Posts Tagged ‘D7HG lights’

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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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