We have covered a number of bike lights in this publication, but the Lumenus ioLight is certainly the smartest we have seen. There are lights that let you see and lights to be seen. And while this light falls into the latter category, to bill it as just that would be a considerable undersell. It’s a light that takes you where you’re going, lets others know how you’re getting there and gives you an extra layer of protection in particularly dangerous spots.
First, the basics, at its simplest the Lumenus ioLight works like a standard bike light. With the push of the single button, you can cycle through a variety of light colors, including white for on the front of the bike, and red for the back. The first smart feature comes in when you slow down. The light automatically recognizes you are decelerating and works as a brake light.
Since the light can work as a front or rear light, it also has a variety of ways to attach to you or your bike. A strong clip lets you slip the light onto a loop on your backpack or over the edge of the pocket of your jersey. A long velcro strap also allows you to tightly secure the light to your bars or seat post. With either attachment method the light can twist to be vertical or horizontal. We liked the versatility but found the velcro attachment mechanism a bit clunky. The light is nice enough to warrant taking inside when you’re not riding, but taking it on and off was an annoying process of pushing velcro around seat posts and through small slots in the light.
These complaints are small, though, in the grand scheme of what the Lumenus ioLight sets out to do. The power is really unlocked when you connect the Lumenus to its app on your phone. It unlocks a bunch of fun features, like being able to change the light color to purple or green, or putting the light in party mode so it flashes through all the colors. You can easily adjust the brightness of the light for your needs, opting for more of the max 200 lumens, or a lower setting to preserve battery. If you want to maximize use, you can get two and control them simultaneously through the app.
The app also has a built in GPS function that works surprisingly well. Usually apps fail to compete with Google Maps, or even the more maligned Apple Maps, but the Lumenus ioLight map worked well, even locating bike paths and communicating turns through my headphones clearly, well before I needed to make the turn.
And when you do use the map, the light also recognizes where you are on your route and gives turn signals when you are about to turn; the series of LEDs lights in the direction you’re heading. The light also recognizes when you are approaching an intersection and makes the light flash even brighter (Lumenus explains that intersections are some of the most dangerous areas for cyclists, so this is where you want to be most visible). Together these features work to make you even more predictable and visible no matter where your commute takes you.
There are a few drawbacks to the design, though. While the light is feature laden, the app can be a bit clunky to use. It is not quite intuitive and has redundancies in light and brightness selection that make it tough to be certain you are in the setting you want. For all of the design effort put into the light, it is surprising that this did not extend to ease of use in the mobile app.
All-in-all, though, the Lumenus ioLight is the point of the spear on a new wave of cycling lights. In many instances, including when you strap a Lumenus ioLight on your bike, your light is the best safety piece you have. It’s about time our safety equipment got smart.
$100; 2 for $180; lumenus.com