If you’re looking for a gift for the cyclist in your life, here’s are the lights I’ve been using this year that have worked out well.
- I really like the NiteRider Minewt Mini USB headlight. 110 lumens for 3 hours at under $100. You charge with any powered USB connection, the flexible band mount works, and the light has been rugged after nearly two years of use. the Minewt Mini is Nite Rider’s best selling light ever: in their first year, this light outsold all of NiteRider’s other lights combined. Drawbacks: No blink mode, and no battery charge indication, so plug it in each night to ensure a full charge because otherwise the light might stop shining with no warning.
- If you want more light, battery indicator, and blink modes, I like NiteRider’s MiNewt X2 Dual. $280 for 300 lumens of illumination. A friend owns this light and it’s pretty blazingly bright.
- For a taillight, I like both the Princeton Tec Swerve and Planet Bike’s popular Superflash light. Both lights retail for about $30.
I love the fast flashing pattern of the Planet Bike Superflash, which has a single half-watt red LED and two smaller LEDs. The apparent brightness up close is more impressive, but Princeton Tec’s Swerve with its two half watt LEDs is more visible from a distance. Because I ride multiple bikes, I also prefer the Swerve’s more flexible mounting over the screw mounted bracket required for the Superflash. I think side visibility is better with the Swerve over the Superflash.
Early production of the Swerve apparently had some cold solder problems — after enough jolts the light just stops working. Princeton Tec tells me the issue has been resolved, and my replacement light is still going.
Princeton Tec started as a dive light company, so presumably they know how to make waterproof lights. I haven’t put a working Swerve light through a California rainy season yet.
I’m currently on about my fourth Superflash, two of which failed after water exposure and one that I lost when it bounced out of its bracket. That’s over $100 out of my pocket for me
Disclosure: I paid for the Superflash and Minewt USB myself. Princeton Tec provided a review sample of the Swerve for me to evaluate. I’ve also used lights from Cateye, Blackburn, Serfas, Knog and others. Cateye are solid and dependable but a little behind the curve in current LED technology. Serfas lights fall apart and stop working after only a few weeks.
Tell me: What are your favorite lights? I’m impressed with Dinotte’s offerings, though I’ve never used them myself. I’ve also seen some interesting homebrew setups while biking around Silicon Valley.
Coming up: Bike Apparel.