Field-tested: NiteRider Lumina OLED 1100 Boost
The Lumina OLED 1100 Boost is a product targeted at the on-road bicyclist so why would it be in my gloved hands to field-test one as an all-terrain motorcycle traveller? Particularly as NiteRider supply motorcycle specific lights on top. The rationale is simple. Having personally come a cropper over the last 55,000 miles against some of the world’s poorest driving standards in Latin America, where road users think nothing of overtaking you in a 4×4 at 60mph while approaching the crest of a hill; pulling out without looking; remain distracted on their cell phones; or are just plain biker-oblivious; and throw in the odd roaming wild animal; anything that improves my conspicuity has to be a shining positive.
Moreover, the stock lights on my partner’s 2008 F800GS are beguilingly inferior and thus, his resultant ability to see at night is inadequate. Let alone capable of forewarning the traffic to his presence in the daytime; riding or stopping on the roadside to service body or bikes. Undeniably, the Lumina OLED 1100 Boost—small in size but beefy in its offering—may just save our lives one day.
Fit and installation
Without an ounce of fuss, the bracket is easy to fit on a bike, even a motorcycle; designed for standard and oversize 35mm handlebars. As per the video instructions: pivot the rails, feed the strap through the channel, cinch down tight and secure the strap to the bottom hook. Return the rails to centre, slide the unit in place becoming hands-free and you’re all set.
Due to lack of available space, Jason positioned his unit atop of his engine crash bar on the F800GS, whereas I’ve situated mine on the steel base tube of the cruiser pegs (my DR650 doesn’t have crash bars). Clipping the light on with the handlebar strap mount is effortless as it is to take it off with a quick release tab. Alternatively, the can be worn on a helmet with an additional accessory (not included).
Perhaps the best user-friendly aspect to the unit is the OLED multi-featured interface, removing the guesswork of the light level in operation and battery usage. With the run time shown as a percentage, I can’t lose notion of the remaining battery life. And the actual time given for the nine light levels ensures I never lose sight of the power available against each setting. It’s worth noting that you can switch off the OLED display to further sustain the battery life.
Conveniently, the buttons are backlit making it easy to use in any lighting condition. Incredibly, there are nine modes from which to choose, in a three-tier layout activated by an intuitive three-button interface.
Tier 1: Daylight static and boost modes
Starting with three static daytime modes from a low level at 225-lumens (6-hour run time), medium level 450-lumens (3-hour run time) to a high 900-lumens (1.5-hour run time). Pressing the red power button accesses them. Double clicking the power button also puts the configuration into boost mode at 1100-lumens, which would last an hour. Ideal for the most unfavourable weather conditions. Another double click takes you out again.
Pressing the page button accesses an array of daylight safety flash modes.
Tier 2: Daylight safety flash modes
Tier 2 includes the fast flash mode (6.5 hour run time), pulse flash setting (10-hour run time) and walk mode (the 70-lumens static setting with a duration of 18-hours battery life).
Tier 3: Safety flash modes
Pressing the page button again enters you into safety flash modes, comprising the beacon and SOS settings that both run for an impressive 18 hours. The SOS is a thoughtful function and could be priceless in emergency situations for not only users of two wheels but those on foot to boot.
Living with the light
Altogether, the headlight and handlebar strap weigh in at a lightweight 6-ounces (172 grams). Two of the salient features are a CREE™ LED at 6,000 kelvin and a bespoke reflector, which give rise to a spotlight with ample coverage and wide flood beam pattern respectively. There is a well seated rubber cover over the charging port, providing good sealed protection against the elements when the weather changes.
The USB port makes it easy to recharge even on the fly while riding. Better still, it comes with Intellicharge™—smart technology that cuts the charging time in half. Namely, 6-hours at 500 milliamps or less, or 3-hours at more than 500 milliamps.
Built to an FL1 standard with an IP64 water resistance rating, rather than technically deemed as 100 percent waterproof, there was still no ingress of water in the unit upon wet weather. Nor condensation during temperature fluctuations. Despite hours of use in the saddle under a deluge of rain in North Vancouver’s rain shadow, Juneau’s constant daily drizzle courtesy of its rainforest induced climate and Skagway’s usually wet weather this summer.
In the event of a malfunction, gloriously, the unit is backed by a lifetime warranty on all the mechanical components, which covers any defects in materials such as the housings, covers, mounts and fasteners, LEDs and workmanship. There’s also a two-year warranty on electrical components and a one-year warranty on the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
The devil is always in the detail for me, where the lock mode prevents accidental operation, wasting battery life. And foremost, enables safe passage of the product should the item get stowed in luggage while in transit for example. Invariably, the headlamp gets hot while in operation, and the lock mode is a great safeguard on the product. As are the durable materials used throughout: DuPont fiberglass reinforced plastic and an aluminium heat sink, keeping operational temperatures at optimal performance.
The OLED screen is user-friendly, navigation is simple through all 9 modes and the unit gives a lucid readout to battery life. Its innovative functions enable safe planning of your next two-wheeled jaunt, giving peace of mind while on the road. Day or night. To me, that’s worth the $149.99 USD investment to be in possession of a fully featured front light with powerful output. Fulfilling a safety requirement, it’s nigh on a necessity among today’s road users and I wouldn’t ride without one.
- Easy-to-navigate OLED interface.
- 9 flexible modes available including an optimum beam shape with varying brightness.
- 1100-lumens boost mode for maximum brightness in adverse conditions.
- SOS mode for walkers, hikers, adventurers et cetera.
- USB rechargeable with short charging times.
- Secure mounting system.
- Solidly built unit.
- Optimal fit on a narrow bar may be an issue for some motorcycles.