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Cygolite Metro 400 Review

Great value with bright, narrow beam.
Cygolite Metro 400
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $57 List | $26.97 at Amazon
Pros:  Great value, bright beam
Cons:  Beam is more narrowly concentrated than other similarly powered lights
Manufacturer:   Cygolite
By Gentrye Houghton ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 14, 2018
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 16
  • Brightness - 40% 6
  • Beam Quality - 25% 6
  • Battery Life - 20% 4
  • Portablity - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Cygolite Metro 400 earned our Best Buy award because it is a great light for commuting if you are on a budget. While there are many $10-$30 bike lights out there, if you look at our ratings and beam tests you will see that lights in that price range tend to have weak beams and are our lowest scoring lights in almost every category. The Metro 400, on the other hand, scores relatively well in comparison to other lights within the same price point, and consequently was a top contender for our Best Buy award. It narrowly missed the award due to a couple small differences in beam quality and some portability issues when compared with the Light and Motion Urban 350. If you're looking for a great light and don't mind a slightly more narrow pattern for your daily commute, then this is definitely a light to consider.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Cygolite Metro 400
This Product
Cygolite Metro 400
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $26.97 at Amazon$212.85 at Amazon$99.95 at Amazon$140 List$51.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Great value, bright beamGreat beam distance and quality, lasts four hours in high modeWide even beam pattern, bright, illuminated on/off button, swivel mountWide, even beam pattern, multiple blinking modesBright, wide and even beam pattern, illuminated on/off switch, easy on and off handle bars, good value
Cons Beam is more narrowly concentrated than other similarly powered lightsVery heavy, expensive and time-consuming to install and removeBeam could be more even/less narrow, battery life on the short sideMinimal swivel, short battery lifeShort (1.5 hour) battery life
Bottom Line Great value with bright, narrow beam.This is your go to light for quality and distance of beam.This light is bright, swivels nicely and even has an illuminated on/off switch.Although it has a shorter battery life, it has a wide even beam with multiple blinking modes.This light not only is a great value but it has a super bright and even beam pattern.
Rating Categories Cygolite Metro 400 NiteRider Pro 1800 NiteRider Lumina 750 Cygolite Expilion 850 NiteRider Lumina 550
Brightness (40%)
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Beam Quality (25%)
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Specs Cygolite Metro 400 NiteRider Pro 1800 NiteRider Lumina 750 Cygolite Expilion... NiteRider Lumina 550
Max Beam Distance (m) 120 m 175 m 180 m 147 m 146 m
Battery Life (hours) 1.7 hrs 3.8 hrs 1.7 hrs 1.4 hrs 1.5 hrs
Battery Type USB Recharge USB Recharge USB Recharge USB Recharge USB Recharge
Mount Options Handlebar Handlebar Handlebar/Helmet Handlebar/Helmet Handlebar/Helmet
Installation Tool-free Tool-free Tool-free Tool-free Tool-free
Swivel Mount Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weight 142 g, 5 oz 500 g, 17.6 oz 182 g, 6.4 oz 174 g, 6.1 oz 180 g, 6.3 oz

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a pretty good beam for the price, the Metro 400 is a great value with excellent brightness compared to similarly priced lights. Lacking in some extra options, such as a helmet mount or side lights, we feel the Metro 400 is a good fit for urban commuting where ease of removal and a quick charge are valued higher than extreme power. For those looking for a stronger and more versatile option, check out our Editors' Choice award winner the NiteRider Lumina 750.

Performance Comparison


The Metro 400 is a great option for urban commuters on a budget.
The Metro 400 is a great option for urban commuters on a budget.

Brightness


The Cygolite Metro 400 blows away the budget lights in terms of brightness. It scores a 6 out of 10, and almost doubles the beam distance compared to the Knog Blinder Arc 1.7. The Metro 400 illuminates up to 120-meters away, while the Knog Blinder falls in at just 62-meters. You can see in the photos below that when compared to the Metro 400, on the left, the Knog Blinder seems to barely illuminate the bike path during our testing.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 400
Beam photo of Knog Blinder Arc 1.7

Cygolite Metro 400
Knog Blinder Arc 1.7

Take a look at the beams of the very similar Cygolite Metro 550, which cost slightly more and shines just a tad bit further at 127 meters. We gave both lights the same brightness score. Overall our sense is that the 400 is a better value since it is less expensive and almost as bright.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 400
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 550

Cygolite Metro 400
Cygolite Metro 550

Beam Quality


Again, the Metro 400 is a strong candidate for our Best Buy Award, but the real difference came down to its beam pattern. To be considered a high quality beam, we are looking for a pattern that is evenly lit and floods our peripheral view. This light scores a 6 out of 10, while the Best Buy winner, the Urban 350, scores an 8 out of 10. As you can see in our beam diameter and pattern comparison below, the Metro 400, on the left, has a narrower beam pattern, which allows the beam to be projected about 10-meters farther than the Urban 350. The Urban 350 illuminates to the edges of your peripheral better, allowing you to see more of the road and your surroundings. This wider beam is also a trade off for a slightly more shallow beam.

Beam Diameter and Pattern
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 400
Beam photo of Light and Motion Urban 350

Cygolite Metro 400
Light and Motion Urban 350

You can also see how the differences in these two pattern affects your ability to see your surroundings in a beam distance comparison between the Metro 400, on the left, and the Urban 350.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 400
Beam photo of Light and Motion Urban 350

Cygolite Metro 400
Light and Motion Urban 350

Battery Life


The Cygolite Metro outscores the Urban 350 when it comes to battery life. While the Metro 400 lasts only about fifteen minutes longer than the Urban 350, you can see in our battery life versus beam distance comparison chart that they both remain fairly consistent in terms of distance through their longevity. However, the Metro 400 begins to lose light intensity around the time that the Urban 350 goes kaput.

Portability


The Light and Motion Urban 350 and the Cygolite Metro 400 were virtually neck-in-neck until our portability results came in. The Metro 400 fell short in this category, scoring only a 6 out of 10, mostly due to the difficulty of removing the light from the mount while standing at the rack.

This mounting system stays secure while riding  but is one the more difficult side to remove the light itself from the mount.
This mounting system stays secure while riding, but is one the more difficult side to remove the light itself from the mount.

The mount is easily installed, but the light itself is difficult to slide on and off the mount and requires two hands. Specifically, it takes a bit of practice and strong phalanges to operate the release mechanism. For some people this is not a problem, but for anyone with weaker or smaller hands, or if you're wearing thicker gloves, this could be quite an issue.

Best Applications


This light excels for commuters on a budget. It performs well within our tests without breaking the bank!

Value


This is one of the best value lights we tested, if it had scored a little better in regards to ease of removal at the bike rack, it probably would have been our Best Buy winner.

Gentrye goes for an evening spin with the Metro 400.
Gentrye goes for an evening spin with the Metro 400.

Conclusion


This is the light to get if you're on a budget and you want something bright, with more of a spotlight beam pattern. However, if you're commuting and find you'd rather have a beam pattern that extends well into your peripheral, check out the Light and Motion Urban 350, which we ultimately like better.


Gentrye Houghton