The NiteRider Pro 1800 Race is the highest overall scoring bike light we've tested, and it earns our Top Pick Award for Mountain Biking. We give it a 10 out of 10 for its battery life, beam quality, and brightness. It has the most evenly lit beam and one of the the greatest maximum usable distances (a whopping 175 meters) of all 16 lights tested. As well, the brightness and battery life make it unmatched for long trail rides.Unfortunately, its large size, heavy weight, and time consuming installation, make it ill-suited to commuting unless you really need a bright light for safety, or have an unusually extensive commute. For most commuting situations, our field testers preferred the more compact lights with integrated batteries, such as the NiteRider Lumina 750, our Editors' Choice Award winner, or even the NiteRider Lumina 550 or Cygolite Metro 400 if you're on a budget. But, if you want a powerful light that rivals some car headlights, look no further.
NiteRider Pro 1800 Review
Cons: Very heavy, expensive and time-consuming to install and remove
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
This light blows away all of the 16 lights we tested as our top scorer with an impressive score of 87 out of a possible 100. You can see the chart above to see the individual scores that brought this light to the forerunner of our testing.
The NiteRider Pro 1800 Race excels on the trail for nighttime riding, but also has great versatility for either helmet or handlebar mounting. You're guaranteed great visibility during your city commutes; in fact, cars will most likely flash their lights at you because this light is so bright. Plus, you'll definitely be able to see everything that's thrown at you while riding on trails, which is why the NiteRider Pro took our award as the Top Pick for Mountain Biking.
Brightness is generally considered to be the most important criteria for safe nighttime riding. Whether your goal is to illuminate the road ahead, or simply to be seen by oncoming traffic, a bright, wide, evenly lit beam is ideal. However, when you're specifically looking for a light to excel while you're on mountain bike trails, you also need a light that can illuminate the night in order to see what the trail's about to throw at you! Therefore, you need a light with the greatest maximum beam distance.
As you can see in the table above, this is the brightest light we tested. It has a maximum beam distance of 175-meters, this is much brighter than the average light tested. See the images below to compare beam distance and beam pattern. While the NiteRider Lumina 750 shined as our Editors' Choice, it also exceeds the Pro 1800's max beam distance by only five meters. You can see in the photo below how close these two truly are in terms of the ability to see far into the distance.
Yet, when you compare the Pro 1800 to the other two lights with external battery packs, you can see a real difference in brightness. The Pro 1800 Race is on your left in the following photos.
Ideally, you are looking for an evenly lit beam, that is wide and projects as far into the distance as possible.
This light has the second widest beam and the most even beam pattern of all lights tested. It is phenomenal for trail finding. The photos below compare the Pro 1800 (left) to the NiteRider Lumina 750 (right). The Lumina 750 is the winner for commuting lights, but the 1800 clearly is much more powerful and has a more even beam pattern for mountain biking.
The Light and Motion Taz 1500 is another high scoring light within this category, earning a 9. In the photo below, you can see how it stacks up side by side with the Pro 1800. As you look closely, you can see that the only real difference between the two beam patterns is that the Pro 1800's evenly lit beam floods out to the edges of your peripheral and the Taz doesn't quite reach as far.
We used three key considerations in calculating our battery life scores: beam power over time, USB rechargeable batteries versus AAA/AA battery powered, and regulated vs. non-regulated beams. The major contributing factor while scoring this light is comparing the beam distance over the full life of the battery, and seeing when the light may or may not begin to loose strength.
The NiteRider Pro 1800 Race is our top scoring light within the USB rechargeable lights in this category, with a perfect 10 out of 10 and a battery life of 3.8 hours. With a maximum beam distance measured around 175-meters, the light quickly spikes to that level, but takes a gradual plunge before the first half hour is up, losing almost 30-meters of illumination. The Pro 1800 hovers between 150-meters and 165-meters for nearly three and a half hours before shutting off.
In this comparison chart, you can see how the Pro 1800 measures up to another light with an external batteries, the Bright Eyes Rechargeable 1200. While the Bright Eyes maintains a maximum beam distance over the duration of the charge in its batteries, it falls almost two hours short in longevity.
When compared to the much smaller and more compact Light and Motion Vis 360+, the two are neck-and-neck for longevity; yet, the Vis 360+ maintains a beam strength of less than half the distance of the Pro 1800.
Though our Editors' Choice winner, the NiteRider Lumina 750, and the Pro 1800 are relatively the most comparable in terms of maximum beam distance, the Lumina 750 looses battery power around two hours before the Pro 1800, as you can see in this comparison chart.
This is by far the largest and heaviest bike light we tested. It weighs a whopping 17.6-ounces and including the external battery, takes up nearly 22-cubic inches. The other two lights we tested with external battery packs weigh in with the compact Vis 360+ at just 4.6 ounces, while the Bright Eyes Rechargeable 1200 comes in at 6.2-ounces lighter than the Pro 1800.This light can be mounted to a helmet, which some people may prefer for trail riding. However, the large size makes it a little unwieldy on the head.
Installing this light on your bike requires mounting the battery onto your frame with Velcro strips, screwing on the handlebar mount, attaching the light, and attaching and securing the battery cables that run to the light. This process can take a few minutes. In comparison, most handlebar lights with integrated batteries go on and off in less than 10 seconds. For mountain biking, the Pro 1800's installation is not as big an issue — the superior beam quality and brightness is worth the effort.
The NiteRider Pro 1800 really shines while on off-road bike trails. We do not recommend using this light for an urban application unless you need the battery life for a long commute or an exceptionally bright beam for safety.
The Light and Motion Taz 1500 and the Pro 1800 are the two most expensive lights we tested, but we feel the Pro 1800 Race has more value than the Taz 1500 due to its superior battery life and maximum beam distance results. Though the Taz may attempt to encroach on the Pro 1800 Race as a great cross over light, the short battery life does not give it much of an application in a mountain biking setting. If you are looking for an exceptional light with a specific application out on the trails, then this is the light for you.
The NiteRider Pro 1800 Race is the highest, overall scoring light we tested; thus, earning it a Top Pick Award for the specific application of Mountain Biking. While it excels in trail finding; again, we do not recommend it for commuting due its low ranking in portability, unless you are using it under rather specific circumstances.
— Gentrye Houghton