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Cateye HL-EL120 Front Light



Fairly decent town light, great for swapping between bikes

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Cateye's EL-120 is designed as a backup or town light. To that end it doesn't have the brightest beam but the light it does put out is well-focused and useful and certainly enough to get you home.

Side visibility is addressed in the design but to be honest it's pretty average; other Cateye units fare much better in this area. If you regularly dart out of junctions at night you might want something with a bit more peripheral light.

Where the EL-120 does score is in its simplicity. The rubber band clamp isn't as secure as other mounts but it's literally a five second job to fix the light on your bars and when you remove it you take the mount with you. If you've got multiple bikes it's a godsend, just bung the light in your bag and you can ride without worrying about which mount is where.

The light comes supplied with 2xAA batteries, after six weeks of regular commuting they're still going strong so no worries on battery life. Weather sealing is up to wet riding but it's not a light you'd want to leave outside as it's certainly not watertight. There's no need to, however, as it's so easy to fit and remove.


Does the job as a town light although side visibility isn't great. Where it really scores is when you've got more than one bike, the band mount is simple and effective test report

Make and model: Cateye HL-EL120 Front Light

Price: 16.99

Weight: 97g

Size tested: n/a

Rate the product for quality of construction:
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Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, most of the time

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe, though I'd generally go for something a bit brighter

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe, if they had a lot of bikes!

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 190cm  Weight: 105kg

I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs  My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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dave atkinson | 15 years ago

no problems with the elastic band so far, and it's the nature of the game that we have to do a *lot* of light switching round these parts. that would be the main reason to buy this light over any of the flextight™ ones in my opinion.

purplecup | 15 years ago

I'd go for the EL220 i think. mostly because it looks a bit like something out of star trek. Like the idea of the rubber band mount though - does it look like it'll last?

Simon E | 15 years ago

I'd spend the extra and get the EL-135. It's quite a bit brighter, but still tiny and also runs for ages on 2 AAs. The flex-tight bracket could be better but considering the price it's not a dealbreaker.

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