Niterider have introduced the Lumina series to replace its older MiNewt offering, which we liked a lot last year. The Lumina 500 I'm reviewing here sits in the middle, between the 650 and the 300. You'll have worked out that those numbers stand for the light's lumen output.
The Lumina is a self-contained light; the battery is in the light unit, and recharges through a micro USB cable, which is included. It weighs 174 grams, including the bracket.
The light has 5 modes: high, medium, low, flashing and walk. Switching between them with the single button is less than intuitive: push once to switch the light on, in low. Pushing again will up the brightness to medium and then to high, and then cycles back through. Hold the button down for 2 seconds to switch the light off. Hold the button down for 3 seconds for flashing (from off or any of the other modes). Push the button once for walk mode, then you cycle up through the other modes again. Not a biggy, I soon got used to it.
High chucks out 500 lumens, as stated above; medium emits 250 lumens, low 150 lumens and walk mode 40 lumens to get you home. I found Niterider's claimed battery life figures to be about right at 1:30 hrs on high, 3 hrs on medium and 5:30 hrs on low. Walk should give you up to 18 hrs, useful mostly to get you seen in the dark. Flashing mode flashes faster than most, and certainly gets you noticed in traffic.
The blue-lit button turns red when the battery capacity drops down to about 15-20%. I found there to be plenty of battery life remaining to get you home on medium or low. Charge time is around 5-6 hours; the indicator LED will turn from red to blue when the battery's thirst is slaked.
The beam pattern is useful for seeing, but not that great for being seen from the side - there isn't any side visibility. The brightness is mostly focused in the middle of the beam. This is great for riding on road, though for off-road riding I found the spread isn't quite wide enough to look ahead effectively. It's a shame there isn't a helmet mount available for the 500 - you only get one with the 650.
I found medium mode was plenty for most of my commute on dark lanes, switching to high only for long descents. While on paper 1.5 hrs of battery life is limited, I think the 3 hours on medium is the figure to look at, making this one more than a light just for commuting.
The bracket is well designed and clamps solidly on any diameter handlebar, and the light clips on securely too. The light can rotate through 360 degrees on the handlebars, which is useful to direct the beam out of the way of oncoming riders/vehicles/pedestrians.
Niterider warrants the light for the lifetime of the light for mechanical components, 2 years on electrical components and 180 days on rechargeable batteries.
Excellent focused beam, great battery life and a neat unit make this a great light for the money
road.cc test report
Make and model: Niterider Lumina 500 front light
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: "Smaller...Lighter...Brighter sums up the new Lumina Series. Building off the widely popular Cordless Series, the USB rechargeable Lumina raises the bar for self contained lights. Available in three models, the Lumina 350, 500 & 650, guarantees there's a light to match both your budget and performance needs. Luminas feature a new, lightweight body combined with increased thermal properties, ensuring a brighter, longer lasting LED. All Luminas feature a newly designed handlebar mount making certain it remains rock solid whether on the trail or pavement."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
High: 1:30 hrs
Med: 3:00 hrs
Low: 5:30 hrs
Walk: 18:00 hrs
Battery: 1x Li-ion
Charge time: 5:30 hrs
Flash mode: yes
Weight: 172 grams
Light levels: 4
The light is well made and feels robust.
Getting between the different light levels is not massively intuitive. I think this could be simplified. I soon got used to it though.
The clamping system is rock solid.
I didn't have any problems in the downpours we've been having. Niterider do make it clear though that while the light will perform in wet weather conditions, it will be damaged if submersed in water.
I found the run times to be pretty much bang on what Niterider claim: 1:30 hrs on high. Recharging takes around 5-6 hrs.
Plenty bright enough to cycle on dark lanes on high. Flash mode flashes a bit quicker than most other lights I've tried, and definitely gets you noticed. The beam pattern works well for seeing, but there's hardly any side visibility.
The manufacturers don't make any claims as to how many recharges the battery should last, so I can't comment on that. Other than that, while I haven't used the light long enough to properly comment on durability, there's no reason to think it won't be really good.
174 grams, including bracket, for a light that's bright enough in any conditions.
At £100 retail, or down to £75 if you shop around online, for a light that is bright enough in any conditions, I think that's really good value.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
While the battery life is too limited for those really long night rides, it is a self-contained light and within that limitation it works really well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Solid handlebar bracket, light weight, really bright.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Navigating through the light modes is a bit convoluted.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?
The Niterider Lumina will light your dark night rides for up to 3 hours, but take a second light for side visibility.
About the tester
Age: 32 Height: 1.78m Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cervelo Dual
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax