B&M Ixon IQ Initial Review…

25 12 2010
B&M Ixon IQ for Sharon’s
X’mas present…

The focused B&M lights I ordered came in from Peter WhitCycles 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:

  1. high powered mode = 40 Lux [which I tested] for lighting up the road.
  2. lower power city mode = 10 Lux for visibility not so much for lighting the road.
  3. the button flashes green for high power and alternates red and green for city mode.
  4. the faster the flashing the lower the power remaining in your batteries.

Sharon's bike setup for the light test...

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
    speeds
  • 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.

Dinotte 200L

  • 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.

Accurate representation of how bright Ixon IQ is – Photo:
Peter White Cycles…

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:

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.


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23 responses

25 12 2010
George S.

Love the Ixon IQ. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I use it all the time for commuting and when the whole dyno-headlamp rando set-up seems like overkill or too much work. My Schmidt Edelux is brighter and particularly useful on fast descents, but this Ixon works just fine most of the time. You may outrun the light on a fast descent, but that’s been my only complaint. Handles rain well, too. I also throw it in my pack as a redundant light on long brevets.

25 12 2010
MileHighMark

I’ve used the Ixon IQ, Cyo N, and Cyo R. My favorite of them all is the Cyo R. The N and IQ seem to have definite dark spots, and the R cuts a “longer” swath of evenly-dispersed light. That said, the Ixon is head-and-shoulders above most of the battery-powered units on the market.

25 12 2010
Bob E

I agree, the Ixon IQ is great — the shaped beam puts the light where t’s needed, and not in anyone’s eyes. Here’s mine…

Busch & Muller Ixon IQ

26 12 2010
thelazyrando

The Phillips looks promising. My three concerns with it are:

– it puts more light up in the eyes than the Ixon IQ so I’d like to see how dazzling it is to pass on a dark road

– run time is only 2hrs vs. 5hrs for the Ixon IQ not great for a lot of applications. Even for a 30min commute you can squeeze a week of riding out of a set of batteries with the Ixon IQ if you use city mode a little bit.

– no dynohub version yet. I think a dynohub version would be a contender for a great Rando head light.

I’d love to get my hands on one to test. I’ll see if any of my usual vendors carry it.

26 12 2010
thelazyrando

Btw. The Ixon IQ is $110usd because it comes from a North American bike shop not directly from Germany. Peter White stocks lots of great products and supports you after the sale. I don’t mind buying from him even if it costs a few $ more.

26 12 2010
Brian

Yes! I can’t tell you how much I love my Ixon IQ. I don’t think you’ll find a better battery light for the money. I have the fork mount for my LHT, and keep the bar mount on my cross bike for when I switch bikes. Thanks for helping spread the word about these amazing lights!

27 12 2010
JTremor

PW’s prices are too high. He has great photos tho!

Ps – I don’t get the dinotte fascination. If you want a light pattern like that, one can buy a $20 flashlight from deal extreme using the same LED emitters or better. They’ve done nothing special.

Philips dyno should be out soon, they had literature on it at eurobike.

27 12 2010
JTremor

Eg,

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.42972

Having nice reviews now (I have one too)

27 12 2010
Micheal Blue

I have IQ Cyo Plus for my Dahon folder. It also has 40 Lux.
I was amazed how well it illuminated the path. I used it with a
sidewall dynamo that I mounted on the bike using a crude jig.
Unfortunately, that mount didn’t work very well, so I’m working on
using a Li-Ion battery pack to power the light. My 200-lumen LED
Lenser flashlight doesn’t come even close to lighting up the
pavement as well (I use this flashlight as the primary light until
I get the IQ hooked up to the battery pack). One thing I don’t
agree with, that you don’t need as strong light in the city. I
think that for city riding one needs a brighter light to stand out
from all the surrounding light clutter (when riding on roads shared
with cars).

27 12 2010
George S.

@jtremor,

As Vik said, Peter White has great support after the sale. From personal experience over the years, his shop has been amazing even with help sorting out warranty issues with Germany. Worth the extra $$, IMHO. Also – he builds amazing wheels, especially around dynohubs. A friend of mine bought a Schmidt hub from PW and then had it build by the LBH and that was a big mistake. You may build your own, but keep Peter in mind if not.

Happy trails.

27 12 2010
thelazyrando

If you have a light like the Ixon IQ and a tail light like the Radbot 1000 and want to be more visible in the city I think a $15 reflective vest is a better investment than more lights.

