Cateye Volt 1200 front light review

We put the high-powered Cateye Volt 1200 front light through its paces

cateye volt 1200 front light
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Cateye Volt 1200 front light is as bright a front light that you'll ever need for on-road cycling, pumping out a massive 1200 lumens that's enough to light up the darkest of country lanes. The battery life is also excellent and there are multiple modes, plus the tool-free mounting makes it easy to switch between bikes.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Very bright

  • +

    Multiple modes

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Simple tool-free mounting

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Long charging time

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There are two types of front lights on the market, those to help you be seen and those to see with. With its massive 1200 lumen output the Cateye Volt 1200 front lights fits very much in the latter category, giving excellent visibility when riding after dark.

All those lumens are pumped out from two super bright LEDs built into the front of the Cateye Volt 1200. These can be configured into five different modes: high (1200 lumens), medium (450 lumens), low (150 lumens), flash (150 lumens on and off), and hyper constant (150 lumens with 1200 lumen pulses).

>>> Cycling lights: a complete buyer's guide (video)

Riding pitch black country lanes and the high mode was more than bright enough to light up the road surface so that I could miss all of the many potholes that pepper the Surrey roads, while also illuminating the road further ahead so that I felt confident tackling a few unfamiliar lanes for the first time in the dark. In fact, the Cateye Volt 1200 is so bright that it should also be good enough to take for the odd off-road run in the woods if that’s the sort of thing that takes your fancy.

Watch: buyer's guide to bike lights

When not on pitch black country lanes, I generally found the 450 lumen medium mode of the Cateye Volt 1200 more than sufficient. The 1200 lumen mode is all very well and good, but you’ll blind oncoming riders and cars if you don’t switch to a lower mode, something that is nice and easy using the good-sized button on the top of the light.

Also impressive is the battery life of the Cateye Volt 1200. On it’s highest setting the light will only last for two hours, but for most riding you’re probably going to be switching between low (17.5 hours) and medium (five hours). For most riders that should be enough to get through a week of commutes.

>>> Cycliq Fly12 integrates your camera and front light to free up handlebar space (video)

Unfortunately not quite as good is the recharge time, which can be up to 14 hours if you’re trying to charge it from your laptop’s USB port. That means you need to be pretty on the ball if you’ve got a long ride planned.

The Cateye Volt 1200 is mounted using Cateye’s Flextight handlebar mount. This isn’t the most attractive light mount solution when you compare it to the metal mounts used by the likes of Exposure and Hope, but does a great job holding what is quite a heavy light firmly in place, and is easy to move between bikes.

For more details visit the Zyro website.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.