The NiteRider Pro 1800 is the highest scoring bike light we've tested. We give it a 10 out of 10 for its beam pattern and brightness. It had the evenest beam and by far the greatest maximum distance (a whopping 172 meters) of all 20 lights tested. This is our favorite light for mountain biking, since the brightness and battery life make it unmatched for long trail rides. Unfortunately, its large size, heavyweight and time consuming installation, make it ill-suited to commuting unless you really need a super bright light for safety, or have an unusually long commute. For most commuting situations, our testers in four U.S. cities much preferred a more compact lights with integrated batteries. But, if you wants a powerful light that rivals some car headlights, look no further.
If you're looking for more of a balance between a powerful light that is still easy to remove, charge and is much less expensive, we recommend the Cygolite Expilion 800, our Editors' Choice award winner.
NiteRider Pro 1800 ReviewPrice: $350 List | $261.99 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great beam distance and quality, lasts five hours in high mode.
Cons: Very heavy, expensive and time-consuming to install and remove.
Battery Life (hours): 4.9 hr
Battery Type: Rechargable
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Bike Light Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This light has the second widest beam and likely 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 Expilion 800. The Expilion 800 was the clear winner for commuting lights, but the 1800 clearly is much more powerful and has a more even beam pattern.
As you can see in the table above, this is the brightest light we tested. It has a maximum beam distance of 172 meters. It is roughly twice as bright as the average light tested. See the images below to compare beam distance and beam pattern. While the Expilion 800 shined almost as far, you can see in the photo below that at that distance it didn't illuminate the path nearly as brightly as the Pro 1800.
This is by far the largest and heaviest bike light we tested. It weighs a whopping 17.9 ounces and including the external battery, takes up nearly 22 cubic inches.
Installing this light 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 couple of 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 bream quality and brightness is worth the effort.
— Chris McNamara
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