Product Courtesy of Ban Hin Chan Trading Availability: Now

Features: ? 4.5Ah Nickel-Metal Hydride Smart battery pack
– Multi use battery pack can be mounted on bike for handlebar use or placed in jersey pocket or in a hydration pack for helmet use
– SurLok Connectors (for more secured connection)
– 15 watt halogen bulb with variable light levels
– 10-step fuel gauge with low battery warning and 15 minutes reserve at 6 watts
– MicroBrute Charger
– Handlebar mount and Multi-position helmet mount
– Auto-Shutdown increasing battery life
– Bulb SoftStart prolonging bulb life
– Commuter Safety flasher, Walking Mode, S.O.S. and Beacon
– System weight: 22 oz (or approximately 624g) which includes mount, head lamp and battery

Burn Times:
– Up to 5 hrs burn time in Walking mode
– 3 hr 30 min at 6 watts
– 2 hr 25 min at 10 watts
– 1 hr 45 min at 15 watts

What’s in a Box

The reviewer received the entire lamp unit that was neatly packaged in a box. The components looked simple to use and the instruction manual provided useful little details on the lighting unit. After charging the unit for approximately 5 hours to full charge, the four LED indicators in the switch were all lit, indicating that the lamp was all ready to be used! The microbrute charger ensures that the battery does not get overcharged.

The lamp was tested both onroad and offroad. A simple press on the button of the lamp switches the lamp on and the place around it starts to light up quite fast. Within a few seconds, I could see the full effect of the lamp illuminating the place.

The Test
Securing the battery pack on the downtube of the bike frame and mounting the lamp onto the handlebar was straightforward and simple. The handlebar mount did its job and was effective in keeping the lamp well in place. Users need not worry about the external diameter of the handlebars restricting the use of the mount as two sets of rubber bumpers are provided to ensure that the mount is fitted nicely on the handlebar. The handlebar mount is designed to be mounted to the right of the stem, where are slight elevation to the left clears the stem, positioning the lamp at the centre. Quite clever actually.

However, if the velcro strap of the battery pack is not fastened tightly enough, there is a tendency for the battery pack to slide down a little during the ride. Fastening the Battery on the top tube may do away with this problem altogether. For the convenience of adjusting the light intensities on trails, there is an optional control with a thumb-size button which can be easily fixed onto the handlebar using the velcro straps provided. Alternatively, users (weight-weenies perhaps?) can leave out the handlebar control and simply operate the lamp by using the button on it.

The helmet mount is light and can be easily adjusted to the rider’s liking. There is even a surlok? extension cable provided so that there is no restriction in movement of the head when using the helmet mount. But the downside is that, when I use the light with the helmet mounting, the helmet tends to slip forward due to the weight of the lamp itself. Furthermore, structure of the mount did not allow the user to fix the mount towards the top of the helmet. The problem could not be rectified totally even when the helmet was fitted snugly on the user’s head. Further tightening of the helmet straps did not really help too. Thus when the lamp was used offroad (especially on the downhill sections), there might be a fear of the helmet sliding down too much and obstructing the rider’s view.

The Trails
During the offroad session, the lamp was tested using the 15-watt setting. The lighting was very sufficient for the user to see up to at least 50 metres down the trail, allowing her to pick a smooth line on the trail. The 10-watt setting was already bright enough for the trail and it spoke more of side-to-side illumination and less of the distance ahead.

 

On a short road ride in the less brightly lit areas around NTU, the lamp was switched on to the 15-watt setting to test out how efficiently the lamp could work. There was no fear that motorists could not see the rider and furthermore, the reflective signboards (as far as 200 metres away) down the stretch of road were well illuminated, instilling more confidence in the rider on the road. The 10-watt setting would allow the rider to view at least 70 metres up ahead on the road.

In the areas where the street lighting was much brighter, the lamp was switched from the normal lighting mode to the flashing mode to ensure that the user would look prominent enough on the road to the motorists. There was a need to hold on to the switch for 3 seconds or so to change the lighting mode. The flashing light catches the eyes of drivers easily and it even illuminates the road well, providing a level of safety and comfort for the user.

The illumination time of the lamp is as long as what is stated above. The LED indicators show approximately how much burn time is left and the user can easily judge how much time is left for the battery to drain off completely.

Thanks to the Nickel-Metal Hydride Smart battery, a new improvement/addition in 2002, there is no need to drain off the entire battery pack before recharging. This saves the inconvenience and time wastage involved with the process otherwise. NiteRider also claims that with its smart technology, fuel gauging is kept accurate and battery life is improved. This is achieved with 3 microprocessors in the system. One residing in the Lamp Head, the second in the battery and the last one in the Microbrute? Charger.

When tested beside the HID lamp, it can be observed distinctly that the halogen lamp had a wider scope of illumination than the HID lamp, thus leading to a possible conclusion that the rider can observe more of the trail in the dark with a halogen lamp rather than a HID lamp of the same wattage.

Conclusion
The NiteRider Digital Evolution works brilliantly for it’s price. The Halogen bulb gives off a good measure of light with a wide scope of illumination thrown in. Having the capability to be mounted on the handlebar and the helmet, coupled with different lighting modes with variable power settings, the Digital Evolution is a true value for money product that is hard to beat.

Pros: 
– Charging is easy and convenient
– Wide scope of illumination
– Versatile (handlebar or helmet mounting)
– Bright enough for both trail and road riding
– Different lighting modes with variable power settings
– Price (SGD390)

Cons:
– Design for helmet mount is not fantastic
– Cables need to be carefully routed so as not to restrict handlebar movement

More information on the Digital Evolution