NiteRider MiNewt 600 Review
NiteRider have been around for a little over 20 years. The motivation behind the creation of their first light was to enable the inventor to go surfing at night, and its initial design was targeted at that purpose, but it was soon realised they were equally, if not more appropriate for cycling. A couple of decades on they now produce a wide range of front and rear cycle lights suitable for night time mountain bikers and commuters (but sadly it seems that they’ve dropped the surfing market!). Here, we review the NiteRider MiNewt 600 cordless, the latest and brightest of their range of cordless rechargeable lights.
Run Time: 1:30 hr (high, 600 lumens), 3:00 hr (med, 400 lumens), 4:30 hr (low, 275 lumens), 30:00 hr (walk, 40 lumens)
Charge Time: 5:30 hr
Weight: 190g (with battery & handlebar mount)
Design and Features
From the pictures, I wasn’t a huge fan of the styling of this light. To me, it seemed chunky and somewhat agricultural looking. Fortunately, it looks a lot nicer in the flesh than it does in the pictures and is more compact than I was expecting. Most of the light is made of tough plastic but the grey part at the front of the light is metal presumably for cooling. The whole light has a sturdy rugged feel and I expect it would be able to withstand a few spills. It weighs in at around 160g without the handlebar mount.
Waterproofing seems excellent. The front metal part of the light is bolted to the plastic rear via a rubber seal. The push switch is covered with a transparent rubber surround and the USB charge socket at the rear has a rubber plug to keep out the water. That plug does have a tendency to pop out with a little vibration though luckily it’s attached so it wont get lost.
Both a handlebar mount and a helmet mount are supplied. The helmet mount is attached with straps which are threaded through the helmet’s vents and fixed in place with a locking clasp. Once in place, the mount allows the light to be tilted up and down. It all seems to work reasonably effectively though takes a little experimentation to find the best position to avoid the straps slipping. The design of the handlebar mount is not so effective. It’s made of tough plastic and is attached to the bars by a ratchet style mechanism which requires no tools to fit and remove. Unfortunately it’s impossible to fit the clamp particularly tightly and while it feels secure enough on first fitting the light has an annoying habit of dipping at the front when riding along a bumpy road. With a little experimentation, I soon found an effective workaround – the fix being simply to stick an adhesive rubber puncture repair patch to the handlebar first to provide a little extra friction for the mount to grip.
The light may be simply attached and detached from either the helmet or the handlebar mount via a quick release mechanism that’s easy to operate.
Like nearly every bike light I’ve ever seen, the NiteRider MiNewt 600 is operated by a single push button. It’s easy to press when wearing gloves but sufficiently hard that accidental operation when the light is stowed in a bag is unlikely. To be doubly sure, the light is protected from unintentional operation by a locked mode. When in this mode the button needs to be held down for about 5 seconds before the light will operate. Once on, each press of the button toggles between high, medium and low modes. A red and green indicator light is hidden behind the switch to provide battery life, charging and mode indication.
A flashing mode is also available which requires the button to be pressed for around 3 seconds. I’m not a huge fan of flashing modes on any front light but this one has a particularly unpleasant rapid flash similar to the strobe effect popular in discos. The aim of flashing mode is to get you noticed and I have no doubt it would be effective at this. A low brightness ‘walk’ mode is also available. Walk mode is activated by a single press after activating flashing mode. I think the rationale behind separating out the 3 normal brightness modes and the lesser used flashing and walk mode is for easy switching between the brightness modes when on the road.
In my battery life test on high power mode, the light ran for a measured 1 hour 25 minutes before the indicator light turned from green to red indicating low battery and ran for a further 15 minutes before it shut off completely. Recharging the battery is via USB power and takes a little over 5 hours. A mains USB adapter is supplied in case you don’t have a computer or other USB socket handy.
I was intrigued to know what battery type is used and whether it’s replaceable. In the name of science I took the review model apart by removing the 3 screws that hold the light together. The battery is a standard 18650 part, in this case made by Panasonic. I doubt NiteRider would particularly encourage the user to replace their own cells but it’s nice to know it’s straightforward enough to do if and when it wears out. It would be too fiddly to perform this operation on the road though so carrying an extra battery to extend ride time is not a practical option.
The beam pattern is slightly narrower and more focused than the Lezyne Super Drive light I reviewed recently. Despite this the light still provides more than enough peripheral light for fast road riding. The country road beam shot photo and the video give an idea of how the light performs in use though as I always point out, video cameras don’t work well in the dark so the video doesn’t give a particularly accurate view.
The NiteRider MiNewt 600 cordless is a very good light and would serve the needs of many cyclists very well. It provides a super bright beam for the money and is rugged and weatherproof. The only niggle I had was with the poorly designed handlebar mount which is prone to slippage, however as described above there is a simple workaround.
Another light which offers similar features which is also worth considering is the Lezyne Super Drive . I actually prefer the Lezyne though there’s not much between them. The NiteRider includes more accessories but the Lezyne is cheaper and I prefer the styling.
The official manufacturers web page is located here.