2016 Lights Shootout

The Volt 6000 is the first light we've seen to incorporate a fan in the light head.

The Volt 6000 is the first light we've seen to incorporate a fan in the light head (click to enlarge).​

Editor's Note: This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview's 2016 Bike Lights Shootout. See the 2016 Mtbr Headlights Index and the RoadBikeReview Commuter Lights Index.

The Lowdown: CatEye Volt 6000

CatEye made the first HID bike light with the Stadium 3 bike light about ten years ago and revolutionized night riding. The system was incredibly heavy at 2000 grams and it put out about 500 Lumens of very white/blue-ish light.

Now, CatEye wowed us once again with the introduction of their Volt 6000 lights. With a claimed output of 6000 Lumens, the Volt 6000 weighs in at 718 grams with a cost of $800. The kicker is it has a built-in fan to counter the greatest enemy of LED bike lights today, heat.

Is it as revolutionary as the old CatEye Stadium? Is it an unfair advantage for trail night riding? Read on and find out.

Claimed Lumens: 6000 LumensMtbr Lux: 5400
Measured Lumens: 7252 LumensMounted weight: 718 grams
Lumens per $: 9.07 LumensCategory: Headlight
Lumens per gram: 10.10 LumensPrice: $800
Run time on high: 1:00 HoursRating:
5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
5 Chilis-out-of-5 for achievement
Stat Box


Pluses

Minuses
  • Staggering output at 7252 Lumens
  • Run time at full power is only one hour
  • Integrated fan keeps light always cool
  • Fan is always at highest setting
  • Beam pattern is wide and massive
  • $800 is big investment
  • Light stays at its max brightness even with no airflow
  • No dedicated spot so distance throw is not that impressive
  • Light head is under 100 grams

Battery is big, weighing in at 600 grams, providing an hour of run time at maximum brightness.

Battery is big, weighing in at 600 grams, providing an hour of run time at maximum brightness (click to enlarge).​

Full Review: CatEye Volt 6000

This light has many things going for it. First, the light is devastatingly bright and brighter than claimed. The beam pattern is very wide too so there is actually good usage of all the brightness. Often bright lights have a beam that's too narrow and the rider adjusts to the bright beam but cannot see anything on the periphery. With this light, everything is lit up and visible.

Air is sucked in from the rear and let out through the sides to cool thin  heating fins designed to take all the head from the LED.

Air is sucked in from the rear and let out through the sides to cool thin heating fins designed to take all the head from the LED (click to enlarge).​

Second, the integrated fan actually works. It allows the light to operate at maximum brightness in all conditions. Warm weather or slow moving rides are not a problem. Most lights become inefficient or step down in brightness to protect the LED. This light just stays on max brightness while keeping the light head fairly cool. Instead of using the light head as a heat sink, all the heat is pushed out of the side vents.

Finally, this light is designed and manufactured with the highest Japanese standards of CatEye. It is not uncommon to hear of CatEye Stadium lights still using their 10-year old lights.

Continue to page 2 for more on the CatEye Volt 6000, beam pattern and Lumen measurement »



CatEye Volt 6000 Beam Pattern

Beam Pattern Photo

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photo was taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. The backyard beam pattern allows you to gauge the throw and the width of the light. Compare all Beam Patterns here »

Ok, the beam pattern is a bit ridiculous. Our test setup is only 25 yards deep and this light really needs a football field to stretch its legs.

It's actually a lot brighter than claimed so the photo is even getting blown out. Also, it's so wide that it's hard to capture all the available light.

We WILL photograph this light and compare it to the other 5000+ Lumen lights in a big area.

CatEye Volt 6000 Lumen Measurement

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens

This light measured 7252 Lumens in an integrating sphere. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 6000 Lumens. The Lumen-hour graph below shows how the light performs over the first three minutes of its battery cycle. Compare all Lumen Tests here »

7252 Lumens is ridiculously good especially when they're only claiming 6000. But they're a conservative company and we appreciate that as they like to have the claimed 6000 Lumens at the end of the battery cycle.

Packaging is very polished and reminiscent of the old CatEye Stadium HID light.

Packaging is very polished and reminiscent of the old CatEye Stadium HID light (click to enlarge).​

One thing to note is that we ran this 3-minute Lumen test without an external fan directed at it. Unlike the other lights in the test, we let it cool itself to allow it to demonstrate its prowess.

And because of the cooling system, this light stays consistently bright through its battery cycle no matter what the wind or riding conditions are.

The LED used is an array that is shaped into an oval.  A reflector cone and a refractive lens are used to shape an oval beam pattern that is very wide.

The LED used is an array that is shaped into an oval. A reflector cone and a refractive lens are used to shape an oval beam pattern that is very wide (click to enlarge).​

This is a great achievement indeed. Our only wishes are that the light have a longer run-time than one hour. Also, stepping down the fan when in lower light levels would have been a nice touch to keep it more silent and to conserve battery.

But even with the 1 hour run time on high, the rider can run it on low mode and still get about 6 hours with 1000 Lumens. This light truly is a good one for those ride extremely high speeds at night. Or those afraid of the dark can now be at ease.

Weight of the head unit is light at 96 grams so it can be mounted unobtrusively on the helmet.

Weight of the head unit is light at 96 grams so it can be mounted unobtrusively on the helmet (click to enlarge).​

For more information visit cateye.com.

This article is part of Mtbr and RoadBikeReview's 2016 Bike Lights Shootout. See the 2016 Mtbr Headlights Index and the RoadBikeReview Commuter Lights Index.