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Cateye AMPP 500 Front Light

7
£39.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Not the greatest beam pattern out there, but bright nonetheless and reliable
Good price
Secure bracket
Decent beam quality
Short run-times
Body feels slightly cheap
Weight: 
121g

At road.cc 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 AMPP 500 is one of its lower powered 'see by' lights, but it still manages to chuck out enough lumens to light dark rural roads for riding at a decent pace. It's not badly priced, though it has a slightly cheap feel to it, and if you need to run it on max most of the time then the battery life isn't massive.

The AMPP 500 uses a single LED and Cateye's OptiCube lens which gives the light quite a focused spot with a small amount of spread out to the sides. It's quite narrow; I'd like a little bit more illumination to pick up the verge either side of the ride to give a bit of depth and sense of speed.

The central spot is bright, though, especially considering the claimed 500 lumens against other lights of similar power.

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On the High 500 lumens mode I was happy riding at around 20mph without issue, but any faster than that on unlit back lanes with no road markings requires focus. On main roads you can go a bit quicker.

The Low mode offers 250 lumens which is okay for riding in urban environments and country lanes at a sedate pace.

There are two more modes, the Daytime Hyperconstant – 250 lumens backlit and a 500-lumen flash over the top – and the Flashing which is 250 lumens. Both are handy for getting you noticed.

Modes are changed via the on/off button on the top of the light which is usefully backlit so that you can see it when you are riding. It changes colour to red when the battery life is below 20%.

One thing I do like about the AMPP that so many other brands can't seem to achieve is that you don't have to scroll through the flashing modes to get back to High; a double-click from any mode will take you straight to it.

Battery life isn't massive: on High you'll get 1.5hrs, with 3hrs on Low. The Flashing mode gives you 50hrs, and the Daytime Hyperconstant will run out in 5hrs. A full recharge takes just over 4hrs if using a wall socket, and up to double that if using a PC or laptop.

> The best 2021/22 front lights for cycling

Depending on where you live and what roads you ride, if you're using High for the majority of the time it'll restrict your ride time.

To be fair to it, though, the AMPP 500 probably isn't a light you are likely to buy if you are spending most of your time on unlit roads. If you are riding or commuting in the dark in a mostly urban environment, or on major roads with street lighting, you're going to be able to get away with the lower or flashing modes, with the knowledge that if you have some unlit sections coming up you'll have enough illumination to keep you going.

Cateye's FlexTight bracket uses a wheel and notched band for fixing the light to the handlebar. It works well, keeping the AMPP firmly in place, and the small lever allows you to remove the light quickly outside of shops and so on.

2021 Cateye AMPP 500 Front Light - mount.jpg

Cateye gives an IP rating of IPX4 waterproofness. I gave it the heavy rain and bathroom shower test without issue; you just need to make sure the rubber cover over the charging port is secure.

2021 Cateye AMPP 500 Front Light - charging port.jpg

Priced at £39.99, it's a decent light for the money. I'd prefer to see an aluminium body to give the AMPP a bit more of a feeling of quality and robustness, but at this sort of price there are compromises to be made.

You get an extra 50 lumens with the Blackburn Dayblazer 550 for the same cash, although burn-times are similar.

Beam-wise, the Cateye is noticeably brighter in the centre, but the Blackburn offers a better spread all round.

It's also the same price as the Ravemen LR500S, which is now five quid more than when we tested it back in 2019. Its outputs are similar to the Cateye, as are the burn-times, but it comes with an aluminium body.

> Buyer’s Guide: 22 of the best rear lights for cycling

Overall, the Cateye is probably a better option for more urban areas, with quite a focused beam for riding on unlit lanes, and isn't a bad price considering how bright it is.

Verdict

Not the greatest beam pattern out there, but bright nonetheless and reliable

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cateye AMPP 500 Front Light

Size tested: 500 lumens

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 says, "CatEye AMPP 500 Front Light punches way above the price. A 500 lumen front light provides a high enough beam to handle everything from daytime visibility to country lane rides. A secure FlexTight bracket holds steady on rough roads and trails."

It's a decent, well made light that comes with a good bracket.

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

Cateye lists:

500 Lumen maximum output

Opticube lens technology for supreme light distribution

Robust matt polycarbonate body with enhanced scratch resistance

FlexTight bracket – suitable for bars up to 35mm diameter and selected aero bars

2.5x greater Lumen output on Low mode compared to Volt 500XC, for increased versatility

220% larger side lens for a significantly wider beam and enhanced side visibility

Power button illumination and red indicator @ 20% battery capacity

Redesigned underside connection for easier removal from the FlexTight bracket

Double click to High mode, Single click returns to previous mode

Light Mode Memory

Recharge time: 4hrs ( 1A ) – 8hrs ( 0.5A )

Battery: Li-Ion 3.6v 2200mAh

Waterproof rating: IPX4

Weight: 95g

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10
Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

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

The beam is a bit more focused than I would like, but it chucks out a good amount of light considering it's measured at 500 lumens.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The double-click to return to High saves scrolling through flashing modes.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Focused beam.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's similar in price to the Blackburn and Ravemen mentioned in the review which give out a similar sort of power.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes, although I'd prefer a more spread beam.

Would you consider buying the light? Possibly, there is some tough competition though.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall it's a good option, with some highlights like the bracket and the 'double-click to High' avoiding the flashing modes when scrolling. It's relatively cheap too. The narrow beam isn't great for darker lanes, though, and the battery life is rather short.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

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, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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