All-in-one or commuter bike lights offer a compact form factor by integrating the battery and lens into a single housing which makes it quick and easy to install as well as remove the light from the bike without having to deal with bulky battery packs. Unfortunately, most affordable commuter lights tend to use simple lens design that can blind oncoming cycling or traffic. Kryptonite’s new Incite lights offer a unique combination of anti-glare beam cutoff lenses with simple integrated design. In this review we’ll be looking at the mid-level Kryptonite Incite X6 headlight which offers 60 lux output and a backlit run-time display screen. The Incite X6 utilizes an aspherical lens design and seven output modes with run-times that range from 3 to 30 hours.
The Kryptonite Incite X6 bicycle headlight offers unique beam optics combined with a run-time display that makes it easy to monitor the battery status.
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 taking 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. While there isn’t a simple formula to convert between lumens to lux, generally lights with optimized optics have less output than traditional bike lights as the beam is more focused.
|Retail Price||$74.95 / $99.95 (with Incite XBR Taillight)|
|Measured Weight (in g)||160|
|Likes||+ Advanced beam optics|
+ Easy to read backlit LCD run-time display
+ Side slots illuminate handlebars
|Dislikes||– Proprietary mount|
– Confusing mode indicator design
– Ambient light sensor is not very sensitive
|Where to Buy (US)||Kryptonite|
Kryptonite packages the X6 headlight in a single cardboard box with a large opening so that you can see and interact with the light. Not only can you see the side profile, but a circular cutout on the side lets you see the spherical lens of the headlight as well. Once you take the basic packaging off you’ll find:
- X6 Headlight
- Headlight handlebar mount
- Micro USB charging cable
- Instruction manual
Note that Kryptonite uses a plastic tray instead of more environmentally friendly materials inside the box.
The Incite X6 uses a proprietary mount headlight with a cable tie style design that’s shared with the X3. 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 to release it from the mount. 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).
FIT & FINISH
Visually, the aspherical lens is what sets the Incite X6 apart from typical commuter bike lights. The large round lens on the front of the housing not only looks cool but also focuses the beam on the ground. The lens is surrounded by a yellow accent ring and a gray/ black plastic housing that matches well with the Incite XR and XBR tail lights. Although the light doesn’t feel as premium as other bike lights with metal housing, it has a graceful design that smoothly transitions from the round front profile to a rectangular profile on the rear.
The light also has vertical side windows to improve the side visibility. While this is a seemingly minor feature, it is very valuable to have when commuting to ensure you remain visible at all angles. The Incite X6 has a large form factor as the large lens and the integrated battery take up a fair amount of space. It’s nearly double the size of the Incite X3 or other commuter lights like the Fenix BC21R which can take up valuable space on the handlebar. Otherwise, the Incite X6 feels well made and with the Micro USB port on the back it’s easy to charge the light without having to take it off the bike.
The user interface for the Incite X6 is a simple one button interface. A long press toggles the light on/off, with mode memory ensures the light always turns back on the same mode. Above the power power button is a backlit LCD screen that displays the remaining run-time in hours/minutes for the current mode. When you are charging the light, the display screen shows the percentage charge of the battery as well. Unlike the Incite X3 or X8 headlights that allow you to check battery status with a short press while the light is off, the X6 has to be on before the battery status is shown.
A single press with the light on cycles through the available seven modes. Kryptonite uses a somewhat confusing four LED indicator below the power button to indicate what mode the light is on. For the three steady modes (low, medium and high), the three bottom LEDs light up logically from the bottom. However, the remaining three flash modes and the auto mode use different combinations of solid and flashing LEDs that can be confusing. Without a user manual, it’s easy to forget which LEDs correspond to which mode making it easy to get lost. Also we would have preferred a dual level interface that separates flash from constant modes by using a double press, an interface that is common on flash lights and some bike lights like the Magicshine Allty 1000.
AMBIENT LIGHT SENSOR
One of the unique features of the Incite X6 is the integration of an ambient light sensor into the headlight. This is a feature that is becoming increasingly common in “smart” bike lights and allows the output of the light to adapt to the environment. Kryptonite leverages the sensor when the light is in “auto” mode to automatically switch between low, medium, and high steady modes. In theory, this means you could leave the light on auto and let it increase output in tunnels or night time riding.
However, during our use, we found the light sensor had poor sensitivity and in anything but full sun the light remained in the high steady mode. Even a slight shadow in the full sun would kick the light out of low mode and back to steady mode. We’d definitely recommend Kryptonite to revisit the light sensor calibration as we’re big fans of automatic mode and have seen more successful applications in headlights like the Light & Motion Vya Pro Smart and Bontrager Ion 200 RT. In those lights, the ambient light sensor switches between a nighttime steady mode and a daytime flash which we think is more useful as it lets you leave the light on a single mode through daytime and nighttime use.
With the Incite X6 headlight, Kryptonite claims a maximum 60 lux output and seven total output modes (three constant modes, one auto mode and three flash modes). The three constant modes are: low steady (10 lux / 15 hours), medium steady (30 lux / 5 hours) and high steady (60 lux / 3 hours). The three flash modes offer interesting patterns: daytime pulse (pulses from off to full power – 20 hours), nighttime pulse (pulse between low to high steady – 18 hours) and economic flash (standard on/off – 30 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.
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, the beam has a similar sharp beam cutoff. The beam has a ‘U’ shape that is about a car lane wide 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. Even in the full 60 lux output mode, the light isn’t as bright as others in this price range like the Magicshine Allty 1000 which feels about 50% brighter. Also as you can see from the riding footage in our video, the narrow beam leaves dark patches on your sides making sharp turns a bit daunting. Nevertheless, we found the Incite X6 worked well commuting as well as on dark trails with enough run-time for long rides.
Another thing to point out is that not only do the side cutouts on the housing help for side visibility, but they also illuminate your handlebars. We found this very helpful when riding on dark trails as it makes it easy to adjust accessories on the handle bar and provides additional safety by partially illuminating part of your body. It’s also worth mentioning that the four LED mode indicator isn’t distracting even in the flash modes when riding despite how bright they look in photos.
Overall, we found that the Kryptonite Incite X6 headlight has unique beam optics and good output. While it isn’t as bright as other headlights at this price range, the beam cutoff and focused output worked well even on fully dark trails. The beam is narrow, which some riders may not like as it leaves dark patches on your sides. With seven modes, the X6 has enough output modes for any type of riding whether it’s dark trails are daytime commuting. Some weaknesses of the X6 are the confusing mode indicator (four LEDs for seven modes isn’t intuitive) and also a lack of a dual-level user interface instead of having to cycle through all the modes with a single press. Also the auto mode which uses an ambient light sensor isn’t sensitive enough to be very useful. Nevertheless, with the backlit LCD for run-time display and beam cut off the Incite X6 stands out in an otherwise crowded bike headlight market.
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.