CatEye HL-EL135 Front Bike Light

Priced: $20.00 Rated:   - 3 stars out of 5 by 28 reviews.
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CatEye HL-EL135 Front Bike Light -

This compact commuter light uses three LEDs, Opticube lens technology and has a wide beam for increased visibility.



  • Flex-Tight universal mounting bracket attaches securely to just about any size handlebar; no tools required


  • Runs on two AA alkaline batteries, included
  • Cat Eye's exclusive Opticube lens technology makes this light significantly brighter than its closest competitor with the same LED bulb Top 25 Category Product
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Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Batteries:2 AA (included)
Battery life flashing:320 hours
Battery life on high:80 hours
Bulb type:LED
Headlight mounting:Handlebar
Integrated battery:Yes
Number of bulbs:3
Weight:77 grams

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CatEye HL-EL135 Front / Omni 3 Rear Bike Light SetCatEye HL-EL135 Front / Omni 3 Rear Bike Light Set$30.00

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CatEye HL-EL135 Front Bike Light Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

Does EXACTLY What It's Supposed to Do

I bought this product for sole purpose of illuminating the path/trail in front of me (NOT just to "be seen"), after being caught on a bike path (in an urban setting) after dark with NO STREET LIGHTS and limited moonlight (perhaps 1/2 moon).Objects that were 3-4 feet away were shapeless, dark objects. It was very dangerous riding conditions. This light solves that problem. It is an EXCELLENT choice for the following reasons:- Two (2), commonly-available, AA batteries are all that's required to run it. Batteries come WITH the unit. However, when these disposable batteries are depleted (perhaps months later), I intend to use rechargeable AA batteries.- 80 hours of operation in "Constant-On/High" operation- 320 hours of "Flashing" operation- Low-Profile design with three (3) Superbright White LEDs.- VERY EASY installation with NO TOOLS REQUIRED.- I have mine mounted approximately 36-40 inches above grade, and it's angled down at approximately 35-40 degrees.- This casts a bright oval beam approximately 8-10 feet ahead of my bike.- The OVAL light distribution is approximately 3-4 feet wide (as seen from the saddle) and 5-6 feet in length, as measured from the rear of the oval to front of the oval.- The headlight is detachable if you need to use it like a flashlight away from your bike. While it wasn't intended for that use, you CAN use it like that if you wish.- VERY EASY controls. There is only ONE button used to turn the light on/off or switch between "constant-on" and "flashing". It doesn't get much simpler than that.I can't understand why some have given this product a lower rating based on the amount of light (brightness) projected. It is very bright, and you CAN use this headlight to see objects clearly, depending on where you mount it and how you angle the light. I politely disagree with others that this light is just for "being seen".I'm certain a five (5), seven (7), or ten (10) LED light will provide a lot more illumination, but this three (3) LED unit works great.This is great product for a great price ([$] as of the date of this review). The three LEDs perform marvelously, and with solid-state electronics, you should have years, if not decades, of trouble-free use from this light.
ewarf at REI on 07/07/2012

Good backup, lightweight and pocketable

I ride for every day transportation and short commute. I like that this light is lightweight enough to carry all the time, in case I get caught in the dark unexpectedly. It's quick release has none of the protrusions that make other lights uncomfortable to carry in a pockit - even in jeans. It helps see potholes on a moderate speed commuteand it provides essential warning to motorists, especially in flash mode. Works well hand-held flashlight too. And the price is low. ***LED lights last long, but beam will get progressively weaker over time, as with any battery device. So replace your batteries before they get too weak. Forgetting this especially easy to do with tail blinkers. OVerworn batteries = less safety!*** Again, I recommend this light as a backup, though I often end up using it as a primary for convenience.
pedtransit at REI on 12/12/2007

great light for the price

This is a fantastic light. Incredibly durable and very bright at night. Easy to be seen.

The major problem I've had with this light is the mount. I've broken two of them, being a daily bike commuter. I don't know why I've had such bad luck, but the plastic-screw system is very limited in its durability.

