The Oxford UltraTorch Headlight CL200 has the potential to be an excellent light to have on your bike at all times, but the choice of modes means it isn't as useful as it could be. The mounting solution also leaves a lot to be desired. On the plus side, the display is a great way to know how long is left in the battery. Have a look at our guide to the best bike lights for better options.
I was excited by the premise of a well-priced, decently powerful light, with a nice form factor – and Steve was impressed with the CL500 – but I've been left slightly disappointed with the modes on offer from Oxford.
A light like this, with a maximum output of 200 lumens, isn't going to be a first choice for seeing where you're going in the dark, it's more likely to be used for being seen with. I was therefore surprised that the flashing modes don't offer a short blast-high output daytime flash, and instead the advertised 'day flash' is a 5-lumen blast. When riding during the day, I struggled to tell that the light was on when I had it in this mode, and don't think it really adds much over having no light at all. (Though it will give you a claimed 140 hours of battery life.)
The rest of the light modes are pretty standard, with the brightest output being 200 lumens, lasting for a claimed 3 hours, then 160, 100 and 35 lumens being the other solid outputs, with battery life from 5 up to 20 hours.
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It also has the previously mentioned 5-lumen flash, along with a 20-lumen pulse which lasts for 30 hours, and a 15-lumen flash which lasts for 80 hours.
The output from this light is very circular, which is concentrated in the centre. When I used it in the dark to get around the city, I struggled quite a lot as I couldn't see anything other than the circular beam. A wider beam would make more sense for a light to be seen, as it gives other road users a higher chance of seeing you from a side street.
As a positive, I absolutely love the display on the top of the light. It shows a number, which is the predicted life left in the mode it is currently in, and it has bars to show the output level it is currently on. This is the best implementation of battery monitoring I have seen on a light to date.
The display only shows up to 9, though, so if it's in one of the super-long-life modes, then it will say 9 for a very long time (up to 131 hours).
The mounting solution is a crosshead screw through the bottom of the light. The issue with using a crosshead over a conventional hex is that it's a lot harder to get the required torque to sufficiently tighten the light. It is also a lot easier to round than a hex. I found that I wasn't able to get the screw tight enough to stop the light from spinning if I touched it, which was frustrating if I accidentally hit it when reaching for my Garmin.
Mounting the light itself was a super simple affair, with a silicone band just needing to be wrapped around the bars. I could fit it in about five seconds if needed, which is a positive and means it's easy to take off at the café or suchlike.
Operation & charging
Using the light is easy enough, with two buttons on top. A long press of either will turn the light on or off, then you use the relevant button to cycle forwards or backwards through the modes.
Charging the light is also simple, though it's super frustrating that companies still use micro-USB even though USB-C has been the standard for years. A rubber bung covers the port, and it appears to hold out water really well. It's rated to IPX4.
Value & conclusion
Coming in at £26.99, it's not an expensive option, but when compared with a light such as the Moon Meteor, which has gone up in price since Shaun tested it, to £29.99, but gives double the lumens, it isn't the best value.
Overall, the CL200 has the potential to be a great daytime running light, but poor output mode choices have led to a disappointing product that isn't all that useful. It's not bright enough to see by, and the daytime flash is hardly better than no light. The display on top of the light is the best thing about it, with the ability to show how long the battery will last, and displaying which mode the light is in. If Oxford gave the day flash mode a blast of 100-200 lumens instead of 5, it would be so much better.
A light with a great display, but disappointing output
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Make and model: Oxford UltraTorch Headlight CL200
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?
Oxford says: "Utilising our in-house designed CLIQR Mini handlebar brackets for simple and secure attachment to the bike, LCD runtime indicator and additional power-bank facility (500, 1000 and 1600 models), the new CL series headlight range is packed with features to illuminate your way on anything from the daily commute to off-road night-time adventures.
The Ultratorch CL 200 is a 200 lumen USB rechargeable headlight."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
* Max output 200lm
* Run-time 3-140hrs
* LCD runtime indicator
* 270-degree visibility
* USB rechargeable 3.7V/2000mAh lithium battery
* Waterproof IPX4
* Universal handlebar strap
* USB charging lead supplied
Rate the light for quality of construction:
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
Two buttons made life easy; a long press turns them on, and then a tap on either button cycles forwards or backwards through the modes.
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
The clamp to the bar is good and simple, but I found the use of a crosshead screw fitting really annoying, as it meant I couldn't get enough torque applied to stop the light from being able to move when mounted.
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
It's IPX4 rated and I had no issues; the rubber cover on the back of the light appears to hold out water really well.
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
Battery life is pretty good, from 3-140 hours. The chances of running out of power on the bike is low, and the display on top is excellent for knowing how long is left. Charging time was decent, but the micro-USB is a disappointment.
Rate the light for performance:
It isn't a bright enough light to see with, but the day flash mode is a 5-lumen burst. If the day flash used the full 200 lumens and lasted around 10 hours I would be really happy, but this day flash is not great to be seen by.
Rate the light for durability:
All fine so far, but it could be easy to round the cross-head bolt underneath the light, which would cause issues. The silicone band feels very solid though.
Rate the light for weight:
It's quite small and light.
Rate the light for value:
It's not a bad price, but there are offerings from other brands with a better output for the same or less money.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I was mildly disappointed with the output from this light. It wasn't bright enough to see by, and the choice of modes is frustrating, with no standout mode for use in the day. If Oxford changed the mode programming, it would be a lot better.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
I loved the display on top of the light. It's great to know how many hours are left of battery just at a glance, and it's something I wish all light manufacturers would do.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The beam shape, or quality of the light output.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not a bad price, but there are offerings from other brands with a better output for around the same money.
Did you enjoy using the light? Not particularly.
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
I loved the display, but the actual light output left me disappointed and wanting more. If Oxford changed the day flash mode, giving it a blast of 100-200 lumens instead of 5, it would be so much better.
Age: 22 Height: 174 Weight: 72
I usually ride: Canyon Aeroad My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
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