Niterider Solas rear light  £39.99

8/10

Versatile rear light for long audaxes, urban commuting and group rides

Weight 53g   Contact  www.2pure.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   March 14, 2013  

Niterider Solas rear light

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There's nothing truly innovative about the Niterider Solas rear light - it has plenty in common with other modern tail-lights, but it does its job well and is carefully thought out.

The Solas is a modest sized light in the Smart 1/2w mould - you've probably seen a million of them by now. Translucent red casing for 180 degree visibility, vertical clip (nicely curved in on itself with a retaining noggin for added security) and a clear plastic circle over the LED. Unlike some others, the Solas just has the one LED which pumps out a healthy 2W of power.

The two flashing modes are pretty eye-watering, although not as manic as some, so they should cut through the urban jungle very nicely. Where the Solas really scores though is by having a low power steady mode for group riding. While that won't make you visible from several miles away, it's enough to keep you safe on country roads and if you're on a long night ride, say the Exmouth Exodus or a long audax, it's not going to make your fellow riders feel like they're riding behind a mobile disco. That might seem like a minor thing, but to some people these things do matter and I can't think of another high power light that offers this.

The li-ion battery charges via a micro USB cable which plugs in underneath a honking great rubber plug at the base of the unit. Niterider only claim that the light is 'water resistant' but it passed the backyard hose test and I've not had any problems since.

Run-times are pretty good, up to 36hrs on the low setting although I suspect most people will just opt for the fast flash, which goes on for 18hrs. There isn't a runtime indicator although you'd have to be pretty sloppy to run it down so far that there isn't even enough juice for a low power trip home.

The mounting bracket is very basic, just the usual plastic clamp and clip arrangement, no fancy silicone straps here. I've had it clipped to the light loop on my Carradice and the long clip with a retaining noggin is very secure. I'd have no concerns about it jumping off mid-ride.

At an RPP 1p short of £40 it's not cheap so it's a question of how much you value the versatility it offers. I really liked it, but I'd want a hefty discount before I actually bought one.

Verdict

Versatile rear light for long audaxes, urban commuting and group rides.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Niterider Solas rear 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 Solas 2 Watt Tail Light is brand new for 2012/13 and features 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 need to still want to stay visible and safer but not annoy others in the pack."

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

2 watt LED

Micro-USB chargeable

Li-ion battery

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Solid plastic body feels reassuringly weighty and robust.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Nice spread of light (180 degree) thanks to clear casing. Well thought out modes.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Feels a little hefty, but really - who cares?

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

There's no getting away from the fact that this is a pretty pricey rear light although it's much cheaper than the willy-waving likes of the L&M 180.

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

Very good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Nice modes - especially the 36hr group ride mode. That's going to be enough to get you round a long audax without any worries.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A bit pricey.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe, but not at full RRP.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Nice little light that won't hypnotise your riding chums.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

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: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Is that the bracket bolt that came with it? If so, looks way too long and a good clothing-snagger. Even On-One's £2.50 Phaart lights had better looking mounts.
Run times are very good, so a reasonable alternative to the Moon Shield and similar lights.

posted by Dr_Lex [114 posts]
15th March 2013 - 14:24

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'I really liked it, but I'd want a hefty discount before I actually bought one.' - Is it within the remit of reviewing a product to make such a rash declaration? Surely just lop off half a star because of price & value? How are independent bike dealers ever going to thrive when someone reviewing a product is promoting a 'discount it or else' mentality? Stupid.

Same as Dr Lex - if that is the mount bolt supplied with the light, it looks like it would fit my gutter downpipe..... Confused

Bikesoup's picture

posted by Bikesoup [22 posts]
16th March 2013 - 20:50

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Bikesoup wrote:
'I really liked it, but I'd want a hefty discount before I actually bought one.' - Is it within the remit of reviewing a product to make such a rash declaration? Surely just lop off half a star because of price & value? How are independent bike dealers ever going to thrive when someone reviewing a product is promoting a 'discount it or else' mentality? Stupid.

Why is it stupid to give readers a bit more info and context? Is it a good light:- yes. Would I spend £40 on one:- probably not. Note the 'value for money' score - if the light had been cheaper that would have been higher. If I was spending my own money I'd probably opt for either the RSP Silicone that I reviewed a few weeks ago (rrp £20, £11.95 if you look around) or the Smart R2 (rrp £25.49, currently £10 at Planet-X). Next to those the Solas looks expensive.

The bolt does look long but I have the bracket on my bike (that's not it in the picture btw) with a rubber shim and there's about 2/3cm of spare thread showing. Hardly enough to get excited about.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [248 posts]
17th March 2013 - 21:56

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i bought this light for £30 which is much more reasonable. The lights is bright and has a good selection of flashing mode. The bad points are
1.) The rubber USB port bung lets water in and so needs tape putting over it or vaseline to repel the water.
2.) The battery is a pathetic 700mahrs and gives a run time of 4.5 hours on full. This is pathetic. My blacknurn mars 4.0 gives about 40 hours on full using 2 AAA batteries. Why is it that all powerfull rears lights have pathetic batteries. Why not use standard AA batteries or at least put a battery in thats man enough for the power of the light. If this light used 3 AA 2500mahr rechargables batteries it would have an amazing run time even on full it would last about 16 hrs. This would be much better. The bracket also appears to be a custom bracket and unique to niterider. If it breaks what then, ya nackered.

posted by huddsrider [1 posts]
27th November 2013 - 20:41

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