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  1. #1
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    Idea! NiteRider Solas pics, beamshots and remarks

    Updated to add a note about it needing protection from direct tire spray.

    I got a NiteRider Solas and compared it to my Cygolite Hotshot. They're both nominally 2-watt LED lights with USB-rechargeable li-ion batteries. The Hotshot has a rather focused beam, so I was interested to see if the rippled optic on the Solas would result in a wide beam. I was also curious to see if the NiteRider would jive with Planet Bike's mounts, which would be handy for those upgrading from a SuperFlash.






    The receptacle on the mount swivels.


    The Solas uses a micro-USB charging cable, as opposed to mini-USB. You can see the electronics right there... with either the Solas or Hotshot, if they're going to be exposed to direct tire spray, then I'd protect them by rubber-banding a sandwich baggie over them. Update: my Solas was exposed to tire spray and switched off, as well as doing random numbers of mode switches when the switch was pressed. So if you plan to expose it to tire spray, definitely put a sandwich baggie over it.



    The clip has a pronounced "hook" that should keep it in place if you clip it onto a bag with a light-attachment loop. Alas, the clip is not compatible with Planet Bike or Cygolite brackets... it can be slid into them, but doesn't lock in place, so it would be likely to jump out when you hit major potholes/etc.


    The power button has a tactile click and sticks out a little, making it easier to use than the Hotshot IMO. Clicking the button cycles the light through all modes before reaching OFF again, it doesn't remember the last mode you used.



    ^ Solas beam pattern on the steady-burn HIGH setting. Range: about 20ft / 6m.


    ^ Hotshot beam pattern on steady-burn at maximum intensity, same manually-locked camera settings


    As I mentioned above, the Solas has a straightforward operating cycle: OFF, first flashing mode, second flashing mode, high steady, low steady, back to OFF.



    The first flashing mode reminds me of my Nova BULL's "triple-plus-burst" mode: a quick stutter-strobe followed with a steady blast. The second flashing mode uses a double-flash followed by a "wOw" where the light quickly ramps up and back down.

    The steady low mode is probably what NR means when they say "group-ride mode." It's not very bright. But if you're off-roading, it's likely your pals will still want you to turn your light off completely.

    Since the beam is relatively diffused, it may be a better pick than the Hotshot if you're going to clip it to a bag or backpack where it's not going to be aimed precisely. If you're a highway rider looking for maximum punch at the longest range possible, the Hotshot's core intensity is stronger (as long as it's aimed right), and I think the Hotshot is cheaper too.

    Hope that helps someone.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I got a NiteRider Solas and compared it to my Cygolite Hotshot. They're both nominally 2-watt LED lights with USB-rechargeable li-ion batteries. The Hotshot has a rather focused beam, so I was interested to see if the rippled optic on the Solas would result in a wide beam. I was also curious to see if the NiteRider would jive with Planet Bike's mounts, which would be handy for those upgrading from a SuperFlash...
    I was just about to post a question to see if anyone had reviewed or used the Niterider Solas when scrolling down the thread page I came to your thread. Strange how I didn't see it before but stranger things have happened.

    Nice review BTW. It pretty much answered all of my questions and the beam shots were most useful. I think the Solas would compare very well to the Moon Shield although it's possible the Solas has a wider beam than the Shield. ( * If REI has the Solas I just might buy one )

    I think if you're going to use one rear light on your seatpost it's better if the light has a ( medium wide ) beam pattern like the Solas ( or Moon Shield ). I say that because sometimes roads tend to curve slightly either right or left. That being the case I would think a wider beam would be more visible ( on an off-angle approach ) than something like the Cygolite Hotshot ( which while very bright is more narrow ). Ideally if you use both you would have the best of both worlds which would be an interesting idea. It you did that the resultant output might rival the DiNotte 300R.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    I think if you're going to use one rear light on your seatpost it's better if the light has a ( medium wide ) beam pattern like the Solas ( or Moon Shield ). I say that because sometimes roads tend to curve slightly either right or left. That being the case I would think a wider beam would be more visible ( on an off-angle approach ) than something like the Cygolite Hotshot ( which while very bright is more narrow ).
    I'm a bicycle mechanic, and after seeing many customer-installed taillights, I think an even bigger problem is that (statistically) most people don't aim their taillight with the kind of precision the Hotshot calls for, even if they use the mounting bracket instead of clipping it to a bag loop. So there's that, too.

