Urban Velo

NiteRider Mako 2 Watt

NiteRider has been ramping up their commuter offerings in recent times. The Mako 2 Watt is targeted at the everyday cyclist who needs more than just “to be seen.” It’s a no nonsense headlamp that it puts out some serious light. It runs on AA batteries, and you can expect a 25 hour run time on high and 50 hours on low. Like its namesake, the Mako has gills, only these are red side lights make you considerably more visible at intersections.

NiteRider claims the Mako 2 Watt pumps out 130 lumens thanks to a 2w Cree LED, which I can neither verify or deny. I can say that it’s plenty bright enough to avoid potholes on a pitch black roadway. The beam pattern is fairly condensed, allowing it to stretch far enough ahead for confident high-speed descending at night. Part of me wishes the beam could be a tiny bit more diffused in order to gain a slightly wider immediate field of vision, but I’m not complaining.

The Mako is helmet mountable, but I only used the bar mount. The quick release mounting system is one of the simplest and most effective I’ve used. I do have two nits to pick with it, though. One, it jiggles ever so slightly. This seems to be unique to the Mako, however, as I have another NiteRider light on test with a similar mount, and it doesn’t shake at all. The jiggle isn’t terribly noticeable while riding, but I definitely think it’s something that can be improved upon. The other nit to pick is that the mount is a tiny bit wide. Because of this, I’m not able to use the Mako on my bike with interrupter levers. This won’t be a deal-breaker for most people, but if you’ve got narrow or cluttered bars, you’ll want to make sure it’ll fit before you buy it.

The Mako 2 Watt weighs 165 g, retails for about $50 and includes 2 AA batteries. Check out www.niterider.com.

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8 Comments

  1. Justin WinokurJanuary 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I quite literally just ordered this light this morning so I don’t have any opinions as to its function, but I bought it to compliment my NiteRider MiniNewt 600. The 600 is my main light making me as bright as a car. However, I wanted this light for two reasons. First, it will be my daylight be-seen light. I like to always have a light on but I don’t want to waste my 600′s battery.

    The second is that if I am on a long ride, I worry about running out of juice. I do solo and self-supported centuries and with so little day-time, even with the 600 on low, I may run out of battery after I run out of daylight. While I doubt its 130 lumens will match the 250 of the low setting on my mini-newt, it should be enough to get me home safely, if not a bit slower and less comfortably. I can keep extra AA batteries in my bag.

    Do you know if it is the same mount as the miniNewts? That would be nice but i’ll probably just mount them both anyway.

  2. JeffJanuary 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Looks like they are using the same quick release mount as came with MiNewt 250, which is a great rechargeable light, if a bit pricey. Would be great if they could create a quick release mount that gave you a more solid base connection. The only flaw with the 250 is that it will slowly go nose down over rough roads.

  3. antbikemikeJanuary 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Jeff, do you know if it is made in the USA? The rest of the Niterider lights are, but I was wondering about this light [I am always looking for new made in USA components to use]

  4. Justin WinokurJanuary 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

    As I followup from my original post, I’ll put in my $0.02.

    The Mako 2-watt is an acceptable light and I am glad I bought it. I tested riding some roads without streetlights and just the Mako. It was enough that if I was stuck without my MiniNewt 600, or if it ran out of juice, the Mako would get me home safely, albeit slowly. The beam pattern is such that it is really heavy right in front with just enough spillage over to the sides. I would like it to spill over more.

    However, I much prefer the extra light of the MiniNewt 600 even on low (240 lumens). It is just a better pattern.

    My biggest complaint is that the side gill lights are flashing, not steady. I thought this may be a broken unit, but some youtube video tend to agree. Can anyone else confirm.

    So, all in all, as a BACKUP and daylight light, it is great. However, if you ride at night often, and want to be more comfortable, go with more powerful rechargeable lights.

  5. KenFebruary 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    At first, the specs attracted my attention. 2 watts, 130 lumens, AA batteries (only 2) and 25 hour run time on high.

    130 lumens from 2 watts is 65 lumens/watt, which is well within what you get from current Cree die. Believable.

    Powered off 2 AAs. OK, so the unit has a switchmode upconverter to drive the LED from the 1.8 to 3 volts a pair of AAs will deliver (3 volts when new, 1.8 volts when spent). This also means that the light output *should* be stable as the batteries run down, and that the “low” will be efficiently delivered by the switchmode converter. This is all good.

    Then I did the math. Something doesn’t work out. Even if you use the AA Lithiums (the very best money can buy), each AA cell provides 4.5 Wh of energy, so two gives you 9 Wh. Since this is a 2 watt LED, the most you should get on “high” is 4.5 hours, not 25 hours.

    Unless these guys have figured out how to violate the laws of physics (in which case they should choose a more profitable line of work), either it won’t run for 25 hours or by the end of 25 hours, the light will be far dimmer than 130 lumens.

    It is time for a truth in advertising rule for bike lights. If they are using the ANSI FL1 standard, then runtime is defined as the time until the lights deliver 10 percent of their original output. Only 10 percent — that’s 13 lumens for this light. Not really usable.

    Still, this light has promise as a backup light I can keep at work — since it runs on AAs, no worries about keeping it charged, and as long as the commute home is not 25 hours (I would have other problems to deal with), it should be bright enough to limp home…

  6. Mark in BCSeptember 1, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I came across this review from a google search. I whad just replaced mine (out of necessity as curious to see what others had to say about this unit. My experience has been this:

    Positives;
    1. The light gives very good output with fresh batteries.
    2. I was surprised by how much much run time I was able to get from cheap alkaline AAs – 20+ hours of good brightness can be expected.
    3. The unit is relatively inexpensive.

    Negatives:
    1. The handlebar clamping system did not worlk well with my handlebars, which have 31.5 centers.
    2. The light housing does not attach securely to the clamp and easily disengages while riding on rough roads.
    I resolved issues 1 & 2 reasonably well by using 2 criss crossed zip ties whic went around the handlebars and over the light housing. Something I should have also done was to wrap some eelectrical tape over the zip ties to ensure that they stay in place (crossing over at the top of the light housing).

    3. The the junction between the front half of the light and the rear half is what allows the unit to be opened up to replace the batteries. This junction is also not very secure, which is the reason I had to replace this unit. This afternoon I was zipping down a steep hill when I hit a seam in the pavement which was enough of a jarring to cause the front half of the light to dislodge and go careening dow the side of a steep rwvine. I pent a fair bit of time looking for the piece but without any success.

    To make a long story short, this light can be a good, inexpensive option, but only if you securely tape over each and every connecting point to keep it all together an on your bike.

  7. NiteRider Mako 200 USB Review « Urban VeloSeptember 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

    [...] while back I reviewed the NiteRider Mako 2 Watt, a $50 light that provided an estimated 130 lumens and was powered by 2 AA batteries. NiteRider has [...]

  8. Bike Safety Tips | MSU Bikes Service CenterMarch 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    [...] NiteRider Mako 2 watt headlight – a great light for the money. Read a review here. http://urbanvelo.org/niterider-mako-2-watt/ [...]

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