| Review: Hardware and Software, November 1996|
Monday Night Football and a Monday night bike ride don't have much in common except the same time slot--and now the same lighting system. The new Stadium Light from Cat Eye (800-522-8393) is just what the name implies: a light that incorporates technology used for event stadiums, miniaturized into a lamp that clamps neatly onto your handlebar.
Turn on the Stadium Light and a pale, dim glow comes to life; 30 seconds later road or trail is illuminated into an icy-blue noon--a surreal hue that makes road signs and the eyes of nocturnal fauna pop out of the dark. The 21-watt metal halide gas- filled bulb burns as brightly as an 84-watt halogen bulb would--compare that to the typical 15-watt halogen in most high-end bike lights.
Such blinding luminosity does have a cost, beyond its astonishing $400 price. The metal halide bulb requires special hardware, which adds heft to the water-bottle-shaped battery pack and brings the light's weight to nearly three pounds. (The rechargeable battery lasts a respectable 1.5 hours.) And once it's running, beware: The lamp body gets hot enough to sizzle skin or melt a bike helmet. Riding off-road, I found I still wanted a helmet lamp to follow sudden twists of trail. But if you're a commuter looking for respect in traffic or a mountain biker wanting to see every rock and root in front of you, the Stadium Light is without peer.