Initial Impressions: NiteRider 2012 Lights

 

NiteRider Pro 1500 LED Race Light

As Fall approaches and our days start to get shorter, lights will become a necessity.  There is no excuse to ride after dark without proper lightning.  It is a danger to yourself and others.  As one of the commuter contributors here at BikeRumor I find myself the recipient of a lot of lights for testing.  On review right now is a good selection of products from NiteRider.  For 2012 they were able to double the output of their lights.  Is brighter always better?  I will answer that in the full review coming in a few weeks.  Past the break you will find my initial impressions of their Pro 1500 LED Race light, the MiNewt.600 and MiNewt.350, the Mako 2.0, as well as their Lightning Bug 3.0 and Stinger combo pack commuter lights.

Pro 1500 LED Race:

This this light is a MONSTER!  It feels as if I have strapped a car headlight to my bike.  So far my use has been limited to commuting around town, as well as riding on a few darker, unlit roads.  This light on it’s highest setting is overkill for these situations.  However, on its medium or even low setting it works great, and as a bonus the battery lasts longer.  Where it will really shine (bad pun intended) is off road.  The upcoming full review will include my impressions of its performance off road at night as well.

The light has a high, medium, low, and flash setting.  The flash setting however, is not really usual at night time.  This isn’t a blinky commuter light after all, it’s use is to let you see where the heck you are going in otherwise  pitch black conditions.  The flash mode is great during the day time however.  In fact, I highly recommending using it during the day time.  As Mike from Nite rider puts it, “We hope the flash mode is used more in the daylight to create higher visibility. More cars and motorcycles have daylight running headlights, why shouldn’t we cyclists do the same?”  I couldn’t agree more.

The Pro 1500 LED Race version is what I have, and as such it does not come with the battery doc or the DIY software.  However, you get a 1500 lumens light for $350!  That amount of output, matched with the quality NiteRider is know for combines for some serious value if you are in need of a light in this category.  The weight wienies in the crowd will be happy to hear that the race set up saves 170 grams over the standard version.

Specifications:

  • 1500 lumens with a run time of 1:30 hours
  • 900 lumens with a run time of 3:00 hours
  • 450 lumens with a run time of 6:00 hours
  • Flash with a run time of ???
  • Charge Time takes 5 hours
  • Weight (including mount, battery, and velcor straps) – 502g
  • Price – $349.99

 

NiteRider MiNewt.600 and Mi.Newt.350 Cordless USB Lights

MiNewt.600 and MiNewt.350 USB Cordless Lights:

Out of the bunch that I received, I have a feeling these will be my go to lights for standard commuting.  I am not alone there either, as these are NiteRider’s number one selling lights.  Both are plenty bright, have a good flash pattern, and are super easy to swap from bike to bike (which is nice as I have 6 in the stable at the moment).  Speaking of the mount, I love it!  It is the best light mount I have used to date.  It holds secure, has a rubber shim that locks into place, is completely toolless, swivels 360 degrees, and mounts or removes from the bike in about a second.  The fact that these both recharge by USB is super nice.  I don’t have a free outlet at my day job that I can use to charge up a light.  But I have 3 free USB ports.  Also, the USB port on the lights is covered with a nice rubber plug that feels very secure, and seems as if it will hold off the elements quite well.

MiNewt.600 Cordless Specs:

  • 600 lumens with a run time of 1:30 hours
  • 400 lumens with a run time of 3:00 hours
  • 275 lumens with a run time of 4:30 hours
  • Walk / Flash mode with a run time of 10:00 hours
  • Charge time takes 5:30 hours
  • Weight (including mount) – 195g

Price -  $149.99

 

NiteRider Mi.Newt.350 and Mi.Newt.600 Cordless USB Lights

MiNewt.350 Cordless Specs:

  • 350 lumens with a run time of 2:00 hours
  • 225 lumens with a run time of 3:30 hours
  • 150 lumens with a run time of 5:00 hours
  • Walk / Flash mode with a run time of 10:00 hours
  • Charge time takes 5:30 hours
  • Weight (including mount) – 195g
  • Price – $109.99

 

NiteRider Mako 2 Watt

Mako 2 Watt Light:

This is the real surprise of the bunch.  This 2 watt Cree LED commuter light runs off of 2 AA batteries and puts out 130 lumens at its brightest.  It uses the same awesome bar mount as the MiNewt USB lights, making it super easy to pop it off and toss it into a pocket or bag when you lock up your bike.  The light also features a flashing red LED light on each side in the gills section for added side visability.  At $49.99, this should be a no brainer for any commuter.

Specifications:

  • 2 Watt Cree LED with three modes
  • High with a run time of 25 hoursg
  • Low with a run time of 50 hours
  • Flash with a run time of 200+ hours
  • Power comes from 2 AA Batteries
  • Weight (including mount) – 167g
  • Price – $49.99

NiteRider Lightning Bug 3.0 and Stinger Taillight

Lightning Bug / Stinger Combo Pack:

Last up we have the “be seen” lights.  The NiteRider Lightning Bug 3.0 and Stinger taillight.  The Lightning Bug 3.0 headlight has three white LED’s that illuminate in a high, low, or flashing pattern.  It has a run time of up to 100 hours off the included CR2450 battery.  The battery is super easy to change as well.  Simply pry open the bottom of the light and pop out the old and slide in the new.  I have yet to pick up a screw driver or allen wrench in dealing with any of the NIteRider lights and I like it.  The Lightning Bug barely tips the scale at 37g.

