SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
Kryptonite Incite XBR Rear Light
26g (inc mount) £29.99
A neat, light rear light with ‘brake’ function, the Kryptonite Incite XBR is easy to port between bikes, or remove for safe keeping. Add in decent run times and a mix of modes and you have a light to like. Commuting or late-night fun and frolics, there’s something here for all who want a little bit extra.
Pros: good charging time, decent run times and modes, very good deceleration sensor with a bright brake light, lengthy SOS in eco mode.
Cons: limited side-on presence, mount good rather than great.
Light, with mount attached, watch-strap, and USB are in the pack. Kryptonite have been unforthcoming -quite reasonably – about the materials (inside and out), but all seem robust enough.
Inside the light’s plastic casing you’ll find three LEDs; one for light, one as a ‘light guide’, one for the brake function. These give off .20 lux. Sounds like not a lot. However, lux is basically the amount of light cast on a one metre square surface, as this will vary according to distance and as the rear light has no clear beam, you can’t expect a measurement in lux to be very high. Frankly, it doesn’t matter too much in ‘be-seen’ lights. We’ll deal with distances and presence later on, likewise the seven modes. Kryptonite tell us that their preferred measure for rear light is Candela – and at a max of 7 Candela this one is highly effective.
Two diodes form the ‘guide light’ which increases the lit surface area and draws attention from the circular bulb at the top of the light to where a third LED provides the brake function. The tree diodes are all SMD (Surface Mounted Diodes).
The brake light has been, say Madison, subject to much research, especially into avoiding activation by things that will naturally slow you down, such as pot-holes. They hinted that you’ll not activate the light by waving the box about, which is true. Overall, the research seems to have been worth it. The brake light is three times brighter than the regular light.
There’s also a tiny little light that blinks when the brake light mode is on independently of any other LED. Needless to say, there’s a rechargeable battery, too, not to mention the ‘intelligent’ gubbins that make the whole lot work.
The mount is built into the casing. The casing also allows some side-on visibility. Add to that the top of the lens casing that stands proud from the casing, and you have decent side-on visibility.
IPX4 waterproof rating should keep things safe against anything a cyclist is likely to face – unless you take your bike bog-snorkelling. The re-charging port is secured by the familiar rubber pad, hinged.
The mount is described as offering “flexible mounting”. The mount is built into the rear of the casing. Held firmly by a rubber watch-strap, it should fit most round posts or seat-stays – in my opinion, the most obvious positions. It’s even managed to hold firm on the pencil stays of my 1947 single-speed of indeterminate breed. Some aero posts may need a bit of ingenuity.
There are two hooks for the strap to fit over. One is very tight and it is worth ensuring that you have the strap properly bedded down in it. The other hook is easy to lift the appropriate loop in the strap over. I have found that the strap has, on a couple of occasions, come loose when porting. However, I’ve found it very easy to fit the light on in the dark corner, after dark, where my bike gets parked when in the day-job.
The switch sits atop the light and functions as charge indicator as well as control – a feature common to many lights – and changes colour accordingly. It needs a reassuringly firm press to activate, which I’ve managed successfully in winter gloves – although not on the fly (I tend to set the rear light mode and leave it, in any case). Seems to me that that there is little chance of accidental activation.
There are seven modes in all, which provide a sensible range of options without becoming over-fussy. There’s a mode for brake function only – which is handy for day time use when visibility is otherwise good. The tiny flashing light that indicates this is a real boon to forgetful folk like me.
More familiar are the other modes – high, low and eco; three stead, three flashing. There’s no brake sensor function in flashing modes. Two steady modes have the brake function – day time brake mode and night brake mode.
Oh, there's a memory function, too.
I’ve tended to take the brightest option in the city centre traffic – flashing. This seems to give great visibility at around a hundred metres, but also makes your presence clear at closer quarters in amongst the cars and buses. On unlit country lanes, I’ve dipped down to the middle mode or even lower. That maintains visibility at around 100 metres, with good presence around 75 metres, in my opinion. Eco flash is fine for quieter suburban areas. The latter actually does a decent job in all circumstance when charge gets low. This is a light that does not leave one high and dry.
The brake light is great. Anecdotally, it is visible at well-over one hundred metres – suitable stopping distance for most things other than a high-speed train or a space rocket. Even better, again anecdotally, the sudden brightness is quite shocking – in the nicest sense. It also seems to activate as Kryptonite planned. In the brake-only mode it illuminates for between five and six seconds – depending on who I asked. In steady modes, the brake light stays on for around two and a half seconds. In any mode, activation is swift, seemingly seamless to braking.
Charge and run times 4/5
Charge time has been between two and a half hours and two hours forty-five minutes, which is very good, in my experience.
Stated times are 10 hours on high steady and 36 hours on eco flash. These seem pretty accurate – even in the biting cold weather of the last few days of testing. I’ve had fourteen hours on day flash, with other modes fitting in between the extremes. Other modes sslot into the gap between eco and high steady, although, in reality, changing between modes will makes specific run times an artificial exercise. When the battery gets low and the switch glows red, Eco flash boots in for an SOS mode – I’ve managed nearly two hours on that – pretty much my there and back commute.
Care an durability 3.75/5
Dead easy really. Sheltered away under the saddle and protected by mud-guards I have not even had to give it a wipe. Without those luxuries, A wipe with a cloth has sufficed to remove any grime. Now, when it comes to bike washing, I tend to remove lights and other electronics, but a quick spray has been no problem.
Although the casing does not feel as tough as some – say the Ravemen TR300 – it seems robust enough and I’ve not managed to cause any scratches or other damage.
Ravemen CL05 Sensored Rear Light is cheaper, but a bit less sophisticated. Its close relative, Ravemen’s CL06, a little more expensive, but brighter than the stats suggest and a very good all-round package.
Then, of course, there’s the iconic SeeSense Icon Plus – very bright, extremely sophisticated, and of long standing, but still a good all-round choice. However, it is nearly double the price.
Equally, the Magic Shine See Me 100comes in at the same price as our Kryptonite Incite XBR, has a good deal going for it. More expensive is the BBB Brake Signal Light, with a fifty lumen day mode and some tuneability of output.
In an increasingly competitive market place for rear lights with brake sensors, the Kryptonite Incite XBR is sensibly-specced-out and priced. Offering good visibility and a powerful braking blast of light, it is very much worth considering for general cycling, but may be inappropriate if rack or saddle-bags are your luggage pf choice. However, it has a lot to offer the faster commuter on busy roads or the night-time trainer, as well as the general rider.
Verdict 4/5 Highly effective light for all kinds of riding.
Light supplied by Kryptonite UK Distributors Madison https://www.madison.co.uk
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2022
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
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