Daylight savings time is upon us, and with it comes progressively more afternoon and evening sunlight. But that doesn’t mean night riding season is over! Nope, now’s the time for dawn patrol and 24 Hour races.
And for that, you need a dependable light. I give you the Niterider Pro 1500 LED.
The Niterider Pro 1500 (the 1500 stands for a whopping 1,500 lumens) comes in two variations: Race and DIY. Since I’m not much of a weight weenie, I decided to go with the DIY, as it offers a larger battery (a 6 cell compared to the 4 cell race battery), which obviously weighs more but also provides a longer burn time.
DIY, of course, stands for do it yourself. Niterider allows you use computer software to customize the light output settings of the headlamp. If you so desire, you can format various output settings to suit your personal riding needs.
Unfortunately, the DIY software is only compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and above so if you have a Mac (or a really old PC), you’re just plain out of luck. As a result, I was not able to test out the DIY software personally. Hey Niterider, how about a little love for the Apple users!
In reality, I don’t know if I would have needed to program the light myself anyway. The Pro 1500 comes with three pre-programmed light levels, as well as a flash option:
- 450 lumens with a claimed run time of 10:00.
- 900 lumens with a claimed run time of 4:30.
- 1500 lumens with a claimed run time of 2:30.
The light comes with an adjustable helmet mount and a solid universal handlebar mount, fitting up to a 31.8mm handlebar.
Side view of the helmet mount.
The light itself features 3 LEDs with appropriate reflectors, a hard protective outer shell, a button on top of the light to control light output, battery use indicator lights, and plenty of air vents to scoop in air and cool the light to keep it from overheating. The thick, protected cable is routed logically out of the right side of the light, eliminating any awkward cable bends.
The cable itself is worth noting: it is noticeably thicker and better protected than cables on some other lights that I have used. The junction between the cables is surrounded by thick rubber to prevent any water from seeping in. Of course, this thick rubber might add a couple of grams, but it’s well worth it for the quality of construction.
Moving down the system, the battery is a 6 cell Lithium-Ion battery that easily detaches from the cable and frame connectors for charging.
The charging station may be one of my favorite features of the Pro 1500. I have my light’s charging dock set up on my desk right next to my computer and external hard drive. All I have to do when I get home after a ride is pop the battery out of my mount and stick it in the dock.
I also don’t have to worry about draining the battery all the way on the ride: even if I only ride with it for 15 minutes, I can drop it in the dock and the battery will charge correctly. The dock features flashing lights to show the progress of the charge, and it will let me know when the charge is complete.
What really blows me away is that when the battery is done, you just leave it there on the dock until you’re ready to use it. If it’s a week until your next night ride, that’s OK. According to Niterider, it is totally fine for the battery to be left on the dock indefinitely. The dock will automatically check the charge every 24 hours, and will top the battery off as needed.
How’s that for convenience? Wondering whether your battery needs to be charged–no longer an issue!
Out on the Trail
The durable construction of the light proved to be an indicator of how it actually performed: solidly, dependably, and with zero issues.
Early on in my test, I was riding with my light helmet-mounted, and I wasn’t paying close attention to what I was doing. I caught the light on the end of a log that was overhanging the trail just over head-height. The force of the impact ripped the light right off of my helmet mounting bracket! I stopped, and frantically took my helmet off to assess the damage. I thought for sure that I had either broken the light or had snapped the helmet mount.
Upon examination, I found that the light had indeed come off the helmet mount, and that part of the mounting bracket had detached from the main mount and had cracked a little bit. Thanks to the way the mount was designed, the inexpensive mount had failed before the (much more) expensive light, thereby protecting it from real damage.
After looking at the mount a little more, I realized that it was cracked, but I was able to snap it back into place and voila: it still works like new! Niterider’s quality system took some serious impact due to my inattention and rebounded from it without having to replace any parts. That’s quality if I’ve ever seen it. Even if you were to break the mount, replacement mounts are only $16 at JensonUSA… that’s much cheaper than buying a new light!
If you want a bright lighting system but you don’t want to mess with setting up multiple lights, the Pro 1500 LED may be perfect for you! The whopping 1,500 lumens is a crazy amount of light and at times seems even brighter than daylight. I ran the light helmet-mounted most of the time, and I always had more than enough light no matter how fast I was descending.
In reality, I could comfortably ride with the 900 lumen setting in most situations, and the 400 is plenty for climbing. On longer rides, I would click between the three light settings in an effort to conserve my battery power. Most of my night rides weren’t much longer than 3 hours this winter, and with 2 hours and 30 minutes of burn time on high, I was able to use the 1500 lumen setting a lot.
I hesitate to show actual photos of the light shining on the trail as invariably the camera can’t truly capture the awesomeness of this bright light. However, here’s my best attempt:
In this photo, the light is angled down at the ground to show the beam pattern. The Pro 1500 features a bright center to illuminate whatever you are focusing on, but it also has a lot of light spilling out on all sides to illuminate everything in your periphery. This helps eliminate tunnel vision and allows you see your surroundings much more clearly.
One of the little features that just makes me smile and helps me realize how much attention to detail Niterider puts into their products is this small Velcro power cord guide:
Instead of having to route the cable through a helmet vent, Niterider has provided this small Velcro strap to eliminate the chance of any discomfort stemming for an awkward routing.
Finally, while I did run the light on my helmet most of the time, I tried running it on my bars once or twice to see how it functioned. It took me a little while to get the handlebar mount adjusted correctly, but once it was in place, it was absolutely bomber:
The cord strap came in handy here too, allowing me to Velcro it to my stem to keep it from flapping around and getting caught on anything.
Rubber pads on the bottom of the battery mount provided a rock-solid, vibration-free ride.
If you want to get away with a single light for night riding and you put a premium on dependability, the Niterider Pro 1500 LED is for you. This light offers premium light output and premium construction; not surprisingly, it also comes with a premium price tag: $549.99 MSRP.
If 1500 lumens still isn’t enough for you, be sure to check out the 3000 lumen behemoth that is the crowning jewel of Niterider’s line.
Many thanks to Niterider for providing the Pro 1500 LED for review!