I needed to replace a dead Planet Bike Super Flash (PBSF) but they didn't have any at the Bike Gallery I went to. Looking over the lights they had in stock, I found a Bontrager Flare 3 that looked like it would be an improvement.
I put it on the bike and was immediately impressed with the flash pattern. It uses two bright LEDs with directed reflectors as the main lights, compared to just one on the PBSF. There are an additional two LEDs in the middle used for side visibility. With a translucent cover, side visibility is excellent even though from that angle all you see are just the bare LEDs, there is no directed reflector pointing off to the side.
The on/off switch is covered in rubber and is on the bottom. This switch is much easier to activate compared to the PBSF which I always found hard to work with when wearing gloves. There are two modes, steady and flashing.
The Flare 3 uses 2 AAA batteries. The limited warranty is for 1 year and does not cover batteries (of course) or normal wear & tear. More details at http://bontrager.com/support/warranty.
Mounting hardware options are good. There are two permanent mounts (seat-stay size and large tube size) as well as a temporary style mount that would be more suitable for handlebars. They also include a screw in case you have a rack and can attach the Flare directly to it. In summary, more mounting options available than the PBSF.
Another difference between the PBSF is that the Flare 3 slides on to the mount from the side. With the PBSF, if I mounted it high on the seat stay with the saddle bag directly above, I would have to remove the saddle bag in order to remove the PBSF (to change the batteries). Sliding the Flare in from the side works better for me.
I'm happy with the light but a little disappointed about the price. I understand profit & margin, tooling costs and minimum runs and all that, but I still look at it and say to myself "thirty bucks for this?" But the price didn't stop me from going out and buying two of them, it just made me a little grumpy about it…
Yes, I'm sporting two of these lights, one on the left seat stay about halfway up, the other up near the seatpost binder bolt. I've always had good luck with two rear flashing light, didn't see any need to change now.