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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.
A bright, focussed beam; good for riding in town, does the job on unlit roads too
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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."
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.
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.
You get 4-5hrs on full power and it takes about the same to recharge from empty
Well made, but the materials aren't especially durable.
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
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,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.