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Verdict: 
Smart looking lights bright enough for daily commuting and easy to mount to the bike
Weight: 
99g
Contact: 
Cateye Volt 100 front light & Rapid X rear light
9 10

For £50 Cateye offers the Volt 100 front light and Rapid X rear light, which together are a great combination for commuting with long battery life, multiple modes and are easy to use. They even look good too.

Up front, the Volt 100 pumps out 100 lumens in constant and 150 in flash mode. That's more than enough to be seen by, but it's not bright enough if you want to venture away from the lit streets of the city or town.

It's powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery charged by a mini USB lead, which is good for 2 to 30 hours, depending on the mode. There's a choice of high, low and flash modes. A low battery indicator ensures you don't run out of juice, and the low mode runs on just 30 lumens which lasts 6 hours so it's plenty long enough for most commutes.

The Rapid X rear light is stupendously bright and offers  good side visibility, and a range of flashing modes. The battery is good for up to 30 hours in flashing mode and 16 hours in the pulse mode which I tended to opt for. It's easily charged via a USB lead.

A nice feature is the fact that the light is intelligent enough to switch to from constant to flashing mode if the battery runs low when you're cycling, conserving the remaining juice.

Both lights are easy to mount to the bike. The rear light uses a simple rubber band approach, and fits easily to most seatposts, even aero ones. It's a very slim light and never obstructs pedalling and even looks quite good on the bike.

The front light uses the regular Cateye turn-dial ratchet mount that can accommodate different sized handlebars. The light can be removed by pressing the release button and sliding it off the mount, handy if you leave the bike outside the office.

For urban cycling and daily commuting, both lights are adequately bright and ensure you're visible to other road users. The battery duration of both is good enough that you don't have to worry unduly about burn times, and they're easily charged from a laptop when you're at the desk.

The lights are a good step from the smaller and cheaper 'emergency' lights such as the Lifeline USB LED lights (£19.99) with impressive brightness, battery life and easy to use mounts that makes them a good investment for the daily cyclist. They even look good, as lights go.

Verdict

Smart looking lights bright enough for daily commuting and easy to mount to the bike

The front light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

The rear light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cateye Volt 100 front light and Rapid X rear light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Whether commuting in towns or riding the lanes, the Volt 100/Rapid X light set combines 2 high power USB rechargeable lights into one super safe set. Volt 100 front with up to 150 lumen output & Rapid X rear with 25 lumen's & up to 30 hours runtime.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Volt 100

USB rechargeable front light with up to 150 lumen output

Integrated Li-ion battery

Side visibility

USB recharge

Flextight handlebar bracket

Modes: High / Low / Flash

Runtimes: 2 to 30 hrs depending on mode

Weight: 65g

Rapid X

Ultra bright strip LED technology

Li-Polymer battery technology

Complex circuitry for safe charge and discharge

USB recharge (2hrs)

O-Ring attachment

5 modes: Constant / Flashing / Rapid / Pulse / Vibration

Runtime: Constant: 5hrs / Flashing: 30hrs / Run: 16hrs / Pulse: 16hrs / Vibration: 8hrs

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10
Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

There are cheaper lights, and there are more expensive lights, these strike a nice balance. They're clearly very well designed, look good and are very reliable

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Easy to use out of the box and easy to fit to the bike, and the switches are easily operatable

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Really smart looking lights with enough brightness for urban cycling or used as auxiliary lights to brighter main lights for riding in the country lanes

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

Really good lights bright enough for city commuting with long enough battery duration to not have to charge them all the time, and easy to fit to the bike and easy to operate

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

14 comments

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Urban_Manc [30 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

No no no, the rapid x IS NOT BRIGHT.........

I can't comment about the front light but the rapid x is very poor compared to what is available on the market, not bright enough, limited mount options, too expensive (bougnt alone).

I bought the rapid x for under £20 (half RRP), very dissapointed, I'll use it as an emergency back up only.

If you want to see an actual bright rear light , view this video http://youtu.be/Kf0vxAf24sQ

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honesty [77 posts] 3 years ago
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The rapid x is not bright, the rapid x2 on the other hand is 50 lumens and pretty decent.

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Urban_Manc [30 posts] 3 years ago
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honesty wrote:

The rapid x is not bright, the rapid x2 on the other hand is 50 lumens and pretty decent.

Well this must be the rapid x2 he's reviewing !

