Cateye AMPP 800 front and Cateye Rapid X3 rear lights
Cateye’s Volts have been a long-time favourite of mine for their combination of build quality, durability, run-times and fitting system – I have a collection of Volts (400, 700, 800, 1,200) going back years. But all things must pass, and Cateye has transformed the curved Volts into the more angular AMPP range you see here.
Cateye has kept the same excellent FlexTight fitting system but has addressed one of the few issues that I had with the Volts – side visibility. Cateye has increased peripheral visibility hugely by increasing the area of the side lenses by 220 per cent, while reducing both recharging time and weight. The beam it provides is excellent; the OptiCube lens gives it good width and more than enough brightness for riding unlit surfaced routes at a decent speed.
I got very slightly more than the claimed 90 minutes at the full 800 lumens, but you’ll get longer on the two other steady settings: 400 and 200 lumens. In addition to this, there are two flashing modes: Daytime HyperConstant 800/200 lumens and 200-lumen flashing mode, with a claimed 30 hours running time.
Its top-mounted on/off switch doubles as a traffic light-type battery indicator – when it reaches red it means there’s less than 30 per cent battery life remaining, handy given the slightly limited run time.
The FlexTight bracket is a strap that’s secured to the bar using a chunky plastic nut and it results in a totally secure and movement-free fit. It is possible to lose the nut (I know, I’ve done it), but a full range of spares is available for what is one of the best fitting systems out there.
The light itself just clips into the mount, easily and securely. A helmet mount and centre fork mount bracket are also available – the latter is handy if you want to free up space on your bar and your bike has a fitting on the fork crown for a mudguard.
Cateye Rapid X3 rear light
The Cateye Rapid X3 is a super-bright rear light that puts out a hefty and highly visible 150 lumens through its two separate COB strip LEDs, which you can control separately via a switch each side. This gives you the option of running one side on constant and the other flashing, and with six modes available on each side that gives you a whole world of lighting possibilities.
With both LEDs powered to the max on constant I achieved a run-time of just under an hour, though flashing modes will take this to a maximum of 30 hours. There’s a low battery indicator and, as with the front light, excellent illumination from the side.
Cateye AMPP 800 front and Cateye Rapid X3 rear lights overall
Cateye’s AMPP 800 and Rapid X3 pairing is a high-quality albeit expensive setup.
I’d like a little bit more running time from both, especially the front, but the AMPP 800 scores highly for the quality of construction, the bright, wide beam and its secure and versatile fitting system – and I expect it to carry on lighting my commute for years to come, too.
Cateye AMPP 800: £85 / $65 / AU$167
Cateye Rapid X3: £50 / $60 / AU$69