The Stinger taillight features a bright 1/2 watt red LED.  It has the usual dual  mode function (always on or flashing).  As with the rest of the lights, it mounts sans tools by simply using a silicon rubber stretchy strap to fit most any seat post.  The back is angled so that the light is level when mounted on your seat post.  The light is activated by pressing the actual lens in once to turn it to flashing, a second press for always on, and a third turns it off again.  As with the Lightning Bug 3.0, run time is up to 100 hours using the included CR2032 battery.  The Stinger weights in at 36g.  The combo pack runs $29.99.  At that price it should fit the budget of just about any bike commuter out there.

For the past week I have been running the Lightning Bug 3.0 on my fork blade (flash pattern), the Stinger taillight on the seat post (flash pattern), and the MiNewt.600 Cordless USB light on the bar (brightest stetting).  I really like this set up.  I have a few super dark patches of road on my way home and I have no problem seeing the pathway.  The Stinger is bright enough to alter traffic behind me of my presences.  And, there is nothing wrong with a blinking head light for added visibility.

 

Comments

Steve - 08/23/11 - 2:01pm

Everyone is a critic, but their mounts leave some to be desired.

Chris - 08/23/11 - 3:37pm

I know the story is about the lights, but they picked a sweet bike to demo them on! Love my Salsa Casseroll!

Nick Burklow - 08/23/11 - 3:50pm

@Chris. Thanks! That is my personal commuter, set up with fenders for the PDX rain. I am running a 1×9 set up currently, and I am head over heels for this bike!

h2ofuel - 08/24/11 - 8:57am

NiteRider is great. I’m a bit disappointed since I bought a MiNewt Mini.150-USB just a few months ago, and the new models output is doubled at the same price. I also use a Stinger which works well with aero posts, but the angle could be tweaked as it will aim slightly downward on most frames. However, I must consider that it has to be compatible with both road and tri geometries. I’ve never had any major issues, and the products are quality made at a great price. It may sound cliche, but their products truly are better made than many comparable yet more expensive brands/models.

Nick, will you be reviewing the Minewt Mini.350-USB as well?

Nick Burklow - 08/24/11 - 11:55am

@h2ofuel I have one of each of the lights listed in the post for review. And I am excited to use them all.

Pro 1500 LED Race
Mi.Newt.600 Cordless
Mi.Newt.350 Cordless
Mako 2 Watt
Lightning Bug 3.0
Stinger Taillight

I can already tell you that the Mi.Newt.350 is awesome. Out of the bunch, I would put my $109.99 down for this one. It is bright enough to light a dark path, and it has a crazy bright flash setting for day time use.

mike - 08/24/11 - 12:06pm

watch batteries suck for lights. cost more and don’t last long. make it AAA at least or forget it.

SK - 08/24/11 - 6:21pm

Rumor has it that NIterider (among other companies) has been overrating their lumen output of their lights. Apparently they are setting themselves up for lawsuits as they are not providing the product they advertised.

h2ofuel - 08/24/11 - 8:32pm

Thanks Nick, but what I’m talking about isn’t listed there. It’s the one with the separate headlamp and battery. I look forward to your long term review of the others.

@mike
The batteries (Stinger uses 2) last longer than you would think. I know this because I thought the same before trying it. It’s not an issue for me and it allows for a smaller product.

Nick Burklow - 08/25/11 - 1:04am

@h2ofule Ahh, it would appear I can’t read. No, I do not have the Mi.Newt mini 300 USB light for review. My previous light was the Mi.Newt Dual 300 from a while back (non USB version). Having run that, and now having the Mi.Newt 350 Cordless USB I can safely say the extra $10 for the 350 Cordless is worth it. It is brighter, and has a much better bar mount. The only advantage to running the Mi.Newt mini 300 would be a helment mount. If that is your intended use, then go with the plus version for $105.

Nick Burklow - 08/26/11 - 5:28pm

@SK I have a plan to address this very issue in the full review. Stay tuned.

OR-MTB - 09/02/11 - 12:15pm

Nick, as a fellow Oregonian I am trying to decide on lights for the High Cascades 24hr in Bend. I have to order today so can’t wait for teh full review. In looking at getting teh brightest and best lights out there I was looking at teh L&M Seca 1400 and then Niterider comes out with the 1500 and 3000. My question is with the 1500 as it has only one reflector how is the width of the beam. If you were getting your ultimate MTB race setup, thinking of bar and helmet, what would go for today? Thanks!

Trail View Mount - 02/27/12 - 1:58pm

Excellent info and reviews here Nick. For my price range I’ll be buying the Niterider Mako 2. For what it’s worth I cannot find any info on the lumen output for the Cateye HL-EL135N headlight. Take care.

Tony Chestnut - 08/09/13 - 12:58am

Bought the Lightning Bug 1.0 on July 30, 2013 and after using it about five times on short trips, it began to malfunction (switch didn’t cycle properly), and tonight it didn’t work at all. The batteries are fine. I had to ride home in the dark – not impressed :(

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