NiteRider and night riding go together like PB&J, and the company has always been one of the players at the front of the lighting pack. The Lumina 1200 Boost carries the mantle well with solid construction and elegant minimalism.
- Output – 1200 lumens
- Runtime Actual – 2 hours*
- Price – $100
- Modes – 2 Groups: 1200 lumens, 1000 lumens, 550 lumens, 275 lumens | 75 lumens, Flash 1, Flash 2
- Recharge – 3-6 hours (fast charging supported)
- Water Resistance – IP64
- Light Weight – 172 grams
- Other – Optional K-Edge GoPro mount ($20)
The Lumina 1200 comes with a clamp similar to the Bontrager Ion Pro. That is, essentially a hose clamp. While there has been poor execution of this style mount in the past, both Bontrager and NiteRider offer solid options that aren't a pain to use. They might take slightly longer than the strap and hook solution that Lezyne Power Drive 1100i and Light and Motion Urban 1000 use, but the end result is a very stable mount that will not twist under impact.
Despite the solid handlebar mount, the Lumina spent most of its time atop my helmet on its optional, all-metal, GoPro mount offered by K-Edge. The mount slides into the underside of the Lumina and locks into place with two screws—it's not going anywhere. Like the Ion Pro, you forgo the ability to swivel the Lumina, something that I like about the Lezyne 1100i, but as long as your head's on straight there shouldn't be an issue.
In the Wild
The Lumina was the second-brightest light tested, with only the Ion Pro beating it out by 100 lumens. Those 100 lumens aren't all that significant though, and with the Lumina's option to run on a helmet with a GoPro mount, I almost always opted to ride with the Lumina over the Ion Pro during testing.
The Lumina's light is crisp and sharp, leaning toward the cooler end of the spectrum, which I found offers more contrast than the warmer temperature of the Lezyne 1100i. And among the lights tested, the beam spread is the most ideal shape for mounting to a helmet. It offers more of a horizontal oval shape, which gave better side illumination than the Ion Pro. The Lumina doesn't feature any side lights either, which some might find distracting on the Ion Pro or Urban 1000.
The Lumina's IP64 rating means it is only rated against splashing water, so while it will be fine in the rain (tested) it won't fare well if you accidentally go for a swim (not tested).
Living with the light
Battery life on the Lumina was second only to the Ion Pro and, at two hours, it provides plenty of time for a good length ride. I measured that at full power, but switching to a lower power mode greatly increases battery life.
Switching between modes isn't the cleanest operation among the lights tested, with the 1100i and Urban 1000 offering the most intuitive way to toggle. The modes on the Lumina are in two groups, one with the lower-power and flash modes, and the other with the four highest-power modes, which is about two more than I find useful on the trail.
Unlike the Urban 1000, however, when you turn off the Lumina, it will remain in whatever group you last used when you turn it back on. It’s a nice feature when taking a short break on the trail. A single quick press of the button turns it on too, unlike the other lights that require a long press or double press. A quick double press switches to the 1200 ‘boost’ mode.
Charging the Lumina is by far the easiest process of any of the lights. The Lumina offers the charging port free and clear of obstructions and I found I was more likely to plug it in right after a ride when I was tired. This may seem inconsequential, but it could mean the difference between showing up at the trail with a dead light or one fully charged, ready to go.
For whom does it shine brightest?
The NiteRider isn't the brightest light tested, but it comes close enough that its superior beam pattern and user-friendly features give the NiteRider a good case for being a top pick if I had to choose one light to ride with. Best suited as a helmet light with the optional K-Edge GoPro mount, the NiteRider has a long battery life and no-nonsense build quality speaks performance and reliability.
This review is part of a four-part series of mountain bike lights under $100. If you missed the others, catch the link back to all the reviews here.