NiteRider continues innovation after 25 years

Over two decades of progression

NiteRider hardly needs an introduction. The company has been on the cutting edge of riding lights for more than two decades and their proprietary designs can be found on nearly all their competitors’ lights.

Founder Tom Carroll admits that seeing his designs on the competition is well, b.s., but he says that “the only people that win in a lawsuit are the lawyers.”

Carroll’s first night-riding system was initially invented to surf Trestles in San Clemente, California, at night, so he could escape the crowds. And ironically the easiest way to get down to the primo surf spot was via bike. He rolled down, heading to the waves, unaware that he was in fact blazing a trail for 24-hour mountain bike racers across the country. Before long, people were wearing the 4-pound-plus light system. But the revolution had begun.

Founder Tom Carroll never stops inventing. Here he laughs, while talking about his "artificial kelp bed."
Founder Tom Carroll never stops inventing. Here he laughs, while talking about his “artificial kelp bed.”

25 years later, things have progressed. Drastically. The company, located in San Diego, California, is run by a solid 35-person crew–12 of which have been there for over 10 years–hand assembling, testing and designing the next brightest thing. Their lights no longer weigh 4 pounds, or even a pound for some, and they cast beams that compete with automobile headlights.

They don’t claim to be made in the U.S.A., but they do claim to use the best parts available. They use the same batteries that are in Tesla cars and are in constant communication with their bulb provider, Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED bulbs.

Sure, NiteRider is more expensive than most of its competitors, but they believe that in a time when sustainability is important, they ask, “Why buy a second-rate light, when they end up in the trash?”

Sure that may sound a bit pretentious, but during the warehouse tour Friday, Carl Camacho, a repair tech, had just shipped back a light from 1996. That’s nearly 20 years of luminescence! And it’s still blazing. I didn’t ask if that was the first repair on the light, but nonetheless, that’s pretty damn impressive.

Carl Camacho works on a repair Friday.
Carl Camacho works on a repair Friday.

Pumping out thousands of lumens takes power and for most applications, battery packs. New for this year, but still in the prototype stage, is a self-contained double lens light. Essentially, it’s two Lumina 750s joined at the hip.

Also a new for NiteRider are new mounts. They have a 180-degree universal mount, the Pivot 180, that will be available for all sorts of applications including a head strap and a direct helmet stick-on.

The Pivot 180 mount allows lights to be switched out with ease.
The Pivot 180 mount allows lights to be switched out with ease.
The double lens prototype is essentially two Lumina 750s side-by-side.
The double-lens prototype is essentially two Lumina 750s side-by-side.

“(These mounts) allow our lights to do lots of different things,” said Robin Jacoay, executive vp of sales and marketing.

And speaking of doing lots of different things, available in November will be a 6- or 8-cell battery with a USB port that will double up the high-powered battery packs into a charging station.

Want to charge up your phone? No problem. New in November will be USB equipped 6- and 8-cell battery packs.
Want to charge up your phone? No problem. New in November will be USB equipped 6- and 8-cell battery packs.

Stay tuned for a review on their new lights and battery packs.

More from NiteRider:

NiteRider revolutionized around-the-clock racing

NiteRider 2015 line includes increased lumens, extended run times