One for technophiles, the CatEye Sync Core is part of the CatEyeSYNC system, which enables you to pair up to seven front and rear lights (including Sync Wearable lights that clip onto clothing or saddle bags) and operate them as one.
You need the smartphone app to sync them and can then customise operation, such as setting brake mode and synchronising flash patterns. However, you can ignore this and just use it as a regular standalone light.
The beam is what I would term ‘pointy’ – it is bright with good reach down the road but not much spread, meaning limited visibility at the periphery.
Also, it has clearly delineated cut-off lines at the edges and on the ground, with little visibility around the front wheel.
This isn’t a problem around town, but on unlit lanes I felt its 500-lumen output didn’t give me the power I needed. It does have generously sized side lights for side-on visibility, though.
The CatEye has five versatile modes that are easy to cycle through using the central on/off button on the top.
An LED circle around the button indicates remaining battery life. If you use the app, there is the option to turn some of the modes off, making switching between low and high, for example, much slicker.
There’s also a useful ‘find me’ function when the light is buried in your pack.
The cable-tie style bracket is not the easiest setup, but the light clicks positively into the mount and has lateral adjustment once in place. As with many brands, you can buy different mounts such as out-front or helmet.
An IP4 waterproof rating is the minimum I’d expect for UK use, but for urban commuting the Sync Core works well and the app is a real bonus.
How we tested
With darker nights upon us, we put eight front road bike lights to the test.
Unlimited budgets are a luxury, though, so each light is priced under £100 and has a brightness of between 500 and 1,000 lumens (with one measured in lux).
As well as brightness, we considered beam performance, run times, mode options, any waterproofing claims, as well as the unit’s construction and other features, such as mount types.
The lights were all tested in urban conditions and on unlit and rural roads.
Also on test
- Halfords Advanced 500
- Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL
- Lifeline Pavo 720
- Oxford UltraTorch CL1000
- Ravemen CR1000
- Sigma Aura 80
- Specialized Flux 850