Cygolite Metro 420 Lumen
I would like to hear any opinions on this light. The Amazon reviews are pretty high. Also, if anyone would like to offer alternatives for me to consider that would be appreciated as well.
Thanks for your help.
Most lights sold for bicycle use are pretty crappy in terms of light quality. They use commodity parts and typically have a commodity reflector or lens that produces a symmetrically conical beam. This type of beam isn't really useful for road use as it wastes a significant portion of the output lighting up tree tops and blinding other road users. It's essentially equivalent to running around in a car with high beams turned on, and we know how annoying that can be. Even if you were to aim the light down about 6 degrees, there is still plenty of spillover to blind oncoming traffic, especially on narrow MUPs.
What you want is a light with a shaped beam. These are like modern car headlights or "low beams" and direct the output on the road where it's useful. They are not only more efficient, but they are also more friendly towards other road users. There is a selection of this kind of lights and a lot of them are powered by dynamo. It makes sense because dynamos only produce about 3-5 watts and the lights have to be efficient. However, there are a few battery-powered lights that also have a shaped beam and one of them is in your price range:
Philips SafeRide at http://amzn.com/B00620Z97G
Don't be fooled by the "lumens" rating of lights. This figure really mean nothing too useful as they only indicate how much an LED is producing. It's like the MHz or GHz rating on CPUs - they only tell you part of the story and it's typically the less useful part. The "lumens" don't tell you where/how that energy is being used.
What you really want is the "lux" value at 10 m/33 feet. This specific "lux" value tells you how much light is reaching a location 10 meters or 33 feet in front of the light and coupled with the shaped beam with cutoff to prevent blinding others, will give you a good indication of the utility of the light. Most lights with shaped beams and cutoffs are StZVO-rated so you should use this rating as a guide.
The older Cygolite Metro series like this 420 are pretty nice lights IMHO. (New ones just introduced have much shorter run times in flash mode.) Here are two sources with good beam comparisons (you'll have to poke around the mtbr site to find the beam shots):
Light & Motion has a pretty good beam comparison on their website:
Other brands with similar models to consider:
Lezyne - some models have the option of easy battery swaps, and use the widely available 18650 Li-ion battery
Light & Motion - their Urban series has a fabulous beam spread with no hot spots
Both are a bit more expensive than the Cygolite, but worthy of comparison.
I'm about to sell my Lezyne Super Drive XL because I wanted longer flash run time for day use, and the Metro 420 was definitely in the running, but I selected L&M Urban 550 despite being more expensive because I like the integral mount.
That Cygolite model combined with the Hotshot rear light is a good deal. Its market is to the bike commuter. Just remove the unit and recharge with the USB cord. This means the internal lithium ion battery is not removable. Cygolite other models have the removable battery feature. Some riders carry the extra battery as a backup or for longer run times.
As far as shaped beam, I think riding a bike is different than driving a car on highway lanes. Bikes are usually at the very side of the lane or at the Multi Use Paths (MUPS). That means there's a lot of things out there that a rider needs to see, far different than an auto on a highway.
My college student daughter uses both the Metro and Hotshot. She commutes from an off campus apartment to campus. She likes them and the Metro she also uses as a flashlight from bike to apartment.
If my Cygolite tail light is an indicator of the quality of their entire product line, then this headlight is probably excellent. Of course, this is very unscientific reasoning on my part. But those Amazon reviews are pretty overwhelming, too.
That Philips light looks just like the dynamo headlight I have, and it is excellent. The beam shape complies with European standards, so it casts light where you need it and not where you don't.
My wife and I both have the 420 on our bikes. They work really well- we got caught out a little later than we had hoped a few weeks back, and they were brilliant (pun intended)! One thing to note is that the night/flash mode will kill a wireless computer signal, but the flash or any of the steady modes are fine.
Two of my co-workers just bought these. On our Tuesday night after-work ride, they seemed plenty good enough for the unlit MUP we were on (not as bright as my Niterider Lumina 650 or my Dinotte XML-3, but they cost a whole lot less than either one too). While personally I'd like a little more output on an unlit MUP (I ride a bit faster when alone), I wouldn't hesitate to use them for riding on the streets where you have the occasional streetlight or vehicular traffic to help you out.
I read up on headlights for a while last night and settled on the Cygolite Metro 500 because an eBay vendor has them for slightly cheaper than the cheapest 420 I could find and because I need an easily removable/pocketable all-in-one lighting solution. With that said, I can't tell you what it's like yet because I haven't received mine. Plus, my reference is a cheap Planet Bike Blaze headlight with Eneloops. I'm sure the Cygolite will put it to shame though.
Originally Posted by JoeGrizzly
Please let us know how it works.
Here are some comparison shots of the Cygolite Metro 500 I just received. The 500 feels maybe a tad heavier than the Planet Bike Blaze 1-Watt, but it is slightly smaller. That doesn't seem to be much of a factor though as they both feel relatively similar in terms of shape, size, and weight.
Originally Posted by noglider
Below = 5 ft bathroom beam shots
Cygolite Metro 500 (stock) - More of a warm/neutral tint compared to the Blaze headlight
Planet Bike Blaze 1-Watt (AA NiMH) - Much bluer/cooler tint
500 vs Blaze - No contest
Zebralight SC52w (AA NiMH) - Not as yellow IRL (exposure on crap camera), but extremely neutral as a reference
A few things to note: The 500 beam shots were taken on the factory battery charge. I'm charging the light now via USB and will report back if the beam changes significantly. Also, my only critique really against the 500 so far is that the button to turn the beam on/off is not recessed enough. I can almost put money on it that this light will be going off a lot in my saddlebag when I go on trips that require the usage of all space in my bags. This really seems like an elementary lighting design fault that is even seen in their more expensive Expilion series lights, so I don't understand that. Who knows though, I could be completely wrong and this may not be an issue with Cygolite at all. Only time will tell.
The button looks the same as my Cygolite 420 and although it's always in my bag I've never once pulled it out and had it fail to turn on in the year or so I've owned it.
Originally Posted by treal512
That is great news, AJ! Thanks for sharing that. The button is a little difficult to press.
Originally Posted by AJ08