27 12 2010
bikeboy999

Hey Vik,

I don’t see what the problem with the Dinotte’s and other lights not from the Germany type laws. Why are you aiming the lights so high? For my be seen lights I aim them that the car drivers, pedestrians and others see me. But for the roads where lighting is bad I use Dinottes aimed so that I can see the roadway. BTW, with all the activities you do, I am suprised you have not picked up a Go Pro Hero HD yet. :-)

27 12 2010
thelazyrando

Dinottes are a poor design. If you aim the bright part of the beam to illuminate the road at 25kph you are blinding oncoming bikes and cars. If you aim it down them you are not getting enough light to ride reasonably fast.

Try a Ixon IQ and you won’t want to use a Dinotte again.

I own two Go Pros. I don’t like them a rarely use them.

29 12 2010
Michael

Thanks for the excellent review. Been thinking about getting one of these for a while, and I think it’s about time to pull the trigger.

Also, I’ve always had positive experiences with Peter White, and agree that it’s worth paying a little more for the service he provides.

4 01 2011
That light is spot on « 42 Bikes

[...] the campaign that Vik has been on recently this was good to [...]

26 02 2011
Liam FitzPatrick

Great review thanks.

I’ve had an Ixon for a couple of years and have been very pleased with it – both as a commute light and for full audax rides through the night.

I have only two words of caution.

Firstly when switched on it kills wireless computer signals.

Secondly – they don’t bounce when dropped! Which is why I’ve been doing a web search about them today and have decided to buy a fresh one that I dropped this morning.

Despite these tiny niggles I can recommend the Ixon.

Liam

25 11 2011
NiteBiker

I tried the Ixon IQ. It is a great light for something that came out in 2007, but now it is completely outclassed by the Philips Saferide LED Bike Light (i.e., LBL, the battery powered version). Not only the beam is stronger (80 lux instead of 40), but it is wider and has better throw and color. Also, unlike the Philips the Ixon IQ has virtually no spill light on the sides – gives you the feeling you are riding in a tunnel. Another (minor) plus is the Philips charges via USB and doesn’t need a custom charger like the Ixon IQ. The only points the Ixon IQ scores over the Philips are: 1. Runtime of 5 hours instead of 72 mins on high (this is the biggest bummer of the Philips) after which it will switch over to low for another couple of hours or so; 2. The Philips lets some light leak over the horizon, so it appears a bit bright, although not blinding, to oncoming traffic. I ended up selling the Ixon IQ and retaining the Philips LBL.

28 01 2012
Duane

I’ve been thinking of purchasing the IQ. But was wondering if it interrupts Garmin 705 gps signals ? Thanks for any help

28 01 2012
thelazyrando

@Duane – I have no idea. I use a Garmin Vista HCX on my rando bike with a Edelux & SON hub, but the light is mounted on a rack low near the front of the wheel. My GF who uses the Ixon IQ doesn’t use a GPS.

28 01 2012
Duane

After using the IQ for a year now is your review still favorable? Is it durable?

Thanks

28 01 2012
thelazyrando

@Duane – it’s been great so far and we’d buy another.

11 02 2013
Ty

I have been using the Ixon IQ for about six months. I got it to replace my Dinotte 600L for my commuter bike. Like Vik, and thanks to his info, I “hacked” a little tape on the top of each of the three bulbs on the Dinotte to not make it so blinding to others. Until I had read Vik’s posts about this, I had no idea I was being discourteous. I thought the drivers flashing their highbeams at me were being jerks, and just didn’t like bikes with lights. I now know I was seriously blinding people before I did that hack.

In any case, when it finally died, I got the Ixon IQ. The beam pattern is extraordinary, and considering I paid $400 for the Dinotte 600L, I thought the beam of the IXON IQ beat it in every significant category, particularly cost! I do occasionally go through some pitch-dark sections of trail and the light illuminates everything perfectly, and I can’t say enough about the vertical cut off. I have yet to get a complianining flash of light from an oncoming car.

I also have the Schmidt Edelux on my Rando bike. Same optics, just fancier case and lens. I really can’t tell the difference. When I go on my next long brevet, I will definitly take the IXON IQ along for extra help on the descents.

Oh, and that is another great thing about it: easy to move from bike to bike. I just got some extra mounts from Planet Bike, as they use the same one. So I have a bracket for the IXON IQ on my Bike Friday Tikit, Specialized/Surly commuter/cargo bike, and my Salsa Casseroll Rando bike. Easy-peasy to move them back and forth.

I honestly have never seen a better light!

Ty

5 08 2013
vikapproved | B&M IQ CYO Plus R Bicycle Light – 1yr Review

[…] she runs with just the B&M dynohub light, but for the occasional foggy dead of winter commute she’ll add her battery powered B&M Ixon IQ lig…. It’s not essential, but it’s paid […]

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