Monday 17 December 2012

CatEye HS-EL520 Bike Light

Regular readers will already know that I bought a new light for my Brompton to beef up my existing lights when cycling at night. Having completed the epic all night ride on Saturday morning, I feel I need to post a more detailed résumé of its lighting prowess.

CatEye’s HL-EL520 combines one high power white LED with their exclusive OptiCube technology to produce more than 1800 candlepower. This was certainly evident when cycling at night. It is perhaps more than 3 times power of my Brompton battery light set.

It isn't the brightest battery light that CatEye produce but it was the one for me as it is sleek and fairly compact. It is also waterproofed well and towards the end of Saturday's ride it rained a fair bit and all was okay.

The compact design features side visibility, high and low beans, and up to 150 hours of runtime on 4 AA batteries. The simple, tool-free FlexTight mounting bracket allows you to quickly and easily attach the HL-EL520 to virtually any handlebar.

Yes it is bigger than my Brompton front but it still fits on to the from handlebar comfortably.

I bought this from Evans Cycles with a small discount and the retail price was £44.99. The battery life is excellent and although it has two settings, there is little difference between them. I have some rechargeable AA batteries and will almost certainly use them to power this. There are lights that have their own separate battery pack which produce a brighter light but for the moment it is a pretty good light and I am more than happy with it.

Dimension: 101.0 X 44.0 X 46.0mm
Weight: 185 grams (with bracket and batteries)
Light source: 3 watt white LED X1
Light output: 1800+cd
Battery: AA alkaline battery X4
Runtime: Approx 75hrs in high mode and 150hrs in low mode


  1. Hi there,
    I hope to be an owner soon of one of these nice brompton, and on the subject of ligths I was wondering why you haven't opted for the SON light system. Could you tell me what guided your choice about not choosing a hub dynamo, is there too much drag?

    all the best

  2. Many thanks for your comment. Great to hear that you might be joining the fold soon. If you read my back catalogue of blog entries you will undoubtedly see lots of mention of Brompton racing. The hub light adds a little too much weight than I care for. In the summer the lights I have can come off and save even more weight. If you are merely going to use for Brompton for commuting and touring, you'll find the SON lighting system just fine.

    1. Dear Comments,
      I change my wheel dynamo on my Brompton to a hub dynamo this summer for the winter period. What a difference the drag is not noticeable compared the wheel one as to add their is no noise that you can associate with it being on.
      My unit consists of shimano front hub, i looked at the cost of a rebuild and went with a new front wheel just changing the tube tyre and rim tape from the old wheel. Down loaded from the brompton web site the route for the cable to run, also used some plastic tube to run the cable in as you know what water and electric's are like. Lighting arrangement at this you have a choice ! to go with the halogen set up which has a large current draw which in simple terms adds to the drag from the dynamo as the unit need the power to illuminate, or as i did use the led type used on the son dynamo their are few options of lamp availible on the market depends on your pocket of course but as the led's light have little curent draw the drag is minimal, another plus point when you are stopped its stays on for 5 mins. The rear light I changed for the brompton single led one again this remains on after stopping and is a straight swapp for my existing on. followed thw wiring instructions to the letter using bell wire.I forgot to mention my brompton has the rear rack so it maybe different for the one's with out, but not impossible to do.
      As to regards it usage its brillant it really lights the road up even at slow speeds and am talking about 4 mph. In this time of dark ness to survive its about being seen.I also have a led front light on my handle bars that flashes.
      I used SJS cycles in Bristol for my supplier of all my bits wire was from maplins tube too!
      Hope this is of some help.
      I could of course gone for the son complete system but although the unit looks nice( expensive too! still does the same as the shimnao one) as long as it does what it says on the tin that will be fine.

      From The Brompton Blog Roll.


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