Dirt Rag Magazine

Review: NiteRider Pro 1400 Race


The Pro 1400 Race is NiteRider’s lowest priced 1,000+ lumens LED mountain bike light. It has a bunch of modes to choose from, but the three light levels you’ll find most useful when riding your favorite trails are the steady modes with outputs of 400, 850 and 1400 lumens.


You’ll get about 9 hours and 30 minutes of runtime at the 400 lumens setting, 3 hours and 45 minutes at 850 lumens, and 2 hours at the Race’s maximum output of 1400 lumens. There are several other modes, such as blinking and a SOS distress signal, where you can expect upwards of 35 hours of runtime. Powering the light is a Lithium-ion battery that requires 5 hours of charge to bring it back from the dead. Overall, these are pretty good numbers for today’s light and battery technology.

I like having lights where I can run them at less than full power so that I eek out longer run times and can spend as much time on the bike as possible. The 850 setting on the Race is sufficient for biking at a moderately fast pace without outrunning the light’s beam. When entering more technical or fast sections, a quick switch to the 1400 beam provides enough illumination to stay safe at speed. By switching back and forth you can easily squeeze 3 or more hours out of the battery. The only downside to this approach is that you have to cycle through four light settings each time. The light also does not remember which lumen level you had last selected, so you’ll have to run through them all if you turn it off for any reason. Sort of a pain, especially if you mistakenly hit the button too many times and have to go through them twice.

The following are photos taken along a dark path in my local park with the light attached to the handlebars. I attempted to set the photo up so the light’s spot was about 10 feet in front of the handlebars, and the photo is framed to capture the beginning of the spot and the light thrown forward on the trail. This should replicate your view from the bike’s cockpit with your head at a natural angle looking down the trail. That being said, when you only have one light, I think it’s best to attach that to your helmet so the light illuminates where you are looking. A combination of a helmet and handlebar light is always best if you can afford it.


  • The low setting of 400 lumens is plenty for slower speeds along wide trails, or less technical climbs.


  • The 850 lumens setting is sufficient for most moderate speed cycling. You can see that as your speed increased, you could outrun the light at this setting.


  • The 1400 lumens setting is definitely adequate for high speed trails with more technical sections. Raising the angle of the light would provide an even better preview of the terrain on long, fast, flowy trails.

The Race’s fuel gauge is located on the top of the headlamp and is made up of four lights. As the battery discharges, the lights will go from solid to blinking to off from right to left, giving you an eight step gauge. It’s a great visual representation of how much battery is left. Obviously the gauge is not visible when using the headlamp on your helmet; unless you take your helmet off, ask a buddy to check or bring a mirror.


The battery case is slim, less then 1.75 inches at its thickest point, and is fairly lightweight. The entire system (headlamp included) weighs a mere 484 grams, or a little over one pound. The battery is about 6.25 inches long and is attached to your bike’s frame with two Velcro straps. The bottom of the battery case has a soft, concave rubber channel which keeps the battery stable and decreases the possibility of marring your bike’s paint. I didn’t notice any movement of the case during this test. I’m not one to shy away from the rocky lines either.

Included with the light is a battery, helmet mount, handlebar mount (up to 31.88mm), extension cable so you can throw the battery in your pack, and an AC adapter.

Since the included handlebar mount will only fit handlebars with a diameter up to 31.88 mm, you’ll need to purchase Niterider’s Pro Handlebar Strap Mount (part number 4145) if you want to run the light on thicker bars. The strap mount is only $19.99 and in some ways I like it a bit better than the included mount. It’s simpler and sits a bit more flush to the bars. The only drawback is you can’t center it along the stem like you can with the included mount. Neither the included mount nor the pro mount showed any signs of coming loose on any of my rides. You can find the alternate mount here.

Spending $250 on a light can be painful for some, but the Pro 1400 Race is a reasonably priced accessory that can keep you on your bike through those darker days of winter or allow you to experience your favorite daytime trails in a whole new way. That’s money well spent in my opinion, so it gets a solid recommendation from me.

