Busch+Muller Ixon IQ light  £79.99

7/10

A bright, focussed beam; good for riding in town, does the job on unlit roads too

Weight 222g   Contact  www.amba-marketing.com

by Mat Brett   February 14, 2012  

Ixon IQ rechargable front light - mounted

This good quality Ixon LED from Busch + Muller gives a beam that'll get you seen around town and provides enough illumination for journeys on unlit roads as long as you're prepared to squint a bit.

The light patch on the ground is rectangular. That's because Busch & Muller are a German brand and the Ixon IQ is designed to comply with German road lighting regulations that limit the amount of the beam that's allowed to land anywhere but on the road.

You get a decent level of illumination ahead of you, the most intense part of the beam being brighter than that of any other lights we have on test this year priced the same or cheaper. The light is very concentrated. You get a distinct bright patch that sits towards the far end of the beam – you can see it clearly in the picture.

The beam extends outside that bright patch in all directions, but the lens directs the majority of it into the space where you need it most, ahead of your front wheel. Then, rather than fading gradually, it is square edged so your vision ends abruptly with very little peripheral illumination.

That's actually not as strange as it might sound, especially when you're riding in town where other light sources blend into the beam most of the time. It's a little odder on unlit roads; you can see perfectly up to a certain point, then nothing. But I didn't find the beam pattern limiting. I could see as far up the road as I wanted to see the vast majority of the time.

Just occasionally, when I was heading downhill at over 25mph, I'd find my eyes straining off into the darkness trying to see what was coming up, but most of the time I was perfectly happy with the amount of light the Ixon IQ provided. It's certainly doesn't provide you with as much depth of illumination as some of the high-power units we've reviewed so I wouldn't want to use it for big-milage rides on unlit roads, but if most of your commute is urban with a bit of unlit riding mixed in, no problem.

As well as the full beam, the Ixon IQ has an economy mode that takes the light level down. You just hit the button on top to switch between them. This one is definitely for riding in town; a light to be seen by rather than for lighting the way.

The Ixon IQ is an all-in-one light that runs on four rechargeable AA batteries that you get, along with a charger, as part of the package. It's a medium weight at 222g (complete with those batteries and the mount) and a medium size (115mm long with a maximum diameter of 52mm).

The mount is simple. It's a little plastic effort with an adjustable cam lock. It fits a 26mm handlebar fine but only onto an oversized (31.8mm) bar once the diameter has slimmed down away from the central bulge. A special bracket is available for oversized bars but it'll cost you an extra £7.50.

Once in place, mounting the light on top takes virtually no time and it sits there securely. There's no chance it's going to come off accidentally.

The plastic casing is no more and no less durable than most others you'll get at about this price. Drop it from a height and it won't come out of it too well. There's nothing unusual about that.

As for handling rain, the Ixon IQ puts in a good performance. The battery compartment sits towards the bottom and a ridge slots into a groove around the edge to provide a decent seal. I thought water would easily leak in between the lens and the lamp body but it hasn't. I even slung it in the shower for an hour to double check and it came out fine.

You get around 5hrs of light on high power although it starts to dim significantly from about 4hrs. Economy mode gives you around 20hrs, and a battery-level indicator on the back tells you when it's time to whack the Icon IQ on charge. It'll recharge from empty in 4-5hrs and you can't overcharge the batteries.

Verdict

A bright, focussed beam; good for riding in town, does the job on unlit roads too

road.cc test report

Make and model: Busch + Muller Ixon IQ light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Here's the full blurb from Busch & Muller, "The IXON IQ has IQ technology. It will operate for five hours with up to 40 lux output. That is 300% brighter than German road traffic regulations require.

"The most remarkable technical feature of IQ-TEC is a radically designed special reflector with integrated cooling system. The light comes from a high powered LED that is used as an indirect light source. For this reason, there is no bulb or diode to be seen in the centre of the reflector. B+M aptly describe this concisely and clearly on their packaging as "nothing but light". That is exactly what the cyclist experiences at night: The useable lighted area of the IXON IQ is uniformly illuminated to a maximum extent and twice as wide as with conventional reflectors.

"The IXON IQ will run for five hours with up to 40 lux. The 40 lux are measured at 10 metres from the headlight not just directly in front! With the Eco/City mode the IXON IQ can be switched down to the 10 lux output required by the German standards board StVZO for a full twenty hours."

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It's well made. I'd have put money on water getting in around the lens, but it never has. The plastic casing will scratch if you give it an accidental whack – that's normal.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

You have to bend the plastic mount a bit to get it on and off the bars but it seems to put up with that just fine. Clamping it in place requires no tools. It's easy.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

You get 4-5hrs on full power and it takes about the same to recharge from empty

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
6/10

Well made, but the materials aren't especially durable.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It does a good job around town although I'd want more power for big mileage on unlit roads.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Ease of use

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The abrupt end to the lit area when riding out of town is a little odd... but you do get used to it.

Did you enjoy using the light? It did a good job

Would you consider buying the light? Not for my type of riding - which is mainly on unlit roads

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I did buy the oversize mount for my road bike (usually use the B+M Ixon IQ on my hybrid) and it didn't fit. I have Ritchley bars, 31.8mm thick... not sure if I was swindled Crying

I never did get around to sending it back either

Chutzpah's picture

posted by Chutzpah [67 posts]
14th February 2012 - 9:41

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Should add, otherwise a decent light, well backed up on unlit roads with a Hope Vision One

Chutzpah's picture

posted by Chutzpah [67 posts]
14th February 2012 - 9:53

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Worth mentioning that this one is also available as a dynamo light. Having finally taken the plunge on a dynamo system this winter, I've no intention of going back to batteries.

It is nice to be able to put a decent amount of light on the road without putting just as much into drivers' faces. Why is it only the Germans that have figured this out?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [336 posts]
14th February 2012 - 10:47

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@Bez - totally agree about Germans. This rule is good for power efficiency, too: if the light is focused properly you need less energy to power your lamp!

By the way: where's the review of Philips LBL that you guys promised us some time ago? Wink

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

mikroos's picture

posted by mikroos [165 posts]
14th February 2012 - 19:22

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mikroos wrote:
[...]
By the way: where's the review of Philips LBL that you guys promised us some time ago? Wink

I'd be interested in this; bought one this year to use in tandem with a £30 DX MagicShine clone. The beam pattern seems similar to the B&M, unsurprisingly, given the same regulations & batteries but the device has three advantages - robust metal case, bar clamp that adjusts to fit different sized 'bars & USB recharging socket. Too early to tell whether there's also long-term reliability.

posted by Dr_Lex [115 posts]
14th February 2012 - 22:41

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mikroos wrote:
By the way: where's the review of Philips LBL that you guys promised us some time ago? Wink

No idea! Chances are that we haven't been able to get hold of one.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [249 posts]
17th February 2012 - 19:00

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