The Bike List

NiteRider CherryBomb LED Rear Light £25

Tested by Jon Adams, tester for The Bike List

A good rear light is one of the most important accessories you can buy, and NiteRider's CherryBomb is insanely bright. It sports three red LEDs, with two smaller lights on either side of a larger one in the middle of the unit, and in its flashing or constant mode, the brightest central one is a real retina scorcher! It's especially effective at night, as you'd expect, but it's also a good reminder of your presence to motorists during the day, too. The main LED is a 1/2 watt unit which is shaped into a wide, flat beam by a collimating lens. The seatpost mount allows the light to be rotated into vertical or horizontal positions, so the width of the beam can run from side-to-side or from top-to-bottom, depending on your preference. The light is operated by a rubber-coated button situated above the clip on the back of the unit, and repeated pressure cycles through the Flashing, Constant and Off modes.

Two AAA batteries power the unit for up to 40 (flashing) or 20 (steady) hours, and a couple of heavy duty alkalines are included in the packaging. It runs fine on rechargeable NiMH cells too, which is the ideal solution for everyday use like commuting. Get a pack of 1000 mAh AAAs for around a tenner, and you'll have a bright flasher all the way there and back for at least a week. Remember to charge up every five to ten days, and the job's done! Changing the batteries is a breeze. Twist a coin between the red lens and the backing plate, and the two AAA cells are exposed when the cover clips off. Replacing them is just a matter of popping in fresh batteries and snapping the two halves back together, but a little care is needed to ensure the rubber weather seal is correctly aligned, as it's possible to crimp this and leave it out of place.

The plastic clip on the back of the CherryBomb serves as a clothing clip as well as the quick release attachment for the seatpost mount. It's not the most secure we've come across in terms of stability, but a barb on the back stops it detaching from jersey pockets and backpack straps, and it's easy to fashion a serviceable and pretty robust helmet mount from a couple of large zip ties. The CherryBomb weighs in at 34g without batteries, or 52g with the supplied alkalines. Rechargeables will take it up to around 62g (they tend to be a bit heavier), but this is unnoticeable on a seatpost and no big deal on a helmet.

One thing that's curious about the CherryBomb is its claim to have a 'reflector insert' that offers visibility even when the unit is switched off. We couldn't find anything to support this, as the CherryBomb reflected barely anything in comparison to retro-reflective flashes or even a standard cheap rear reflector. There's no disputing its visibility or power when it's running, but don't buy one of these thinking you have a standby reflector, as it really isn't effective in this capacity, despite what the marketing blurb says.

In terms of value, the CherryBomb is only really challenged by the Smart Superflash, which also uses a 1/2 watt LED and offers a similarly eye-squinting output. Though the Superflash also features a water-resistant seal and is cheaper at around £18 (or £12 if you shop around), its beam pattern is circular and doesn't offer the same broad angle-of-view as the CherryBomb, so the latter gives a little bit more for the extra £7 asking price. With retailer discounting, though, it's easy to find the CherryBomb online for around £20, and while this is still pricey, it's not much for a powerful rear flasher that'll watch your back day and night. Two rear lights is a sensible setup - one on the lid and the other on the seatpost or rack - and it makes a lot of sense to have a CherryBomb (or a SuperFlash) in at least one of those places. Your safety is paramount, and £25 (or less) isn't really very much to make sure you're seen from behind.

Overall, at nearly 40% more than a SuperFlash, the CherryBomb is a bit overpriced, but it performs really well and the extra angle-of-view offered by the collimating lens may well be the dealmaker. We can't make much sense of the 'reflector insert' claim, but the brightness of this light means you should think about switching it on whenever you're in traffic, so there's no real reason to have it turned off in the first place!

Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com

At a glance

Verdict Powerful and exceptionally bright rear LED light that's clearly visible in daylight from a good distance and can be seen from about a mile away after dark. It also offers a broad angle-of-view and gives decent side-on visibility, too.
Value
Performance

NiteRider says:

For much of night riding, the key to survival is not only seeing but also being seen, the CherryBomb addresses the latter. By incorporating a unique multi-directional collimator specifically designed for cycling, the CherryBomb maximizes visibility by dispersing light to the sides of the rider as well as to the rear, effectively eliminating blind spots to upcoming automobiles. To further rider safety and visibility, the CherryBomb employs a custom made, built in reflector which allows the rider to be night time visible even when the taillight is in the off position. Clip and bike mounts are included, for flexible mounting options.

FEATURES

  • Half watt LED allows for up to 1 mile visibility
  • Multi-directional collimator designed for maximum rider visibility
  • Reflector insert allows rider visibility even when in the off mode
  • Swivel mount allows for vertical or horizontal mounting
  • Clip and bike mount included for flexible mounting options
  • 2 Different modes: Flash/Steady
  • 2 AAA Batteries included

Find out more www.niterider.com