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#2411257 - 10/20/11 02:00 PM Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600
JOD Offline


Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 3069
Loc: PNW/WA
Remember all that talk about how LED technology was going to revolutionize bike lights? I think it's finally here:

http://www.niterider.com/rechargeable-new/minewt-600-cordless-new/

I just got of these. For reference, I've been riding at night pretty regularly for the last 15+ years, and I've used pretty much every brand and every type of high-end light, from Nightsun to the Cateye Stadium light, and most things in between. This light, and the others in this category (and soon to come) are truly the transformational products everyone has been waiting for since the advent of LED.

The light is 600 lumens. For reference as to how bright that is, my old L&M ARC HID was equivalent to 675 lumens. That's when it was working--which was infrequently.... That light also cost $500.00 retail, had an external battery back and had a host of issues associated with fitting an HID light onto a bicycle.

The big deal with this light is that it puts out this much power with no external battery pack. No wires, no battery--just a single light that clips onto your handlebars, stem or helmet. The light is crazy-bright even on the "medium" setting, and the beam pattern is awesome. There's a concentrated spot, but a good bit of flood as well, and the quality of the light seems really good. Run time is 1:30-4:30 hours depending on mode. It charges via mini-USB to USB, which is nice. Lastly, it's made in the US. Retail price is around $150.00, though it's available cheaper. Even @ $150.00 this is a ridiculously good value compared to lights just 2 or 3 years ago.

Potential downsides? The mount isn't my favorite. It uses the "ratcheting plastic clamp" method. It's plenty secure for road use, but keeping it in place offroad will probably be tough. And since the battery is contained in the unit, it's a little heavy to use as a helmet light. Still, I'd still prefer it vs. having the cord down my back. For road use though, this light is pretty much perfect. The runtime is more than enough for almost any ride, and even on medium you're at about the max light output that's not going to irritate motorists.

It has a 2 year warranty, 6 months on the battery, which is more than most. The front half is aluminum, the rear plastic--I'm guessing a concession to weight. Still, it seems to be build solidly. Overall, I'd highly recommend it--though if you're using it offroad, it would probably work better as a helmet mount given the mount.

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#2411472 - 10/20/11 05:24 PM Re: Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600 [Re: JOD]
dailydriver Offline


Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 6825
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
THANKS, JOD! thumbsup

I was waiting for something like this where you did not have to add 2 lbs. to the bike, and use up a water bottle cage!
_________________________
2000 Z28 1SC 6 speed 170K miles
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#2411912 - 10/21/11 08:53 AM Re: Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600 [Re: JOD]
45ACP Offline


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Dallas Texas
I had the Zefal units from Walmart for about $14 or so. LED headlight, LED reflector, three modes. Worked perfect. Had it on my mountain bike. Sold it three days ago, but wow what great nighttime visibility!

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#2412825 - 10/22/11 12:24 PM Re: Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600 [Re: 45ACP]
JOD Offline


Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 3069
Loc: PNW/WA
Originally Posted By: 45ACP
I had the Zefal units from Walmart for about $14 or so. LED headlight, LED reflector, three modes. Worked perfect. Had it on my mountain bike. Sold it three days ago, but wow what great nighttime visibility!


I used a similar light for the first week of darkness, when I refuse to admit that I need a light--holding onto the last vestiges of summer...

When I put on a high-powered light back on the bike, I am dumbfounded by the difference. This thing is equal to the average motorcycle light. I guess whether or not you need it depends a lot on speed. I can easily hit 40mph on a downhill, 5 minutes from my house. At that speed, I'll easily "outrun" the light. For a 12-15mph ride on a flat bike trail, a small clip-on works well. But there's a HUGE difference between them. And ultimately, I'll pay for safety. Lights are one place I just won't skimp.

An update to the light: I did a night ride the last 2 evenings with the light on high, just to check the battery life. The red warning light came on after about 70 minutes, indicating I had 15% left. So, the 90 minute claimed run time on high seems to be dead-on. And for most riding, the 700 lumen setting is overkill. I'll probably use the "medium" setting, 400 lumens, most of the time.

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#2470108 - 12/22/11 10:53 AM Re: Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600 [Re: JOD]
Brons2 Offline


Registered: 09/16/03
Posts: 2484
Loc: Austin, Texas
I would still prefer an external battery. The battery life on this light is fine for commuting, but not so much for long distance riding at night.

I have a couple of DiNotte's older products. They have recently updated their product line with the newer Cree LEDs. But my older ones would go 8+ hours on low. On a 200 or 300KM brevet at night, I would run them on low out in the sticks and on high if I came to a town.

For 400K+ there's no substitute for a dynohub, I have a Schmidt dynohub setup for that. http://www.nabendynamo.de/produkte/dynamos.html (sorry only German).
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Hers: 2010 Rav4 Sport 2.5 I4, M1 5w20, OEM filter

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#2470163 - 12/22/11 11:32 AM Re: Bike Light Review! NiteRider MiNewt 600 [Re: Brons2]
JOD Offline


Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 3069
Loc: PNW/WA
Originally Posted By: Brons2
I would still prefer an external battery. The battery life on this light is fine for commuting, but not so much for long distance riding at night.

I have a couple of DiNotte's older products. They have recently updated their product line with the newer Cree LEDs. But my older ones would go 8+ hours on low. On a 200 or 300KM brevet at night, I would run them on low out in the sticks and on high if I came to a town.


Runtime is definitely the tradeoff with this light. That said, I've been using it for a couple of months now, and in real-world use I end up having it on "low" most of the time. That puts the run-time around 4-4.5 hours. Me? I'm never on my bike that long unless I have a number pinned on my back, and certainly not at night. If you're a 24 hour racer or brevet guy, then yeah, this isn't the light for you. For MTB at night, it would be a good supplemental light, but the mount really isn't the best for off-road. So ultimately I think it's a great commuter or roadie light. I love being able to just pull it off the bike in 10 seconds and not have to mess with the battery pack. I'm as happy now as when I first got it.

Originally Posted By: Brons2
For 400K+ there's no substitute for a dynohub, I have a Schmidt dynohub setup for that. http://www.nabendynamo.de/produkte/dynamos.html (sorry only German).


Well, it depends how fast you're riding that 400K! The top-range Niterider has a runtime of 36 hours on low, with the option to put it on super-blast mode if you're bombing down a hill. At 50mph, I'll take this over any generator light:
http://www.niterider.com/rechargeable-new/pro-3000-led-new/

The cost is insane, but if I raced 24 hour MTB, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this light.

In my effort to ditch disposable batteries, I got a USB-rechargeable tail light:
https://www.serfas.com/products/view/143/referer:products|index|lights|tail-lights|page:2

I like this even more than the front light. This is the only tail light that comes close to the old Niterider tail light (that ran off of the battery pack), but it's way more convenient. In morning-dusk conditions is when the added brightness really matters. It's expensive, but cheaper than your health insurance deductible after you get run over.

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