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Cateye HL-EL450

Thursday August 21, 2008

As mentioned in an earlier post, having fitted the Cateye TL-LD150 I was contemplating getting a ‘real’ front light for the Dahon.  Having been cycling now after dark, I decided to buy myself a Cateye HL-EL450.

Two reasons for this: 1) It’s brighter and intended as an illumination light as opposed to the LD150 which is more of a ‘safety’ light; 2) Some parts of my proposed* commute are dark and in part unlit by street lights.

[* Still haven’t actually commuted to work on the bike yet!!!]

I bought the light from Tredz, as I had done with the LD150, P&P is free, and before long it had arrived.  The box was very small and the light itself is only around 95mm in length.  It’s a very clean design with only a couple of Cateye logos and a rear sliding switch.

The switch slides to the right, where it selects the mode of operation, before sliding back to the centre position under the influence of a spring.  Sliding the switch once turns the light on, to the last selected mode – in the case this morning, constant light at full brightness.  Slide the switch to the right again and the it enters the reduced brightness mode. One more slide and the light starts flashing on and off.  To turn off the light, you slide the switch to the right and hold it there for three seconds. 

There’s a small red push button on the switch slider which, when depressed, allows you to slide the switch all the way to the left which ‘locks’ the light into whichever mode is currently selected (off/high/low/flash).  This is a good idea as your light won’t accidentally turn on in your pocket or bag during the day.

So, what’s the first thing that we all do when we’ve bought a new torch or light?  Turn it on and point it at our eyes to ‘see’ how bright it is!  The HL-EL450 is bright!  As it’s an LED light, it produces a beam with a slight blue tint, appearing ‘cleaner’ than an incandescent bulb beam.  When you’re selecting a Cateye light, their Beam Comparision chart is a useful aid to the selection process, although the HL-EL450 has not yet been added.

Build quality is very good and the light feels solid and reliable.  The small size and sleek design mean that it’ll easily slip into a pocket or bag without too much inconvenience.

Now, the only negative thing I’ve currently found.  The handlebar fixture was rubbish.  The light comes with Cateye’s H-35 quick-release bracket, which can be seen fitted to the light on Cateye’s product page.  When I tried to fit this to the D7HG’s handlebar it just wouldn’t hold.  The quick-release lever kept popping open and it just didn’t seem to be able to grip the handlebar tight enough.  As a result, the light just wobbled and slipped.  The H-35 bracket was removed and discarded.

Back to the trusty Internet and this time to Wiggle to purchase the optional H-34 Flex Tight Bracket (again free P&P).  This bracket is a more permanent fixture and its design ensures a tighter grip on the handlebar.  Fitting it was quick and easy and it holds the HL-EL450 securely in position.  My photos of the bracket below and on Flickr show that I have yet to cut off the excess ‘flex’ and once I’ve finalised the positioning I’ll get rid of it as suggested by the fitting instructions.

The light slides easily on to the H-34 bracket and clicks securely into place.  Once on the bracket, the light can be rotated left and right to 90 degrees if you need to fine-tune the direction of the beam.  Removing the light is simply a press of a button and off it slides.

This is a great commuting light offering brightness, quality, small size and affordability.  If you cycle long distances after dark then you may be after something even brighter with a wider beam, but for shorter commutes on roads with street lights, then this is a good option.  Also, being LED technology, the flashing mode gives you that additional safety option.  As for my bike, it now has the the bright HL-EL450 and the LD150 – the latter operating in its flashing mode.

HL-EL450 - in the box

HL-EL450 - in the box

H-35 Bracket

H-34 Bracket

H-34 Bracket Fitted

H-34 Bracket Fitted

HL-EL45 Fitted

HL-EL450 Fitted

More photos on my Flickr account

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11 comments

  1. You are crazy, man. The H-34 bracket is impossible to use. The band is too big to slide into the fitting. I am an engineer and I still can’t get it to work after 1 hour of fiddling. This product is a real piece of crap.


  2. […] It’s Nice Out Cateye H-43: Comes Loose Monday September 15, 2008 Having fitted a Cateye H-34 bracket to the handlebar of my Dahon, I had expected it to stay put.  I went out for a ride over the […]


  3. Nick, I’m an engineer too 😉

    It does fit and is pretty good but as I stated in my other post, it does come undone by itself.


  4. […] Top Posts Dahon Vitesse D7HG – ReviewThe Purchase – Trek 4300 (2009)Schwalbe Big Apple Tyres – Dahon D7HGEtape Caledonia – Race SabotagedCateye HL-EL450 […]


  5. […] was almost 9pm and the sun was just setting so I kitted the Dahon out with my Cateye lights and the Frogs and hit the road.  Surfaces cycled in the test included: tarmac/road, grass, […]


  6. […] great.  The brightness of the light is excellent and it completely washes out the beam from my Cateye HL-EL450.  The Cateye’s output has a slight bluish tint whereas the NiteRider is a brighter, cleaner, […]


  7. I agree with the reviewer re the bracket supplied with this light – I had exactly the same problem. Dunno why Cateye have moved away from the simple and effective clamps used by Electron and others.

    Will try the H-34 and report back – if that doesn’t work it’s zip ties and Gaffer tape!!


    • Hi,
      The H-34 is much better!
      Let me know how it goes.

      Dave


      • Hi Guys,
        Please try this and I think that you will be pleased.
        Go to Cateye home page,get to smallparts/lights, then click on the HL-500/530 light and you will see an optional bracket No H-32model, the part number is 533-8880. I have one on my HL-EL 530 and love it. So much that I just ordered 2 more for my ordered HL-EL 450 light.
        Sincerely.
        Chip Kissick


      • That looks like an even better option! Thanks for sharing, Chip.


  8. […] posts on the Cateye HL-EL450 and the NiteRider MiNewt Mini USB are climbing the popularity rank.  The Dahon D7HG review and […]



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