The Cateye Rapid Mini is all you could want from a commuter rear light: it's cheap, tough, easy to fit, and provides a good balance between visibility and run time.
For £24.99 (or less if you look around), the Rapid Mini will throw out a claimed fifteen lumens of power across four different modes. You get the standard constant and flashing modes, plus a subtle pulsing mode and a mode that should come with an epilepsy warning. Each of these are bright enough to feel safe (or as least as safe as is possible) on unlit roads at night, making the Rapid Mini ideal for anyone who commutes on more rural lanes. The side visibility is decent too, an important consideration for more urban usage.
If there was one criticism it would be that the flashes on the pulsing mode could be a little brighter as this mode is currently too similar to a bog standard constant mode. That said, there's plenty of choice about how to run the light between the other 3 modes, so this isn't an issue that rears itself in practice. The flashing mode is just bright enough to be used during the daytime at a push, but for a dedicated day light you'd need to be looking for something with more power and be prepared to pay extra for it.
Run time is very good for such a small, compact light. Testing showed that the Rapid Mini could be run for four hours on the constant mode, before it automatically reverted to flashing mode for a further five hours. This should be plenty to get most people through a week of commuting between charges.
Charging is done via an included micro-USB cable, though I'm sure most people will already have a drawer full of these things at home. This makes sourcing a replacement cable when lost or forgotten really easy – a big tick in the practicability box.
Speaking of practicability, the rubber o-ring mounting system is simple, effective and easy to swap between bikes. Again, as with micro-USB cables, most people will have a selection of these rubber rings kicking about somewhere, so even if the included sizes don't work for your particular seatpost – such as an aero post – a replacement of the correct size shouldn't be hard to find. For charging purposes, the light itself does unclip from the mount, saving the (minor) hassle of having to undo the rubber o-ring.
All in all then, the Rapid Mini is a great option for a cheap and effective rear light, suitable for commuting on unlit roads. But what's been most impressive is how it has stood up to some properly nasty winter conditions and some manhandling on the part of the tester. Too lazy to remove it before cleaning my bike, it has taken direct hits from the hose pipe and lived to tell the tale, while a full washing machine and drier cycle couldn't knock it off its stride either. Simply put, this thing has proven itself nigh on indestructible and should last a good few winters of regular use.
Bright, practical, reliable and good value – an ideal commuter light
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Make and model: Cateye Rapid Mini rear light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Rapid Mini is designed for commuters requiring a little more power than a pure town-riding light. Given its power and asking price, the Rapid Mini looks like an obvious upgrade for anyone riding at night
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
15 lumens claimed output
-High frequency flashing
Mounts using included rubber o-rings
Charges via micro-USB
Despite the light weight, Cateye have obviously got the sealing right on the Rapid Mini.
The rubber o-ring mount is very easy to mount on a variety of differently shaped seatposts. Charging is done via the now ubiquitous micro-USB.
As above, very easy to install and swap between bikes.
Extremely well. Direct hosing and a trip through the washing machine didn't have any effect.
Able to run for 4 hours on constant mode, before reverting to flashing for a further 5 hours. Plenty for most people to get through a week's worth of commuting.
The output and range of modes is plenty for night time riding, More power (and most cost) would be required for a dedicated daytime light.
Based on the light output and its durability, the Rapid Mini is great value.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly - the ideal commuting light in pretty much every way.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The flashes on the pulsing mode could be more pronounced.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
Age: 22 Height: 190cm Weight: 69kg
I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,
For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.