The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Cygolite Metro 550 Review

Although it has limited mounting features, this light is durable and has a bright flood pattern.
Cygolite Metro 550
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Price:  $70 List | $36.42 at Amazon
Pros:  Simple, durable, high value, bright beam with more of a flood pattern than the Metro 400
Cons:  Limited mount options, lacking extra features, difficult to remove from mount, shallow beam pattern
Manufacturer:   Cygolite
By Gentrye Houghton ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 14, 2018
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Cygolite Metro 550
This Product
Cygolite Metro 550
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $36.42 at Amazon$222.56 at Amazon$99.95 at Amazon$140 List$95 List
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Pros Simple, durable, high value, bright beam with more of a flood pattern than the Metro 400Great 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 Limited mount options, lacking extra features, difficult to remove from mount, shallow beam patternVery 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 Although it has limited mounting features, this light is durable and has a bright flood pattern.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 550 NiteRider Pro 1800 NiteRider Lumina 750 Cygolite Expilion 850 NiteRider Lumina 550
Brightness (40%)
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6
10
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10
10
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9
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9
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8
Beam Quality (25%)
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6
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9
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8
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8
Battery Life (20%)
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4
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6
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5
Portablity (15%)
10
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6
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3
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7
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8
Specs Cygolite Metro 550 NiteRider Pro 1800 NiteRider Lumina 750 Cygolite Expilion... NiteRider Lumina 550
Max Beam Distance (m) 127 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

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.

Performance Comparison


This light is great for urban commutes  but performs very similarly to the Metro 400.
This light is great for urban commutes, but performs very similarly to the Metro 400.

Brightness


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.

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

Cygolite Metro 550
Cygolite Metro 400

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.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 550
Beam photo of NiteRider Lumina 550

Cygolite Metro 550
NiteRider Lumina 550

Beam Quality


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.

Beam Diameter and Pattern
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 550
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 400

Cygolite Metro 550
Cygolite Metro 400

In the photos below, you can see how the Metro 550, on the left, compares to the Lumina 550 on the right.

Beam Diameter and Pattern
Beam photo of Cygolite Metro 550
Beam photo of NiteRider Lumina 550

Cygolite Metro 550
NiteRider Lumina 550

Battery Life


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.

Portability


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 Metro 550 has a durable mount that can be left on the bike at the rack.
The Metro 550 has a durable mount that can be left on the bike 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.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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