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The Cateye Volt 80 XC is a simple, effective and affordable light, but is slightly let down by how easily it swivels on the mount and gets knocked off centre when riding on rougher surfaces.
The Volt 80 XC is designed to be simple, and the first place you see this is with the lighting sequences. Cateye has included just two varieties: an 80-lumen solid light and a concentric flashing. The brightness is certainly enough to be clearly seen, but not enough to light your way on unlit roads or trails.
Having only two sequences works well, and is simply changed through the on/off button, which you hold for power and press to swap sequences. It also has slight cutouts on the sides of the lens, which gives it a wider field of lighting, so you can be seen from the sides too.
Battery life is relatively short – 1.5 hours on solid and 5 hours on flashing. These aren't terrible, but mean that if you are using it on solid and have a commute over 30 mins, expect to charge it every other day. If, like me, you use it on flashing and have a 45-minute commute, you'll need to charge it every three days.
Charging takes about 90 minutes and is simple as you just plug the unit itself into a socket, rather than needing a lead. The USB is hidden underneath a large rubber dust cap at the rear of the unit, which kept out water and dirt well and allowed me to charge it even straight after a wet ride. It also has a low battery indicator which shows through the on/off button, which is simple to see and also helps to indicate when the unit is fully charged.
Attachment to the bike is through a rubber strap which goes underneath the bar and threads through a mount attached to the light. This holds it in place well and it never felt like it was going to fall off. However, the mount itself is designed to let the light twist but there is no feasible way of tightening it, so I got a bit irritated finding the light had twisted slightly when riding on bumpy roads. It looks like there is technically a way to tighten it with an Allen key underneath the mount, but it's considerably smaller than anything I could find on four multi-tools and two different Allen key sets.
The light is light – only 43g – which is unlikely to have any impact if you have it on your bike while climbing. Its RRP of £19.99 (although you can get it slightly cheaper if you look around) is about right for a mid-range design.
It's well made and pumps out a decent beam, so despite some issues with the twisting and slightly short battery life, it works well. It is a no-frills light, but does what you want it to, although the mount is a frustration, especially on rough roads.
A simple and easy to use light, but the twist on the mount is a bit annoying
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye Volt 80 XC
Size tested: 2 modes: Constant / 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?
A fairly priced, simple commuter light.
Cateye says: 'Short charge time, two modes and a battery life indicator make the Volt80 perfect for students, urban commuters and anyone looking for see-and-be-seen safety in a compact, affordable package.'
I would agree with this; it does what it needs to in a simple and relatively cheap package.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
25.0 x 80.0 x 31.0 mm
42 grams (light unit and battery)
High intensity white LED X1
80 lumens： 5hrs
Constant mode 80 lumens：1.5hrs
Li-ion rechargeable battery (320mAh)
approx 1.5hrs (USB2.0)
Recharge/discharge number of times： about 300 times（until the rated capacity drops to 70%）
The light and strap seem well made and durable.
Incredibly simple: one button, no cables, just attach to your handlebar and go.
The actual clamping is fine, but the way the mount allows the light to twist is quite frustrating.
Used in the pouring rain with no issues.
Could be better, but not the worst I've used, and the battery indicator helps to show when you need to charge.
Does everything it needs to, pumping out enough light to be seen.
Seems well made and unlikely to break easily.
42g is hardly going to made your handlebars sag.
Fairly priced for what it is.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well, allowing me to be seen in the dark with minimum fuss.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The built-in USB is easy to use and means there's no need for cables.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The twisting on the mount is irritating; it's not exactly free spinning, but the way it's knocked off centre when going over rough roads is annoying.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Maybe
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
It's a decent, simple light that does everything I need it to. Less twisting on the mount would be good, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.