The focused B&M lights I ordered came in from Peter White Cycles yesterday. I don’t have my dynohub wheels setup for the B&M IQ Cyo lights, but I figured I’d test out Sharon’s Christmas present – a B&M Ixon IQ. Happily the packaging is re-sealable so I can put it back inside so she can open it up again herself. The first thing you notice is the Ixon IQ is larger than a typical bike light I’m used to. This is because the focused optic is a larger module and it holds 4 rechargeable NiMH batteries inside it. The case is made from high quality plastic and is quite light weight. It comes with a universal bar mount that’s designed to work with oversized and standard diameter bars. I tried it on two standard diameter bars and it works well. The mount can be left on your bike and the light housing slides off with a QR button for safe keeping at a stop. The Ixon IQ has one button which offers two modes:
- high powered mode = 40 Lux [which I tested] for lighting up the road.
- lower power city mode = 10 Lux for visibility not so much for lighting the road.
- the button flashes green for high power and alternates red and green for city mode.
- the faster the flashing the lower the power remaining in your batteries.
Naturally being Christmas Eve I decided to run another light test. I put the Ixon IQ on Sharon’s bike with a Planet Bike Blaze 1W [she normally uses two of these for her commute] as well as my two Dinotte 200L’s….one of which has a DIY vertical cut off hacked on to it. Just looking at the lights the B&M is a lot bigger. The Dinottes are smallest with the nicest casing, but there is a battery pack req’d for each as well as a power cord between the light engine and battery pack…which taken in total isn’t as lovely or neat a setup. The buttons on all these lights are easy to use and the Dinotte and Ixon IQ both provide some useful feedback on the battery level via the lit up button.
Video note: the video seems quite dark when uploaded to Youtube. The Planet Bike Blaze has a spot beam visible to the eye and the Ixon and Dinottes are actually quite bright.
Prior to running this test I aimed all the lights as I would to use them while riding. Then I setup a camera on a tripod in my yard at about cyclist/pedestrian/motorist’s head height. I’m 5’11” so I went slightly lower than my own head to capture the viewpoint of the majority of folks out there. I then used the following test format:
- with the bike next to the camera I turned on all the lights [in this order: Planet Bike, Ixon, hacked Dinotte and unhacked Dinotte] to see what the beam looked like from the rider’s perspective.
- then I moved to the far side of the yard and operated the lights in the same order with the bike pointed at the camera to see what the lights looked like from a road/MUP user’s perspective.
- then I turned the bike around to test what the different modes offered by the PDW Radbot 1000 looked like to a person behind Sharon’s bike.
Planet Bike Blaze 1W
- weakest of all lights tested
- tightest beam pattern
- not a good light to light up a dark road due to low light output and narrow beam
- easily visible in solid and flashing mode
- very bright if you are looking right into centre of beam
- very dazzling in flash mode if you are looking directly into beam
- $29CDN at MEC
Conclusion: effective visibility only light, but should be aimed down to avoid blinding others and preferably used in solid on mode to avoid irritating others. If all you need is a be seen light and take care with how you aim it than for $20 it’s a decent value.
B&M Ixon IQ
- light output similar to Dinotte, but better utilized down on road
- vertical cut off much more effective than my Dinotte hack
- very easy to see bike when approaching from front, but spill light that enters eyes not enough to blind or irritate
- no flash mode [illegal in Germany]
- City mode is useful in town where lots of ambient light to see by so bike light mainly for safety to be visible to others
- light pattern ideal for city speeds [15-27kph] I would like to test at higher
- high quality feel to case, button, mount and optics
- cost $110USD at Peter White Cycles
Conclusion: Very impressive light. Very functional and easy to use. For the money the best battery powered bike light I’m aware of.
- powerful light, but much of the light is wasted up in trees and other road/MUP user’s eyes
- hacked Dinotte better for reduction of glare into oncoming user’s eyes, but not as effective as Ixon IQ
- very easy to see bike in all modes
- lights up road okay, but not as well as Ixon IQ
- high quality case and easy to use button
- easy to love everything about this light, but the beam pattern
- very easy to blind/dazzle oncoming folks…fast flasher mode is worst forthis
- cost $110USD from Dinotte
Conclusion: A well made high quality light, but performs poorly when compared to Ixon IQ. Given they cost the same amount I can’t recommend this light.
Video note: this video is also darker one Youtube than actual light beam was to eye.
This video shows what it’s like to ride with the Ixon IQ on a dark MUP as well as some sections with additional ambient light. My speeds where between 15-20kph mainly because riding faster with one hand in the dark isn’t a great idea! Note that the people I pass are visible, but not blinded. With my Dinottes they would look away as I passed or cover their eyes and their tone when greeted would be somewhat irritated [I've been yelled at because my Dinottes were so harsh on other cyclist's and ped's eyes].
Video note: the brightness of the Ixon IQ’s beam pattern in this video is more representative of what it looks like to the naked eye.
I shot one last video to highlight how effective the Ixon IQ’s beam pattern was at putting light exactly where you need it, but not blinding people. Also note that there is more than enough spill light to see the bike. Riding through town I found the Ixon IQ did an okay job of illuminating street signs, but for a brevet I might want a second light [perhaps helmet mounted] that I could use specifically for this purpose.
The photo above shows how bright the Ixon IQ is to the naked eye. My video camera loses a lot of the brightness and when uploaded to Youtube it gets dimmer again.
Overall Impression of the Ixon IQ
Awesome. This light exceeded all my expectations. The thought and careful design that’s gone into the beam pattern is impressive. You get exactly the light you need where you need it and nowhere else. One reason I didn’t buy this type of European light earlier was that I assumed it had to cost a fortune, but at $110USD it’s the same price as a Dinotte 200L and out performs the Dinotte handily. Until I get a dynohub sorted for my rando bike I’ll have to “steal” this light from Sharon for my longer brevets…=-) Two of these lights would be a great rando setup that could be swapped to a commuter bike during the week. If you need a high quality battery bike light for street/MUP use I can’t recommend anything better. A few final points:
- B&M Ixon Speed is brighter than the Ixon IQ, but uses a proprietary
- Ixon IQ = 5hrs run time (3hrs more than a Dinotte 200L) at 40 Lux [high power]
- Ixon IQ = 20hrs run time at 10 Lux [city mode]
- Ixon IQ comes with bar mount…fork crown mount is available
- service from Peter White Cycles was fast and pleasant as you would expect
BTW – my original test videos are brighter and easier to see than once uploaded to Youtube. If you’d like a copy of the original videos click here. Videos are being uploaded as I post this so if you can’t download them quite yet give it an hour and try again.