it's annoying.
The TL1 is a real floodlight, and the beam is also not completely free of flickering (looking through a camera-lens). Same here, outside this is hardly noticeable.
Let's start with the beam on a white wall. The BK30 is about a meter from the wall, the TL1 approximately half a meter. Only GIF images here.
Camera settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 1/125 sec, 35mm
And the TL1:
Going outside now! Both lights mounted on a bike: the BK30 at the handlebar, the TL1 at the seat tube. First, the modes and combinations of the lamp, after that a comparison between the BK30 and the Fenix BC30R. We finish this beamshot-job by looking at the TL1’s modes. Only GIF images here.
Camera settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 4 sec, 35mm
Main + sidelights:
a comparison of the highest modes:
the sidelights angled in several positions, combined with headlight:
the BK30 against the Fenix BC30R, both at highest mode:
the three normal modes of the TL1, (with adjusted camera):
Camera settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 1/4 sec, 35mm
The build quality and the finishing of the BK30 is good, and the operation works fine. Also the output and especially the throw is impressive, and this light can be adjusted in many ways. The most important thing that’s missing is the ease of use: it takes too long before the lamp (I mean the batterypack) is installed and removed. I have to say that it was no big problem for me to carry the pack in my coat pocket, but beware if you (unexpectedly) step off! I would recommend Klarus to represent a bigger lamp with built-in battery. It would be better, also because, the slightly larger weight on a handlebar is not a problem. So, a very bright quality-light that hopefully even comes with built-in battery!
The TL1 is a great backlight. The build quality could be improved slightly, but the TL1 is a very handy, easy to use and recharge backlight that fits easily in your pocket. With the six modes everyone will have its desired. I will often use the TL1!
Thanks to Klaruslight and Mr Schiermeier for the perfect shipping!
Re: Double-review: Klarus BK30 (max 1200 lumens white) and TL1 (max 100 lumens red li
Wow great review and pics.
When I first saw this design I thought yeah its a good idea but when biking (off road) night time seeing around corners is the issue. The side lights should swivel out, that would be better.
The spill on the fenix is so much nicier !
Re: Double-review: Klarus BK30 (max 1200 lumens white) and TL1 (max 100 lumens red li
Originally Posted by Chuoiz
do you find the rubber mount system for the head is adequate to hold position on bumpy roads?
I've found it is fine, if I remember correctly, I'm using the larger ring on a 22mm bar and it's never budged.
Something I'm starting to find with klarus though is that they often make 'upgrades' which are not reflected by a new name/version number, so you never know what you're quite going to get. I've seen this with both the BK30 and RS20 (and they're the only models that I have multiples of).