Cateye's Orb Bar End lights are a neat addition to the lighting setup on your bike, and while they aren't super-bright they are noticeable, well made and relatively cheap. They might even offset some close passes.
- Pros: Easy to fit, robust, distinctive
- Cons: Handlebar drop needs to be precisely aligned for best performance
I'm not going to start off with massive claims about how these Orbs made every car give me masses of space when overtaking, as there is no way of knowing. Maybe they helped a little by giving a clearer distinction to some drivers of just how wide you are in the dark, but in general road manners remained the same.
I like having them on the bike, though. It's just another little part of the arsenal to help to be seen and even with their minimal output of just 5 lumen they are actually quite noticeable.
You even get a little bit of side visibility.
First, though, you need to make sure that the bottom of your handlebar drop runs parallel with the road; as with any LED, the Orbs need to be pointing directly at the intended target (i.e. a driver's eyes) for best effect. If you have your bar at an angle or yours doesn't have a full rounded drop then you will be losing a lot of performance as the light shines at the floor.
Each light comes supplied with a CR2032 coin style battery. They're quite common, so price/replacement isn't much of an issue.
They'll last for a while anyway (depending on how often you ride, obviously) with run-times of 50 hours on constant and 100 on both the fast and slow flash modes. These claims are pretty close to what I achieved with the original batteries, and as they wear out the LEDs just get a little dimmer.
To turn them on and scroll through the modes, you just click the lens. It's a defined click too, so you can feel what you are doing even through thick winter gloves.
The Cateyes are well made, coming with an aluminium body rather than plastic for their 20 quid asking price. They withstood all the rain they saw plus my own power shower test with ease.
Fitment is easy too. You just remove your standard bar tape plugs and push these on in place. As long as your bar inner diameter is between 18mm and 22.5mm they'll be a good, firm fit.
There aren't many of this type of light on the market to compare them with for value, but I think they're worth the money, mostly for the build quality and ease of use rather than all-out brightness.
For the same price you could go for the Moon Meraks, which have the same rrp but slightly shorter like-for-like run-times. They do have a daylight running 15 lumen, though, if you want something a bit brighter.
Overall, I think the Orbs are a neat little package, and offer plenty of brightness.
Simple extra lights that provide some indication of width to overtaking traffic
road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye Orb Bar End Set
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the light is for
Cateye says, "The Cateye Orb Bar End Light Set is made up of two, highly compact, lights with red, rear LEDs. They fit neatly into any bikes handlebars that have an inner diameter of 18.5mm-22mm. To add to the light's user friendly nature the lights can be turned on, off and switched between modes via simply pressing the face of the lights."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Robust aluminium construction
Fits bike handlebars with an inner diameter of 18.5mm-22mm
Lens acts as power and mode button
2 x 2032 batteries included
Not exactly a 'clamp', but easy to fit.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A simple light set that works as it should.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Ease of use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Handlebar angle has to be spot on.
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 overall score
A simple addition to your bike lighting solutions that are well made and easy to use.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.