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The NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 offers everything you want from a light to see you through this winter – and quite a few more. Its beam is plenty powerful enough for riding on unlit roads and it has modes for urban use; the run-times are ample for most riders' needs and it's well built, all for a reasonable price – even more so if you can find it discounted online.
Importantly, the light is easy to operate, even with gloved fingers. It simply slides on and off the sturdy handlebar mount, which offers lots of lateral adjustment, and a large, accessible button on top doubles as the power/mode button plus battery and charging indicator. It has a sensible number of modes: three steady beams (850, 450 and 200 lumens) plus a very bright flash that is ideal for daylight use to alert drivers to your presence, and lasts about 10 hours. A fifth steady 60-lumen mode is advertised as a walking mode and claimed to last 35 hours.
The button glows blue when the light is on, and turns red to warn you when the battery is low on charge. On full beam it gave a good 10 minutes' warning before changing to a lower setting, staying on for another 15 minutes or so before dying. On low beam it lasted a good hour on red before switching off.
Charging is a doddle, and the port is sensibly positioned on the base of the unit, with a rubber plug to seal it and further reduce any chance of water ingress. Use the supplied Micro-USB cable to charge at home or work, via your computer or a wall socket plug; the latter is quicker and it does a full recharge in about 2 hours. The button flashes during charging then goes solid blue when it's charged, and even if you leave it plugged in overnight the 'intellicharge' function prevents overcharging. A very handy feature is the lock mode, so it won't accidentally switch on in your bag. Press and hold the button for 7 seconds to activate and deactivate.
I used the Micro 850 on my commute, which includes unlit towpath and city streets. The beam is amply bright to light my way along the canal, and spot the black dogs off the lead in the distance. The beam gives a good projection and decent spread; if I was being picky I'd like a touch more peripheral illumination, like the Kryptonite F800 gives, for riding on unlit roads/tracks, but if you stick mainly to streetlight areas this is inconsequential.
To switch from the steady beam to flash you have to hold down the button for 3 seconds, which can seem a while if you're doing it while riding along the road, but to revert to steady it's just a quick press.
I also have a 2017 NiteRider Lumina 1100 Boost, which is noticeably bigger and heavier, and there's not a lot of difference in the beam strength and pattern. That had an RRP of £110, which makes the Micro 850 a real bargain. The Micro 850 also has a similar beam pattern to 2017's Lumina 900 Boost (£85) reviewed on road.cc, but this has already been superseded by the Lumina 1000 Boost (only £80 RRP), so NiteRider is constantly updating and improving its offerings.
There's not much to find fault with here. Maybe it could benefit from a touch more peripheral illumination for unlit roads/paths, and there are no windows to make the light visible to other road users from the side. And it would be great if the helmet mount could be included, especially as NiteRider describes it as an ideal helmet light, or at least make it a lot cheaper to buy as £20 seems excessive compared with the cost of the light itself.
A good sturdy light that performs well at a decent price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 front light
Size tested: 850 Lumens
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: "Producing 850 brilliant lumens, the NiteRider® Lumina™ Micro 850 is smaller, lighter, and more compact than the original Lumina™ series. Its compact profile and high light output make the Lumina™ Micro 850 ideal for helmet mounted applications, helmet mount available as an optional accessory. Using the included handlebar mount (fits up to 35mm) with quick release tab, prevents any chance of theft by allowing convenient removal and installation of the head light."
Considering it's advertised as an ideal helmet light, it's a pity you have to buy the helmet mount separately, especially as it costs £20.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Lumen Output: 850
Run Times: 1:30 – 35hrs
Quick Charge Time: 1:45hrs at 1Amp
Normal Charge Time: 3:30hrs at 500mA
All New Collimator Lens, produces a generous even widespread beam
4 Light Levels plus 1 Daylight Flash Mode
FL1 Standard IP64, dust and water-resistant
High output light using a CREE LED at 6000k
Lightweight; 130g including mount
Secure on and off-road handlebar mount
Fits standard and oversize 35mm handlebars
Small compact design that's perfect for helmet mounting (Helmet Mount Sold Separately)
Convenient USB rechargeable
Low battery indicator
Lock Mode, perfect for use during storage and transporting the light. Press and hold power button for 7 seconds to lock out operation of light
Like all NiteRiders I've seen, it's built very well. The housing is solid and will easily withstand a few knocks and drops.
The single button is simple to use, although to access the flashing mode you have to hold it down for 3 seconds, which is quite a long time if you want to do it as you're riding along. But then to return to steady beam you just press it again, no holding.
It's a new hinged clamp design that closes in an oval shape, rather than round, and fastens via a long screw that you can easily tighten by hand holding the plastic end 'twizzle'. It is designed to work with all bar diameters, up to 35mm. Once tightened it stays firmly put thanks to the rubber shim, which is good and secure but means you can't easily swivel the light up and down, like some clamp designs. There is lots of lateral adjustment of the clamp head, though, which is useful. Fitting and removal is quick and easy – just slide it on, and press the tab to release it to slide off.
It is IP64 rated, ie splash resistant, but I had no worries using it in quite heavy rain.
Mode One: 200 lumens light output – 9 hours battery life
Mode Two: 450 lumens light output – 4 hours battery life
Mode Three: 850 lumens light output – 1.30 hours battery life
Mode Four (Flashing): 10 hours battery life
Mode Five (steady): 60 lumens light output – 35 hours battery life
My sample lasted a bit longer on full beam, nearly 2hrs, while the 450 low beam dimmed after 7 hours, so 2hrs less than claimed.
Recharging (via USB cable) times are quite adequate. They're cited as Normal Charge Time: 3:30hrs at 500mA, Quick Charge Time: 1:45hrs at 1Amp and that's about right.
Both mount and head unit feel sturdy, plus NiteRider offers a lifetime warranty that "covers any defects in mechanical components (housings, covers, mounts and fasteners) and LEDs". I've had other NiteRiders that lasted a good few years.
130g for light and mount is hardly noticeable.
It represents solid value for the performance, especially considering its durability and lifetime warranty. It's cheaper than some of equal lumenage, but more than others (see below).
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: it has a decent beam pattern and enough power to light up unlit country roads, a daylight visible flash, good run-times and quick recharging.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Brightness, run-times, size, weight, build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing really, although perhaps the beam could be a little wider spread. A helmet mount could be included, too, or be a lot cheaper to buy as an extra.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's the same price as the Kryptonite F800, which doesn't throw out as much light; it is significantly cheaper than the Cateye Volt 800 (RRP £90), which has a near-identical beam pattern, but it's a little more than the Lezyne Lite Drive 800XL (£57 RRP), which isn't quite as bright but has better peripheral illumination, although shorter run-times.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A very good and versatile light, suitable for daytime, urban and off-road use. Great build quality, easy to use, good burn-times and quick charging – all for a sensible price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Trek Fuel EX9.9 2012 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax