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Bright, Light with Durability Issues

  • Dec 16, 2008
Pros: Bright, lightweight, easy attachments, small.

Cons: Mounting straps have broken. Head units rotate down on rough terrain.  Connectors can disconnect. 

The Bottom Line:

I would recommend this more for roadies than for mountain bikers due to the durability issues I found over time with broken straps, disconnects and sliding rubber pads. 

This is a review updated based on 12 months of on-road and off-road use of this new system that Niterider came out with to replace their previous generation MiNewt Dual system. The reason I purchased this system was based on the recommendation of calling NiteRider directly to replace my old NiteRider dual beam halogen system that died. I had the older system that used a 12W and 20W light system. According to Niterider, this new MiNewt X2 Dual system has the equivalent light output of their current 25W halogen dual beam system.

This is a dual beam light system that utilizes two LED bulbs housed in a special lens system they call Borofloat and a clearcoat on the housing to increase durability. It is supposed to help create a concentrated light beam that has enough spread to see the road in front and the sides fairly clearly. This system uses a light weight Li-ion battery which is housed in a plastic case. The case is small with a large opaque button on one side while on the top of the case is a rubberized pad to help protect your bike's finish when you attach the battery pack to your bike. Included are three pairs of three different sized rubber bands, they call mounting straps, so that you can attach the headlights to your bike's handlebars up to 31.8mm in diameter. Also included is a smart charger that can charge the battery pack within 4.5 hours and stops charging when the battery pack is full.

As the description says, this is a dual beam system which has the feature of adjusting the headlights in two different directions, if desired. This is a big plus to have one aimed closer in front of you while the other is aimed much farther down the road to give you maximum coverage of the road. The headlights are attached by a cable that leads to a common connector so the lights cannot be detached from one another and must share a common battery pack.

Everything on this system is attached via a quick release mechanism. The battery is attached to you bike via a velcro strap that feeds through the battery casing and the headlights are attached via the rubber mounting straps. The headlights are on rubberized lined plastic bases to help with attaching the lights to your handlebars without scratching the bar when attached.

On top of the headlights are blue and red colored plastic inserts to help tell you if the lights are on and when you are running low on battery power. It will indicate a red color on top of the headlights when only 15% of the battery is left. Also, the battery on/off button will change from blue to red color when the battery is low. The included battery pack is so small and light, it can attach to your handlebar stem and free up a water bottle cage where traditional battery packs on larger systems are mounted.

The included quick charger attaches to the battery pack via a proprietary connector, the same used to attach the headlights to the battery pack. Once the battery pack is fully charged, the battery on/off button will go from red to blue color indicating it is fully charged and the charger will stop charging the battery. This ensures the charger with not overcharge the battery. The manufacturer says that you can leave the charger connected to the battery at all times without fear of overcharging and have the battery pack ready for use at all times.

This lighting system has three modes you can use. First, is the high mode where you have all 300 lumens of light for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes of use. Second, is the low mode which lowers the light output to 184 lumens and increases light use to 3 hours and 30 minutes. Finally, there is the daylight flashing mode where the lights will quickly blink so you can be better seen during the day.

Manufacturer's advertised weight for the system is 317 grams. Actual weight of my system is 326 grams. My old system for comparison weighed over 1112 grams. Lighting systems have come a long way!

Off-Road Use:
My first thoughts were will the rubber mounting straps hold the headlights in place without any movement in the roughest sections of my usual trail. The answer is no. Surprisingly, over time the head units would slide and rotate down on rough terrain.  This was due to the glue that attached the rubber pads at the bottom of the head units.  Over time, this glue became a gooey mess that let the rubber pads shift.  Initially, the head units were solid, but during the heat of the summer sun, this glue melted and I started having problems with the head units pointing down going over rough terrain.  Attaching the headlights to the battery pack is simple and secure. Beam pattern was wide and deep, this due to the independent headlamps. The light emitted is a bright white similar to HID lights. I did notice that the light isn't as bright as my old 32W system and I do believe is closer to the current 25W system that Niterider sells. Still it is more than enough to use and not overrun the beam pattern even when I was going 40mph downhill. Seeing the shadows and reading the ground is similar to my old system. The low beam mode seems brighter than the low beam mode of my old system. Because of the light weight compared to my old system, I almost don't know it is there. Also, since my MTB stem is quite long, I am able to attach the battery pack underneath the stem and out of the way.

On-Road Use:
Using these lights on-road was surprising. Reflective signs such as stop signs were more easily seen than my old system. The reflective cat-eyes on the road shown more brightly and further down the road. It probably was due to the whiter light from the LED and the again the availability to adjust the headlights independent from each other. One thing I do notice, cars from the side still may not see you because the headlight housing doesn't emit any light from the side. What I have also noticed is that if you use the blinking daylight mode, you WILL get the attention of drivers from all around you at night. Those blinking lights which are very effective and are very bright during the day are almost blinding at night. I would suggest using them in this mode if you are riding on a very busy street. Run time that is advertised seems about right for the time I have been able to use the system.

Warranty and Support:
Lifetime on all mechanical components.
2 years on headlamp, power module and charger.
180 days on rechargeable batteries.
You can reach Niterider at 800-466-8366 for support.

When I first tried attaching the rubberized mounting straps, I accidentally broke one which fortunately was the wrong size for my handlebar. I called Niterider about the problem and they quickly sent me a complete new set of three pairs of mounting straps. Shows great customer service on their part. Since then, I haven't had one problem reattaching my system to my bike. Just make sure to try the medium-sized one first to determine which of the three sizes fits your handlebar. I made the mistake of using the small sized one for my 25.4mm handlebar.  Also, over time, I have found the connector from the battery to the head units can disconnect over rough terrain if not connected properly.  But the most annoying problem is that the head units rotate down every time over rough terrain.  This is due to the self-adhesive rubber pads on the bottom of each head unit that is supposed to keep the head units from slipping.  I found that the glue used becomes gummy during the summer heat and loses its adhesion and creates a big sticky mess.  

Conclusions and Recommendations:
Certainly, this new generation of MiNewt dual lighting system produces enough light for the road rider and just enough light for the normal off-road rider who is not a downhill expert. This is a very compact and lightweight system without the mounting and weight drawbacks of the older halogen systems. Just be sure not to force the mounting straps on or you will break one like I did. Overall, the Niterider is a very good system for roadie use, but I am hesitate recommending it for mountain biking use.  With the disconnector of the power cord and loss of adhesion of the rubber pads making the head units rotate down, the mountain biker will have some testing and maintenance to do prior to their ride. 

Well, I am not as satisfied as I once was for the first couple of months of use.  After a year of use, two broken rubber o-rings, numerous sliding down of the head units and a couple of connector disconnects while on the trails, I am a bit hesitate recommending this system for an off-road rider but would recommend it for a road rider.  If you are interested, I found a new lighting system that definitely outperforms the Niterider by a wide margin in ergonomics, lighting and durability: The Cygolite MityCross 350 LED system which I reviewed. 


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Member Since: Oct 5, 2010
Last Login: Apr 27, 2012 01:26 PM UTC
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Niterider MiNewt.X2 Dual LED Li-Ion Bike Lights combine for a blinding 300 lumens of light output. The dual headlamps with independent mounting permit stacking light beams for flexibility.
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