Underpowered compared to the competition
In theory, Cateye’s new Volt 1600 is a road light that is bright enough for off-road use, especially when paired with a 1,000 lumen helmet light.
In practice though, it failed to deliver the claimed output — we measured the lumens at 1,076, not 1,600, which is really odd since the Volt 6000 (tested elsewhere) actually delivers more lumens than is claimed.
Like most commuter lights, the Volt 1600 has five settings — high, mid, low and two flashing modes. Unfortunately, on the trail you have to toggle all the way through the low and flashing modes to get back to high beam, and the 1600 isn’t programmable, so you can’t eliminate these unnecessary steps.
Cateye uses the same bar mount for both the 1600 and 6000 light. It’s big enough to fit a 35mm bar, but it’s only plastic and we’ve dropped the thumbwheel a few times at night and had to hunt around for it.
The 1600’s beam pattern is oval shaped with a hotspot at the upper perimeter, but the light is a little lacking close-in around the front wheel. If you loosen the mount and tilt the light down while riding this helps, but then you’ll need to tilt it back up again as the speeds increase to scan the terrain further ahead.
We’ve no doubt the Volt 1600 would make a great road light, but off-road it has a limited beam and is underpowered compared to the competition. It also doesn’t represent good value for money.