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Verdict: 
Powerful and refined light ideally suited to serious night riding – and competitively priced too
Weight: 
54g
Contact: 
NiteRider Solas 30
7 10

The NiteRider Solas 30 is a powerful and versatile single-diode rear LED light with four modes and refreshingly long run times. It's literally brilliant for audax and weekend touring, though charging isn't a test of endurance. However, while adequate, the bike mounting bracket doesn't seem up to the usual NiteRider high standards.

The top-mounted switch is positive and features a battery life indicator, which changes from blue to red once the li-on battery's reserves slip below 25%. Depressed for two seconds, the diode springs to life in steady, which is amplified through a 180-degree red lens with collimator centre spot.

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On its most powerful 30-lumen setting it's potent without singeing retinas like some über-lumen designs, which are distinctly uncomfortable to follow for any distance. Lithium-ion/polymer cells are less sensitive to temperature fluctuation than Ni-cads, and on this setting it returned 4hrs 28mins from a full charge in temperatures between 10 and -2°C.

Visibility is around 150-200m depending on factors such as competing illumination, fog and so on. Speaking of climate, the USB-chargeable Solas seems very well sealed, passing my hosepipe test convincingly. Those determined to ride in harsh conditions without mudguards might still want to add a lick of silicone grease to the port flap, just to make sure.

NiteRider Solas Tail Light - side.jpg

NiteRider Solas Tail Light - side.jpg

I was impressed by the ultra-frugal glow of the low power setting too – just what you need if joining in with the increasingly popular practice of running LEDs during the day. It's perfect for overcast afternoons or a week's winter touring when paired with a decent dynamo (it lasted almost 36 hours when fully charged).

The two flashing modes didn't disappoint either. Both are very distinctive, so it really boils down to personal preference and economy. The first will blink away for nigh-on 18 hours (17hrs 56mins by my timing), the latter 7 (6hrs 58mins).

In either flash setting, in the dead of night along deserted country lanes, my riding companions suggested they could spot me from a good 500m. This dipped to a very commendable 250/280m in town and that big, sturdy translucent casing comes in very handy when tackling junctions and roundabouts.

> Check out our guide to the best rear lights here

Although perfectly serviceable, the seatpost-mounted bracket isn't, to my mind, up to the same standard as the rest of the package. The clothing/luggage clip is super-dependable, though, and latches to jerseys, jackets and luggage like a scrapyard owner's Alsatian.

NiteRider Solas Tail Light - mount.jpg

NiteRider Solas Tail Light - mount.jpg

Given the overall performance, £25 represents seriously good value. While its AAA-fuelled Cherry Bomb stablemate (tested back in 2009) has been my preferred option for four-seasons hell and ice commuting/winter training, the Solas's generous run times and (bracket allowing) solid build offer a convincing argument for dusk til dawn audax rides and more general riding. 

Verdict

Powerful and refined light ideally suited to serious night riding – and competitively priced too

road.cc test report

Make and model: NiteRider Solas 30

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Niterider says: "The Solas 30 has a powerful 2 watt LED, 4 modes (2 flash/2 steady) and is USB rechargeable. We've implemented what we call 'Group Ride Mode' for cyclists who still want to stay visible and safer but not annoy others in the pack."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

30 lumen super bright tail light

Group Ride Mode – be seen without annoying fellow cyclists

USB rechargeable

Super bright day time flash mode

Be Seen by cars = Be Safe

FL 1 Standard IP64, water resistant

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Very solid, aside from the distinctly average post mounted bracket.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Clothing/luggage clip was by far the most secure option; post mount wasn't what I have come to expect from NiteRider.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

Passed my garden hose test very convincingly and seems rugged and highly resistant to the elements generally.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

Very generous run times. Charge times are very reasonable for this level of performance too.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Rugged, especially by USB standards.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Excellent performance, especially for £25.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, I've been very impressed by the Solas. Refined and well thought out, it's highly visible and enjoys generous run times in the flashing settings. Charge times are slower than some but relatively quick given the run times.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Great output, range of settings and frugal battery consumption.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Distinctly average mounting bracket.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes, with a better bike mount bracket.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, if they did a lot of long haul night riding.

Use this box to explain your score

Potent, well made and frugal rear light with a moderate price tag, but mounting bracket distinctly average by comparison.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

2 comments

Avatar
Veloism [72 posts] 1 year ago
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The 70 lumen Lezyne Micro Drive is far, far better and the same price at Wiggle > http://tidd.ly/c0506b7

www.veloism.cc

Avatar
yellowjacket [7 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Hi Shaun, thank you for the review on this light. I picked up the Solas 30 from Wiggle UK a few months back and interestingly enough, my mount is different from the one that is pictured above. Instead of the hard plastic, screw-on mount, it is a wider rubber strap that removes and attaches in seconds. In my eyes, that addition helps bump up my ratings because it makes it easy to transfer it between multiple bikes. For a picture of the new strap and other thoughts on it, I recommend: https://www.bikelightdatabase.com/best/taillights/