We remember a time when spending £250 on a bike light seemed like the height of profligacy. And now here we are looking at a light system that costs a mighty £650, and amazingly somehow seems almost worth it if you happen to be one of those riders who needs lots of light for a long time.
Niterider describes its Moab as “the ultimate adventure racing and 24 hour racing bike light”. And they just may have a point. Moab stands for “Mother of all batteries”, Niterider having taken advantage of lithium-ion battery technology not to produce a tiny battery (although its Firestorm light is essentially the same but with a dinky battery pack) but to give you massive capacity with a pack of tolerable size and weight. The Moab battery pack is an impressive 7.2Ah unit, but it’s still lighter than an old NiCad pack of less than half the capacity.
This mighty battery is combined with a switchable three-mode HID lamp unit. You can run the lamp at 10W, 12W or 13.5W. The claimed run times are truly epic – at full power Niterider says that you’ll get eight hours out of it, and if you really need to keep going for a long time, knock it down to 10W and you’ll get a claimed 12 (count them) hours. And remember that most of the HID systems out there run at 10W as standard, so the lowest power mode is still plenty bright.
The Moab package is pretty comprehensive, including bar and helmet mounts along with two lengths of power cord. The battery pack is designed to attach to a frame tube with a Velcro strap, although where exactly you put it depends a little on your bike. Under the top tube is the obvious place, but if you have top tube-routed cables that’s a non-starter. We tried putting the battery on top of the top tube but, unsurprisingly, it quickly rattled its way round to the side and got in the way of our knees. In the end we used the longer power cord and strapped the battery to the seatpost. If you’re using the helmet mode, the battery is handily pocket-sized.
Helmet vs. handlebar mounts is an oft-debated issue, but Niterider has both options covered. The helmet mount uses a Velcro strap through your vents, while the offset bar mount positions the lamp centrally in front of the stem. It’s compatible with conventional and oversized bars thanks to removable rubber shims. Both mounts are easily adjustable for height.
In traditional Niterider style, the power modes are controlled from a single button on the light unit itself. One press brings up the supplementary triple white LEDs. These have steady, flash, and “SOS” (in Morse code) modes, and also come on automatically when the battery eventually gets too depleted to run the halide lamp. Just use the LEDs with a fully charged battery and you’ll get a claimed 720 hours of light, or “a month” as we like to think of it.
The pushbutton is transparent, with the “fuel gauge” LEDs tucked away underneath. Three greens is plenty of battery, with LEDs going out as the battery is depleted. Eventually a red one comes on and a little later the HID will shut itself down and the light will switch automatically to the LEDs to get you home.
Recharging is accomplished with Niterider’s smart charger. It takes less than five hours to fully recharge the battery, can cope with a range of input voltages from various countries around the world and can be left plugged in indefinitely.
In use, it’s a splendid bit of kit, but not perfect. We’d like some sort of indication of what power setting the light is in – you can figure out where you are by cycling round the settings, but it’s not ideal. That said, we didn’t find ourselves switching between settings all that much – rather, we’d leave it in whatever setting gave enough run time, and to be honest that’s usually going to be flat out. Our only other niggle is that mounting the battery is a lot easier on some frames than others.
Ups and downs
Positives: Fantastic construction, as bright as you’ll ever need, epic runtime, lots of mounting options
Negatives: Could do with visible power indicators, probably overkill for nearly everyone
Few would deny that the Moab is serious overkill for most riders. It’s quite remarkably priced, and there aren’t all that many of us that will make use of more than a couple of hours of runtime. But if you really need a whole night of light without recharging, this should be high on your list. It’s robust, bright and seems to last forever. If you don’t need this kind of runtime, take a look at Niterider’s Firestorm – the same lamp unit with a smaller battery and hence about half the price…