NiteRider Solas 2W
  • 30 claimed lumens
  • 4h 30m reported battery life
  • 5h 20m measured battery life
  • 73 g
  • flashing mode
  • no pulse mode
  • 2 brightness levels
  • internal Lithium batteries
  • mini usb rechargeable
  • Included mounts: Seatpost, Stay

Review: Wide-angle visibility at an affordable price

Review posted Sept. 3, 2013, midnight

With a 2W LED and USB rechargeable battery, this light is very similar to the Cygolite Hotshot – last year’s light review winner – in both form and function.

Pros:

  • Diffusing lens makes a broader beam of light, improving off-axis visibility. However, the lens does focus the light on a horizontal plane, so you cannot mount the light sideways and must ensure that it stays aligned for maximum effectiveness.
  • Solid-on has a high and low power mode, but is not incrementally adjustable like the Cygolite Hotshot.
  • Sturdy mount.
  • Best battery life of the rechargeable taillights (5:22 on brightest solid mode).

Cons:

  • No rack mount available.
  • Mount is not easily transferable between bikes.
  • Light does not remember flash mode when turned on.
  • No battery level indicator.

The Solas is very similar in many ways to one of our other favorite taillights, the Cygolite Hotshot. The key difference is with the lens: the Hotshot projects a very intense beam straight back, but has poor off-axis visibility. The Solas has a diffusing lens that spreads the light horizontally, making it not quite so bright directly behind (20,000 vs. only 7,000 lux measured in my tests) but much better at off-angles (1300 at 45° for the Solas compared to only 600 at 45° for the Hotshot).

Although the Hotshot looks more impressive by sheer numbers – 20,000!! – the Solas is probably the more effective light, at least when used alone, since cars don’t always approach from directly behind. One of the recommended setups for 2 taillights is a Hotshot in steady-burn mode and a Solas in flashing mode: this gives you the long-distance visibility and distance tracking advantage of a solid light, while grabbing people’s attention from off angles with the flashing light.

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