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Fenix BC26R Light Review


Article Categories: Gear
Article Tags: Biking | gear | Skiing Gear

Having a high quality light in your backpack is a critical part of any overnight camping experience. Even if you’re summer camping and you plan on being in your tent by sunset, you still need a good light in case of emergencies. And if you enjoy nighttime sports, like night skiing (super fun), night biking, or night fishing, a nice bright light makes your activity possible. However, you can’t just take any old flashlight– you need a light that you don’t have to hang onto, a light that’s hands-free and head-mounted. While headband-style headlamps are popular for a reason, there are some options that are slightly more comfortable and allow you to wear a hat or a helmet with ease.

In this article, we’re going to talk about one of those lights. We’ve recently been testing out the Fenix BC26R rechargeable bike light, and we’ve been very impressed by its performance. So let’s have a look at this awesomely bright little light!


Where To Buy

You can find this light on:
The Fenix Website


About Fenix

Fenix BC26R Light Night Skiing

Fenix is a company that specializes in lights. They make bike lights, lanterns, headlamps, and flashlights that are designed to be bright and remain bright. Fenix’s lights are designed for heavy use and high performance, and each model is tailored to exacting specifications based on the activity they are designed for. Their E series lights, for example, are small, light, and durable for everyday use. Their tactical TK series is heavily armored and can stand up to extreme use and environmental challenges.


Fenix’s Differentiation

Fenix owns their own factory and oversees every step of the manufacturing process, ensuring consistency and quality for every light they make. One of their key performance indicators is lumen retention. While a light might start out bright, it often loses brightness over time or with battery drainage. Fenix gives you plenty of information, including how their lights perform over time, if their lights have an intentional brightness downshift (some do), and how intense their lights are at different settings. Knowing this in advance can make or break your nighttime activity; if your light isn’t bright enough, it can be a serious risk. We loved that they give us this information to help make the best decision about light use.

As a company, they’re extremely responsive and helpful. When we were attaching the helmet mount, we actually ended up losing a screw. A quick call to customer service, and we had a new one in no time at all. Fenix goes above and beyond to ensure that the customer is happy and that their product does what they promise.


About the Fenix BC26R

We tried out both the Fenix BC26R Rechargeable Bike Light and the Fenix ALD-05 Helmet Flashlight Holder. While this light is marketed for biking, we chose this light planning to use it for multiple nighttime activities, including night riding and night skiing.


Fenix BC26R Stats

Light Mode Low Medium High Turbo Flash
Output Lumens 50 200 600 1600 600
Runtime 65 hours 18 hours 9.5 hours 3.5 hours Not given
Distance 92 ft/28 m 187 ft/57 m 331 feet/101 m 554 ft/169 m N/A
Intensity 206 cd 834 cd 2560 cd 7158 cd N/A
Impact Resistance 1.5 m
Waterproof IP68, dustproof/submersible underwater up to 2m
Size 4.45” x 1.14” x 1.06” (113 mm x 29 mm x 27 mm)
Weight 5.47 oz/155 g, including battery and mount


The Fenix BC26R is a rechargeable light and uses a 18650 Li-ion battery (with an ALF-18 battery holder). This is one of the most common and inexpensive rechargeable batteries, so it’s easy to have a charged-up spare or two knocking around with your gear. To recharge, you use a USB Type-C charger, the same as many smartphones and other personal electronics. It takes about four hours to go from flat to fully charged, but shorter if the battery isn’t totally dead when you start charging. We noticed that the battery lasts way longer than we have needed it; we’ve used it for multiple hours on lower settings and about an hour at the highest setting, and we still haven’t had a failure on the trail. When we do need to recharge, however, it will tell us with the low battery indicator– a very handy thing to have when you’re relying on a light!

The light itself is a Luminus LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours. And you don’t have to treat it like a hothouse flower to get a lot of light out of it. We’ve been enjoying night skiing with this light at temperatures well below 0º Fahrenheit, and it hasn’t had any performance problems at all (one way we ensure this is the case is to keep the light in our jacket until it is ready to use in colder temps). The controls are exceedingly simple, so you don’t need to worry about fumbling through settings with thick gloves on; simply use single clicks to filter through the settings, or press and hold for five seconds for the emergency flasher setting. There’s just the one button, too, which makes it easy to adjust settings and not worry about it while adventuring.

