LED lights have come a long way since Cateye used to make those front ones with the green diodes you could only see from about five feet away. In many ways this is the direct descendent of those cheaper units – a three-LED budget unit – and it's great that a cheap town light can now perform this well.
You don't get any of the clever new brackets for your tenner, just the screw-tightened adjustable one that Cateye have been using for the last few years; the LD170 also comes with a clothing clip. Pop the 2 AAA batteries in and things couldn't be simpler: press the button for flashing, again for constant, again to switch it off.
The construction is pretty standard with a rubber seal between the lens and body which keeps the elements out pretty well, the button is rubberised too. Ours has taken a few knocks in the bike park and a well-aimed hit (or a fall from your pocket) generally splits it into its component parts, but it snaps back together without any fuss.
The three white LEDs throw out enough light to be seen by – side visibility is okay rather than especially good as all the bulbs point straight ahead – and if you're in a real pickle you could just about ride on unlit roads with it, providing you weren't in a hurry. That's not what it's designed for though, and it does the job it is designed for – a fit and forget town light – very well. It's a great complement to a more expensive or powerful light, and you can use it on its own when you're just pottering about town.
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Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.