Hands-on Gear Review

Cygolite Metro 360 Review

Best Buy Award
Price:  $60 List | $41.03 at Amazon
Pros:  Great value, bright beam.
Cons:  Beam is not as even or broad as other bright lights.
Editors' Rating:   
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Max Beam Distance (m):  135 m
Battery Life (hours):  2.1 hr
Battery Type:  USB rechargable
Manufacturer:   Cygolite

Our Verdict

The Metro 360 wins our Best Buy award because no other light priced under $60 performed even comparably. Yes, there are many $10-$30 bike lights out there, but if you look at our ratings and beam tests you will see they had extremely weak beams, often scoring a 1 or even 0 out of 10. The Metro 360 on the other hand, scored an impressive 8 out of 10 for brightness, which bested some lights that cost four times as much. That said, the beam quality is not nearly as good as its expensive sibling and Editors' Choice award winner, the Cygolite Expilion 800. The 360 shines far, but in a very narrow beam pattern. The 800 on the other hand, has a dramatically wider beam that illuminated much in our peripheral vision. On the value scale, the NiteRider Lumina 550 is another top contender. It scored just behind the Expilion 800 because it did not have the 800's beam quality. It can often be found for $50 less than the 800. The Metro 360 has a street price of roughly $20-$30 below the Lumina 550. All three are great lights; your choice may depend on your budget.

New Version Update - September 2016
The Metro 360 has been replaced by the Cygolite Metro 700. More info below.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Bike Light Review


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Wednesday
June 25, 2014

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The New Metro 700 vs. The Older Version


The Metro 700 now has 700 lumens and replaces 360. The Metro 700 now has a wide beam lens to increase the range of light coverage. The price for the Metro remains $60.

In the meantime, see below for a side-by-side comparison, with the Metro 700 shown on the left and the older version, the Metro 360, shown on the right.
Cygolite Metro 600

Performance Comparison



Beam Quality


The Metro 360 scores a solid 7 out of 10, which blows away other lights priced at less than $60. Most other inexpensive lights scored a 0-2 out of 10, which translated to a barely visible beam, or a beam that is so narrow it is difficult to see anything in your peripheral vision.


See how the 360 has a drastically broader and more even beam than the similarly priced Planet Bike Blaze 2 Watt Micro below.

Battery Life vs. Beam Distance

Cygolite Metro 360
Planet Bike Blaze 2 watt

While the 360 blows away the cheap lights, it is not nearly in the same league as the top scoring lights in our tests. When put against the NiteRider Lumina 550, you see that the 550 has a much broader and even beam where the 360 puts a very bright light just in the middle of the target.

Battery Life vs. Beam Distance

Cygolite Metro 360
NiteRider Lumina 550

Here you can see how it performs against the Expilion 800, our Editors' Choice award winner, which has an even wider and more even beam pattern.

Battery Life vs. Beam Distance

Cygolite Metro 360
Cygolite Expilion 800

Brightness


Again, the 360 blows away the other lights priced under $60. It scores an impressive 8/10 for brightness. Compare that to a light like the Knog Blinder 4 which only scores a 2 out of 10 and barely illuminated the bike path in our team distance tests.


The 360 shines an impressive 135 meters which is only 10-30 meters behind the top scoring lights. Compare that to the Blinder which shines a mere 9 meters.

Beam Distance Photos

Cygolite Metro 360
Knog Blinder 4

Again the 360 is not nearly in the same league as the top scoring lights in our tests. When put against the NiteRider Lumina 550, you see that the 550 has a much more powerful broad and even beam where the 360 really just lights up the middle of the bike path.

Beam Distance Photos

Cygolite Metro 360
NiteRider Lumina 550

Against the Expilion 800, the contrast is even more dramatic.

Beam Distance Photos

Cygolite Metro 360
Cygolite Expilion 800

Portability


The portability score of 4/10 is a point higher than the Expilion 800 because the 360 is a little lighter. However, the 360 suffers from the same problem as the 800: it is difficult to remove from the handlebar mount. Specifically, it takes practice and fair bit of finger strength to operate the release mechanism. For some people this is no problem, but for people with weaker hands or wearing thicker gloves, this could be quite annoying.


Battery Life


The 360 lasted 2.1 hours on high mode, which is slightly better than other lights in its same size category that averaged about 1.5 hours in high mode. The score of 4/10 is not impressive, but it is still better than the Editors' Choice Expilion 800. Lights like this are intended for shorter commutes in high mode, or you can turn it to low mode and extend the battery life by a factor of 10.


Value


This is the best value in bike lights we tested. There are lights that cost less, but they all performed miserably on either the beam quality or brightness test, or both. We considered giving a Best Buy award to one of the lights that costs $5-$20, but we couldn't bring ourselves to do it because they barely illuminated the bike path in our beam distance tests. We believe the super-cheap lights should be used in conjunction with a light that scored well in beam quality and brightness, and cannot be recommended on their own.

Conclusion


This is the light to get if you are on a budget and want something bright. If you only occasionally commute, this one is a no brainer. However, if you are on your bike a lot, we strongly recommend looking at the NiteRider Lumina 550, which is more expensive but had a much higher quality beam and is dramatically easier to get on and off the handlebar mount. If you have the money, the Cygolite Expilion 800 has a drastically better and brighter beam, but is about double the price.
Chris McNamara


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 30, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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   Oct 30, 2015 - 03:24am
QITNL · Climber
I think this light got upgraded again. Somewhat based upon your recommendation, I got a Cygolite Metro 550 USB Light. It was $45 at Amazon but looks like it got $51.50'd, oh no.

This thing is bright! Holy Toledo. They may have fixed the clip thing. It works fine, no problem.

I'll have to get used to the USB battery deal. I guess that's why they're so bright. Burn fast, die young.

I use rechargeable AA/AAA's for my headlamps, GPS, etc. It would be nice to know best-in-class for bike lights that use regular batteries, as well.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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