I currently have it mounted to my bike with half the mount, and an old bike tube, cut up. I'll use it until its dead, and I'll probably buy a new one, but the plastic screw/mount system really needs to be overhauled.
urbanplanner at REI on 01/01/2010

Great little light

This is an ideal little emergency light It can help you home in the dark in a pinch. I keep this small light mounted to the handlebars of my fancy, weekend ride bike in case I don't get home before dark. I turn in on in flash mode when there are any weather conditions limiting visibility so I will be noticed by cars. I have used for unplanned night riding when I don't get back before nightfall, but would not use this for regular evening commuting.
Agilebiker at REI on 10/10/2008

great light

I love this light. My available handlebar space is very limited due to all the other stuff on it (bell. computer, foam padding), but this one fits nicely due to the narrow strap. On early morning rides, it reflects off signs 2 blocks away. People continually tell me how bright it is. Easy to remove for safekeeping and battery replacement. Easy on the batteries. I use it as a safety light during daylight rides, so I'm not sure how good it is in total darkness.
David Shomper at REI on 08/08/2011

Great bang for the buck, but no Trinewt

A great little light if you're in a pinch for some illumination. It has a surprisingly strong beam for a small disposable battery light. The only draw back is it's relatively short range, which tends to be a big issue for commuters who work night shifts (like myself). I plan to use this as a blinky after I get a NiteRider light kit. Also comes in handy as a flashlight with it's quick release catch.
Tucsanrob at REI on 05/05/2009

unbeatable value

I use the light to bike 4.5 miles to campus. It works great, and I feel safe when it's on. I use the flash mode, and it reflects street signs blocks away. Installation was simple. I never had to tighten or adjust it in a year's time. The batteries lasted a year too.

The light recently was stolen, but I'm buying another one to replace it.
Greenhorn at REI on 03/03/2012

Great light

I often go for rides before dawn and wanted a light that would make be visible to oncoming traffic. This really does the job, it reflects off signs 2 blocks away. I am impressed with the long battery life also. I've never ridden with it in total darkness, so I don't know if it would put out sufficient light to illuminate the road.
David Shomper at REI on 09/09/2012

Good Value, fair performance

The beam on this unit is relative weak. It is not good for night riding without street lights but will perform will in dark spots along streets when commuting at night. For the money, a good choice. I've used mine for five months, commute about 14 miles a day in the dark and only changed the batteries once!
love2bike at REI on 10/10/2008

Great light to be seen

Great light to be seen by traffic at night or day. Very light weight and easy to attach. I use this every morning going to work. I can say that it has caught the attention of many car drivers pulling out from side streets. The flashing strobe feature works very well.
Bike MT at REI on 05/05/2010

Negative Reviews:

Ok performance, questionable durability

I "had" this light 2-2.5 years (so if there's recent improvements in the light I'm not aware of them).

I used it as my main "blinking" light on daily commute rides (3 miles, inner city). I thought it worked okay. It was small and light so I could take it off and slip it in a pocket when I left the bike. For night vision I used the streetlights.

Then I moved further out and part of my route involved stretches of road that were less well lit. Switching the light to full beam produced a weak light a bit stronger than a Petzl head torch.

I upgraded my main light at this time but kept this as a "flasher". After a year of use in the lovely Portland climate the rear switch started playing up - wouldn't turn on without a fight and wouldn't turn off without removing the batteries.

It became a daily fight with the light and wasn't too upset when it eventually stopped working recently.
Portland Jock at REI on 12/12/2010

Poorly made, annoying design

I'm a year round bike commuter in Minnesota, so my headlight gets a lot of use. This light would be decent if not for two major flaws - construction and switch design.

Construction - After owning this light for only a few weeks the connection between the mount and light fractured, and the light started flying off the front when I slowed down. I replaced the mount and it happened again. Turns out a piece broke off the cheap plastic casing of the light. It's now taped to my handlebars with electrical tape.

Switch - you have to hold the button down to turn it off. Not only is this annoying when wearing winter gloves, but it does nothing from stopping the light from turning on while sitting in a bag. I could understand if they designed it the other way around so you had to hold it in to turn it on, but no.

Can't wait to replace this piece of junk.
the greatest loaf of all at REI on 12/12/2007

Great light but cheaply made

I use this for a nightly 4 mile urban commute. I am not particularly rough on it. It lives in a pocket in my pack where it gets turned on accidentally. On rare occasions I drop it, I am human.

