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Old 10-13-02, 05:49 AM   #1
The Fife
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NiteRider 10w brighter than digital15w

I use two Niterider light systems, one light mounted on helmet and the other on handlebars. The NR Evolution which is a simple 10w head is twice as bright as the fancy 15w, 10w or 6w digital out of the box which costs almost twice as much. I switched batteries to see if that was the problem, it wasn't.
Has anyone else experienced problems with the digital models? I'm not impressed with them. I'm thinking of exchanging the digital 15w model for another non-digital and changing the 10w bulb to 15w.
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Old 10-13-02, 01:26 PM   #2
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Just got back from LL Bean. Compared the 10w Revolution ($150) to 15w Digital Revolution ($229). Same thing, the 10w Revolution was much brighter than the much more expensive 15w Digital Revolution.
Since posting my initial topic I have also compared the same new 15w Digital Revolution(with new Niterider SurLok connectors) to an older 15w Digital Nite-Owl model. The old 15w digital Nite Owl is much, much brighter than the new 15w digital model.
Has anyone else out there have any info to add? If you only have had a new 2002 Nite-rider 15w digital you may never know the difference until you compare it with others. The Fife
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Old 10-13-02, 02:08 PM   #3
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Hi Fife...you from Maine? I have not used the Night Rider models you mention...but if they seem brighter, than they likely are.
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Old 10-13-02, 05:24 PM   #4
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Yes, from Maine. No mistaking the 10w lesser model is much brighter. Niterider has always been the best in the past but I'm thinking the quality may be diminishing with time.
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Old 10-13-02, 08:04 PM   #5
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I use a eternaLight flashlight on my helmet, which uses 4 leds. Works quite well, but may try out the NiteRider for stationary lighting on the bike. Do they sell these at LL Beans? Thanks
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Old 10-14-02, 10:44 AM   #6
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I don't have first hand experience with either model, but did a little research last year when shopping for a new headlight. I had a NiCad rechargeable NiteRider whose battery pack finally croaked. And I learned that you can no longer get NiCads. No problem... NiMH is so much better it was worth the money.

Anyhow, I can't comment on the intensity brightness, but I think a big factor in the price difference is that the digital comes with a smart charger.

And, from what I saw in www.roadbikereview.com, the general consensus was that NiteRider quality had slipped in recent years. I wound up getting a Performance Viewpoint (brand) headlight, which is a rebranded Marwi.
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Old 10-14-02, 02:23 PM   #7
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I have a Digital Evolution, it is bright enough, I hardly ever use the 15w setting.
Speaking of quality, Iíve had 3 Digital Evolutions in the last year. The quality on the connections s*&k and tend to short out after a few months of winter riding. Thank goodness Performance took them back no questions asked. The one I have now seems to be holding up ok except for the remote switch. It broke the 1st time I unplugged it.

As far as comparing the digital and non digital, the charger with the digital is great. I got up Friday and remembered my battery was below 25% the night before and I had forgotten to charge it. I put it on the charger while I was getting ready to go (about 45 minutes) and it was up to 50% by the time I left. Enough to make the 24 mile round trip.
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Old 10-14-02, 04:48 PM   #8
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I agree, the Micro-Brute is truely a smart charger. It is great and can be ordered through BikeWorld.com which has an outstanding web-site with tons of NiteRider parts for $42. No need to buy an expensive Digital system for a charger. They have the Micro-Brute for the older round connectors PN 6206 and new style PN= 6456. You can also get a 12" adapter cord that you can plug the new style SurLok connectors on the new batteries into the old style round coaxial size "N" connectors for use on the old heads.
The new Digital 15w is not bright enough for me while going down some of the hills around here at 30++ mph. Thanks for the input, any other info would sure be appreaciated.
We will talk about how to save big time (1/2$) on NiMH batteries on another thread soon. The Fife
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Old 10-15-02, 10:12 AM   #9
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A question I posted in another thread got me geeking around on the web, but I came up with a forum you might be interested in.

If you post your original question in CandlePowerForums, I'll bet someone there can tell you why.

