Cateye Nano Shot Plus and Rapid safety lights – review

The Cateye Nano Shot Plus has been a feature on my commuting and training bike for the last month and has been proven to be a trusty companion for the journey to and from work, as well as for some late evening training rides.

The 1.5 hour burn time has limited its use very slightly for longer, post-work training runs as the low setting does not sufficiently illuminate the country roads when at speed. However, at the highest setting, the full 600-lumens, the Nano Shot Plus throws out a spread of light with sufficient breadth, and far enough ahead to have no concerns about unseen potholes.

The button at the rear of the light is extremely handy: as well as cycling through the available modes, it is also the charge indicator. When fully charged, the button stays green; half a battery used and it switches to orange, and when charging is required imminently, a red glow comes from the rubbery switch. It’s a neat touch, and one we appreciated on more than one occasion, able to change to the low setting to ‘get us home’ safely before being left in the pitch black.

The rubberised button at the rear of the Nano Shot Plus was extremely handy, offering easy access to each mode and serving as a fuel guage

That said, if you do keep note in your head of roughly how long you have been using the light then you can rely on the stated runtimes. We found them accurate enough: 1.5 hours on high and four hours on low. The flashing mode, much like our recent experience with the Hope R4, fluctuates between high and low, mixing a constant low beam with strobed, high-powered flash. It is certainly a punchy mode and will be visible in brightly lit streets amongst traffic. On this setting, the Nano Shot will run for two hours.

Our view is that this is a light better suited to the daily commute than to training rides. Although adequate for the occasional foray in to training runs, the burn time isn’t quite long enough and with an eight-hour recharge time, considerable use of the slightly fiddly USB charging port is required.

It is in the bracket design that we find a small bone to pick with Cateye. Where admittedly Cateye’s dominance, or rather prevalence, in the market has led to a large number of us using their lights at some point, we wonder if they are resting a little on this mass market deployment.

Okay, we are sure that a lot of us have their classic plastic clamping system in our tool boxes from bygone lights, but it is not the best attachment system being somewhat chunky, clunky and not the nicest to use.

In this case, the Nano Shot Plus was even a little too heavy for the bracket and a very firm twist of the adjustment knob was required to stop the light from drooping. In contrast, while we like the Rapid safety lights (more of which later), the bracket is just overkill for what we would describe as emergency lights. Such tiny little fellas have no need for a chunky plastic bracket. I want to just pull them out of my satchel and chuck them on, not have to leave mounts on the bike.

The Cateye Rapid 1 lightset offers good beam spread but is encumbered with unnecessary brackets

These might be details that other will find unconcerning, but this tester certainly likes to see new and innovative products and designs that move the market forward, it is not enough these days to just shroud some decent LEDs in an adequately designed package and send it out to market. Care in design matters.

The nifty Rapid 1 lightset also ably demonstrates this point, not only with their frustrating clamps. Their curved lenses gave good side visibility and offered an improvement therefore on the designs of other manufacturers’ previously tested, where we thought little heed had been paid to traffic approaching from the side.

Sadly, the body of the lights felt too susceptible to damage, and the button was very difficult to press with gloved hands, not to mention the flimsy plastic cover that tries to protect the USB charging port from water ingress.

The Rapid 1 lights are certainly handy, and a jolly decent idea, but not in my view the best of the emergency lights on the market.

Discuss in the forum

Price: £89.99 (Nano Shot Plus); £49.99 (Rapid 1)

Website: Cateye

UK distributor: Zyro


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