Cygolite Dash Pro 600 USB front light
The Cygolite Dash Pro 600 USB is a small but powerful front lamp with several lighting modes. Some of these are really good for being seen around town, whether it is day or night. It's also useable on short sections of unlit paths thanks to its 600-lumen boost mode. Overall, this is a decent choice for urban use, with acceptable battery life, let down a little by limited side visibility.
The Cygolite Dash Pro is a relatively compact and lightweight unit with four standard white LEDs sitting in a row above a much larger Cree-type LED torch with a reflector and lens. The aim is clearly to produce a lamp that works whether it is day or night. The lower-power LEDs, which Cygolite calls daytime running lights, shine all the time (usually steadily, except in two modes when they flash) and then you have the high-power torch for enhanced visibility, or seeing where you're going, at the expense of some battery life.
The lamp fastens onto your bar with an inbuilt rubber strap and hook. I found I was able to get it pretty well fastened on several different parts of my handlebar, with only occasional slipping after I hit bumps and potholes. It's easy to pop the light on and off, so it's no trouble to slip it into a pocket when you park up.
The single button on top cycles through seven standard modes, and lights up to show you when the lamp is running. This is useful, as the bulbs are otherwise totally shielded from the rider's gaze – a good thing for your night vision. The light in the button also blinks when the battery is getting low. The button is pretty easy to push with gloves on, although this ease of use comes with a risk: I did find the lamp got turned on inside my bag on one occasion, so this is something to watch out for. A slightly longer press of the button turns the lamp off. It remembers which mode you were using last and comes back on where you left it, which is what I'd expect from a unit at this price.
Charging is through a micro USB socket on the back, covered with a decent rubber bung when not in use. Charging took around four hours from empty, so would be fine for a commuter who wants to top up their lamp at work before heading home.
How it works
The seven main modes, which you cycle through by tapping the button, are: low, medium and high beam from the main torch, SteadyPulse mode (high-beam torchlight with a flickering effect – more on this below), just the four LEDs (shining constantly), just the four LEDs (blinking), and DayLightning mode, which is all the bulbs flashing at once on maximum power (more on this below too).
Whichever mode you're in, you can double-press the button to enter a special 600-lumen boost mode. This'll get you a maximum of one and a quarter hours of light, and so means this lamp is probably best suited for short sections of dark lanes within a mostly urban commute, rather than full-on countryside riding. I found the boost mode plenty of light to see by on sections of my rides where there were no streetlights. The beam pattern is quite effective too, with useful side projection to show you the edges of the path.
From boost mode, a quick press of the button drops you back into whichever of the seven standard modes you were previously using.
Some key numbers from the claimed battery life stats include 1:15 in boost mode, 3:00 in SteadyPulse mode, 9:30 in DayLightning mode, 10:30 running the lamp on low, or as much as 80 hours with just the four LEDs flashing. I found these numbers to be more or less accurate when testing.
How it performs when riding
The two modes that really catch the eye – in every sense – are the flickering high beam mode called SteadyPulse and the DayLightning mode, which has all five bulbs flashing at maximum power. SteadyPulse is intended to make you visible at night: the torch is on constantly at a high level, but flickers in a distinctive manner about once per second to make you more attention-grabbing without actually turning off your lamp. This is pretty effective and, in my tests, looked good from a distance.
The DayLightning mode is for visibility during daylight hours, and is perhaps the best feature of this lamp. In this mode, all five bulbs flash around once per second in a distinctive rapid triple flash, with the main lamp throwing out a claimed 700 lumens. I couldn't believe how bright and attention-grabbing the lamp is in this mode. Its pulses of light were so bright and noticeable, I could see it bouncing back off the road surface even in broad daylight. Riding through the centre of Bristol, I realised for the first time just how many reflective signposts and bollards there are – huge sections of the streetscape were flashing back at me in synchrony as I rode. Signposts over 200 metres away were clearly illuminated with pulses of light. It would be a particularly distracted driver who manages to overlook you with this going.
Unless, that is, they approach you from the side. Because in contrast to the dazzling photon cannon that the Cygolite offers out front, its little side-windows provide only milky dots of light exactly 3mm across. Whatever light gets projected sideways by the lens – which isn't much, as it mostly reflects the light forwards – then passes through a translucent rubber layer, which further diminishes the brightness. Looking at my reflection in shop windows as I passed, I saw almost no light visible from the side.
