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SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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NiteRider From Diving And Surfing To Desert Racing In Baja, Niterider Is A Solution-Driven Company By Larry Saavedra Photography Courtesy of NiteRider In 30 years of developing lighting systems, there isn’t much that NiteRider hasn’t accomplished in the sporting and motorsports world. From creating products for surfing, diving, biking, and off-road desert racing, NiteRider has been there every step of the way in developing lighting that best serves the active consumer. The company has a unique ability to recruit the right internal personnel who live, breathe, and sleep these activities, according to Robin Jacoway of NiteRider, located in San Diego, California. “Our founder, Tom Carrol, actually got his start by developing a light for surfers that wanted to catch waves at night. He created lighting for night surfing, which he loved to do, and for scuba diving around the same time. Internationally renowned underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau, used his specialty lights for some of his deep-sea adventures. Tom saw surfing at night and deep-sea diving as the last frontier.” By 1998, the company banded together to explore other emerging sports markets. Out of that meeting came innovative lighting systems for mountain and road biking, and then off-road desert racing. “At that time, one of the guys on our team was really into off-road desert racing and he used our light systems on his helmet for research and development,” said Jacoway. “That got a lot of attention from other moto racers. It worked extremely well to light up turns at night. We had built up the off-road business, but racers wanted us to expand it further. So we did.” Today, NiteRider lighting products spill over to overland travel and UTV markets. “Our product manager, Travis McMaster, is out doing this kind of stuff every single week,” said Jacoway. “He loves it, and so do we. It helps us get a better look at the off-road market.” Another key to NiteRider’s popularity, is trust, says Jacoway. “I don’t know of anyone that knows more about the technical aspect of lighting than we do. We have in-house collimation methods to inspect the lumens of every single product we manufacturer. The testing process includes putting our lights in a collimator-- a huge sphere that allows us to measure lumens at the center of the sphere. It gives us the brightest level to meet the ANSI FL1 Standard that is used in the outdoor industry.” NiteRider says they want to be transparent about their testing data. “While others promote only raw lumens to show the quality/intensity of their lighting, we also provide real-world lumen information on all packaging,” said Jacoway. “Raw lumen data is light intensity data on paper,” said Jacoway. “That’s why we show both raw and real-world information about our products.” While the company has seen tremendous growth, Carrol is still very active as an engineer at NiteRider. Carrol’s involvement has helped NiteRider achieve many goals, especially in off-road desert racing. “The lighting systems for helmets and on the front of the bike are extremely compact and powerful,” Jacoway added. “There are not many light sources that can provide the performance output that NiteRider does. Helmet systems are by far the most popular, as well as the associated backpack battery systems.” The company gets team and rider feedback after every SCORE event to see if product changes need to be made. “Some of our products are now being used inside trucks with red or white light,” said Jacoway. “Dan Walsh races SCORE and provides a lot of data on our lights. What we’ve determined from Dan’s experience, is that every rider needs at a minimum, a helmet and tail light in addition to a quality headlamp on the bike. There is a multitude of choices for headlamps, from us and other companies.” NiteRider believes that LED technology is only getting better. “The technology advances are in how the LED is driven to keep it as cool as possible,” says Jacoway. “Everyone used to brag about the hours of use they would get from LED,” he added. “Racers want three football fields of light intensity, and that’s difficult to do with a small light source. The science behind it is the challenge.” The good news is NiteRider has proven to face challenges head-on, often meeting or exceeding any standards placed upon them. SJ

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