Five hundred lumens is the miniumum required to ride safely on unlit country roads, in my opinion.
It was with some relief, then, that the new Cateye Nano Shot Plus arrived on my desk.
This is a 600 lumen, twin LED front light that could become a trusty companion on out-of-town training rides at night.
At a penny under £100, it is not going to break the bank either, but it is a heavy option in comparison to some of its competitors at 160 grams (ours tipped the scales just over this claimed weight).
A simple button on the rear acts as a low charge warning indicator, and cycles the light through three simple but essential modes: high, low and flashing. A claimed 1.5 hours run time on the high, full 600 lumens setting, and four hours on the low should see you though evening loops.
This is another light with USB charging capability. In this case, the port is hidden on the underside of the light, and covered with a rubber bung. The recharge time is eight hours: tolerable but not exceptional.
Cateye have deployed their signature clamp on the Nano Shot Plus: essentially an adjustable, removable zip tie with a screw adjuster to tighten and loosen the bracket. While clunky in comparison to the new breed of silicone rubber bands that many systems use, it is proven to be sturdy, if a little displeasing aesthetically.
The light’s resin body feels robust; Cateye describe it as a lightweight composite. It certainly feels like it can withstand the rigours of commuting life, being pulled of a bike daily and tossed into a satchel can take its toll swiftly on less well made lights. We’ll see how the Nano Shot Plus fairs over the next few weeks.
Cateye also sent us a set of their Rapid 1 safety lights, rechargeable LED units with a claimed run time of five hours constant, 40 hours flashing at the front, and two hours constant, 15 hours at the rear.
We’ll be putting those times to the test in the weeks ahead, in between charging the units from the built-in USB ports (cable pictured below).
Opinion is divided on flashing lights: some, like Cateye, claim greater visibility to motorists; others say they distract drivers. My early tests, back and forth to the office using the varying flashing modes, means I attest to the latter opinion.
It is certainly not a mode to use when bunch riding at night unless you want to find yourself at the rear of the group for the whole time!
The Rapid 1 is charged by USB, weighs a claimed 40g each (including clamp) and sells for £49.99 a set.
Check back soon for a full review of both the Nano Shot Plus and Rapid 1.