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Urban_Manc [30 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm confused, he's saying this rapid x is 50 lumens, when in fact the packaged rapid x is 25 lumens

 102

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simondbarnes [58 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rapid X that comes in the twin pack tested is 25 lumens. It is the 2nd generation version. The original version was about half this brightness and £5 more expensive.
There is now also an X2 version @ £44.99 which claims 50 lumens and a mini version @ £24.99 which claims a 15 lumen output.

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 3 years ago
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The Volt 100 was £23 online last time I looked (last week)... just in case anyone needs a very good reason to feel tempted...

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Bonkers! The headlight only delivers 100 lumens in constant (120 is minimum to see even with a great lens) so isn't good enough to see, it has that awful dial mount you can't tighten with cold fingers instead of the flip cam type, the tail light only fixes to the seat post where it'll be obstructed by coat or luggage, yet it gets 9 out of 10????? Are you trolling for comments???

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David Arthur @d... [864 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
a.jumper wrote:

Bonkers! The headlight only delivers 100 lumens in constant (120 is minimum to see even with a great lens) so isn't good enough to see, it has that awful dial mount you can't tighten with cold fingers instead of the flip cam type, the tail light only fixes to the seat post where it'll be obstructed by coat or luggage, yet it gets 9 out of 10????? Are you trolling for comments???

It's not really intended as a light to see by, it's clearly a light for cycling through urban areas - there are brighter lights on the market if you want to see where you're going on unlit roads

The dial is easy to use, in my experience and from other people who have used it. Why are you operating it with cold hands anyway? That must be a long coat you're wearing if it is draping over the seatpost and obscuring a seatpost mounted light, maybe you should try a shorter coat?

And yes it's the 25 lumen rear light tested

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simondbarnes [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

the tail light only fixes to the seat post where it'll be obstructed by coat or luggage

It will also mount easily on seatstays and some racks.

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wrevilo [108 posts] 3 years ago
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I too am not a fan of the Cateye front light mounts. I prefer to be able to remove the light and mount like I can with my Hope Vision 1 so as not to leave an ugly mount on the bike when the light is not in use.

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MKultra [393 posts] 3 years ago
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Build quality on the lighter duty Cateyes is horrible. They look nice and shiney but they always fail the frisby test. I went for a rubberised USB rechargable rear from Decathlon and a cree LED torch on a bar mount as a strobe. Both are fairly indestructible and very water proof. Rears that put out a decent amount of light are cheap enough that I never buy sets, I put the bulk of the cash into a front light.

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:

It's not really intended as a light to see by, it's clearly a light for cycling through urban areas - there are brighter lights on the market if you want to see where you're going on unlit roads

Equally, there are far cheaper lights available if you just want to be seen in lit areas. Does the light meet any EU standards (making it lawful as primary bicycle lighting), or do you need a cheap flashing "bobby-dodger" alongside it anyway?

David Arthur wrote:

The dial is easy to use, in my experience and from other people who have used it. Why are you operating it with cold hands anyway?

Err, because it's cold out there at night? I've had a light with that dial mount before and it's a utter pain. The H30 flip-cam mount is far better so I guess Cateye are just gouging another £6 http://www.evanscycles.com/products/cateye/h30-quick-release-front-brack...

David Arthur wrote:

That must be a long coat you're wearing if it is draping over the seatpost and obscuring a seatpost mounted light, maybe you should try a shorter coat?

Yeah, because I let my mode of transport limit what I wear and people fit coatguards to bikes for their looks  24 (well, actually, one of mine has a pretty nice pattern... but anyway).

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HulaBoy [35 posts] 3 years ago
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This review is for the new Cateye Rapid X2 (not the older, slightly thinner and less powerful or bright Rapid X rear light) which is substantially brighter and more visible than the previous model.
I use a Knog Blinder R road rear light and it's hugely bright but the flashing modes aren't that great.
I've always loved the little Cateye as a seatstay mounted light on pulse but it was never that bright.
This newer version has claimed less lumens than the Knog but to my eyes is as bright! And benefits from much better flashing modes.
I've stuck the old one on my helmet (it fits a treat to the Kask Mojito with a longer band fitted) and now have this and the Knog on the bike.
If I didn't have the Knog id be more than happy with the little Rapid X2 rear light on my post- it's excellent and visible from all around.

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a.jumper [850 posts] 3 years ago
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HulaBoy wrote:

This newer version has claimed less lumens than the Knog but to my eyes is as bright!

Not a surprise. It doesn't matter how many lumens it has: put a dud lens in the way and it'll look awful.