Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cygolite Metro 300

This little light surprised me. I'm not a bicycle lighting authority, and this wasn't written to convince anyone that they should scrap their current lighting set-up and use this instead. This post is simply a story about how surprised I am.  It appears technology leap-froged over me again.

I wanted an easy on/easy off light. I've been enjoying the simple Quickbeam lately, and wanted to take it out in the dark. But I didn't want to spend the money for a special dynohub wheel and light combo. I also didn't want something permanently installed or as heavy as a generator hub. I didn't want the clutter of wiring. And for the intended use of the Quickbeam, I can live with less than Edelux performance.  

I went first to the Rivendell Bicycle Works website. I knew there had been a lot of technology improvements in the bicycle lighting world, and I knew that Rivendell sold lights. Maybe, I figured, they'd have some kind of basic commuter light that would be acceptable. What I found was the Cygolite Metro 300, and that it has a built-in rechargeable battery that plugs in to a USB port. Cool. I also found that it would easily last long enough (actually much longer) to cover my 1-2 hour typical light/dark fringe ride. The Rivendell folks suggested that it was a good value in a light. So it probably would have enough light for me to be visible to others and find my way down the road without hitting the larger obstacles.

I rode for an hour this morning using the low, steady mode. It was much better lighting than I expected. The beam filled the road with plenty of light for my moderate pace. As I approached home, I switched to high, steady mode. I believe this compares favorably with my Edelux. I didn't expect this much performance from such a small, light weight, easy on/easy off, conveniently rechargeable light. 

Since I am not an everyday bicycle commuter, or a ride-all-night rando freak, if I were a first time bicycle light shopper, I'd probably skip the dynohub thing and use something like this. Why? It's less expensive, it can be used on multiple bikes, it weighs less, and performs similarly. For an hour or two in the dark, a couple of times a week, this little light is surprising.

Of course, I think I was the last one on the block to get a smart phone.  So consider the source.


  1. Yes, yes and yes.

    BUT if you're a regular commuter (or Rando goon), there is *nothing* better than a dyno, IMHO. I love mine as much as any cycling gear I own. What is interesting is that in more bike-oriented countries, standard urban bikes often come with dynos just as cars come with lights. It all just fits.

    That being said, it is nice to see legit options being offered that might actually illuminate something instead of those flashy things which give you a headache.

  2. Why would a commuter want to subject himself to the extra drag and weight of a generator when a battery light is brighter and can be recharged at predictable intervals?

  3. It seems to me that lighting choices are full of trade-offs, and I suppose everyone has their personal preferences. If I commuted by bicycle everyday, I'd probably go with a dynohub because the weight and drag would bug me less than one more thing to charge at night. But who knows? If I had as much commute experience as Steve, maybe my preferences would evolve.

  4. I like the image of the "light/dark fringe". Nice story.

  5. Interestingly, the battery on my primary commuting light failed this week and will no longer take a charge. I've been riding with what I consider less than sufficient light for my morning conditions until the new one gets here.

    There are a ton of different lights on the market these days, and it's getting kind of hard to decide what you need versus what you want!

  6. I don't have a "Smart Phone", so this is probably the light that I need!

    Actually, I have an older Sanyo bottom bracket generator which powers a B&M halogen 3 Watt Lumotec Senso 2 headlight.

    I still like having a battery powered headlight to supplement the dynamo headlight. This is especially usedful to illuminate the side of the roadway on darkened streets.

    I have a Gino Light Mount (from Paul Engineering) that's mounted on a rack mount on the right fork especially to accommodate a battery light. The Cygolite Metro might be a good choice for the light mount.