The Kryptonite Incite X3 headlight and XR tail light are the most affordable variations in Kryptonite’s Incite product line. Even though Kryptonite is better known for bike locks, as with the other Incite lights, Kryptonite has focused on beam optics instead of simply raw output with the X3 and XR lights. In this review, we’ll be looking at the Kryptonite Incite X3/XR set which retails for about $8 less than it would cost to buy the lights individually. The X3 headlight features a dual aspherical lens design that focuses the light on the road with 30 lux of output and 4-24 hour runtimes. This lens design is typically seen on higher priced bike lights that creates a sharp beam cut off that doesn’t blind others on the road. The XR tail light, part of the set, is rated for 0.06 lux and also features five different output modes. Despite the compact size of the taillight it offers impressive runtimes that range from 20-36 hours.
While we didn’t find the Incite X3 headlight and XR tail light particularly bright, Kryptonite has proven that advanced beam optics can be achieved at an affordable price point.
One of the main differences between the Incite lights and typical bike lights is the fact that Kryptonite has focused on lux output instead of lumen. Lumen is a total power output measure, while lux measures the brightness on a surface which takes into account the beam angle and light distribution. Lux rated bike lights are more common in Europe where StVZO regulations ensure bike lights are tested using the same standards and don’t blind oncoming traffic.
|Retail Price||$74.95 (set) / $54.95 (X3) / $27.95 (XR)|
|Measured Weight (in g)||96 (X3)/ 26 (XR)|
|Likes||+ Advanced optics|
+ Compact form factors for both lights
+ Headlight has clear battery status indicator
|Dislikes||– Not very bright|
– Proprietary headlight mount
– Tail light lacks battery status indicator
|Where to Buy (US)||Kryptonite|
The X3 headlight and XR tail light set come in a single cardboard box with a large opening so that you can interact with the lights. Not only can you see the side profiles, but a circular cutout allows you to see the spherical lens of the headlight as well. Once you take the basic packaging off you’ll find:
- X3 Headlight
- XR Tail light
- Headlight handlebar mount
- Tail light rubber strap
- Micro USB charging cable
- Instruction manuals
One thing to note is that Kryptonite uses a plastic tray instead of more environmentally friendly materials inside the box.
The X3 headlight uses a proprietary mount with a cable tie style design. It’s a simple wide strap that can be pulled through the slot to tighten the mount on the handlebar or removed by pulling up on the release button. The mount is locked to the handlebar by flipping down a lever. On top of the mount is a rectangular mounting point for the headlight with an extended lip on the front and back on which the headlight is held securely. The mechanism is similar to clipless pedals where you simply place the rear first and then click the front of the headlight on.
The horizontal angle of the headlight can also be adjusted by loosening a bolt on top of the mount and rotating it side-to-side by about 10°. Removing the headlight from the mount requires pressing a button on the bottom of the headlight. We found it difficult to access the release button with the headlight mounted on the bike as you need small fingers to reach it. Also, at the time of this review, Kryptonite doesn’t offer any GoPro or Garmin adapters which means you can’t use any out front mounts (a feature that is common on Magicshine lights like the RN 1200).
The XR tail light on the other hand uses a simple rubber strap. The included rubber strap attaches to the plastic hooks molded into the base of the tail light. To compensate for the angle of the seat post, the tail light mount is slanted forward. We were also surprised to find that the mount can be rotated 90° by loosening a screw on the rear of the taillight. That means you could potentially mount the taillight sideways on the saddle rails, backpack or a saddlebag, however, with the design of XR we think it looks strange mounted horizontally.
FIT & FINISH
The X3 and XR tail light share a similar visual design language with a black/gray color scheme and yellow accent colors on the plastic housings. On the X3, there is a yellow ring around the unique dual aspherical lens on the front that focuses the light output on the ground while the XR tail light has yellow vertical accents along the lens. The top of the X3 housing and the exterior surround of the XR is black while the rest of the housing is a gray color. Both lights also feature minimal branding with the brand name printed on the sides of the housings. While we like the consistent look of the headlight and taillight, there are some inconsistent gaps and molding lines on close inspection.
