NiteRider’s Ultrafazer Max might sound like a dodgy sci-fi spin off but it’s a very powerful commuter lamp utilising some equally clever optics.
A single watt LED casts a very pure white beam that’s adequate to see by in urban and suburban contexts, albeit a little underpowered for longer training runs taking in rural back roads. Claimed water resistant to a mind boggling 50m, it passed my bucket and hose tests hands down but peripheral vision and battery consumption need addressing.
Measuring 10 x 4 x 4cm, costmetically it’s identical to the 3.0, although build quality and plastics seem more substantial. Opening the cowling reveals a one-piece bulb and ready access to the battery tray – perfect for roadside changes without needing to remove winter weight gloves. Similarly, the switch remains convenient flick type, perfect for engaging on the fly and earlier criticisms of its tendency to engage in the bottom of messenger bags/panniers have been addressed for 2011 courtesy of a lockout switch. The most obvious upgrade is the bulb and lens, developing 70 lumens from a single watt led.
Real world output is pretty impressive in all settings, providing a genuinely clear pool of light that slices through the night sky. There’s genuinely sufficient to see by on high beam and it commands driver attention along unlit rural lanes too. That said, while the beam compensates to some degree, peripheral vision isn’t equal to that of many competitor designs, which made junctions and roundabouts dicey unless combined with other lighting systems.
My main bugbear is economy; ours guzzled a set of double a batteries every five to nine hours (depending on whether we were in steady or flashing mode) falling to four and seven hours on colder nights. There’s some warning before the lights go out but power can fade very quickly so it pays to keep a set of dry cells handy.
Very powerful commuter light but poor battery consumption and peripheral visibility need addressing.
road.cc test report
Make and model: NiteRider Ultrafazer Max front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product 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?
"The UltraFazer Max raises the bar for NiteRider’s Commuter Series lights. New for 2011, the Max features an ultra bright 1 watt CREE LED delivering 70 lumens. When combined with NiteRider’s highly efficient reflector, the Max produces a beam pattern void of rings and halos. Also new for 2011, the Max features a switch lock out, preventing being accidentally turned on while transported in a backpack or pocket. Rounding out the Max’s features is three light levels; high, low and flash and a waterproof seal to 50 meters".
I would broadly agree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
• 1 Watt Luxeon LED
• 3 Light Setting – High/Low/Flash
• Fits Both Standard and Oversized Bars
• Operates on 2 AA Alkaline or Rechargeable NiMH Batteries
(Alkaline batteries Included)
• Waterproof to 50 meters
Excellent build quality coupled with robust and genuinely universal fitting bracket.
Generally very sturdy and passed my usual tests with flying colours.
139g including bracket and batteries.
Pleasant to use
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In output terms the Ultrafazer is very impressive, especially around town. The user-friendly switch means it's a doddle to operate on the fly (although ours didn't feature the lockout switch so could accidentally engage in messenger bags/panniers) and the beam is a very strong, pure projection, sufficient for beeing seen from 300m on unlit backroads. However, I felt technology would be better employed in improving economy rather than making the unit water-resistant to a claimed 50m.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Generally robust construction, good output relative to its size.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Battery consumption & poor peripheral illumination.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but with improved runtimes and peripheral visibility.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? With some minor reservations, yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)