One other slight issue I found was that it wasn't always easy to tell which mode you were in while riding. A couple of times I had to lean right over the lamp and get blinded by the four LEDs to try to see whether or not the main torch was shining.
The CygoLite Dash Pro 600 USB is a conveniently sized unit with a range of modes for making you more visible both in daylight and at night. Some of these modes are distinctive and really effective for making you stand out from your environment. The lamp's boost mode is also bright enough if your commute involves short sections of unlit road.
At £65, it competes with some other great lamps such as the Moon Meteor Vortex Pro, but can largely hold its own, particularly with its extremely noticeable DayLightning flashing mode for making yourself visible during daytime. Perhaps the main caveat concerns the limited side visibility, which stands in contrast to the very useful levels of light shining forward.
Will make you visible in an urban environment, with the ability to handle sections of unlit road
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cygolite Dash Pro 600 USB
Size tested: Output: 600 Lumens
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?
This is aimed at commuters and people wanting to make themselves visible in urban settings, whether day or night.
Cygolite says: "The sleek Dash Pro™ 600 elevates your adrenaline rushes with an aggressively powerful 600 lumens to pierce through the night. Engineered for road cyclists, its highly efficient lens enables an extra wide, long range beam to maximize your line of sight. Beyond its exceptional night capabilities, the Dash Pro's DayLightning® mode makes you stand out in broad daylight to give you the advantage anytime and anywhere you ride. Every bit the road cyclist's light, it uses a low profile flexible mount designed for most handlebars including aerobars."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
- Powerful 600 lumen output with 8 light modes
- Built-in 24/7 Safety Technology® gives you a powerful selection of night and day modes (Boost - High - Medium - Low - SteadyPulse® - DayLightning® - Quad LED Steady - Quad LED Flashing)
- SteadyPulse® mode alerts night time motorists with pulses while constantly lighting your path
- DayLightning® mode emits lightning-like flashes to highlight your presence in the brightest of daytime hours
- Enhanced Cycling Optics™ (ECO) expands your visibility with an extra wide and long range beam
- USB rechargeable Li-ion battery
- Low battery indicator
- Light mode memory saves the mode you're in before the light is turned off
- Low profile, water resistant design only weighs 95 grams
- Side illumination ports highlight your presence to nearby motorists
- Versatite™ flexible mount conveniently attaches to most handlebars including aero bars
Generally feels really solid in the hands and it didn't object to my dropping it once or twice. My main concern is that the hook for the mounting strap feels like it could have been fastened to the body more securely.
It's good, although the seven modes can mean quite a lot of button pushing to shift into the one you want – and it's not always clear from the saddle which mode you're in.
Works okay for a built-in rubber strap. I didn't have any real problems with it slipping, and it's easy to pop on and off.
I used the light in a couple of fairly heavy days of rain and it seemed fine. I later subjected it to a dousing under the shower and it shrugged that off too.
Battery life is perfectly good for commuting, although perhaps slightly below some competitors overall. There's the option to drop to less illuminated modes to extend life if necessary. Charging is pretty quick through USB.
At 95g, it's hardly noticeable.
There's strong competition at this sort of price point, but the Cygolite holds its own given its excellent visibility modes.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works very well as a light for making a commuter seen in an urban setting. Can handle shorter sections of unlit road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
I particularly liked the incredibly conspicuous DayLightning mode.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Cycling through seven modes can mean a lot of button pressing, and it can take several seconds to get to the mode you want because you can't press the button very rapidly (since a rapid double-press activates the boost mode). Ideally, given the light is designed to have day and night modes, I wonder if it would have worked better with a second button to toggle between these two states. It's also easy to dazzle yourself trying to see what mode the light is in.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The lamp has some useful modes for conspicuity but isn't just limited to helping you be seen – its boost mode is enough to see where you're going too. I'd have rated higher had it been a bit cheaper, given the competition around this price point, or had it been easier to handle the big menu of modes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Synapse My best bike is: Whyte Wessex One
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, audax and long-distance riding
A research psychologist by day, Ian spends quite a lot of time on bikes, particularly commuting between Bristol and Bath or doing audax rides. For years he was an ultradistance runner, but this came to an end when he realised getting back onto a bicycle offered the chance to race over much more preposterous distances. In recent years he has ridden in the Transcontinental Race, the TransWales and the North Cape 4000. He has even finished first in some of these.