Price: $250
More info: niterider.com



Dirt Rag Editor’s Choice 2015: Justin’s Honorable Mentions

Dirt_Rag_Editors_Choice_2015_WEBEditor’s Note: Our 2015 Editor Choice Awards are out now in Dirt Rag Issue #188. But those items aren’t the only things we were impressed with this year. Here is a list of honorable mentions from our general manager and photographer.

If you want to know what we chose as our favorite bikes and gear of 2015, pick up the new issue off a newsstand near you, purchase a digital copy or subscribe now and never miss another magazine.

Showers Pass Rogue Pant – $110

Staying comfortable is key to enjoying rides through the fall, winter and spring. Good clothing is an essential part of that recipe. After reviewing the Rogue pants for Bicycle Times last year, they’ve become a crucial piece of my kit for cool-to-cold weather commuting, bikepacking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing.

The Rogue Pant is a casual-looking softshell trouser made with water-resistant stretch fabric and finished with a DWR treatment to further enhance moisture resistance. The tightly woven face of the fabric blocks most of the breeze and a good bit of moisture, while a soft terry interior feels great next to skin. These pants are styled and fit like a pair of relaxed fit jeans, but offer a gusseted crotch to reduce seam irritation and facilitate movement on the bike. Fit seems to run a little on the large size. I’m normally a 33- to 34-inch waist and the 32-inch Rogue pant fit me comfortably. If you’re between sizes, you should be able step down a size without issue.

Wear them alone for cool days or layer underneath for comfort in much colder temps. The Rogue’s combination of ample wind resistance and stellar breathability make them incredibly comfortable. I’ve worn them for everything from mountain biking, to rainy commutes home from work, to going out for a date-night drink, to all-day, cross-country ski session. This is one of the rare products that delivers a casual aesthetic to blend in with most any situation, and also offers the technical chops to keep you comfy in most any situation short of a heavy, sustained rain—they’re not designed to be waterproof, after all. These versatile pants are worth every penny of the asking price.

NiteRider Pro 3600 – $700

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Night riding season is upon us, particularly following the time change. If you’re going to ride at night, you’re going to need a headlight. Back in 2012, I tested NiteRider’s new-at-the-time flagship, the Pro 3600. Fast forward three years and this 3,600-lumen heavyweight is as relevant as ever. It’s even been updated with a remote switch and it now called the Pro 3600 DIY LED Remote.

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The 3600 utilizes two symmetric beams that are broadcast by three CREE XML LEDs, each. NiteRider offers three settings in stock trim; 1,000-lumen “low,” 1,800-lumen “medium,” and 3,600-lumen “high” settings.

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Cranked up on high, I’m able to descend at full-speed with confidence. In short, it’s overkill for slow sections of trail, but absolutely confidence-inspiring at speed. For most of my riding, I found the 1,800-lumen setting to be more than sufficient, only cranking full power on the downhills.

As NiteRider’s highest output light, the Pro 3600 is clearly its pride and joy. As you might expect, this baby carries a flagship-worthy pricetag of $700. A more budget friendly Pro 2800 Enduro Remote offers more than 75 percent of the output at less than 60 percent of the asking price.

Big Agnes King Solomon 15 and Insulated Double Z Pads – $450/$110

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What’s better than sharing the experience of camping with your significant other? Sharing the experience and the sleeping bag!

The King Solomon is a deluxe, 15-degree down sleeping bag for couples. The 600-fill power DownTek down is treated to be water resistant, which helps maintain its ability to insulate in damps conditions. Zippers run down both sides of the bag to make entry and exit easy for both parties. Convenient pillow pockets can be stuffed with clothes to make a pillow, or hold your existing pillow in place. When things get cold, the internal collar can be positioned around each person’s head to maximize heat retention.

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Like all Big Agnes bags, the King Solomon is not insulated on the bottom, but relies on the sleeping pad to keep you comfortable. Enter the Insulated Double Z. This 72 x 20 x 4-inch pad slides inside a sleeve on the bottom of the bag to keep it in place. The Double Z offers a two-way valve that greatly eases inflation and the whole thing threads out for speedy deflation.

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Once the system is all setup, it’s supremely cozy. It’s awesome to be able to snuggle up to your partner to share body heat. My lady and I have comfortably slept down into the high 20-degree temps while wearing only a few layers. Much cooler than that and you’ll be searching for another insulating layer. Keep in mind the 15-degree rating is based on survival, not comfort.

