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Verdict: 
Small and light, a good choice for commuters who occasionally want a super-powerful beam to light the road ahead
Weight: 
154g

The Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 USB is a front light with a range of different beams and enough power that you can ride as fast as you like at night. It's also small, light and relatively inexpensive compared with some key rivals.

  • Pros: Powerful in higher modes, light, relatively inexpensive
  • Cons: Fairly limited run-time at high power, double clicking the function button on the fly can be tricky

Let's talk about the beams first. As you can see in the beam comparison engine above, the Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 USB is very bright in what's called its 'boost' mode. I've also been reviewing the Exposure Strada 1200 over the past few weeks and the centre of the Cygolite's beam is even brighter than you get there, with slightly more punch into the dark straight ahead of you.

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The Cygolite doesn't quite have the Exposure's breadth of illumination – you don't get the same flood – but you can easily see the full width of the road. All of this means that you get enough vision to ride fast on unlit roads at night, even on steep descents, without needing to back off because you can't see enough.

Using the light is pretty straightforward, all operations being made via a single raised button that sits on the top of the light. Turn the light on and you can choose to scroll between low, medium and high constant beams and a pulse, or you can opt to scroll between flashing modes, zoom (which is like a lighthouse!) and a low power walking mode.

Cygolite Metro - top.jpg

If you select the former, you can double click the button at any time to go into boost mode – the really high intensity mode I was talking about to start with. This is A Good Thing because it means you can use boost mode when the roads ahead are clear, then press the button and go to a less intense mode so as not to dazzle road users coming in the opposite direction. You don't need to scroll through modes that you don't want in order to get to the one you do. Cool.

Just a couple of times over several weeks of testing I tried to click the button twice but only managed to click it once. I'm not sure if it was because the road was bumpy or I was being a bit of a klutz in big ol' winter gloves. Either way, this scrolls you to the next mode in the sequence, and if you're in high mode, rather than getting the extra light you're after, you get a pulsing beam. Don't get me wrong, this was a rare occurrence, but it is a possibility.

You get about an hour's life in boost mode, so you might have to use it sparingly, depending on how far you're riding. If you have a 45-minute commute, fill yer boots. If you're out for an evening training ride, you might need to be a bit more choosy about when you use it. You know the type of riding you do and whether it's suitable for your needs.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2017/2018 front lights for cycling

Of course, it's not all about that boost mode. Low mode (you get about 10 hours on full charge) will get you seen and is just about bright enough to light the way, although I found myself riding quite cautiously in this setting. Medium (about 3 hours) and high (about 90 minutes) modes certainly allow you to ride on unlit roads. I found myself using the medium setting most often.

The DayLightning mode (about 14 hours) is useful for daytime riding, flashing brightly to announce your presence.

Those run-times are nothing like as high as you get on the larger and more expensive Exposure Strada 1200, for example, but they might be sufficient for you.

The power button starts to blink fast when the battery is running low, but it would be good to have some indication of how much power's in the tank at other times. If you're desperate you can always put the light into 'walking' mode which really isn't very bright, but it has a 100-hour run-time and it'll help get you seen.

The light sits on a mount that's secured to your handlebar with a thumbnut (no tools are required). The light just slides onto the mount and clicks in place. It's a simple design but it's secure. You can easily move the mount if you want to adjust the vertical angle of the light mid-ride and you can swivel it a few degrees to either side too.

Cygolite Metro - side.jpg

The Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 USB is a very good light. It has enough power to show the way and various other settings that are useful for getting you seen around town, although it doesn't have the biggest fuel tank so run-times are limited compared with some. I'd say this is a really strong option for a regular commuter who wants to jack up the power occasionally on unlit roads.

Verdict

Small and light, a good choice for commuters who occasionally want a super-powerful beam to light the road ahead

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 USB

Size tested: 1100 Lumens

Tell us what the light is for

Cygolite says, "Engineered with incredible night-piercing power, the Metro Pro 1100 unleashes an extraordinary 1100 lumens right through the darkness with exceptional brightness and clarity. Its cycling tuned optics enables an extra wide, long range output to maximise your line of sight. Not only limited to night, the Metro Pro's DayLightning mode makes you stand out in broad daylight to give you the advantage anytime and anywhere you ride."

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

Cygolite lists these features:

- Powerful 1100 lumen output with 9 light modes

- Built-in 24/7 Safety Technology gives you a powerful selection of night and day modes (Boost - High - Medium - Low - SteadyPulse - Triple Flash - Zoom - DayLightning - Walking mode)

- 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

- Micro USB rechargeable, internal battery lasts up to 100 hours

- Low battery indicator alerts you when a charge is needed

- Rugged, water resistant design

- Side illumination ports highlight your presence to nearby motorists

- Light activation lockout prevents accidental light activation

- Locktite quick release handlebar mount keeps the light securely fastened to the handlebar

- Li-Ion battery

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It's well made and has a solid feel.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

It's pretty simple to use although a couple of times (during several weeks of testing) I tried to double click the function button to go to boost mode and ended up pressing it once and going into a pulsing mode instead.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

The clamp doesn't look anything special but it works well and the fact that it's secured by a thumbnut means you can alter the angle of the light easily mid-ride.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

It's described as water resistant rather than waterproof. I've given it a drenching without any repercussions.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

It kicks out a lot of power but that does mean that battery life is fairly limited when you use the brighter modes. You can run it for ages in less powerful modes, though.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

The beams and the build quality are very good.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

I've no reason to doubt that it'll go on for ages.

Rate the light for weight:
 
9/10

It's light and takes up little room on your handlebar.

Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

The overall package isn't as good as you get with the Exposure Stradas I've been reviewing at the same time as this, but the Cygolite is much, much cheaper.

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

It's a very good light that packs a helluva punch.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The amount of illumination you get in boost mode allows you to ride almost as if it's daylight.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

You have to double click the function button to change from standard to boost modes, which is a little more difficult than a single push.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? At this price point it's certainly worthy of consideration.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It doesn't have the run-time of some lights (such as the much more expensive Exposure Strada 1200) but this is still a very good option at an exceptional price. It's a solid 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

4 comments

Avatar
kevvjj [429 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

You could easily have compared this to the Exposure Joystick Mk12... do the comparison and you will see that it (the Cygolite) walks all over the exposure light (only 100 lumens difference) in beam pattern and brightness... all at a much cheaper price. I have had the Cygolite 500 for over four years now (identical but for power), on road the medium setting is all you need, the 500 setting sees you down unlit country lanes and bridleways with no fuss. Comparing it to the Strada just shows how much needless money is wasted on fancy tech you don't need - almost £300 quid versus almost £100 - for those of us earning real world wages it's a no brainer in my opinion.

Avatar
drosco [428 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I have an even less glamorous Smart 700 for my commute and it works brilliantly. Really no need for mega priced lights in my humble opinion.

Avatar
dmk [3 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I've had that Cygolite 420 for a few years now and love it. Pumps out plenty of light for any commute. If the 1100 seems like too much power for you, the less bright versions can certainly be had. 

Avatar
watlina [96 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I couldn't find anywhere in the UK selling these lights so ended up getting one from Amazon US for £60.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cygolite-Metro-Rechargeable-Light-Black/dp/B01N...

It's good with a decent beam and I've found it fine in the middle setting for most commuting with the option to turn it up for the odd dark country lane.