I’ve been riding before work in the dark more frequently and I’m considering upgrading my headlight. I ride the back roads in Gibsonia and southern Butler county. Only about 10 cars cross my path traveling the other way. My current light is about 200 lumens it does the job but I would like more brightness and I’m considering purchasing a 650 Niterider. Will it be too bright for oncoming traffic on very dark country roads?
Lumens is a measure of total light output (adding up light going in all directions). But some lights concentrate their light in a narrow cone while others spread the light over a larger cone. I have a Cygolite MiliOn 200 (200 lumen) and a Light & Motion Urban 700 (700 lumen). You’d think the latter might be much brighter at its brightest direction (the center) than the former, but they appear approximately the same brightness there. The Urban 700 has a broader beam, however – good for visibility to others.
I have a Nightrider 750 and use the lowest setting most all the time. 750 is super bright, but it is nice to know I have it if I need it. Oh and I ride off road in the middle of the night with it on low, so that 650 will be more than enough. I highly recommend that brand and I don’t think I would buy any other one. Lights have come a long way since my old 2w Planet bike light. What a HUGE step up to Nightrider! Go for it, you won’t be disappointed.
Both my front lights are mounted such that I can adjust which way and how high they’re pointed. Generally, there isn’t much need to point too high up, as you rarely need to point the beam 300 feet ahead of the bike. That would be appropriate for going over 50 mph. I typically have one pointed about 10 feet forward, the other about 50 to 100 feet forward, depending on the speed I expect to travel.
The best part about a slightly overpowered headlight, is that when you run it on lower settings, the battery life is pretty awesome. I’m a big fan of the cygolite metro series. The modes on the light make sense and they didn’t make it over complicated. I especially like the daytime flash and the solid light with intermittent pulse to get more attention at night.
I have a Niterider MiNewt 650 cordless, and it’s beam is a symmetrical cone. This means that oncoming traffic/bikes/peds can get an eyefull of bright light if it’s not pointing nearly straight down (unlike car/motorcycle headlights). Pointing it straight down lights up the ground 10 feet in front of you to the point of killing your night vision.
Solution? Just shade the light with your hand when needed. Keep the oncoming bike/ped/(car if there’s very little ambient street light) in the shadow of your hand, and they won’t see your light at all.