The brand speaks out on the perils of relying on lumen numbers and steep drop offs

CatEye: ‘There is more to bike lights than quoting lumen’

CatEye has long been educating the trade on the dangers of relying on quoted lumen when it comes to bike lights.

While brands typically use lumen to get across how powerful their lights are, there are significant shortcomings with the system, CatEye is keen to point out. Simply quoting lumen fails to take into account that use of technology and quality of components and manufacture all help to determine light output quality, rather than a quoted lumen figure.

A subtle point maybe, but CatEye believes that it produces lights that stand out from the competition and are visibly superior thanks to the components it sources and the tech it uses, so is understandly keen to keep shedding light on the topic.

In-house, CatEye uses a Lumen Sphere to test lights and accurately measure output. It says: “Two different brands measuring the same lumen in a sphere can look very different ten metres out in front. This is where optics and reflective tech play a big role in actual quality of light for the rider.”

Measuring light performance is also carried out by CatEye’s Photometric machines – the firm says it is the only bike light manufacturer to posses such machinery, which accurately measure every tiny output of light at every angle, helping in-house boffins develop specific reflectors and outputs for specific lights and their intended use.
Beam patterns are factored into making riders visible in low light. Rear lights are designed for 180-degree visibility and circumventing a narrow beam pattern accommodates for the fact that the majority of bike related incidents involving vehicles from the side on. The Rapid X series demonstrates this with a multi-mount fitting system and near 360-degree visibility that uses COB LED tech and advanced plastic moulding.

Founded in the ‘50s, CatEye has been in the LED bicycle light game since the 2001 and created its first flashing bicycle lamp in 1964. Based in Osaka, Japan, the firm has its own manufacturing facilities in which to hone its craft and work on essentials like output regulation, essentially making sure lights don’t dramatically drop off in performance and plunge riders into darkness when the battery is nearing the end of its runtime, as with its Volt 6000. Other CatEye lights use tech to have a regulated drop off, meaning there is a gradual drop in lumen over time rather than a maximum lumen for the first three minutes with a steep drop after this. By avoiding LED overdrive and heat issues, the firm’s lights side-step intense burn, hot spots or output drop offs, it adds.

“CatEye manages risks better through clever circuitry that protects the battery and LED during charge and discharge, ensuring safety and longevity of components,” a spokesperson for the brand explains. When it comes to the Volt range, the brand uses enclosed replaceable and interchangeable Li-ion batteries, so you can swap and interchange different batteries from a Volt 400 to a Volt 800, extending runtime for night time endurance cycling. And, handily for the UK, batteries are safely tucked away – obviously naked li-ion batteries can be dangerous, particularly in wet conditions. Waterproofing testing in-house is rigorous, BikeBiz is told, ensuring there’s no water ingress through switches and welds.

Not surprisingly, the brand has channelled all this tech into its latest ranges. CatEye concludes: “Our 2015 lights incorporate this technology, research and understanding of varying consumer needs in our most comprehensive range yet. The Volt Series of front rechargeable lights now ranges from the Volt 100 up to the Volt 6000, representing great design and great value at every level, whether you want to see or be seen in the dark.

“The Rapid Series of forward thinking rear lights has been further added to for 2015, providing a range of lights with unparalleled visibility.”

CatEye is brought to the trade via distributor Zyro.

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