Review: CatEye Volt 1200

Very bright beam, small package for $200

Lights Lights Shootout

2015 Lights Shootout

CatEye Volt 1200 Front

The CatEye Volt 1200 was one of our favorites last year with its 1253 lLumen output and $200 retail price. It trumped the competing Lezyne Mega Drive and Light & Motion Taz 1500, both at 1200 Lumens as well. But this year, the competition jumped up in output to 1400 and 1500 Lumens, respectively. So the Volt 1200 has a tougher battle now especially since its price did not change from $200.

The Volt 1200′s controlled, square shaped beam pattern is its strong point, as not too much light is wasted on top unlike other lights when there is a full, round beam that shoots up in to the sky. But the square is not ideal either, as a rectangle is preferred to put more light on the sides or periphery. For lights of this power, it’s ideal to have a very wide beam to allow the rider to see the trail periphery well.

The enemy of this light is heat, as there is not a lot of heat sinking available and the light can heat up rather quickly. As it heats up, the light gets dimmer to protect the LED. Even after we cooled it down with a powerful fan, the Volt 1200 stepped up in brightness but very, very slowly. In warmer conditions or rides where the rider is not moving the whole time, the rider will not get as much light from the Volt 1200. It will start out very bright and dim down as the light gets hot.

Beam Pattern Photo

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photos were taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. These photos feature many objects and a distinct background to analyze detail and beam pattern. Compare all Beam Patterns here »

CatEye Volt 1200 Backyard Beam Pattern

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 1253 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 1200 Lumens. The Lumen-hour graph below shows how the light performs over the first three minutes of its battery cycle. Compare all Lumen Tests here »

CatEye Volt 1200 Lumen Chart

Strengths
  • Nice and bright at 1253 measured Lumens
  • Excellent form factor for such a powerful light
  • Opticube square shaped beam pattern exhibits good light control and can keep the light aimed away from others’ eyes
  • Incredible value for the money
  • Light can detect a high powered USB port and charge in 8 hours instead of 14
Weaknesses
  • Price and brightness are unchanged from last year, as the competition has improved
  • Can heat up very quickly and step down the light output
  • Beam needs to be wider
  • Trusty, small mount is starting to look outgunned on this big light head
Specifications
  • Price: $200
  • Claimed Lumens: 1200 Lumens
  • Measured Lumens: 1253 Lumens
  • Lumens per $: 6.27 Lumens
  • Lumens per gram: 5.86 Lumens
  • Time on High: 2:00 Hours
  • Charge Time: 14:00 Hours
  • Mounted Weight: 214 grams
  • Category: Flashlight/Commuter
Overall Rating

It’s a good light from last year but the competition has caught up.

4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

For more information visit www.cateye.com.

This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview’s 2015 Lights Shootout. To see all the bike lights tested CLICK HERE.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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