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Verdict: 
Versatile compact light with some excellent features but top deck of LEDs lack the visual impact you might expect
Weight: 
101g
Cygolite Dash Pro 450 USB
7 10

The Cygolite Dash Pro 450 lumen front light is another mid-power compact model with some interesting features. However, though promising, the 'double decker' design looks slightly dated and for me at least, doesn't meet its true potential.

Settings

There are seven in total, broken down into four night and three day. The most powerful daylight option is appropriately named' Day lightning'; which is in fact 500 lumens and with a very distinctive, 'Lightning flash' strobing pattern.

To date (and aside from those found on some retina burning 1800lumen models) this, trumps others I've tested in this class, including the Bontrager Ion 350 RT. Car traffic has tended to focus, slow down and generally take notice-even in very strong, spring sunshine.

The best front lights for cycling + beam comparison engine

The other two comprise of a super frugal flashing, reckoned to run for 70hrs (I've cruised past the forty hour with no hint of waning) and a double steady-think dipped car head-lights. These are also pretty effective, and although less potent the quad (top four) flashing mode has some merits aside from grin inducing frugality.

Then we've the night modes.

High, medium, low and steady pulse. The latter is another hybrid beam which, as the name suggests combines flashing and steady. Theory goes this alerts other road users to your presence and approaching speed, while providing a good, pure beam to navigate by. I wouldn't describe selection as difficult but was glad of the memory function.

Switch

The switch cum battery life indicator is a large top mounted, rubbery affair. Sensibly positioned, it feels a little remote in middleweight full-finger gloves, especially mid ride although, I'd sooner that over one that was too sensitive.

It's intelligent in some respects, emitting a flickering green light to indicate you're in the highest setting and flashes across the board, when you're running low on juice.

Problem being this only kicks in ten minutes before power-down, which might be fine if you're a couple of miles from home following a twenty mile lap of the lanes. Personally, I'd like a little more leeway, or better still, an automatic SOS kick down to limp home on.

 

Build Quality & Weatherproofing

Build quality is generally good from the sturdy polycarbonate lens with two side windows through to the composite body. A corrugated aluminium heatsink serves to dissipate heat, giving diodes, lithium ion battery and circuitry stand the best chance of long, productive lives. Yes the light becomes surprisingly warm to touch, given an hour or so but we're not talking singed digits.

The Integrated strap is similarly well- conceived and tucks neatly out of the way for a cleaner aesthetic. Meeting IPX4 for weather-proofing, positioning the charge port at the rear, rather than beneath affords better protection from muck and spray, especially on bikes shunning mudguards. Charge times are 4hours, which is quite pedestrian, I you're using the more powerful night modes but what I've come to expect from this type of light.

The charge plug on our sample had the tendency to pop out unexpectedly, requiring a conscious effort to check it was fully home before setting off. That aside; it's passed my garden hose test and the odd, short, sharp April shower without missing a beat.

 

Output & Run times

I consider these 'commuter plus' lamps; compact lights for general, sub/urban riding with a steroid injection, great for post work training runs where you fancy a taste of the backroads.

To their credit, the Enhanced Cycling Optics equate to a wide angle throw-not the sort required for trail duties but the quality of light, free from halos and similar imperfections mean a more useable light for picking out potholes and other potential hazards at a sensible pace.

On reasonably clear nights, unleashing the full 450 lumens was good enough for 20-22mph through shaded semi-rural sections, dropping to 17 odd along narrower and decidedly darker lanes.

It will also fit atop some helmets and made a passable complement to a high power bar mounted system for a bit of impromptu forest track, or green lane exploration. Better in fact, than some old school Halogen/Lead acid systems I was using 15 years or so back.

No problems being seen though, especially along the straights, although the lack of peripheral punch from those top deck diodes left me feeling a little vulnerable when turning right at cross roads or passing concealed entrances.

1hr 15 is the official figure and was what I got-within a minute, although, in most contexts, 450 lumens is overkill for suburban work, sweeping between high, medium and steady/pulse got the best balance of performance and economy-the latter being my default through city limits.

Low is a bit impotent but enough to limp home on, tackling a flat or well-lit city centres, although I felt a whole heap happier with a thimble type added and flashing alongside it. 11hrs 53 is pretty frugal, not to mention faithful to the figures.

Medium seemed on par with others sporting 220lumens or so and for the most part, allowing for street lighting and with a second blinkie, more than adequate for hustling through the suburbs, or, as secondary, helmet mounted light for map reading/similar duties.

Of the daylight modes, I would've sooner they stuck with the day-lightning and the slightly ubiquitous but surprisingly useful four diode flash. The former locks driver attention at 150 metres, even in rush hour, town centre traffic, although the quad flash still seemed good for 40. This is due in part to the lack of side windows on the upper deck, which I consider a missed opportunity.

Verdict

Versatile compact light with some excellent features but top deck of LEDs lack the visual impact you might expect

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cygolite Dash Pro 450 USB

Size tested: 450 lumens steady, 500 flash

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?

"Hit the road anytime with the Dash Pro 450 – the sleek, versatile USB rechargeable headlight firing 450 lumens of light through an Enhanced Cycling Optic™ that covers a wide spread. Packed with advanced features like 24/7 Safety Technology™, avid road cyclists can see and be seen for safer night and day cycling. Side illumination ports highlight your presence to nearby motorists. Patent pending.

Powerful 450 lumen output

- USB rechargeable internal Li-ion battery

- Exclusive DayLightning™ mode boosts over 500 lumens of lightning-like flashes for increased daytime safety

- Enhanced Cycling Optics™ (ECO) widens your field of vision and increases your visual profile

- Water resistant design"

My feelings " Nicely built light with some nice touches but top bank of LEDs did not have he visual impact I was expecting-at least side-on"

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

Powerful 450 lumen output

- USB rechargeable internal Li-ion battery

- Exclusive DayLightning™ mode boosts over 500 lumens of lightning-like flashes for increased daytime safety

- Enhanced Cycling Optics™ (ECO) widens your field of vision and increases your visual profile

- Water resistant design"

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Feels very solid, although USB port cover had a tendency to flop out on our sample.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
6/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Sturdy and simple, works on aero bars and also permits helmet mounting too.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
6/10

Good in the everyday sense. However, the silicone charge port plug had a tendency to flop out, potentially allowing water/similar ingress to find a way inside - not that it did during our test period.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

Long charge times but relatively frugal when used in the lower-mid range settings. In common with similar designs, unleashing the full 450 depletes reserves in no time and I would've welcomed a more generous battery warning indicator, or better still, an SOS bail out mode.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

By no means poor but this price-point is very competitive.

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

The Dash Pro has a superb daylight mode and some generally sensible settings for suburban riding and short sections of semi rural stuff. It will also mount to some helmets, which is useful for reading signs, tackling roadside mechanicals and presence when paired to a high power system However, while the main light features cutaways for peripheral bleed, there's nothing up top, which is a missed opportunity and would be welcomed around town.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Daylight mode, sensible mid range power, broad hybrid beam and secure mount.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

LED top deck didn't meet their potential-would benefit from side windows.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? With some tweaks, possibly

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Competition at this price and power point is very stiff. If Cygolite improved the design's peripheral punch, or they found one at a discount, possibly.

Use this box to explain your score

A good, but potentially excellent light held back by some simple detailing.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)