The web is an incredible thing.
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Old 11-10-02, 04:49 PM   #10
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A while back I bought the NiteRider Trail Rat 2.0 (10 watts - $90 on sale at REI) for my son then recently (Octorber 02) bought two NiteRider 6 volt Digital Evolutions (15 watts on high - listed for $229 at Performance) for my wife and myself. We were very suprised and disappointed to see the less expensive 10 watt Trail Rat is MUCH BRIGHTER than both the more pricey Nite Rider Digital Evolution systems. (even though the Evolutions are 15 watts they're not even close to being as bright as the 10 watt Trail Rat) When we did our initial rides testing of only the Digital Evolutions (my son wasn't around with his Trail Rat) they seemed "ok." However, once my son joined us and we saw the extraordinary brightness of the much cheaper Trail Rat, we felt ripped off.

We also notice that one of the two NiteRider 6 volt Digital Evolutions lights we have is always brighter than the other one. Tried swapping chargers but it didn't help. No idea what's up with this but, again, it's disappointing. Anyone have any clues?

FWIW, before getting the NiteRider 6 volt Digital Evolution lights we initially purchased two of the Performance'Viewpoint Duals - '03 models. (cost around $200) Although they are rated at 32 watts total the brightness level was very poor compared to the $100 NiteRider Trail Rat not to mention they are clunky to mount on the bike. Definitely do <not> recommend these lights. We traded them in on the NiteRider Digital Evolution lights. Fortunately, Performance has a great return/refund policy so taking them back was no problem.

We previously owned two of the year 2000 versions of
Performance's Viewpoint Dual systems. They put out GREAT light & were easy to mount but, disappointingly, physically fell apart in about 12-18 months and we really weren't at all rough on them. I felt for $200 they should have lasted longer so I boxed them up, sent them back to Performance. (with no receipts) Lo and behold they sent us <refund checks> in the amount of $175 <each>. I was blown away!!!

It looks to us from what we see (or don't see) on the mountain in the woods on moonless nights that the high end NiteRider HID digital system is super cool & very bright <but> $400 is prohibitively expensive. So thus far it seems NiteRider's cheapest light - the Trail Rat - is by far their best deal in terms of light output versus cost.

Are there ANY lights out there in the $200 range that are brighter/better than the $100 NiteRider Trail Rat???? If not, why bother....

Now......if we could only find <legal> places to ride at night!

GPPhoto
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Old 11-10-02, 06:19 PM   #11
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Very good post gpphoto !!! Thank-you. This is a real problem. I cannot believe more people are not coming forward. One would not know the diff unless they owned both systems, thatís sad. The 10w inexpensive model is much, much brighter than the expensive 15 watt model. I know that, You know that, but how many out there have paid through the nose for the 15w Digital that is more like 7 watt and donít even know the diff? Stay away from the new digital's!!! Stick with the basic model!! Come-on Back. The Fife

Last edited by The Fife; 11-10-02 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 11-10-02, 11:23 PM   #12
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This thread makes me feel better about my Niterider Evolution (10W) purchase.
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Old 11-11-02, 12:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by danr
This thread makes me feel better about my Niterider Evolution (10W) purchase.
Hi Dan,

Now you've got me wondering what's the difference between the basic 10 watt NIteRider Trail Rat 2.0 at around $100 and the 10 watt NiteRider Evolution non-digital that goes for around $150ish. Both seem to have the same wattage and about the same burn times so what's up with the extra $50???

I just spoke with tech support at Performance Bikes where I bought my two NiteRider Digital Evolution lights. (the ones that aren't anywhere near as bright as a Trail Rat but cost twice as much) They said something IS wrong - "the 15 watt Digital Evolution should be much brighter than the Trail Rat," according to them. They suggested I try plugging my Trail Rat head into one of the Digital Evolution batteries to see if it's a battery problem. I tried this and the Trail Rat head is still much brighter than the Digital Evolution head even when using the Digital Evolution battery. This might indicate that the low light level problem with the Digital Evolution is in the head itself.

