Interbike 2015: CatEye Volt 6000 is the brightest light today

CatEye creates the brightest and coolest light in existence

Interbike Lights

Interbike Mtbr

The lens is not hot. The light path is actually hotter even when not touching the light.

The lens is not hot. The light path is actually hotter even when not touching the light (click to enlarge).

CatEye created the first HID light over a decade ago with the Stadium light. It launched a whole new era in lights as they led other manufacturers into an arms race to use the latest technologies in bike lights. They showed us a new light this year and we immediately knew it was as revolutionary as their Stadium light.

The Volt 6000 is special in many ways. First, the output is 6000 lumens which makes it the most powerful light available today. And being a conservative Japanese company, CatEye is not one to exaggerate and claim double their measured output as most Chinese companies do these days. In fact, recent CatEye lights we’ve tested measure well over their claimed output when tested in an integrating sphere. They like to claim their output at the end of the battery charge. Thus, when they say 6000 lumens, that’s its minimum output throughout its run time. So we have no doubt this light will measure well over 6000 lumens in the laboratory.

A fan sucks air from the side vents and drives it out the back.

A fan sucks air from the side vents and drives it out the back (click to enlarge).

The other more fascinating feature of this light is that it integrates a fan based cooling system. When turned on, a fan on the rear of the light matches the light output level. It spins at a desired level to suck in air from the sides of the light body and drive it to the back of the light. Instead of using the light body as the heat sink, the COB (chip on board) light array is isolated from the light so the light body remains cool. The heat on the COB board with over 120 LEDs is driven out the back by the fan even without any outside wind or airflow.

Lens refracts the light to form the beam pattern.

Lens refracts the light to form the beam pattern (click to enlarge).

This is a key development since heat is the number one enemy of LED light technology. It is damaging so designers have to provide ample heat sinking to cool the light. Since heat sinks rely on airflow, a bike light often has to protect itself by dimming down to protect from overheating. Thus a 1000 Lumen light often has to operate at 80% of its max when there’s not enough airflow or when outside temperature is too hot. Good lights turn back up to full power when the bike gets up to speed. But some lights don’t and they operate at a lower level even when on max brightness until they are turned off and back on.

CatEye invited us to touch the lens of the light after it was on for a minute and we were very hesitant. But we took their lead and put our fingers on the lens and the body of the 95 gram light head and it was not hot indeed. It was warm to the touch but that’s actually more from being in the path of a 6000 Lumen beam (even without touching anything).

Continue to page 2 for more on the Volt 6000 and a full photo gallery »

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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  • tb says:

    This is too expensive.

  • Lenny says:

    It is really TOO EXPENSIVE! I ride fast trails at night, twice a week, and my set up is a 2200 lumen light on my bars and a 700 lumen on my helmet. Plenty of light. The Volt 6000 must be really nice to have but at £541.66, it is far too costly!

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