Night time riding on the road with high-powered bike lights can be fun unless you’re on the other end of the beam. If you’ve ever been on a bike trail or city streets, you’ll know that it’s easy to be blinded by high output bike headlights from cyclists traveling toward you. Traditional bike lights have cone shaped beams that light up the road and everything around it making them unsafe in high traffic areas. In this review, we’ll be looking at the Kryptonite Incite X8, their brightest headlight which combines high output with focused optics. The Incite X8 offers a maximum of 80 lux with a unique reflector design that has a sharp beam cutoff that focuses the light on the ground ahead of the bike. With 6 modes and a large backlit LCD display screen, the Incite X8 is a light you can run on full power without blinding others on the road.
The Kryptonite Incite X8 allows you to cut through dark roads without blinding other cyclists or oncoming traffic around you.
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. 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||$144.95 / $164.95 (with XBR Taillight)|
|Measured Weight (in g)||174|
|Likes||+ Anti-glare beam|
+ Large backlit LCD display screen
+ Integrated side splits for improved visibility
|Dislikes||– Proprietary mount|
– Large size takes up space on handlebar
– Brighter lights available for similar price range
|Where to Buy (US)||Kryptonite|
The Incite X8 comes in a single cardboard box with a large opening that allows you to see and interact with the light. Not only can you see the side profiles, a cutout on the top lets you see the unique lens of the headlight as well. Once you take the basic packaging off you’ll find:
- X8 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 X8 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 X8 is similar to the Incite X3 and Incite X6 but is wider to accommodate the heavier weight of the light.
The horizontal angle of the headlight can also be adjusted by loosening a screw 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 a bit 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
Although the Incite X8 is part of the Incite headlight series, it features a unique design. While the Incite X3 and Incite X6 use spherical lenses, the Incite X8 uses a long elongated reflector design with top mounted LEDs. Not only does this create an anti-glare design, but the resulting beam pattern makes the X8 stand out compared to other lights on the market. To match the premium price, Kryptonite has also opted for an all black housing design that we think looks more modern than the other Incite lights. There is minimal branding on the light with the brand name printed on each side of the light.The all-in-one design and elongated lens design of the Incite X8 also means it is a large light. It takes up a fair amount of space on the handlebars and because of the beam cutoff can’t be mounted upside down.
Although the USB port is located on the back of the light, it’s still easy to access even with the light mounted. A rubber cover protects the port from dirt and debris. Although we’d prefer to see a USB Type-C charging port it works well and with the large display screen clearly shows the battery status.
One of our favorite features of the Incite X8 is the large LCD display. The backlit display is easy to read both during the day and night. On the top portion of the display is the runtime in hours/minutes with an additional battery indicator on the right corner. To indicate the beam indicator highlights upto 4 segments or flashes depending on the selected mode. Interestingly the current time is also shown which we found convenient when commuting as well as doing longer rides to track the time. There are two buttons below the display with minus/plus symbols on them. A single press on either button with the light off illuminates the display and shows the time and battery status indicator, a great way to check the battery status before a ride.
Holding either button turns the light on, while the plus/minus buttons cycle forward or backward through the available six modes. There are three steady modes and three flash modes, and even though we’d prefer a simplified mode selection (i.e. the two mode Light & Motion Vya Pro) the mode indicator graphics are clear. 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. However, with the two button interface, you can avoid the flash modes by going forward/backward through the first three steady modes.
With the Incite X8 headlight, Kryptonite claims a maximum 80 lux output and six total output modes (three constant modes and three flash modes). The three constant modes are: low steady (10 lux / 15 hours), medium steady (40 lux / 6 hours) and high steady (80 lux / 3 hours). The three flash modes offer interesting patterns: daytime pulse (pulses from off to full power – 12 hours), nighttime pulse (pulse between low to high steady – 13 hours) and economic flash (standard on/off – 24 hours). The flash modes are pretty distinct from one another, and we particularly liked the nighttime pulse as the subtle pulsing is easy to ride with yet attracts attention.
The top mounted and shielded LEDs with elongated reflectors is an interesting design that produces a focused beam shape with a sharp cutoff. There are some artifacts at the edges of the beam but a majority of the light output is focused on a long U shape that extends from the front of the bike with good throw. We found that we could comfortably ride in the medium or high steady modes on dark trails. Even in the full 80 lux output mode, the light isn’t as bright as others lights with standard optics in this price range like the Magicshine Allty 2000 though. Nevertheless, with the unique optics, the Incite X8 outputs more than enough light to cut through unlit trails without causing oncoming traffic to be blinded in the process.
Another thing to point out are the side light strips on each side of the display that not only improve side visibility but illuminate the 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. The large LCD display also is easy to read at night and not distracting even though the backlight is always on and can’t be adjusted or disabled.
Overall, we found the Kryptonite Incite X8 headlight to be a bright light with well designed optics. The shielded front LEDs and elongated reflector design focus the light output to a U shaped region ahead of the bike with a sharp cutoff. With the 80 lux output, the X8 is bright enough that we were comfortable riding even in the medium output modes on dark trails. The downside to the optics is that the beam width is limited to about a car lane wide which means sharp turns can be a bit daunting. Otherwise, we were impressed with the large backlit LCD display screen which was easy to read in the day or night and easy to operate with the two button interface. We do wish Kryptonite would use a GoPro or Garmin style mount, but the quick-release style mount is easy to install/remove on the bike. As the top model in the Incite headlight lineup, the X8 isn’t the most affordable headlight on the market, but with the focused beams it’s a bright headlight that won’t blind others on the road.
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.