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review

Cateye Viz 150 Rear Bike Light

7
£29.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Robust, reliable, easy to use rear light, but it doesn't fully exploit its power thanks to rather frantic flash patterns
Quick to recharge
Fits a range of seatpost shapes
Decent price
Not as bright on full power as expected
Weight: 
49g

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The Cateye Viz 150 Rear Bike Light is a compact unit with plenty of punch, although it's not as eye-catching as you'd expect considering the lumen count. Still, it's relatively cheap, easy to swap between bikes and stands up to the elements well.

This lamp is available in a range of brightnesses, from the downright antisocial Viz 450 down to the Viz 100, with a 300 lumen version and this 150 in between. For the cash it's a decent unit offering a range of modes with good, if not ground-breaking burn times.

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The four modes top out at a maximum brightness of 150 lumens in Daytime Hyperflash, which has a pattern that can only be described as hypnotic – it flickers crazily between the three LEDs. The problem is they all flash so fast the largest, brightest LED in the middle is only lit for a tiny amount of time, and you don't get the full effect of the brightness.

2021 Cateye Viz 150 Rear Bike Light - mount.jpg

Obviously that's not a picture (above) of the full brightness, or indeed any of it... use it in the dark and it's likely to irritate anybody behind; not so much because of the intensity, but because of the pattern.

The Group mode is next in line for output at 50 lumens. To be honest, because its flash pattern is so much more sedate it actually seems brighter, but it's a bit too much for those sitting on your wheel.

The Flashing mode dishes out just 15 lumens and is noticeable in the dark, if not exactly outstanding – and again, it's hypnotic in its pattern design. At least its strobing effect is noticeable under streetlighting.

Finally, there's a 20 lumen Constant mode, which lasts for five hours.

Run times

The rest of the burntimes are 15 hrs, 11hrs and 70 hrs as you drop down through modes. After a few charging rounds I found those times to be easily achievable on all but the coldest of rides. Sub-zero I'd say they drop by around 5%.

So, the modes are a bit topsy turvy. The one I got the most use out of, day and night, was the Group Ride mode due to its more subtle flash pattern. With the LEDs being lit longer it gives better side illumination too.

The recharge time is 3hrs, dependent on your charging source. An LED on the side shows the battery status. That's all the facts and figures out the way, so how does it work as a light? Easily, as it turns out.

> 22 best rear bike lights for 2021 – boost your day & night visibility

The mount is a rubber block designed to work on a range of seatpost shapes, from round (21.5mm to 32mm diameters), or with an outer circumference of 130mm for aero or Kamtail (tear drop shaped). It is also angled to allow for the seat tube's slant.

Whatever the seatpost shape, I found the clamp secure and it never vibrated around as the ride went on. It's held in place by a ladder style rubber band and the SP-15 bracket, as it is known, allows the light to be mounted vertically or horizontally.

Weatherproofing

The Viz is rated at IPX4, which means it can cope with splashing water from any direction. It works just fine as long as you make sure that the charge point on the base of the light has its cover sealed shut.

2021 Cateye Viz 150 Rear Bike Light - charging port.jpg

> The best 2021 front lights for cycling: Our big beam comparison engine plus how-to-choose guide

All in all, the build quality looks decent, with Jez saying in his review of the Viz 450 that he has used many Cateye lights over the years and found them to last for years.

Value

At £29.99 you are getting a fair amount of illumination for your money. It's £10 cheaper than the Knog Blinder Skull rear light which kicks out 100 lumens. It doesn't do that in any sort of great fashion though, as it's more focused on creating the skull shape.

The Topeak Taillux 100 rear light is £36.99 and also gives 100 lumens. It offers good battery life but doesn't account for seat angle (LEDs work best when you view them head on), and it's easy to switch on accidentally with its single-push start mode. The Cateye requires a long press.

Conclusion

The Viz 150 has a lot going for it. It's a neat, affordable rear light that chucks out a decent amount of illumination, but I feel its flashing patterns don't make the most of the available power. The Group Ride mode is the winner here at just 50 lumens; imagine what could be achieved with all 150 lumens in a sensible display.

Verdict

Robust, reliable, easy to use rear light, but it doesn't fully exploit its power thanks to rather frantic flash patterns

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cateye VIZ 150 Rear Bike Light

Size tested: 150 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?

Cateye says, "Compact, bright, and versatile, the ViZ150 stands out with high visibility from OptiCube lens technology and Daytime Hyperflash mode in an economical package."

It's a decent all round light, but I don't feel it makes the most of the lumen output due to its flash patterns.

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

3 LEDs (150 lm)

Highly visible during daytime

300 degree visibility

Long rear beam projection

OptiCube lens technology

Lithium-ion rechargeable battery

USB rechargeable (Micro-USB cable included)

Low battery indicator

4 modes

Charging time: 3h

Mode memory function

Battery Auto Save (The mode automatically changes to flashing when the battery power gets low.)

New seat post bracket SP-15 which fits contemporary (kammtail) aero seatpost

Snap System

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
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
 
8/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

For IPX4 it performs well.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

The burn times are okay, although the charge time is pretty nippy.

Rate the light for performance:
 
6/10

It depends on the mode; the Constant and Group Ride modes use the lighting power well, but the other two flash too fast to exploit the gains.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10
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

There is plenty of power here, although I don't think Cateye has deployed it that well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Group Ride mode gives good illumination balanced with good battery life.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Fast flashing modes don't exploit its full power.

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

Considering the output it's reasonably well priced. I've mentioned some of the competition in the review.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes, but I'm not a fan of some of the flashing patterns

Would you consider buying the light? Possibly

Would you recommend the light to a friend? If they wanted a powerful light for not a lot of money

Use this box to explain your overall score

Throw price out of the window and the Viz 150 is above average, but it doesn't exploit the amount of lumens on offer due to those chaotic flash patterns. It's well built though, stands up well to the weather, and the mount that copes with differing seatpost shapes is a bonus. You are getting a lot of light for the money.

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,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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