Overall, this sleeping bag significantly increases the coziness of camping with your best pal, which is well worth the investment.



Review: Trail LED Halo, DS and XXX lights


As we venture into the winter months and the sun is setting before most of us get home from work, lights become a necessary accessory on our rides. And while there are tons of great lighting options out there, Trail LED has some pretty interesting products we thought were worth checking out.

I have been testing three of their models: the XXX, DS and Halo. All the lights’ bodies are crafted from anodized aluminum, boast CREE LEDs as their light source, and are made in the USA. The lights have been designed so that they sit no more than three quarters of an inch off of your helmet. This is done by curving the light along the helmet’s edge and utilizing the light’s heat sink fins as attachment points for rubber bands which you loop through your helmet’s venting holes.

I did find that attaching the lights to my helmet was slightly more difficult than a “regular” light, especially one that you can just leave a small mount always attached. The process of attaching the Trail LEDs definitely got easier over time, but set aside a minute or two to do it indoors before you go on your ride. I would caution that these lights won’t fit on all helmets because of the way by which they mount. I had some difficulty attaching the larger Halo to a few helmets that had a limited number of vents. The smaller Trail LED models were more accommodating.

You can aim the beam slightly by making small fore and aft adjustments once the light is mounted on your helmet or handlebar. The lights also ship with small pads that can help with overall fit and aiming the beam. I did not find that the lights needed much if any adjustment on the helmets I used them on.

Quick Specs



  • Price: $350
  • Light weight: 50 grams
  • Battery weight: 285 grams.
  • Runtime: three hours at 1,800 lumens, six hours at 900 lumens, 27 hours at 200 lumens.



  • Price: $550
  • Light weight: 100 grams
  • Battery weight: 285 grams
  • Runtime: 1.5 hours at 3,000 lumens, 3.2 hours at 1,500 lumens, 16 hours at 300 lumens.



  • Price: $1,119
  • Light weight: 190 grams
  • Battery weight: Battery 570 grams
  • Runtime: two hours at 6,000 lumens, four hours at 4,000 lumens, 38 hours at 600 lumens.

Runtimes and battery charge times (one and a half to two hours) are pretty spot on. I did not test the lowest, longest lumen runtimes because I have better things to do with my day.

My Thoughts

The lower lumen settings on all the lights were dimmer than I was expecting for their quoted brightness. I didn’t have a way to quantify the actual lumen value, just my observation. This doesn’t really matter because if you are buying a 6,000 lumen light, you are going to be running it at 6,000 lumens. I mean what’s the purpose otherwise?

The XXX is a great, small, triple LED light that worked well as a supplemental light on my handlebars utilizing Trail LED’s handlebar adapter. Beam pattern is good and 1,800 lumens is more than enough for all applications.

The Halo is seriously bright on its full setting. Pitch black to daylight at the touch of a button. The beam pattern is amazingly good for a light system that curves around your head. There is a nice, bright mid-level spot and all of creation is lit well from there on out. You might get some odd looks from people, but this light is no joke.

The DS is probably my favorite of the lineup. Offering 3,000 lumens for an hour and a half is more than enough and seems to be brighter than the 4,000 lumen setting on the Halo. It’s also a lot less strange looking on your helmet. Due to its smaller size it is easier to attach to a wider range of helmets. For instance, my Bern helmet has no side venting so the Halo’s ends are not as fully secured as they are with the DS.

As with any helmet-mounted light there is lack of shadow detail, so 6,000 lumens on your head might not be for everybody. Mounting a light to the handlebar can bring back some of that detail, but that is only an option for the XXX and DS – the Halo is helmet only.

I’m significantly impressed with these lights. They are light, bright, have a crazy low profile, feel incredibly solid, and keep you riding through those dark nights and mornings. What more could you ask for?

Extra special tidbit…Trail LED has recently signed a partnership with Industry 9 to do its anodizing, allowing it to keep manufacturing in the US. Here’s to hoping we get some cool color choices too!


Check out the gallery of the XXX, DS, Halo and tests in the field.





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