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Cateye AMPP800 helmet light review

Cateye makes the most of this light's modest power

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £65.00 RRP | USD $70.00 | EUR €65.00 | AUD $100.00
Cateye AMPP 800 front/helmet light

Our review

An impressive light for its power with a good beam pattern and useful light focus
Pros: Impressive brightness for its lumens; has a good bright spot at the centre of its beam; simple to use; very secure mount
Cons: Relatively few lumens
Skip to view product specifications

The Cateye AMPP800 packs a punch for its 800-lumen output, with an impressive beam pattern and focussed illumination for use as a helmet light for night riding.

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It’s also simple to use, with a single button to access the five modes (three steady, two flashing) and a secure mount held firmly in place via a Velcro strap.

Cateye AMPP800 helmet light specifications

Built into a sturdy aluminium case, the AMPP800 is a small yet robust light, tipping the scales at 163g.

The casing is claimed to be IPX4-rated for waterproofing (resistant to water splashes from any direction), so it’s best not to blast this with a jet wash. It should stand up to showers though.

It uses one high-intensity white light LED to output its 800 lumens maximum power. The light features Cateye’s OptiCube lens technology, which it says gives a powerful wide beam.

It’s operated by one button on the top of the case. This turns the AMPP800 on and off, and toggles through its five modes. It has three constant modes – high (800 lumens), medium (400 lumens) and low (200 lumens). There are also two flashing modes.

A neat feature is its double-click, which automatically turns the light on in high mode. The AMPP800 remembers which mode you were in when it was turned off.

The on/off button doubles up as an illuminated battery-level indicator.
Luke Marshall / Our Media

The button also serves as the battery indicator. It displays a blue light when over 50 per cent battery, changes to yellow between 50 and 30 per cent, and finally switches to red when under 30 per cent.

The battery has a capacity of 2,500mAh, which Cateye claims gives a run time of approximately one hour, 30 minutes on full power. This is charged with a micro-USB port on the underside of the light.

The mount uses a slider and clip to secure the light and a Velcro strap to fasten the mount to your mountain bike helmet. There’s plenty of padding to protect the helmet, and it has a slight curve.

Cateye AMPP800 helmet light performance

As the name suggests, maximum output is 800 lumens.
Luke Marshall / Our Media

The broad base of the Cateye mount means it gives the light plenty of stability when mounted to the helmet. In addition, the padding on the underside does a good job of protecting the helmet. The curved mount fits nicely with the curve of helmet shells.

The weight went relatively unnoticed when riding, and the light didn’t pull my helmet around when hitting rough trails or drops.

The Velcro strap is pretty long, so you need to tuck the end away once fastened, but this helps pull the mount tight. It can always be trimmed if needed.

For its 800 lumens, the Cateye is an impressive light and uses those lumens well. It produces a useful circular beam that helps pick up the trail’s edges. The cut-off fades out rather than having a sharp edge.

The mount is curved to help it fit smoothly over your helmet.
Luke Marshall / Our Media

The AMPP800 throws its light a long way down the trail considering its modest power. This is useful for helping see past the light given off by a mountain bike light mounted to your handlebar.

What helps this even more is that the beam has a brighter white spot at the centre. It’s a helpful feature for enabling you to pick up details on the trails, such as roots, stumps and jumps, so you have a pretty clear idea of what’s coming up.

This light has enough power and the beam complements a handlebar light well. Its power punches through a brighter light to help you pick out the trail further ahead, which is what you need from a light.

Adjustment is via a Velcro strap, slider and clip.
Luke Marshall / Our Media

The Cateye has one of the best beam patterns of the lights I’ve tested, and only its lower lumen output compared to rival lights prevented it from scoring higher.

Working the light is easy using the single button. It’s easy to find and operate with gloves on too. The double-press to turn on its high-power mode is a valuable feature that I used frequently.

I ran this light on full power for one hour, 33 minutes, which is very close to what Cateye claims.

Cateye AMPP800 helmet light bottom line

The AMPP800 is a big-hitter for its relatively low output.
Luke Marshall / Our Media

Considering the Cateye has fewer lumens than other competing lights, it uses them really well. An impressive circular spread highlights the trail’s edge well and also produces a long throw.

That is matched with a bright white spot in the centre, which helps draw attention to trail features. The mount is secure and helmet-friendly, and the light has a battery-level indicator.

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It’s only the lower lumen output that means the AMPP800 can’t quite compete with the very best helmet lights. It’s slightly lacking in punch, which means you have to control your speed a little more.

How we tested

We put six helmet-compatible lights to the test. With prices ranging from £65 to £265, there should be something for everyone’s budget.

The lights chosen here have an output of 450 lumens up to 2,100 lumens. That covers everything from occasional use or as a backup light, to full-on, high-speed riding.

We tested how each light performs riding back-to-back runs on the same trails, comparing beam pattern, LED colour, ease of operation and, most importantly, light projection.

We also timed them all on maximum power to find out just how long the batteries last, and whether they live up to the brands’ claims.

While many of these lights can also be used as handlebar-mounted units, for this test, they were specifically reviewed for use as helmet lights for off-road night riding.

Head to BikeRadar’s round-up of the best helmet lights for our pick of the bunch.

Other lights tested

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $100.00EUR €65.00GBP £65.00USD $70.00
Weight 163g
Brand Cateye

Features

Features Run time: 1hr 33mins (measured)
Battery capacity: 2,500mAh
Light type: Helmet, front
Integrated battery Yes
Output (lumens) 800