The Cygolite Metro 550 is a great light for commuting, but is extremely similar to its little brother, the Cygolite Metro 400, in fact the two scores match across the board with the exception of the 550 scoring one point higher for beam quality. There are some slight differences in beam distance and patterns as well as battery life. Overall we find the 400 model to be a better value. It costs around $13 less and performs almost as well.If you're on a budget and are looking for a great quality light for commuting, you might look into our Best Buy award winner, the Light and Motion Urban 350.
Cygolite Metro 550 Review
Cons: Limited mount options, lacking extra features, difficult to remove from mount, shallow beam pattern
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Cygolite Metro 550
$41.13 at Amazon
|$95 List||$70 List||$57 List||Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Simple, durable, high value, bright beam with more of a flood pattern than the Metro 400||Bright, wide and even beam pattern, illuminated on/off switch, easy on and off handle bars, good value||Long battery life||Great value, bright beam||360-degree swivel, amber side lights add to visibility, easy on and off at the bike rack, excellent beam quality|
|Cons||Limited mount options, lacking extra features, difficult to remove from mount, shallow beam pattern||Short (1.5 hour) battery life||Very poor beam quality, tricky to remove from mount||Beam is more narrowly concentrated than other similarly powered lights||Not an especially bright or long beam, short battery life|
|Bottom Line||Although it has limited mounting features, this light is durable and has a bright flood pattern||This light not only is a great value but it has a super bright and even beam pattern||Has a very poor beam quality, hard to remove from mount but it does have a long battery life||Great value with bright, narrow beam||Although this light has a 360 degree swivel, its not very bright and has a short battery life|
|Rating Categories||Cygolite Metro 550||NiteRider Lumina 550||Cateye Volt 300||Cygolite Metro 400||Light and Motion Ur...|
|Beam Quality (25%)|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Specs||Cygolite Metro 550||NiteRider Lumina 550||Cateye Volt 300||Cygolite Metro 400||Light and Motion Ur...|
|Max Beam Distance (m)||127 m||146 m||130 m||120 m||110 m|
|Battery Life (hours)||1.7 hrs||1.5 hrs||2.9 hrs||1.7 hrs||1.5 hrs|
|Battery Type||USB Recharge||USB Recharge||USB Recharge||USB Recharge||USB Recharge|
|Weight||142 g, 5 oz||180 g, 6.3 oz||134 g, 4.7 oz||142 g, 5 oz||120 g, 4.2 oz|
Our Analysis and Test Results
While the Metro 550 solves the narrow beam problem of the Metro 400, there isn't much else offered for the extra cost besides a consistent pattern. The mount works well and the beam is strong enough to be useful in a variety of environments and conditions, from urban commuting to longer trail rides.
We place the most amount of weight of our scoring on this category, because your ability to see and be seen is the most important aspect of a bike light. The Cygolite Metro 550 scores a 6 out of 10, and measured a maximum beam distance of 127-meters, only seven meters father than the Metro 400. Below, you can see how the two compare while peering down the dark bike path side by side, with the Metro 550 on the left.
Our field testers also felt that this light was somewhat comparable to the more pricey NiteRider Lumina 550; however, the Lumina's max beam distance measurement blows the Metro 550 away at 146-meters. See how they compare below, with the Metro 550 on the left.
We measure beam distance to test brightness, and here we look at the beam pattern. Ideally, you want a lens that creates a wide and evenly lit pattern. There are noticeable differences in beam patterns between the Metro 400 and 550 as well as the Lumina 550. Here, the Metro 550 scores a 7 out of 10, and when comparing beam diameter and pattern photos side by side, the Metro 550 seems to fall smack dab between the Metro 400 and Lumina 550. The Metro 400 has the most centralized spot pattern, while the Lumina 550 has a narrow spotlight with more flooding around the edges.
In the photos below, you can see how the Metro 550, on the left, compares to the Lumina 550 on the right.
Again, the Cygolite Metro models tied with scores of 4 out of 10 in terms of battery life. Though the Metro 550 illuminates slightly further into the distance, they both die out just shy of two hours. While, in comparison to the Lumina 550, which shines much further down the road, the Metro 550 excels in battery longevity only by around a quarter of an hour.
You can see how beam distance affects the battery life between the Metro 550 and the Lumina 550, in this comparison chart.
The Cygolite Metro 550 fell just a point short in this category from the Lumina 550, and again tied with the Metro 400. Both the Metro 400 and 550 models are a little more difficult to remove the light from the mount while standing at the rack.
The mount is easily installed, but not as easy to remove from the mount. It takes some practice, the use of two hands, and a fair bit of strength to operate the release mechanism. In order for this light to score higher in terms of portability, we would like to see a light that is easily removed from the mount with only one hand.
Our field testers also found that the swivel portion of the mount gets loose and requires a Phillips head screw driver in order to tighten it, making it impossible to make adjustments while pedaling.
This light is a good choice for commuters who are looking for a bright light that also floods to the edges of your vision. While still trying to stay under the $100, it's a great choice; however, for just a bit more, you may want to take a closer look at the NiteRider Lumina 550.
This is definitely one of the better lights we tested; however, its overall scores is almost a tie with the Metro 400. The only major differences fall in the beam pattern, and for almost $20 less, we recommend the Metro 400. If you want something less expensive, check out our Best Buy winner, the Light and Motion Urban 800.
The Cygolite Metro 550 is a nice option for commuters. Its main competition is the Lumina 550, but that falls in a slightly higher price range and has some minor differences in all of the above categories. However, if you're looking for a light with slightly more flood lighting quality than the Metro 400 and slightly longer battery longevity than the Lumina 550, then the Metro 550 is one to consider.
— Gentrye Houghton
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