Cateye TL-LD650 Rapid 5 Review

It’s time for us to take a look at another rear light. Here we test the Cateye Rapid 5. This is also known as the TL-LD650 and is the latest of Cateye’s popular tail lights. The light follows on from the successful and immensely popular TL-LD600 and TL-LD610 lights but has updated styling for the 2011 / 2012 season.

Cateye Rapid
Cateye Rapid

Specifications

Dimensions: 104 x 28 x 38mm

Weight : 72g (inc batteries & mounting bracket)

Batteries : 2 x AAA

Modes : Rapid (50 hours), Pulse (50 hours), Flashing (100 hours), Constant (15 hours).

Mount Diameter : 12-32mm

Cateye TL-LD650 Design

Cateye Rapid 5 Review
Cateye Rapid 5 Review

The light contains five LEDs, the centre three point directly backwards and the outer two are directed out at about 45° to provide all-round visibility. The centre light is the brightest, the two either side being almost as bright (but are not used in all modes, see below). The outer two are not as bright or perhaps just not as focussed as the centre lights. All in all it provides a decent spread of light.

Cateye Bracket
Cateye Bracket

The supplied bracket is a seatpost mount which can be attached without tools. It works with pretty much any size of seatpost. It allows vertical tilting so the beam can be pointed at the optimal angle. The light attaches to the mount with a simple but effective quick release mechanism. Both horizontal and vertical mounting are possible though all round visibility requires the light to be mounted horizontally. Alternative mounts are available including a saddle rail mount and a rack mount. (Note these are not supplied).

Cateye Rapid 5 Batteries
Cateye Rapid 5 Batteries

The light takes AAA batteries so is a lightweight unit. The batteries are held behind a simple plastic cover. There is no sealing as such but the plastic cover has a reasonably snug fit. It doesn’t inspire quite as much confidence regarding waterproofing as some other lights I’ve tried (like the mighty TL-LD1100)  but that said I’ve used it for the last month in some pretty nasty conditions and haven’t experienced any problems. Like most lights, I would suggest taking it indoors when you’re not using it.

Cateye Rapid 5 Beam
Cateye Rapid 5 Beam

A single button switches the light on and off and switches between modes.

The available modes include:

Constant : Only the centre and outer two lights are on in this mode.

Flash : A simple flashing pattern using all 5 LEDs

Pulse : A gentler flashing pattern using only the centre and outer two lights. (Useful when riding with other cyclists as it’s less dazzling when riding close).

Rapid : A wild attention grabbing flash mode using all five lights.

The video shows the modes better than I can describe them:

Cateye TL-LD650 Rapid 5 Review

Conclusion

The Cateye Rapid 5 is a decent rear light and will appeal to a lot of people and is brighter than many lights on the market. To be honest I still prefer the older TL-LD1100 which is brighter, gives more light to the sides and has better sealing against the rain. However, the Rapid 5 is much lighter and is more compact and stylish.

The Rapid 5 is not widely available yet but this store has some in stock at the time of writing.

The official web page for this light is here.

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