    Ideally if you use both you would have the best of both worlds which would be an interesting idea. It you did that the resultant output might rival the DiNotte 300R.
    At the moment I'm using both the Hotshot and Solas together, with the Solas clipped to the rear of my trunk bag on a relatively stiff loop (actually it's a very big zip-tie). I used to have my NiteFlux RedZone 4 back there for the super-wide-angle role, but it stopped working and NiteFlux hasn't answered my email

  4. #4
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    The original post is too old to edit, but the warning about protecting the Solas from direct tire spray was good advice. Here's what mine looks like now:



    Rust and grime inside, random behavior and switch-offs. Given that wet conditions often coincide with poor visibility situations, that's not a good time for your light to turn itself off. So you've been warned.

  5. #5
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    Wow!
    It begs the question, why in the world would you put the USB port at the bottom of the light???

    To be honest, I have had my RZ4 replaced twice as well as a heap of other people around here for similar symptoms (no visual clues like yours though). We have been told that road spray (plain water) should be fine, its all the other chemicals on the road that cause the issue. Maybe so, but still, if you put the plug somewhere else, there probably wouldn't be an issue and umm, what roads would you like me to ride on then....

  6. #6
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    Definitely food for thought. If I'm going to use my rear LED lights now that I've seen this post I think I will seal all my USB port with the electrical tape just to be on the safe side.

  7. #7
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    An inductive charger would be a cool innovation in premium bike taillights. It's a common feature on electric toothbrushes, for example. The light could be completely sealed.

    NiteRider has asked if they can swap me for a new Solas, so props to them for the offer. I'm actually hoping NiteFlux will replace my dead Red Zone 4 soon with their upcoming Red Zone 8.

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    Forgive me for the hi-jack, but can you tell us more about that upcoming RZ8 from Niteflux?
    I haven't heard about it before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldAusDigger View Post
    Forgive me for the hi-jack, but can you tell us more about that upcoming RZ8 from Niteflux?
    I haven't heard about it before.
    No problem, and I don't know a lot about it myself. Key points: as the name implies, it has double the maximum output at 8 watts. It's cylindrical-shaped and I believe it straps around the seatpost. The switch is promised to be easier to operate.

    Complicating things for NiteFlux, apparently Australian postal regulations don't allow shipping lights with Li-ion batteries anymore. So how it's going to get to the United States, I don't know. Cue the Monty Python skit about the coconut and the swallow...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NiteRider Solas pics, beamshots and remarks-rz4_1.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Placing the mini-USB port on the bottom of the light is a major design flaw. If Niterider were to move the port to the top of the light head it would greatly improve the light's weather resistance since, depending on how far up the seat post you position the mounting bracket, the port would be mostly covered by the rear part of your saddle.

    I bought a Light & Motion Vis 180 a couple of weeks ago and, so far, I think it's pretty well designed. Unlike the Niterider and the Cygolite Hotshot, the mini-USB port on the Vis 180 is located on the side of the light head. The rubber seal covering the port is tight fitting, at times hard to open. I've done a couple of rides in wet conditions, where my bike has come back covered in road salt, but the light remains unaffected by the weather.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ...Rust and grime inside...
    Thanks. I may not buy the Solas now, and instead get the cheaper Hotshot.

  12. #12
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    That might explain the lack of the promised early Jan update. Did they not have U.S. distribution? Perhaps they might ship by sea.

    P.S. I am definitely leery of the 300R's USB port after the light went through a thorough slop fest.


    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post

    Complicating things for NiteFlux, apparently Australian postal regulations don't allow shipping lights with Li-ion batteries anymore. So how it's going to get to the United States, I don't know. Cue the Monty Python skit about the coconut and the swallow...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigmode View Post
    That might explain the lack of the promised early Jan update. Did they not have U.S. distribution? Perhaps they might ship by sea.
    .
    Not that it really matters, but thought the issues were with the US Postal system, not the aussie one

    I found this quote from Niteflux on another forum

    For those who have asked about international delivery, we usually ship these from a warehouse in USA but there have been changes in the postal system in USA banning all batteries in the short term. This is expected to be reviewed with new rules in place on Jan 1 2013. Niteflx bicycle lights will comply with the new rules and international postage will resume at that time.

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