SO........ Do I take back my $229 Digital Evolution and simply buy 2 Trail Rats - one for helmet/one for handlebars - and actually save money OR do I pony up for the high end NiteRider systems around $400. (not an option my wife would appreciate in this economy...) Anyone got any raves about the more expensive NiteRider systems????

Oh yea... Does anyone have anything BAD to say about the Trail Rat 2.0? If so, your two bits would be much appreciated. The one we've owned for about 8 months has worked great and remained super bright thus far.

Ride today!!!

Gary
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Old 11-11-02, 12:47 PM   #14
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The only difference between the TrailRat and Evolution that I know is that the Evolution comes with helmet mount and remote switch in addition to handlebar mount. Perhaps the10W Trail Rat is the way to go! Much brighter, much less expensive and simpler with less problems. I would highly recommend an optional Micro-Brute charger however. It will pay for itself with less battery damage from overcharging. The other charges that they say are "smart" are not. They have either a 9 or 14 hour timer. If the battery is only half discharged and you leave it charging, it will overcharge. The Micro-Brute has a thermister which will stop the charge upon actual full charge.
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Old 11-12-02, 10:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by gpphoto


Anyone got any raves about the more expensive NiteRider systems????

Gary
Not the Niterider system, but I've got a couple ridiculously long posts about the Light and Motion high-end light on this forum. L&M Arc Light, brief review, or something like that.
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Old 11-13-02, 12:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Merriwether


Not the Niterider system, but I've got a couple ridiculously long posts about the Light and Motion high-end light on this forum. L&M Arc Light, brief review, or something like that.
Hey Merriweather,

Any chance you could share those raves on Light and Motion lights with us???? Ridiculously long is great if it helps us buy bright and reliable lighting systems.

Fwiw, today Performance tech support <agreed> something IS wrong with the NiteRider Evolution 6 Digital system and welcomed me to return the two I bought. They could only guess what was wrong - nothing specific. I'm super impressed with Performance's performance. They've provided great warranty support and immediate and knowlegeable tech support.

Otoh, tech support at NiteRider returned my voicemail with a voicemail saying I should make sure my battery is charged..... HELLO NiteRider!!!!!!! Ya reckon I'd ride a dark trail at dusk or night through dense redwoods about 10 times thus far with an uncharged battery???? Not to be <too> cynical but that's kinda like telling me to make sure my computer is plugged in before sending email... I'm sure the guy meant well...

Share the raves on Light and Motion, Merriweather!

Gary
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Old 11-13-02, 12:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Merriwether


Not the Niterider system, but I've got a couple ridiculously long posts about the Light and Motion high-end light on this forum. L&M Arc Light, brief review, or something like that.
Hello again Merriweather,

Found your very informative previous posts on Light and Motion HID lights using QuickSearch listed under "L & M HID Lights... a brief review." Good information!

Thank you!

GP
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Old 11-13-02, 09:19 PM   #18
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It's confirmed that gpphoto and I have tested the systems with two different suppliers with two different batteries and have found the same result. I'll let you know what NiteRider does. They have both heads that I sent them with my complaint.
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Old 11-13-02, 10:38 PM   #19
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Howdy All,

I have used Niterider lights since about 1993 and I have no complaints what so ever. My first system which was the dual 20w and 12w with a large water bottle battery lasted from 93 to 2001. This is a feat that I feel is extremely difficult to beat. I still use this light but had to rebuild the battery pack and it is still a great light. I now own the Trail Rat II 10w system and I am just as please with this light. I find it to be an extremely well built and light weight system. I actually found the old dual system to be a bit excessive for commuting and normally only used the 12w lamp. As for the complaints of the digital system I guess I am extemely happy that I didn't spend the extra cash for this light. I think the problem you guys are having is the digital control circuit that adjusts the watt output of the lamp is not up to snuff. I am not 100% certain but I would think the circuitry adjusts the amount of current allowed to limit the brightness in each of the various levels which would make the battery last longer in the low settings. Perhaps the max 15w setting doesn't provide an adequate amount of current to the lamp. My only desires for the Trail Rat system would be the Micro Brute smart charger. I too concur with others that the Trail Rat system is an extremely hard system to beat for the price and also that Performance provides very good support for their products with or without a receipt. By the way I use my systems on an average of 3 to 4 times a week and they get double use during the winter during the short days. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Niterider if I was looking for an additional light. As for the guys looking for brighter alternatives to the digital system they may want to consider the Niterider classic system which has a dual lamp and water bottle battery and only costs around $230 which is much less than the HID systems.