The light is very lightweight, less than 6 ounces, so it doesn’t make your helmet feel off-balance. However, it’s not like you’ll forget it’s there– it’s too bright for that! And it throws out a lot of light. The wide, 100° floodlight beam offers a very broad field of view that lets you see any obstacles and hazards in your way at night. The high quality of the light this little lamp produces is why we chose it. Fenix is renowned for their lights’ ability to hold lots of lumens for an extended period of time.


Flashlights and Lumen Loss

When you’re shopping for flashlights, you will see that their output is measured in lumens. A lumen is a unit of measurement for the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source per unit of time. In simpler terms, it measures the brightness of light. The lumen value given for a particular flashlight mode will be its peak lumens; that value describes the flashlight at the brightest it will be. But over time (long-term) and during use (short-term), lights can get dimmer.

Flashlights and headlamps can lose lumens over time due to several reasons:

  • Battery Degradation: As the batteries in a flashlight degrade, they may not be able to provide the same amount of power to the light source. This can result in a decrease in brightness over time.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, or other environmental factors can contribute to the degradation of the flashlight’s components, affecting its performance.
  • Heat Buildup: Flashlights generate heat during operation. Excessive heat can affect the performance of the light source, especially if it is not effectively dissipated. This can lead to a temporary reduction in brightness; when you turn off the light and let it cool off, it will recover the lost light.
  • LED Aging: If the flashlight uses Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), these components can degrade over time. The continuous use of LEDs can cause them to lose efficiency and brightness.
  • Quality of Components: The overall quality of the flashlight and its components can impact its longevity. Cheaper flashlights may use lower-quality materials and components that degrade more quickly.

As you can see, while some things can be controlled for, like the use of high-quality components, some lumen loss is simply inevitable over both the light’s lifespan and each individual use. If you’re planning on leaving your light on for the length of a night hike, it will likely be dimmer at the end simply due to heat buildup.

So, if you’re going to lose lumens over time, how much can you expect to lose? With most flashlights, it’s a guessing game. But one thing we really like about Fenix is that they have provided information on lumens over time on many of their product pages. Fenix lights also have a downshift mode that turns on automatically in certain situations. One of these is the low-voltage warning; when the battery is dying, the light automatically downshifts to a lower brightness level until the Low setting is reached. This prolongs the light you have available. The lowest setting is still bright enough for moving slow outside, so you’ll be able to get where you’re going if your light starts to die.

The other reason that the BC26R downshifts is its intelligent overheat protection. The light will build up quite a bit of heat when used at relatively high modes for extended periods. When the light reaches a temperature of 140ºF/60°C or above, the light will automatically step down a few lumens to reduce the temperature. When the temperature drops below 140ºF/60°C, it will then allow the user to reselect the higher modes. This preserves the battery and the working life of the light, making sure that you don’t get stuck with a battery that dies sooner than you were expecting.

Additionally, every good helmet light needs a helmet attachment, and we had no problems at all with the Fenix ALD-05. The rubber suction cup strap held the light firmly, and we had no issues with sliding or rotating. We really love how durable the strap is; built to resist heat, oil, and static, it’s designed to fit any helmet and fit it well.

The light mount rotates 360º, but stays put once you have it adjusted. There’s also enough stretch to the strap that if you want to clip on an extra light, you can. Other users have noted that clipping a small red light to this helmet strap helps improve their visibility while biking at night.

Fenix BC26R Light On Helmet

Usually, I just leave the mount on the helmet and keep the light in my bag or pocket until it is needed.


Warranty and Repairs

We would expect that a company that takes this much pride in their products and customer service would have a fair warranty policy. As it is, Fenix’s policies are quite generous. All products have a 15-day replacement for any manufacturing defects. However, they would much rather repair your product, for free.

Fenix will repair a light free of charge within 5 years (non-detachable lights have a 2 year policy and batteries and accessories have a 1 year policy) of purchase if problems develop with normal use. If repair is required after 5 years from the date of purchase, Fenix will only charge for parts. The total repair fee is dictated by the cost of the replaced materials.

Ultimately, if you need a light for nighttime adventures, you can’t go wrong with Fenix. We really loved the quality and output of this light, and the compact size and weight made it perfect for helmet use. This is definitely a light to consider!

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about