Beryl Burner Brake review (condensed edition): the addition of a handy brake light function means this affordable rear bike light is a double bargain.
It is not only illegal to cycle on the roads in the dark without the best best rear bike lights, it’s also a bit mad and dangerous. After all, motorists don’t stand a chance seeing someone dressed head-to-toe in slick black Rapha gear as they carve through city traffic in the evenings.
A decent rear brake light will alert any traffic approaching from the rear of your presence, avoiding any nasty rear-end shunts, while coupling it with one of our best bike front light picks is a surefire way of making sure you, the venerable cyclist, is clear for all to see.
Beryl’s clever Burner Brake packs a smart accelerometer and algorithm that detect when you are braking and, as a result, will increase its brightness as you apply the anchors so it projects its maximum 200 lumen… like a car or motorcycle’s brake lights might.
Easily mounted horizontally or vertically to most bicycle seats stems via a chunky strap, it’s a quick and easy way of increasing visibility in low-light conditions, whether that’s visibility to busy traffic or fellow riders when out of a jaunt.
The Burner Brake costs £39.99 or $59.99, which feels very reasonable to us, and you can buy it direct from Beryl from the UK or USA. It's not for sale to our Australian readers, we are sorry to say.
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Beryl Burner Brake: design and build
Like most bike lights, the Beryl Burner Brake has a sealed plastic casing (it’s actually a durable carbon grey polymer, if you must know) that ensures it is weatherproof and can withstand a few knocks. Although very simple, the design is really slick and it looks best when mounted vertically on a seat post beneath a saddle.
It feels equally at home on a lithe carbon fibre race bike as it does on a cool fixie or town bike, while operation is via one simple button on the front. Press and hold it to turn it on, await the LEDs to do a fancy strobing dance, and then press again to access the various modes.
It’s only small (8.5x2.4x3cm) but the powerful LEDs encased behind the red lens are powerful enough to emit 200 lumens of braking light, which is plenty bright enough to attract attention during the day, let alone when the sun sets.
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Beryl Burner Brake: features
Bike lights don’t tend to pack many features, unless you opt for something smart and connected like Garmin’s Varia range or the clever See.Sense lights, but Beryl manages to offer something unique and refreshingly uncomplicated.
Inside every Beryl Burner Brake is an accelerometer that constantly monitors speed and as soon as it detects a sudden slowing, it rapidly increases the intensity of its light to warn fellow roads users that you are slowing or stopping.
On top of this, the dancing LEDs I mentioned earlier also act as a “fuel gauge”, so you can see how much battery life you have left. A full ring or lights dictates a full battery, while a quarter ring means it is probably time to plug in.
Charging is taken care of via a micro USB on the rear and it is possible to get 50% power in just 30-minutes or a full charge in an hour and a half. Aside from that, the features list is predominantly made up of various rear brake modes.
These include: bright steady, medium steady, day flash, chase (where the LEDs run a quick lap of the light) and Hadron (not Hardon), which is like chase mode but with a bit of flashing thrown in for good measure.
Beryl Burner Brake: performance
Installing the rear brake light couldn’t really be easier, because as long as you have enough seat post showing, it’s merely a case of looping the enclosed rubber strap around the cushioned mount and away you go.
That said, there is a “quick release” lever that allows you to remove the light from its mount without removing the rubber strap but it’s a pain and after a few miles of riding and some grit being thrown at it, it fails to work, or in my case, breaks completely. It’s easier to just un-loop the rubber strap and take the lot with you, because we know how much light-fingered sods like to make off with bike lights.
Performance-wise, the Beryl Burner Brake is excellent and its 200 lumen max brightness is plenty powerful enough. Day flash mode does exactly what it says on the tin and proves bright enough to be seen from a long distance, even when the sun is shining.
As for battery life, Beryl claims up to 17 hours from a full charge on ‘Hadron’ mode or 3 hours in the brightest steady setting. I opted to leave it in this latter mode, as it proved both eye catching enough and the best way to eke the most out of the batteries. Leave it in the highest steady setting and you’ll only get a couple of long commutes out of it before it needs plugging in.
As for the accelerometer, that also works, although it can be a bit slow to catch on to the braking process. I tested this when out road cycling with a friend and can confirm that it does get brighter when the anchors are applied, but it only gets really bright at the end of the braking process, just before you come to a complete stop.
Beryl Burner Brake: verdict
For its price, the Beryl Burner Brake rear bike light feels like a very solid investment. It’s not the smartest rear light on the market, but it packs enough features, a good run-time and bright enough LEDs to more than justify the outlay.
The design is slick, charging times short, light projection strong and battery life impressive, which is really all you need from a bicycle brake light.