With the nights in the winter months getting darker it becomes more important to make sure you are seen on the roads by other users. Unfortunately many riders just go and buy the cheapest set of lights possible and fit them with legality in mind rather than safety being a major prerogative.
I decided to take a look at some budget lights from Cateye to see how they fare. At £16.99 each they are certainly not the cheapest lights on offer but with 5 LED lights fitted inside the small unit they have considerably more power on offer than some of the very cheap units.
Fitting the lights is easy with a strap that is tightened by turning a small plastic gear making it easy to remove the lights for security or to put them on another bike. Rubber spacers provided allow you to get a snug fit to the bike.
Powered by two AAA batteries the lens is removed to access the batteries, unfortunately there is nothing that clips the lens in place firmly so if you do get involved with more off-road riding these aren’t the lights for you as a swift knock will likely dismantle the unit.
Like most lights the Cateyes have the 3 differing modes to choose from with a rapid, flash and constant modes giving differing levels of battery life quoted as 40hr, 120hr and 40hr respectively. Of course you have to bear in mind the effects of cold weather on battery life so this will vary.
Testing the Cateye lights in an urban environment I was impressed at how bright they were for such small lights, the five LED lights really do make you much more visible and makes it much easier for other road users to see you.
I also tested the lights in a rural environment without street lighting and this is where the lights showed weakness as while they are great for allowing other people to see you, they’re not so great for actually seeing where you are going with the light pattern being far too scattered.
For most users who cycle in towns and cities the Cateye OMNI lights are great for improving your ability to be seen in low-light conditions and at a relatively low price are a worthwhile investment over the cheapo lighting systems.