Much to the relief of the macho types and, I suppose, goths Nite Rider's Lightning bug 3.0 also comes in black, as well as white, red, blue and green… and the pink version tested here. Indeed a black one has alternated between helmet peaks and the Univega's prodigious WTB drops for the past twelve months, rescuing us when more sophisticated see-by systems got the sulks. Brilliant as a dynamo companion thanks to solid build and output quality, and it certainly captured the imagination of younger children who might otherwise ride without any form of illumination.
Styled in a cute insect caricature, the 3.0 is the biggest in the Lightning bug family, sporting three super bright LEDs powered by a CR2450 watch cell. Delicate internals sit inside a weather sealed silicone monocoque with looped legs that embrace the full zodiac of handlebar diameters before hooking tight to the sturdy plastic shell. Encasing the positive, centre-mounted switch within the protective jelly keeps the elements out and makes engagement easy in gloved or bare digits. Snow, rain, sleet and plummeting temperatures have made negligible impression. A torrential jet of water fired at point blank range for five minutes demanded some water displacer surgery but the hardy little bug was good as new given time to dry at room temperature with its battery removed.
Three simple, attention grabbing modes (high, low and flashing) return between fifty two and ninety seven hours with a cost implication of around £4 per annum used daily for an hour or so. Output is equally impressive-to around four hundred yards-even along pitch-black lanes on a clear night, dropping to three hundred, maybe three-fifty when things turn cloudy. High seems the best choice through town centres since flashing was often lost in the competing neon din of bars, taxi firms and takeaways but snared driver attention faster at roundabouts and junctions. Shop around and you can find it for a good few quid less than the list price too.
Don't be fooled by the cutesy looks, this little light packs a punch
road.cc test report
Make and model: Niterider Lightning Bug 30
Size tested: Pink
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?
"Introducing the Lightning Bug 3.0 front light, these lights were designed with the same quality and attention to detail as our high end bike lights. Battery installation, mounting and operation can practically be done with your eyes closed.
Due to the ease of installation and their small size, they are quickly removed and stowed into your pocket. The 3 super bright LEDs ensure that you don't go unnoticed on the road"! Generally agree, although roadside battery exchanges aren't quite so easy in the back of beyond!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
3 pronounced LEDS, switch and delicate internals cocooned in a protective silicone sandwich with intergral bug legs that loop around the bars and hook to the plastic outer shell. powered by a single watch type CR2045 cell.
A doddle- even on the fly wearing winter weight gloves but despite easy access to the tray, roadside battery changes weren't quite so effortless in the dead of night.
Generally very good but a time honoured slither of vaseline on the battery contacts wouldn't go amiss.
Between 52 and 97 hrs or £4 per anum used daily.
Tougher than it looks.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Cutesy animated features appeal to all ages-especially kids but depress the switch and those three LEDs pump out a very bright, business-like white beam that nags even the most myopic drivers to around 400 yards in flashing modes and three hundred steady. Perfect for pre standlight dynamos, ours have survived the odd winter spill without so much as a scuff to the hard plastic shells and the run times speak for themselves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Cute styling and great power to size ratio.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 38 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)