By Eric McKeegan
Everyone seems to have different needs in a light. I’ve used a lot of different lights in my riding career, and a few were close, but never quite there in terms of modes. Often I wanted a slower flash, or just high and low settings, or I wasn’t happy with the button push sequence. The Pro 600 LED light addresses these problems with NiteRider’s DIY software. Plug the light head into your PC (Mac version coming soon!) and fiddle around with modes to your heart’s content. The 600 nomenclature specifies the LED’s lumens, and a dual lamp version is called, predictably enough, the Pro 1200.
Construction is typical for NiteRider: built for the long haul. There are a lot of older NiteRider lights still in service, and build quality is the reason why. The Redbull-can-sized battery pack is on the beefy side, but it gives the light an estimated four hours of runtime on the highest light output. It can be mounted on the top or down tube, or tossed in your pack; personally it seems too heavy and sharp-edged for my jersey pockets. I did have some trouble getting the battery pack to stay in place on my mountain bike’s squarish top tube, but that was no problem on round tubes. Handlebar and helmet mounts for the light head are easy to adjust; the handlebar mount in particular stands out as simple and super-adjustable for just about any bend, sweep, or rise.
The software is intuitive to use, and changes to the program can be made in minutes. The light can be programmed with up to five modes—one stock setting and four modifiable settings. Each mode has both a steady and flash sub-mode, and within each sub-mode, various light levels and flash patterns can be set. Once set, modes can be selected without hooking up the light to the computer. For example: I set up two modes, “commuting” and “off-road.” In “commuting” I have three light levels (600, 300, and 150 lumens) and a few flash modes, including one I set myself. “Off-road” has two light levels (600 and 150 lumens), low for climbing, high for everything else. I also programmed two flashes, a basic riding–in-traffic flash and an SOS mode, because you never know where the day may take you.
The light pattern is just about perfect for commuting, a bright round center with enough peripheral light to keep me aware of the side of the road. A little wider beam would be my preference for off-road use, but that is a pretty minor quibble. The single button was easy to push with gloves on, and the LED fuel gauge was easy to read. Switching between steady and flash modes requires a three-second push of the button, and the light will go off for a moment when switching modes. Switching between custom modes is a little confusing; reading the manual is recommended, probably something I don’t need to tell the nerd-types that will be attracted to this light. (I include myself in that group.)
LED lights are on a tear. I wasn’t even able to finish this review before NiteRider bumped up brightness a little more and renamed the light the Pro 700. It seems like every six months run times increase, along with light output, and prices remain about the same, or go down. This is a good time to be a cyclist in the dark. I’m pretty stoked about this light, and will be glad to have something this bright for the upcoming dark commutes as winter approaches, and won’t shy away from hitting some nighttime singletrack when the opportunity presents itself. MSRP $500, proudly made in the U.S.A.