The Cateye Orb Rechargeable Front and Rear Light Set is a handy 'see me' solution on its own, or as a backup to your main lights in an emergency. They're small, punch out a decent amount of illumination and weigh very little.
You can pick up 'be seen' lights with a stretchy band for a few quid in plenty of high street locations, but the £31.99 Cateye Orb set is the next level up – they offer a machined aluminium body and decent waterproofing at IPX4, which basically means they cope with road spray and rain.
I tried them on various wet rides and they performed without issue.
Another bonus is the USB rechargeable batteries. Many cheap lights use coin-type batteries which don't last that long, and aren't exactly cheap. This rechargeable option means there is no other financial layout, and your lights are always ready to go... well, as long as you remember to charge them.
From flat that takes about 3.5hrs, and you unscrew the light section from the body to gain access to the charge port.
Fitting them to your bike is easy with the rubber strap, and there are plenty of cutouts to suit the various size bars or seat posts. The range is anywhere from 22mm to 32mm in diameter, and the Orbs can cope with aero profiles too.
Pressing and holding the lens turn them on or off, while short presses scroll through the options: constant, fast flash and slow flash. On the front light that gives you burn times of 3hrs, 6.5hrs and 6.5hrs respectively, while the rear gives 2.5hrs, 5hrs and 5hrs.
Cateye doesn't give a lumen or lux output, but they are certainly bright enough to get picked out in the dark. Personally I wouldn't use them as my only source of lighting, as they're pretty small, but they are ideal for an emergency or if you're just popping to the shops.
If there is a huge amount of ambient light around though, as in a city centre with lots of traffic, they'll be much harder to notice. They aren't bright enough for daylight use either.
They are only a couple of quid more than the £29 Lezyne Femto USB Drive Pair, which Jamie was very impressed with, but the extremely similar Oxford Bright Spot USB LED lightset is just £19.99. The Oxfords perform much the same as the Cateyes, making them ideal emergency lights to get you out of trouble.
The Orbs are certainly better value than the BBB Spycombo USB light set, though, which are similar in design and application. They retail for £49.95.
The Orbs are a neat solution as a 'be seen' light set, and the rechargeable batteries give them an edge over some of the cheaper opposition. They are well made and take up little room on your bike, too, so you can easily leave them attached without causing clutter.
Compact 'be seen' lights with the bonus of being USB rechargeable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye Orb Rechargeable Front And Rear Light Set
Size tested: N/A
Tell us what the light set 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?
Cateye says, "CatEye Orb Rechargeable Lights are a super low profile light with a simple function, to make you seen. Simple in operation and attachment they can be moved between bikes/positions quickly and without tools."
They are decent 'be seen' lights and good quality.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Constant: 7 Lm, 1.5hrs
Fast Flashing: 7 Lm, 3.5hrs
Slow Flashing: 7 Lm, 4hrs
Rechargeable version of popular Orb lights.
Durable, polished black aluminium body – USB accessed via unscrewing front section from rear section
Lens acts as power and mode button
Stretch attachment fits around multiple post widths and shapes
Recharge time: 5 hrs maximum
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
These are well made lights that stand up to the elements, while offering decent illumination for their size.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
USB recharging is a bonus.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Not the brightest for busy urban environments.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Their price is somewhere in the middle area. The Oxfords mentioned in the review are just £19.99, while the BBBs are £49.95.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
While not the brightest compact lights out there, a combination of good build quality, weather resistance and decent burn times make the Orbs a decent solution if you just want to be seen. USB recharging is a bonus.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!