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Nuke Proof Reactor Extreme lights



If you need a really good light, this is a really good light

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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£249 is a lot of money to pay for a set of lights but if that's the kind of money you're thinking of spending then the Nuke Proof Reactor is a serious contender for your cash. It's a well constructed, capable and versatile light with great stamina that'll be a fine companion on after-dark excursions.

In the box you'll find the light unit, helmet and bar mounts, battery, two leads (that you can fit together to make a long one), three diffusers and a charger. Everything feels well made and sturdy, and the battery connections at either end are well sealed to combat the winter elements.

The 'extreme' simply refers here to the battery capacity: at 900 lumens claimed output the Reactor is pretty extreme no matter what size battery you're running it from. The LED is a Seoul Semiconductors P7 Emitter, and Nuke Proof are keen to point out that it's the higher output 'D' rated unit. It's certainly plenty bright, even in the two low power modes that kick out 25% and 60% of maximum power respectively. You can have it flashing too if you like, though it's difficult to see why you'd pay £249 for a flashing LED light when you can have one for a tenner. The Reactor is about seeing, not being seen.

On full power it's simply too bright to look at, and on dark lanes it's fantastic, kicking out enough light for you to ride at daylight speeds on everything except fast downhills. In terms of output and beam pattern It's among the best lights I've tried; okay it's not quite the equal of something like Supernova's X7 Ultimate set, but then you're paying less than a third of the price. The battery and bar clamp are easy to fit and stay put without any fuss.

The mount has a pivot so that you can angle the beam up or down, and I was worried that potholes would have the light either illuminating my front wheel or the trees overhread, but so far the light hasn't budged, either on or off road. The head unit isn't heavy but it is bulky so it feels a bit odd attaching it to your helmet. However, once it's there it's fine, and you can run a long lead and keep the battery in the top pocket of a rucksack or Camelbak if you wear one

The battery life is just as Nuke Proof claim, and as such is pretty impressive, especially for a light system that weighs in at under a pound: this kind of performance was the stuff of dreams only a couple of years ago. I took the Reactor light out on an hour's off-road excursion on full beam, and then left it in the shed on low power overnight; come the morning it was still blazing brightly, fully 10 hours after I'd turned it on, and it wasn't even warm. The 60% setting will give you seven hours of illumination; on full beam you'll be plunged into darkness after four.

The Reactor lights use a simple diffuser system to alter the beam pattern and there's three included: spot, standard and wide. The standard diffuser is pretty much spot on for road riding, when I took the lights to the trails I ended up using the wide beam, which gives better peripheral vision on twisty sections and still provides plenty of reach to pick your line. The fact that you can chop and change - even when out on a ride - is another big plus, and probably the main benefit of these lights over their most direct competitor, the Lumicycle Series 3 – especially if you ride both on and off roads, where your needs differ.

We don't have any fancy beam-power-testing equipment here at so I can't tell you whether the Reactor lives up to its 900 lumen rating. Subjectively I wouldn't say that it kicks out eight times as much light as the Niterider Mi-Newt light I've also been testing (110 lumens) but it's certainly comparable to other high-output units I've tried and I doubt you'd be disappointed. Any light that has drivers flashing you when it's only on 25% power is, well, bright enough.

The light doesn't have any side visibility from the main beam but the raised, illuminated on/off button does give it a little bit of all-round visibility, more by luck than judgement I'd guess. You'll still want a cheap flasher on the bars as well. All the light would need is a Lumicycle-esque translucent plastic front ring as an option to the metal one to be perfect for the roads: can we have one next year please?


Overall the Reactor gets a big thumbs up for its awesome output, solid construction, swappable beam patterns, battery life and weight. If you like a bit of after-dark riding, either on the tarmac or in the woods, then you'll not be disappointed. If you need a really good light, this is a really good light.

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Make and model: Nuke Proof Reactor Extreme lights

Size tested: n/a

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Did you enjoy using the product? Very much

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I\'m testing...  My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with Ultegra 6700

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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jezzzer | 13 years ago

clip finally broke today, leaving nothing holding the light onto the bracket - it can just slide on and slide right back off again. will have to wield the superglue ... and hence fully detach the bracket each time i lock the bike or move the light from one bike to another.

really poor bracket design.

cactuscat | 14 years ago

or what about a lumicycle zip tie? never bettered...  1  1

cactuscat | 14 years ago

does look like a complicated bracket. I've got one of those niterider usb lights and that just clips on with an O-ring - nothing to go wrong and it's plenty sturdy enough for offroad. the NP is a bit bigger though.

jezzzer | 14 years ago

been running these lights for a few weeks, for commuting. in terms of putting out light, not being very heavy and having good battery life they are impossible to fault, but there are some elements of the mechanical design which i think really let them down.

firstly the design of the bar-clamp isn't great if you need to switch between bikes. once it's on, there's no problem, but to remove it you have to fully unscrew the screw rather than there being some kind of quick release catch. this is a pain and makes the screw easy to lose. there is a piece of rubber to give a firm fix on the bar - this isn't attached to anything, and is also easy to lose, either chucking the lights in a bag or just taking them off without paying attention. both aspects compare quite unfavourably with other lights (such as my old BLTs which have both a qr clamp and the rubber permanently fixed to the clamp.)

the light itself clips onto the bar mount, which is good so you can remove just the light if you lock up the bike. but the clip which holds it onto the bar clamp is made of very weak plastic, and just isn't man enough to hold the light in position. i think mine has been over-bent and yielded, but the consequence is that today, on the road and in daylight, a very small pothole was enough to send the light unit flying off the bar. if you were doing 25mph off-road in the dark, this would mean a certain crash, and I would be pretty unhappy using these off-road as a consequence.

if these niggles were ironed out, they would be great lights.

dave atkinson | 14 years ago

Nice one indeed. They're great lights for the money. Admittedly it's a lot of money, but it's a lot of lights too.  1

DaveP | 14 years ago

Nice one Brant!  4

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