Luxos IQ2 U Review - Initial Impressions Summary:
Great beam pattern - broad without too much of a hotspot. Good visibility from the sides too. The battery powered standlight is excellent - capable of full floodlighting for 10 minutes or so at a standstill. Style may not suit racier machines but could be perfect for audaxing. No quick release so I'd be cautious about leaving this out in a public place for too long. USB charging potentially really useful although not quite a neat as I'd hoped.Fitting
The Luxos comes with a bracket for mounting on the fork crown. This was the first time I've had a light fitted there so it did involve a bit of faffing in order to get a brake bolt long enough to hold the additional width of the bracket and the spacers required to clear the crown race cap (see previous posts on this thread).
The bracket attaches to the light via a couple of star-shaped allen bolts, I assume for added security. Thankfully the light comes with the allen key required to turn them. The lack of quick release mechanism means that this light is going to be staying on the bike if you leave it outside for cafe-stops etc. I'd much rather have a quick release than these non-standard bolts. It's just another allen key waiting to get lost, and more worryingly in terms of preventing theft, all an opportunist thief has to do is undo the brake bolt with a regular allen key to be off with your new pride and joy (if you are a thief, please don't read that last sentence).
I guess you could probably find a bracket to mount this on handlebars but I think it would look a little out of place there given its shape. The lighting geometry means you certaintly could not mount it upside down hanging from the bars. But now that I have it fitted on the crown it's great to have the space back on my bars. It really does feel like a 'fit and forget' light.
The light can be operated directly from the controls on the rear. Alternatively you can use the wired remote control designed to be mounted on the handlebars or stem. The cable connecting light to the remote is 60cm, which may not be ideal for recumbents, but may put the control at least within arm's reach. For a typical setup on an upright bike, the cable is a little too long, so I ended up having to wrap it round the top tube a few times to take up the slack. The outer surface is quite a grippy rubber so it pretty much stays in place. This turns out to be quite important because there would be some danger of the cable interfering with the brake operation if it moved. The cable plugs into the light with a headphone type jack socket with an 'L' shaped connector. It seems that it has to be pointing down for the remote to work correctly as the moulding around the socket forces the plug outwards slightly when not pointing downwards. I found that I had to wrap the grippy cable around the brake cable to keep it in place securely (see photo above). A bit fiddly, but once set up it has all remained in place over the last few weeks without any problems.
The remote is a single button with a covered socket for full sized USB plug. It is attached using supplied strengthened 'rubber bands' much as the newer smaller Garmin GPS brackets attach. This gives you the flexibility to attach it pretty much to any tubular bit of bike within reach. The bracket can only be attached in one direction, so if want the USB socket pointing in a particular direction (e.g. facing backwards away from rain), your mounting options are slightly limited. When not using the USB, I found mounting directly above the head tube most convenient:
Mounting the remote so that it could charge though the USB port limited options further. Most handlebar stems are not going to be long enough to mount a GPS and the remote together. You could mount it on the bars but I found it led to the cable interfering with my hands when riding. In the end I went for mounting the remote on the top tube. Not very pretty, but it appears to work. There is no USB cable provided with the light so you will need your own - perhaps there are better cables out there that would give a neater solution than mine.Size and visibility
The light somehow feels quite bulky although its comparatively thin plastic shell means it is not as heavy as it looks. Its somewhat bulbous shape and dimensions along with the fork crown mounting mean that it would probably look a little out of place on a carbon racing machine, but it suits my Flying Gate perfectly. In comparison to the Ixon IQ it is considerably shorter and a little wider.
It is a little larger than the SolidLights, but the light-emitting area is much greater making this a definite improvement.
It does not feel as robust as a Solidlights (but then what would?), but neither does it feel 'cheap'. Not sure it would survive an accident on the road. I've so far only tested it on my daily commute, which has included some pretty heavy prolonged rain. No problem with waterproofing so far.Lighting
The important question is how well does it light? I've not had a chance to test it on proper pitch black lanes audax stylee to will have to reserve judgement. But so far in an urban setting, the light has been working really well. It has very broad beam pattern covering the full road width, visible even under street lighting. This is exactly what I was looking for in a light. If you like the Solidlights beam pattern, you're going to like this one even more.
Something very clever goes on with the beam pattern as you change speed. I thought this might just be hype from B&M, but as you increase speed, the beam moves forward lighting up a longer strip in front of you. As you slow down it becomes brighter and more downward facing. Under street lighting the effect is quite subtle but noticeable. It will be interesting to see how this works on a full through-the-night Audax. It could prove very useful on those steep nighttime climbs and descents.
Side visibility of the light is excellent making it particularly suitable for a 'be seen' light at junctions and corners.
What I particularly like is that because the dynamo charges the internal battery and not the light directly, you get full brightness when stopped (e.g. at traffic lights or when fixing a nightime puncture). This is a huge improvement over my Solidlights 'standlight' which was pretty feeble in comparison.
I was worried that the brightness of the light might be too dazzling for oncoming traffic, but as far as I can tell the design is such that no-one facing the light gets a direct beam from the LEDs, but rather the slightly more diffuse reflected light.
The light does have an extra 'flood' setting that can be used for a limited time for tricky descents and pothole detection. It certainly feels very bright. The manual suggests that under the flood setting, the internal battery will drain faster than it can be recharged via the dynamo, so this is for short bursts rather than default setting. The flood is provided by an extra set of LEDs at the top of the light:
So, overall, the lighting properties of the Luxos are excellent. An improvement over my Solidlights, and certainly over the Ixon IQ without escalating the lighting arms race too much. The USB charging was certainly an attraction for me, and while this works, it's not quite as elegant as I hoped for. I'll post some further thoughts once I've tried it out on a few nightime audaxes when I've seen it working in true dark and with other riders.