CatEye Nano Shot HL-EL620RC front light review
CatEye’s Nano Shot weighs in at 97g (including handlebar bracket) and measures just 85mm long, 50mm wide and 32mm deep, making it one of the most minimal rechargeable lights we’ve seen. Despite that, on its high power setting it packs a real punch.
The clever beam pattern combines a bright centre which reaches 30ft up the road with an impressive peripheral spread of light. This shines in an arc approaching 180 degrees, with enough power at the extremities to project 6ft high shadows of your brake hoods onto roadside hedgerows. The lens shape negates the need for any side-facing LEDs.
We measured a run time of 1.5 hours on this highest setting. The low mode, which is ample for lit streets and to be seen by, lasts for three hours. Double click the on/off switch to engage the flashing mode and the Nano Shot will run for 12 hours. When it flashes, it’s as bright as when run on the high setting, so it’s more than powerful enough to alert other road users to your presence.
Should the battery level drop significantly the rear facing on/off switch will glow red, then you can switch to flash mode to extract enough juice to make it home. We’ve managed to extract more than the claimed run times from the Nano Shot by switching between modes mid-ride, saving the high power setting for lanes and unlit roads.
Charging is via the included USB cable. Connect the light to a USB 2.0 port on your computer and it’ll recharge from flat in just shy of 3.5 hours. The Nano Shot is guaranteed for 300 recharges; after that, expect capacity to drop to 70 percent.
The unit is solidly built and fully sealed against the elements. The simple thumbwheel operated bracket is easy to take on and off, and we found it would fit standard and oversize bars – even the huge Deda Trentacinque’s 35mm diameter.
The Nano Shot falls somewhere between a high performance light for training rides and a commuter light. It’s plenty powerful enough to see by, with a beam pattern that provides both precise forward illumination and a wide spread. But short battery life means it’s not the best choice for long rides on unlit roads. It’s more than enough for long commutes, though – especially if you switch between modes. That it takes up so little real estate on your bars is a bonus, as is the ability to charge it through your PC.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.