John
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Old 11-14-02, 06:22 AM   #20
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How about putting a 15W or 20w bulb in a 10w TrailRat light for people that want brighter than 10w? A spare bulb is $20.
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Old 11-14-02, 11:38 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dorf411
I too concur with others that the Trail Rat system is an extremely hard system to beat for the price and also that Performance provides very good support for their products with or without a receipt.
Would that be http://www.performancebike.com/ ?
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Old 11-14-02, 11:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin S


Would that be http://www.performancebike.com/ ?
It would indeed, Kevin. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Performance has thus far been great at taking back weak product. They'll either let you exchange the item, give you store credit or issue a refund check. Some of Peformance's tech support folks who work at the headquarters in Chapel Hill, NC are avid cyclists. Got an email from one of them this week saying he'd tested the Trail Rat against the Digital Evolution and agrees there is a problem with the Evolution. (he guessed that somehow the circuitry isn't allowing the head to burn at the full 15 watts, as did one of our members here) Tech support invited me to return my Evolution. Previously, I received a full cash refund on a couple of year 2000 Performance brand Dual Pro 32 watt lights (which were great and super bright) that I felt fell apart far too quickly considering their cost. I couldn't find the receipts and was stunned when I received full refund checks in the mail. Very impressive service.

That said, I still like using my small but great local bike shop whenever possible. Sometimes good face to face personal service is worth the few extra bucks you pay by not buying cheapest online. Boycott all jerks, though!

Best,

GP
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Old 11-14-02, 06:28 PM   #23
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As I promised earlier, here is the info to help you save when your battery goes dead on your 6V riding light. In lieu of paying $60 to $100 or more for a replacement battery; get a 3700 MAH, 6V NIMH battery pack from DigiKey.com PN P018-F051-ND for $35 and solder your old cord to the terminals provided. Works great, slightly less burn time but very much lighter and less $$. If you have NiteRider round coaxial type connectors, you can make cords from Radio Shack size "N" connectors.
If there is a better source out there for new batteries, please let me know. DigiKey has a 6500 MAH battery but it is $98. I have not tried that one yet but it sure seems to be a big powerhouse of a battery. The Fife
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Old 11-14-02, 08:29 PM   #24
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Fife,

As for placing a 15W or 20W bulb in a 6Volt system I think you would really reduce the effective run time significantly. At that point you would probably be best off with a 13.2 volt system. This would be something I would consider down the road when my 6V battery dies. I would build a new battery pack at 13.2 Volts like my old one then increase the lamp to 15 or so watts. One of the greatest parts of the 10W Trail Ratt II is it's awesome compact size and light weight. I just love it compared to my large dual beam light. I am however not entirely happy with their new Shurlock connector. Why couldn't they just leave the connector like the older ones?

John
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Old 11-15-02, 01:10 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by gpphoto


Hi Dan,

Now you've got me wondering what's the difference between the basic 10 watt NIteRider Trail Rat 2.0 at around $100 and the 10 watt NiteRider Evolution non-digital that goes for around $150ish.
I went to REI to purchase the Trail Rat. They just sold the last one, but they hooked me up with a couple of discounts on the Evolution. I paid about $125 for it, or else I wouldn't have paid $150.

It has the helmet mount and a quick-release handlebar clamp. Personally, I don't think it's worth $50 dollars more. However, it was only an extra $25. Plus, I just waited 10 days to find out that my mail-ordered Trail Rat was not going to be shipped anytime soon.

I wanted a light, and I was tired of waiting.

I really like the handlebar mount. I frequently take it on and off, so it has come in handy. Overall, I am very satisfied.
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