- 4.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Since the inception of bike lights as we know them today, the race for greater output and runtime has been a logically evolutionary path. In the last few years however, companies are recognizing smarter approaches to improve efficiency – put light where you need it. If cyclists only cared about maximum output from our lights, we’d each strap a $20 Costco-special 500 lumen flashlight to our bars and call it a day. But we require more purpose specific design and a focal area of design in this effort is a usable and efficient beam pattern.
In the argument of “lumens aren’t everything” the Volt 100 should be a poster child. Pictures best illustrate this lights unique and efficient beam pattern which directs light in two primary areas and spills just a touch of flood. The first of these spots is somewhat trapezoidal in shape and falls immediately in front of the rider for a great awareness of what is immediately in front of you. A second spot is thrown a bit further downfield and provides adequate time to judge conditions ahead while biking at a good clip. Never (I’ll reiterate never) have I been excited by a micro-output light until I tested the Volt 100. At 100 lumens, Cateye’s light should be little more than a “see me” light but as a result of brilliant light placement and conservation, this mighty little light borders on a usable riding light. On lit streets, the 100 lumen output doesn’t exactly impress but if you take it out in unlit areas, you should be pleasantly surprised with the output.
Mounts…my area of critical scrutiny. A conclusion is a little tough to draw here. I’ll start by saying that Cateyes mounts are among the best on the market, if not the very best. However, for small lights, this mounting style is maybe a bit overkill and results in a mount remaining on your bar at all times. Other lights from Knog for example, have similar output but would leave no trace of a mount when removed. But again, the mount is rock solid, easy to use and there is one added benefit. If you own two Cateye lights (one with a higher output for example), you could toggle between the two lights depending on the needs of that particular ride. Conclusion…a flawless mount and choice for riders who don’t care about leaving a mount on your bar.
With three output settings – High, Low & Flash – it would be pretty tough to muck things up. Cateye has actually gone a step above by isolating the flash setting from the constants. A simple double click from the I/O button enters you into the flash setting…perfect. A translucent button indicates a low battery as well as the charge status. And like most lights, the Volt is USB rechargeable.
For a lumen-whore like myself, I find it entirely odd that I found so much pleasure in using Cateye’s Volt 100. This can be a testament to the benefits of smart design. For the micro light consumer who is content with less-than massive output, I’d rank the Volt 100 among the best, no question.