Cateye AMPP 1100 / AMPP 800 combo light set review

Cateye’s latest light twin set is a tempting deal but is it an effective double act on the trail?

Cateye AMPP 1100 light set review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

BikePerfect Verdict

Basic features for the price and less reach than Cateye’s Volt family but a really useful, reliable bar and helmet bundle for technical riding

Pros

  • +

    Broad beam patterns

  • +

    Useful power

  • +

    Fast recharge

  • +

    Instant emergency max

  • +

    Universal bar fit

  • +

    Bundle gets you ‘free’ mount

  • +

    Slow power transitions

Cons

  • -

    Mis-shaped GoPro shoe

  • -

    Tall helmet mount

  • -

    Bracket dial needs care

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Cateye’s new AMPP range builds on the reputation of its punchy and reliable Volt family with wider beam spreads and faster charging. Functions are simple for the price though, and we needed to modify the GoPro mount. 

Design and performance

The Cateye AMPP 1100/800 lights get a brand new casing with slightly curved front optics and extended side windows for a wide, progressive light spread. That means reach isn’t as powerful as Cateye’s Volt family (which are still better for the road) but you get a much broader sense of what’s happening on technical trails. The twin LED 1100 puts out plenty of light to illuminate incoming features in detail at full power even when used on its own. Add the 800 on your helmet to focus exactly where you’re looking and you can tackle seriously technical or previously unridden trails with reasonable confidence. The mid-power mode is fine for less stressful situations with a low power for cruising and two flash modes for on-road safety. A button ‘double click’ shortcuts straight to full power in an emergency too which is a really useful feature. Run times are good for the price and power, and fast recharging makes them great for the forgetful. Remaining charge info is limited to a simple three-phase ‘traffic light’ but that’s better than the sketchy ‘last-minute alert’ that’s dogged previous Cateye lights.   

The FlexTight brackets give a secure mount on all bar sizes and shapes, but be careful not to lose the separate thumbwheel while it’s loose. Make sure the light clicks home securely too, as it can slide off easily if it’s not properly locked into place. The tabs on the GoPro fixture are too fat to fit comfortably into most mounts, so be ready to file them down slightly for a proper connection. The strap-on helmet mount creates a relatively tall, potentially tree snagging set up too. You do get it ‘free’ by opting for this twin set rather than buying each light separately. Cateye's reliability is generally excellent too, which matters much more than fancy features and data screens when you’re out in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night.

Verdict

Cateye’s AMPP 1100/800 lights are low on fancy features and the GoPro mount needs filing, but otherwise they make up for that with excellent beam spreads, instant max power, relatively long run times and bombproof reliability.

Tech Specs: Cateye AMPP 1100 and AMPP 800 combo

  • Power: 1100 and 800 lumens
  • Full power run time: 1.5hrs (AMPP 1100) 2hrs (AMPP 800)
  • Weight: 223g (AMPP 1100) 143g (AMPP 800)
  • Price: $164.95 / £159.99 (for both lights)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg