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Review: NiteRider MiNewt 350

by on September 2, 2010

No ride today.  I feel like I’m coughing up a lung.  I want to be able to ride the “Sweet Sue Ride” on Monday, and a few days of rest makes sense.  (Grind out the miles now while you can Mike!).  I’ll also take it easy tomorrow morning for the “Friendly Friday” ride, probably not extending that ride.

I’ve now used the NiteRider MiNewt 350 headlight long enough that I want to do a review of sorts.

MiNewt 350 LED was the choice I made after some relatively extensive research.  I was looking for a compact unit, with as many lumens as I could get for a “reasonable” price.  Many other headlights at this price point offered fewer lumens and or run times that were not acceptable.

The specs: The NiteRider MiNewt 350 boasts 4 light settings, 350 lumens, 200 lumens, 100 lumens, & flashing.  It has a 2 cell Li-Ion battery and the unit weighs 232 grams.  That is light enough to wear on the helmet or mount on the handlebars.  The NiNewt 350 head lamp unit mounts with O bands, making it easy to mount.  The battery pack mounts with a generously sized velcro strap.  The battery pack recharges in about 4 hours, and run times at the different settings are listed at 2:15/4:00/9:00 respectively, with no listing in any material I find for the flash mode.

What I wondered about this light was, “Is 350 lumens bright enough?”  At first, I was blown away by the brightness at the high setting.  On the dark tree-lined trail, this light is bright enough for me to ride at 25+ mph without worrying that I might hit something I didn’t see.  I’ve yet to outrun this light.  It is bright enough to cause those meeting me on the trail to have to shield their eyes, so I’ve gone to dimming the light or shielding it with my hand when meeting others.  Yes, it is bright.  The medium and low settings cast a reasonable amount of light.  I wouldn’t be afraid to use these settings on longer night rides, they provide sufficient light in dark settings.

I’m a person who likes a lot of light.  As dawn approaches, or on commutes where there are streetlights, the weakness of 350 lumens begins to show.  The light will fill in the gaps between street lights, but frankly, I want a little more.  I can get that if I turn the light to illumine closer to the bike, but then I have less reaction time for any obstacles.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is enough light here to see ahead enough, and as in any riding, one needs to stay alert.  NiteRider provides a pairing of these units for a total of 700 lumens.  That should illuminate these more marginal conditions and would be completely unnecessary on a very dark  ride.

During the daylight, I used the lowest setting for a while (I couldn’t figure out how to get the unit to flash).  That was bright enough that often people I met would remind me that my headlight was on.  I like being visible.  Once I discovered how to turn on the flash (hold the button down for 3 seconds), I use that setting in the daylight.  Yesterday, one rider I met told me that the flash was very bright and effective.  He could see me from a very long distance away.  That’s the goal.  I especially want other traffic on the road to see and notice me ahead of time.  Using this light, I’ve yet to have someone pull out in front of me from a side street because they didn’t see me.

Some of the riders in the Severna Park Peloton ride with a bike mounted headlight and a helmet mounted light.  This gives additional visibility to street signs, and guarantees light wherever one is looking.  This light might be a little overkill for the helmet backup light, but NiteRider offers other lights that might be good options there.  One even has a 36 inch cable extension.  That would allow a helmet mounted light with the battery in a pocket rather than the added weight on the helmet.

Mounting the MiNewt 350 was a bit of a challenge for me.  The cord between the light and the battery is very short.  I could mount the battery on my stem (the battery is just a little longer than my stem if mounted underneath), or my top tube.  My head tube is too short to mount the battery.  I settled on the under the stem mount as the safest, most convenient place.

I’m satisfied with my choice.  It should serve me well.

I have not received any compensation or consideration for this review.

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From → Cycling, Review

One Comment
  1. I also find the need for light is greatest during twilight, especially evening when the ambient light is fading rather than growing.

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