Video: 25 years with NiteRider lights

NiteRider hits its stride with 25 years of awesome innovation, rides and people



Founder Tom Carrol talks about the company’s early years.

Mtbr visited NiteRider and we talked with founder Tom Carroll about the start of the company 25 years ago. He said he was an avid surfer who was so in to it that they surfed at night. He devised a waterproof lighting system that was 150 watts and worn on the head with a waist battery. All the technology and innovation failed to make a splash in the market, but it paved the way towards bike lighting. The main issue in surfing was there was too much whitewash and the lights just lit up the spray or coastal fog.

But he applied the same innovation into bike lights and the orders started coming in. He worked in construction and started taking orders on the job site. It was a hectic and exciting time as he had to request the other workers to stop hammering and cutting wood. He rarely had paper handy, so he often wrote the orders on 2×4 blocks of wood! Then he took it home to his wife and they worked until 1am every night to assemble the lights and drop them at the post office.

Three years later, he quit construction and went on to grow NiteRider. It’s been a great ride and the industry is better with all their contributions and innovation.


Assembly of the enthusiast and high-end lights is done at the San Diego Headquaters.

Founded by Tom and Veronica Carroll, the couple set out to light up the surf breaks and trails so Tom could escape the crowds on Southern California’s iconic waves. A surfboard shaper, skilled designer, builder and carpenter, he combined his talents and passion and before long, was able to launch NiteRider in the fall of 1989. “The recipe I needed for a light was hands-free, waterproof and extremely bright. That proved to be exactly what cyclists needed too. I couldn’t find a solution so we started building them myself at our kitchen table,” explained Carroll.


Founder Tom Carrol and Director of Engineering Alex McKay show off their massive integrating sphere used to measure actual lumen output of a light.


The crew goes goes out for a night ride on the local hills of San Diego.


Sponsored rider Josh Tostado may be four time national endurance champ but even a short night ride is a blast for him.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • David M. says:

    NiteRider makes great lights! Thanks, Tom Carroll, for sticking with it and providing such great quality lights for us to purchase.

  • trailsnail says:

    I moved to NightRider from the Chinese stuff and am loving it. It is definitely worth it. Running a lumina 700 and Pro 2200. They shut the trail, traffic and the whole facility DOWN. On single track in the trees I can almost see the leaves wilt as I blow by. Thanks Tom.

    • John says:

      Do you really need to throw in stuff about china… btw, some of the best products are made in china, actually most things are made there… get with 21st century. I also own a niterider lumina and it is good.. but your perceptions are prehistoric about stuff made outside of USA. there’s a lot of junk made in USA as well… don’t forget that.

  • Tom says:

    My girlfriend and I use them for night snowboarding at our local mountain. They work great for seeing in the shadows and for spotting stopped skiiers and boarders who love to hide in those same shadows.

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