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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
It's well made and has a solid feel.
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.
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.
It's described as water resistant rather than waterproof. I've given it a drenching without any repercussions.
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.
The beams and the build quality are very good.
I've no reason to doubt that it'll go on for ages.
It's light and takes up little room on your handlebar.
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.
About the tester
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 been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.