When it comes to cycling, there are lights to see and lights to be seen. Most of us try to meet the barrier of the latter, with red and white blinky lights that signal to cars that we are unprotected humans who are very much alive and would like to stay that way. For urban riding, that kind of light is often enough. But if your night, dawn or dusk riding regularly takes you on roads and paths without street lights, you’re going to need to create your own.
Many companies sell white front lights, advertising an impressive number of lumens and battery life, but too often we find ourselves squinting into the darkness, swerving at the last minute to avoid potholes, and straying off our path into the dirt beside it because our lights are just too dim. This is certainly not the case with a new light set from Kryptonite, the Incite X8 & XBR.
While you may know the company from its bike locks, this impressive light set will have you expanding your understanding of the company. The X8 sets itself apart by measuring its light output in lux rather than its lumens. As Kryptonite says, “Incite series of lights places emphasis on measuring lux, the illumination a beam provides on a surface at a specific distance, instead of lumens, which is the total brightness emitted by a light.” That means while your previous lights may have had a lot of lumens, that brightness may have just escaped into the ether, dispersing out unfocused into darkness. But the Incite focuses on effectively illuminating what you need illuminated, the road in front of you.
The light works impressively well. It’s almost as if there is a window of light right in front of your bike, a long rectangle that stretches in front of you, illuminating any treacherous thing that might lie ahead trying to pop a tire or toss you over the bars. It’s like a very focused spotlight that doesn’t get dimmer toward the edges. This also helps keep you from blinding other cyclists on the road as the light doesn’t bleed to eye level. On its highest setting, a bright steady, the light will run for about three hours at 60 lux, plenty of light, even on the darkest paths.
The light has six settings: low, medium, and high steady; daytime strobe; nighttime strobe, that strobes but with a bit more constant light; and an eco mode the light automatically goes into when the battery is below 10 percent so that cars will at least be able to see you if your battery is dying. The light setting, battery life (as expressed in hours and minutes the light can stay on in the current setting) and time are all easily deduced on an actual LCD screen on the back of the light housing.
The light also easily attaches to your bars with a zip-tie-like design which makes it easy to attach tightly. Need to walk away with your light? With one click the light separates from the housing while the mount stays on your bike.
Rounding out the safety features of the light, the XR8 also has small LED lights on the side housing. This helps cars that approach you from the side see you and where you are headed.
Speaking of safety features, the rear XBR light rounds out this clever package deal. It is like a more traditional steady and flashing rear light with the exception of one clever function: the light has an accelerometer. That means it can tell when you are slowing down (by more than 3.58 mph), and thus act like a brake light. Braking on your bike triggers the light, whether in flashing or solid mode, that’s three times brighter than the normal steady output. While most drivers won’t expect that a bike light could have this feature, they should intuitively understand that you’re slowing down, thanks to years of the same stimulus with cars.
For most, this light set with its smart features might be a bit overkill. But if your bike is your transportation, and that means regularly going on dark potholed streets, having a light that can actually illuminate the road in front of you, and more safely communicate with the world around you, is well worth it. And the easy to remove mounts and USB charging make it easy and convenient to use. Plus, seriously, the window of refined light is so bright and clear, once you taste it you won’t want to go back.
$165 (for both lights); kryptonitelock.com