The Cateye Wearable X USB rechargeable rear light packs a decent punch, offers good battery life, and can be mounted in a variety of different ways.
I am always an advocate for being well lit; regardless of the debate of helmets, high-vis and so on, the truth is that when the nights draw in, cyclists need lights.
One element that I particularly like about modern lights is that they are increasingly multi-functional. Whether that's the Fabric FL150 which acts as both a front and rear light, or lights like the Cateye Wearable X, which can be mounted almost anywhere. The wearable element seems to be a big growth area for light companies with some of the big players moving into the area. Knog, for instance, has its Bandicoot Headlamp at Kickstarter stage, and several other companies are launching wearable options too.
As the name suggests, the Cateye Wearable X is, indeed, pretty wearable. A strong clip across the back means you can wear it on your rear pocket, on your bag, on the back of your helmet, or just use the included strap and mount it to your seatpost. It's powerful enough to be used by itself, but the mounting options give you plenty of scope to use it as a secondary light if you're looking to be extra visible.
It pumps out 35 lumens, which for a rear light is a decent amount. You can go brighter, but with a super-bright back light you run the risk of being that idiot who blinds everybody behind them when you get the angle wrong. The Cateye isn't particularly blinding, but certainly pumps out enough lumens to make sure you're seen.
This is impressive given that it is such a slimline unit, only about twice the depth of an iPhone. It's this that makes it so wearable, as it doesn't get in the way wherever you clip it on. I wore it mainly on the back of my rucksack for my commute, but also clipped it on the central pocket on my jersey and on my collar. It was a little annoying against my neck, but everywhere else it worked perfectly well.
The light has six modes: High, Low, Flashing, Rapid, Pulse and Vibration. Selecting these is simply a case of pressing the single button until you find the setting you want. The light also has a memory so when you turn it on it automatically reverts to the last mode used.
Turning the light on and off is simply a case of holding down the same button.
Battery life is entirely dependent on the mode used, from 1 hour on high mode, up to 30 hours on flashing. I used it mainly on pulse mode and found that the 10-hour battery life cited was pretty accurate.
Charging takes 2 hours through a USB cable which plugs into the bottom of the light, with the socket protected by a rubber dust cover. One nice element is that when the light begins to run out of juice it automatically switches to flashing, so you should get home safely. It also has a low battery indicator light to help identify when you need to recharge.
An RRP of £29.99 for a utilitarian and useful light is pretty good. You can get similarly bright lights for less, but they don't all offer the same flexibility of use, what with its small dimensions and wearability. You could argue that the Lezyne Femto Duo is wearable on a helmet and is £5 cheaper, but it doesn't have the same kind of flexibility of mounting options because of its size and shape. Or you could go brighter for the same money – like the NiteRider Sabre 80 Rear Light – but again, it doesn't have quite the same focus on wearability.
Overall, there isn't much to not like about this light – it can be fitted almost anywhere, it's bright enough for most uses, and it's got a decent battery life. It also has enough mode options to suit almost any ride.
A simple, slimline design that works really well with its variety of mounting options
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye Wearable X Rear USB Rechargeable Light
Size tested: 35 lumen
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?
It's a wearable utilitarian backlight that can be used either as a main rear light or as an additional visibility aid.
Cateye says: "You can simply attach it to your clothing or pack with a one-touch, detachable clip, or directly to your bicycle via the included rubber strap."
It's a simple description for a simple light – pretty accurate.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
COB LED (35 lm)
Low profile round shape
Clip-on bracket for easy installation to backpacks, saddle bags and clothing
Rubber strap bike mount included
Li-ion polymer rechargeable battery
USB rechargeable (Micro USB cable included)
Low battery indicator
6 modes *Charging time: 2h
Mode memory function
Battery Auto Save (Lighting mode automatically changes to slow flashing when the battery power gets low)
Seems well made and the clip is robust enough to hold it on most surfaces.
Very simple. The single button is easy to use and the memory means you can just switch it on and ride.
Really good: the strap keeps it on the seatpost well and the clip kept it on my bag or rear pocket really securely.
It stood up to everything a British autumn could throw at it without any issues.
Decent battery life, especially the 30 hours on flashing. There are lights out there that last longer, but when you consider the slender design, this is pretty good.
It pumps out enough light to make it easily good enough to use as a main rear light without blinding the person behind you.
Construction seems good; feels like it could survive quite a few drops.
At 27g it's not going to weigh you down too much.
This is a difficult one to judge because although there are loads of lights out there, there aren't many designed to be wearable in the same way as this.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed really well, offering a good amount of light and a variety of mounting options.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The number of ways it can be worn or mounted.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
It wasn't that comfortable wearing it around my collar.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You could perhaps compare it to the Lezyne Femto Duo which is £5 cheaper, but that doesn't have the same kind of wearability. The NiteRider Sabre 80 Rear Light is a similar price, and brighter, but it doesn't have the key wearable elements.
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
It's not a complicated light – basically it's thin and has a clip on the back so you can mount it in more places – but it's this kind of simplicity of mounting and use that makes it so effective.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
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.