Kryptonite has also incorporated side slits into the housing of both the headlight and taillight to improve the side visibility. These transparent windows ensure that you remain visible even when people aren’t directly in front of the lights. The X3 is surprisingly compact with a design that smoothly transitions from a round profile on the front to a square profile on the rear. With the XR, the overall form is a narrow rectangle with the primary LED in a protruding round housing on top and a flat “guide” strip that extends down the bottom. Both lights use micro USB charging ports instead of USB Type-C but are easily accessible on the rear of the lights.
The user interface for both the headlight and tail light are a simple one button interface. A long press toggles the lights on/off. Mode memory ensures the lights always turn back on the same mode. With the X3, a quick press with the headlight off also illuminates the three LEDs to show the current battery status allowing you to check the battery status before the start of a ride. Both the X3 headlight and the XR tail light have five output modes though, which means the single press interface to cycle through the modes makes it easy to get lost. While the various flash modes are helpful for the XR tail light, we found it disruptive to have to cycle through flash settings on the X3 headlight when riding. We prefer the 2-level interface that separates flash from constant modes by using a double press (common in flash lights and more some bike lights like the Magicshine Allty 1000).
With the X3 headlight, Kryptonite claims a maximum 30 lux output and five total output modes (two constant modes and three flash modes). The two constant modes are low steady (10 lux / 12 hours) and high steady (30 lux / 4 hours). The three flash modes offer interesting patterns: daytime pulse (pulses from off to full power – 16 hours), nighttime pulse (pulse between low steady to high steady – 14 hours), and economic flash (standard on/off – 24 hours). The flash modes are pretty distinct from one another, but as we mentioned earlier you do have to cycle through them which can be disruptive when riding at night.
We were particularly excited to get the Incite X3 headlight on the road. The dual aspherical lens design is something we have only seen with the much more expensive Lupine SL. Although the beam has more artifacts at the edges than the Lupine, it has a similar sharp beam cutoff. Most of the beam output is focused about 10 feet and about a car lane wide in front of the bike with a bright patch near the leading edge. We found that low steady was too dim for night time riding, and primarily rode with the high steady mode. The 30 lux high steady mode output isn’t particularly bright though and better suited for urban riding instead of on dark trails (the Kryptonite X6 and X8 are better suited for that).
The XR tail light uses a 3 LED design with a main LED for the primary output, a secondary LED for what Kryptonite refers to as the “light guide” and a final one for the low battery indicator. There are five total output modes for the taillight, a single steady mode and four flash variations. The steady mode is referred to as low steady and has a claimed 20 hour runtime. A variety of flash modes are available: high flash (on/off – 20 hours), daytime pulse (on/off pulsing – 22 hours), nighttime pulse (low to high pulsing – 18 hours) and economical flash (on/off flash – 36 hours).
While the multiple output modes of the XR tail light are nice to have, we found that there were simply too many options. We’d prefer a simplified design dual mode (steady or flash) like the Vya Switch or a light sensor equipped auto mode that could automatically adjust like the Bontrager Flare RT. That said, the illumination pattern of the XR tail light does look good. The main top LED has an angled lens that spreads the beam horizontally while the “guide” portion creates a large illuminate area for better visibility. We also found that the Incite XR wasn’t as visible during the day as other brighter tail lights on the market.
Overall, we found the Kryptonite Incite X3 headlight and XR tail light set to be an affordable and well designed light combination. While neither light is particularly bright, the advanced beam optic designs mean they won’t blind others on the road. The X3 headlight is particularly impressive with a dual aspherical lens that is typically reserved for much more expensive models and creates a sharp beam cutoff. Both lights have simple to use single button interfaces, with an easy to ready battery status indicator on the headlight. We appreciate that Kryptonite has focused on beam optics instead of raw lumen output with Incite lights and would recommend the X3/XR combination for urban riding. While we would have liked to see GoPro or Garmin mount compatibility and USB Type-C charging capabilities, as a commuter light the X3 and XR offer unique features not typically found at this price point.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Kryptonite. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.