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Cateye Uno/Rapid 3 Light Set



This set offers a brilliant rear light and great front light for around town or as a back-up - it's worth shopping around to get the best deal

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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This Cateye light set consists of the Cateye HL-EL010 Uno front light and the Cateye TL-LD630 Rapid 3 rear light. The set is not cheap, but you get a pair of decent lights that will get you seen. Each light runs on a single AA battery, keeping size and weight down while achieving pretty impressive run times and light outputs.

The front light achieves this by using Opticube lens technology to put every lumen available from its single LED to the best possible use. The rear has a high power SMD-LED in the middle, with another LED either side.

For the front, you get a choice of flashing or constant modes while the rear offers three options: on, flashing and rapid. These have obviously been designed by riders; the flashing mode doesn't use the high-power middle LED to avoid blinding anyone sitting on your wheel, while the rapid mode is billed as an "all out attention grabber, using all three LEDs in a unique pattern guaranteed to get you noticed". It's certainly very bright and you wouldn't want to look directly into it at close range.

The rear is definitely the more impressive of the two. It delivers pretty well on the attention grabber promise making you very visible from the sides as well from behind. It's easily as good as some of Cateye's (older) bigger rear lights.

While the front light is also very good, the beam pattern is designed to get you seen and not necessarily to see on unlit roads. That said, for unlit roads it's still great as a back-up light - I like to have a flashing front light as well as a big light on constant. If you're riding around town, its beam throws its narrow pattern a long way, with some sideways visibility too via the transparent ring around the lens.

Both lights use the new Cateye FlexTight bracket, making mounting and taking it off the bike a tool-free doddle. It's not quite as quick as integrated mounting systems like Knog's or the Revolution light we reviewed recently; I wouldn't want to swap it over on a daily basis. You don't necessarily need to though, because Cateye is impressively good at selling spares so you could have a bracket fitted to different bikes. They don't just sell FlexTight brackets either; there is also a new saddle rail mounting system available (among others), and all in stock at decent online retailers.

Claimed run times for the front are 60 hours in flashing mode and 15 hours on constant. For the rear you can expect to get up to three hours on constant, 80 in flashing and 20 hours in rapid mode.

Suggested retail price on these lights when purchased separately is £29.99 for the Uno and £19.99 for the TL-LD630 - a penny cheaper than buying the combo at full retail, (many a mickle makes a muckle and all that), but shop around online and right now you can find it this light set for considerably less than its £49.99 list price.


This set offers a brilliant rear light and great front light for around town or as a back-up - it's worth shopping around to get the best deal

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Make and model: Cateye Uno/Rapid 3 Light Set

Size tested: Black

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?

Cateye say this about the Rapid 3 rear light: "Maximum attention. The CatEye Rapid 3 tail safety light includes a high power center SMD-LED and two 5mm LEDs for outstanding visibility.

Three modes allow you to customize your visibility. The rapid mode is an all out attention grabber, using all 3 LEDs in a unique pattern guaranteed to get you noticed. The flashing mode foregoes the high-power center LED to save blinding your riding buddies, while the constant mode adds a daytime safety option.

The included AA battery will run the Rapid 3 for up to 80hrs and comes with the SP-11 FlexTight™ bracket. Compatible with the all-new RM-1 Saddle Rail bracket and the clothing clip, available separately."

And this about their Uno front light: "Never get caught in the dark again. CatEye's Uno is the perfect light for around-town commuting or for an emergency light for when you stay late at the café.

Super compact design throws more than 400 candlepower with our OptiCube lens technology. One AA battery and one LED will run up to 60 hrs in flashing mode and up to 15 hrs in constant.

Featuring water resistant construction and our FlexTight tool-free mounting bracket that allows you to quickly and easily attach the Uno to virtually any handlebar."

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

The Uno front light has one LED light and uses OptiCube lens technology to throw more than 400 candlepower (claimed). The claimed weight, including battery and bracket, is 73 grams. It uses a single AA battery. There are two modes: blinking and on.

The Rapid 3 rear light uses a high power SMD-LED in the middle and two 5mm LEDs on each side. Like the front light, it uses a single AA battery. Claimed weight is 63 grams. There are 3 modes: rapid (all 3 LEDs), flashing (the two outer LEDs) and on (just the center LED).

Rate the light for quality of construction:

The construction is as good as we've come to expect from Cateye.

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

Once you've clocked that you need to hold the button down for a couple of seconds to switch on/off, you're fine.

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

The Cateye FlexTight brackets need no tools and are really easy to put on and take off your bike.

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

They've stood up to all kinds of winter weather.

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

Rear: 3hrs in constant, 80hrs in flashing and 20hrs in rapid mode

Front: 15hrs in constant and 60hrs in flashing mode.

Rate the light for performance:

As a "be seen" light, or as a backup to a something that'll light up unlit roads, the front performs really well.

The rear in flashing mode is enough on its own to be seen from a long way away.

Rate the light for durability:

They should last you a long time.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:

Both lights together weight just under 100 grams, including batteries. With the brackets that goes up to 135 grams. Wow!

Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:

Easy to use, lightweight, easy to take off and put on your bike.

Rate the light for value:

They're not cheap, but you get a lot of light for your money.

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

Given that Cateye sell the front for around-town commuting or as an emergency light, I'd say they deliver on their promise with top marks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The rear really punches above its weight.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

'Dislike' is probably a strong word, but I don't like that the rear looks like it has a button on each side. They look identical, yet only one of them works. The little icon isn't really enough to distinguish them.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? I would, especially the rear

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, but I would be clear about what the front is good at.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 32  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Cervelo Dual

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax


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