Lighting Up the Night: Cygolite Dash
Last November, just after the time change made me break out the front and rear lights, the battery for the MiNewt headlight gave up the ghost. I don't think it had been fully charging for some time, and the beam was, to be blunt, weak. This was the second of that model, and the fourth Niterider, light I have owned; they were all limited in function (single beam), but dependable and all I ever really needed.
As I considered my options, I quickly decided it was time to try something different. At half the price I paid for the MiNewt, the Cygolite Dash has proven to be everything, and more, than what it replaced. It is lighter, is a single compact unit rather than separate lamp and battery packs, is easy to mount, and has a range of beam options including four steady beams and three flashing ones. I can get two or three nights worth of rides out of a charge, which is equal to what I got from the MiNewt, with the added benefit of a brighter beam.
The varied beam settings allows you to switch between beams with higher and lower energy use. I have used this to advantage on two separate occasions so far. The unit comes with a warning light (the push button on top) which flashes when the current beam setting has five minutes of run time left. When it begins to flash you can switch to a lower energy setting to extend the run time. A couple weeks ago I was out with the beam on medium setting (typical for me) when the warning began to flash. I thought my ride for the night was over, but I switched to the lower setting and extended the time. When the warning flashed again, I switched one more time (just the four small lights across the top - which, by the way, are still quite bright) and finished the ride.
Two things to consider, one, I am not sure what the lifetime of the battery is. Will it take more than a season or two of recharging, or quit sometime before then. Second, the battery does not appear to be replaceable, so once it is gone the light becomes trash.
Supposedly you can get one and a quarter hours on high, nine hours on low, and fifty-five hours flashing. The light charges in four hours from an electrical outlet, or from a USB port. If you need a new light to finish out this winters dark rides, the Cygolite Dash is worth checking out. After three months of use, I have nothing but good words for the Dash.