Posts Tagged ‘Dahon lights’

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NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB Tested

Tuesday July 14, 2009

These long summer days have been preventing me testing my new NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB on the bike, in the dark.  It’s still pretty light at 10pm but I ventured out last night with the NiteRider strapped to the Dahon and headed of for a ride of about 3 miles.

The light fixed easily to the Dahon’s handlebar using the smallest of the three rubber bands.  The battery pack strapped neatly to the handlebar upright.  Then I was off.

The NiteRider is significantly brighter than my Cateye HL-EL450 and gives a much brighter and clearer view of the road ahead – which will also aid visibility of me and the bike.  Once mounted, the light could be swivelled left and right to adjust the direction of the beam, however vertical adjustment was more tricky.

You have to set the vertical ‘aim’ of the light prior to fixing the band around the handlebar, once secured it will hold fast.  If you try and push the beam down after fitting, then the tension in the rubber band slowly pulls the beam back to its original position.

So, set the vertical orientation of the light and then pull the band tight and the NiteRider stays pretty much where you point it.

I cycled on roads and paths which ranged from ‘well lit’ to no lighting and the NiteRider’s beam was clear and steady throughout the test.  The beam was well defined and bright at all times and had a significantly longer  ‘range’ than the Cateye.

Don’t get me wrong, the Cateye is a good light and it will stay in my saddle bag when I’m out for the day in case I don’t get back before dark.  However, if I’m going out deliberately for an after dark ride then it’ll be the NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB that joins me.

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NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB

Saturday July 11, 2009

So, I gave in and bought myself a NiteRider front light.  I’ve had my eye on one for a long time as they’ve always had great reviews, fit easily to the bike and produce a lot of light from a small package.

Having two bikes I was looking for a bright light which could be easily transferred between both bikes.  The NiteRider lights don’t require mounting brackets so they’re ideal for this  scenario.

NiteRider lights are not cheap, the MiNewt Mini-USB is the cheapest in their ‘LED range’ and mine set me back £72 at Wiggle.  There’s also a Mini-USB Plus model which includes a helmet-mount and extension cable.

The light itself is small, earning its ‘Mini’ title, at only 2″ long and less than 1 and a 1/4″ wide.  It has an integral mounting foot and it’s secured to the handlebar with a rubber o-ring (3 sizes included).  There’s a single cable (~10″) coming out of the bottom of the light which plugs securely into the supplied battery pack.

The Lithium Ion battery pack attaches to your bike with a velcro strap (not pictured below), there’s a rubber pad on the rear of the battery pack which ensures that the pack doesn’t move once in place.  The pack is a little over 3″ long by 1.5″ wide, and around 1 and 1/4″ deep so can fit neatly on the stem without much hassle.  There isn’t much to the battery pack, it has the socket for the light cable, the on/off switch and the mini-USB connector.  The latter is protected by a rubber flap which keeps if free from dust and water.

The MiNewt Mini-USB is supplied with a mains charger and a USB cable for charging from your computer’s USB port.  This is a great idea, especially if you’re going to use the light on your daily commute.  Keeping the USB cable in work will allow you to top up the battery’s charge  ready for the journey home.  Charge time (from empty) is 4.5 hours.

Build quality is excellent, from the lens to the cable and battery, it all looks great.  The brightness of the light is excellent and it completely washes out the beam from my Cateye HL-EL450.  The Cateye’s output has a slight bluish tint whereas the NiteRider is a brighter, cleaner, white light.  I haven’t been out cycling with the NiteRider yet, but I’ve performed the ‘in-the-house-in-the-dark‘ test and the ‘stare-into-the-light‘ (!!!) test.  It passed both tests well.  The NiteRider’s beam is wide with a centrally focused ‘hot spot’ – it’s significantly brighter than the Cateye, ensuring that you can see and be seen more.

Unlike the Cateye though, there’s only one mode on the NiteRider.  It’s either on or off – no high/low mode and no flashing mode.

Another independent review of this light can be found over on the Women In Training blog – I found this review useful as I made up my mind on whether or not to buy the NiteRider.

The Box

In The Box

Contents (battery velcro not shown)

Light and Battery (£1 coin for scale)

Cateye HL-EL450 vs NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB

MiNewt Mini-USB Fitted To Dahon D7HG

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