Thanks to the rise of the LED and compact Lithium Ion batteries, the world of compact and powerful bicycle lighting is changing by the day. Lumens not thought possible just a few years ago are now being found in small, compact lights with rechargeable batteries built right in. Among a number of manufacturers producing some seriously powerful lights, Cateye has expanded their offerings with their best and brightest yet – the Volt 1200. Technically the HL-EL1000RC, the Volt 1200 offers a namesake 1200 lumens with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that’s good for anywhere from 2-100 hours depending on the setting.


Built into a slick housing that sits comfortably at the top of your bars, the Volt 1200 is up there with the pinnacle of self contained lights as far as performance. Featuring two super bright LEDs with a broad beam pattern and 5 built in levels of lighting including flashing, you’ll get around 2 hours on full power to 17.5 on All-Night mode, and up to 100 while flashing. Just don’t expect to be able to get a quick charge if your forget to in advance of your night ride – charging through the micro USB cable will take 8-14 hours, with an 80% full charge in 10 hours, claimed. But with the built in low battery indicator, you should be able to stay ahead of the charging so you’re ready when night falls.

The light and battery combined weigh in at 214g, and it can be mounted to your bars with the included FlexTight bracket.

Cateye Volt 1200 helmet mount

However, there is an optional helmet mount available if you want the light where you’re looking. The Volt 1200 retails for $200 and is available now.


  1. What Dave said. Seriously.

    I get much more light where I need it from a Supernova than my lady gets from the glorified flashlight that is my lady’s more powerful 300 lumen Cateye.

  2. How about something better than the FlexTight bracket. It’s not eastily moved from one bike to another without purchasing a spare bracket for each bike.

  3. I have asked this before on here and its a question that has yet been answered:I only need about half the brightness of this light but twice the runtime if i put this light on a lower brightness setting does the light quality lessen?

  4. +2 what Dave said. Wide beam, even distribution on the road surface, a sharp cutoff at the horizon so you don’t blind oncoming traffic, and good colour temperature and rendering. Basically a Philips Saferide with more grunt and a wider beam…

  5. Yeah I love those ULTRA POWERFULL lights when i’m going the other way. I can’t see shit.
    The cars can’t either.

    You see, the car’s lights are pointed down with a pretty good beam. The bikes light are diffusing it all in your eyes.

    Actually, having improperly setup lights on the car is generally cause for citation in most countries. But on bikes, oh its ok to blind people because it protects me! well nope.

  6. I bought this purely because CatEye made it, because they put effort into the optics. The beam is very wide and diffuse. At maximum setting it can definitely be blinding but at low settings it is perfect even on roads, and motorists will not hate your guts. I’ve tried lights from CygoLite and NiteRider and they are definitely going to made cars hit you deliberately. They have no beam, and are just plain blinding. Leave those for the the mountain bike trail. The Volt 1200 is a great light for the road, and lasts 20+ hours on low setting which is already really bright.

  7. Yeah, lumens is only half the equation, reflector design is the other important part. I’m really happy with the way my Cygolite has a big bright spot in the centre and a bunch of diffused light spreading in all directions around the front of the bike, makes things visible even in the periphery, very important while turning in pitch black.

  8. @ Muf & Matt. Have you checked out SIGMA’s lights? They might not have the most lumens, but they probably put the most amount of time, effort, and money into lens development. Go to sigma-lights.com and check out the Speedster, Lightster, Roadster. They designed their lights to do exactly what you are asking – the beam pattern is horizontal, which lights up the road, not just a round spot. The reflector chops off the top of the beam, to prevent you from blinding on-coming traffic.

  9. @muf I have Niterider 700 and at full beam it nicely removes the contrast that car lights create when coming my way making me see nothing but their “pretty good beam”. Normally 300 lumens is entirely sufficient, with cars on the road not so much, so I have to up the lumens.

    You only realize how bad the “pretty good beams” of the traffic are when you lose you light. A few days ago I accidentally left my light on and it discharged leaving me with only emergency 40 lumens output (which still makes you visible and noticeable). I jumped on the pavement and that was just enough to make out where the pavement was, the kerb and the grass at a slow pace (no street lights). But as soon as a car was coming it made it impossible to see anything at all, I had to get off my bike.

    Once I got to the town I have also noticed that cars and people too for that matter would not give me as much respect as I normally got with my light at a normal output level: cars pulling out just in front of me, cutting in, people walking recklessly onto the road…

    Having said all that, I obviously welcome any engineering solutions that reduce the blinding of others.

    As a side note, I hate idiots that use the ultra powerful lights in the flash mode at night (I seriously wonder how they can see anything themselves) or put them on their helmets blinding everyone around as their turn their heads. Clearly an utter lack of imagination…

What do you think?