This would be the perfect urban commuter head light if it weren't such a cheap piece of junk.

The handle bar mount piece broke after 4 months when I dropped it and it landed on a soft cover book that was sitting on a carpeted floor. I can still use that one as a flash light.

Battery connections malfunctioned on the second one after 7 weeks. Totally unusable. Can't even compost it.

Waste of money and contributes to landfill waste.

Will not buy again.
arge at REI on 03/03/2012

Not bright enough -

This light works fine in flash mode to get the attention of drivers, but is simply not bright enough for use as a primary light on dark roads. The beam is weak and if you are traveling over 10 mph, you will out-ride the visible point on the road. I use it as a flasher in conjunction with a much brighter handlebar mounting lamp.

If your route is lighted by street lamps, then this lamp might be enough to get you by. If you are trail riding, or commuting/touring/training where no other light is available, then I would recommend looking at other option.

For the lamps shortcomings, I find that the general construction is excellent and the battery life is very long.
klmmicro at REI on 05/05/2012

poor design and construction

I commute to work along city streets and through a quite dark stretch of park. The lens/reflector design allows too much light to reach the rider's eyes, so one is constantly blinded by ones own headlight. A pice of black duct tape fixed this problem.
The mount is quite cheap, and last week the light flew off my handlebars when I rode over a bump. Over the past monts the tiny notch that held the light in place must have sheared off. It's pretty much useless now and I will return it to REI.
CT hiker at REI on 08/08/2012


I'm a commuter that sometimes gets caught in the rain. I guess that was the problem with this light, no seal to keep the water out. Battery contacts corroded and light stopped working after two wet rides.

Beam was somewhat adequate (better than nothing), maybe what you can expect from 3 LEDs? Attachment to handlebar slipped more than it should have (I only ride on mostly smooth roads). I picked this light because the strap fit around my handlebars (others were too small) and it looked minimalistic.
Maurer at REI on 11/11/2010

too dim to ride with at night

When cycling in the dark I can barely see the road even a few feet in front. It is OK for letting cars see you but it is useless for seeing potholes.
popo at REI on 09/09/2013

Neutral Reviews:

Average light, difficult mount

I use this for paved trail riding to and from downtown Madison. I like the compact size and light weight, but the beam (even with new batteries) could be stronger for those parts of my ride that are not under street lights.

My biggest complaint is the tool-free mount. I have a devil of a time loosening or tightening it. This weekend I wanted to move it from one bike to another but I was unable to unscrew it with the tool-free knob. Conversely, I can't tighten it enough to stop it from drooping.

I still would recommend it as a cheap knock-around light, but next time I think I'll opt for one with a hex bolt and brighter beam.
WiscoGal at REI on 07/07/2011

Nice for being seen, not to see.

Got the CatEye HL-EL135 as an initial headlight. The beam has a good spot and the blinking mode is good for getting the attention of oncoming traffic, but the throw is too short (about 20 feet) and the beam is too dim for night commuting, which is what I use it for. Mounting system is good, I've had no issues with the light trying to come off the handlebars.

I'll be pairing this with a brighter headlight for seeing the road and probably keep this mounted to use as a strobe for the time being.
cdrikari at REI on 09/09/2010

Good light, bad mount

I used this light to commute, and it works very well for that. However, I also use my bike for competitions where I need to remove the light and put on my aerobars - the light mount is made from cheap plastic that is not rigid enough for the tool-free design. I managed to remove it once and get it back on with no breakage, but the second time I tried it snapped. I am going to replace it with another Cateye product, but one with a different mount type.
beadskater at REI on 03/03/2009

Nice Light

This is a nice light for use around the city where there street lights and other light sources. It has flash and stready settings which both make the bike visible. It is not strong enough to provide great visibility for the biker if there is no other light available.
Mr. Knife at REI on 09/09/2007

3* performance, 5* price

This light is inexpensive. That is the best part. It wouldn't be for night time illumination of the path ahead, but it works for the city.
jacobfnl at REI on 09/09/2013

Bright all right but can't aim it

Can aim it up and down but not side to side. Hard to get it to face forward.
Brooklyn Em at REI on 06/06/2013