Although most cyclists associate Kryptonite with bike locks, the recently introduced Incite series of bike headlights and tail lights offer some features and designs. In this review we’ll be focusing on the brake sensor equipped Kryptonite Incite XBR tail light which is the brightest tail lights currently offered in the Incite series. With a maximum of 0.2 lux (lux is a measure of output on the ground vs. lumen which is total output from a source) output and curved beam optics, the XBR tail light is designed to distribute the beam to optimize visibility without blinding others behind you. The XBR has a four LED design: a primary, a low battery indicator, a guide light, and a brake sensor. When the light is in one of the three special brake sensing output modes, the dedicated brake light illuminates when deceleration is detected to attract attention to you. With a USB rechargeable design and simple rubber strap the XBR is designed to be easy to use.
The Kryptonite Incite XBR is a well calibrated smart tail light with built in brake sensor and simple rubber strap design.
|Measured Weight (in g)|
|Likes||+ Compact form factor|
+ Well calibrated brake sensor
+ Great side visibility with side slots
|Dislikes||– Too many modes for a tail light|
– Not compatible with aero seat posts
– Single level battery indicator
|Where to Buy (US)||Kryptonite|
The Incite XBR tail light comes in a single cardboard backing with the accessories in a small box and the tail light exposed at the center. Once you take the basic packaging off you’ll find:
- XBR tail light
- Rubber Strap For Round Seatposts
- Micro USB charging cable
- Instruction manual
The XBR has built in hooks in the tail light housing that attach to a simple rubber strap. Although it is only compatible with round seatposts, it’s quick and easy to install and remove from the bike. The rubber strap itself feels thick and robust enough for daily use with the mount itself angled forward to compensate for the seatpost angle. Unlike other tail lights such as the Planet Bike Rojo 100 which include clip mounts and rack mounts, the XBR only comes with the rubber strap with no optional adapters currently available. What is interesting is that the mount can be rotated by loosening a screw on the back of the tail light which means you could mount it on a saddle rail or saddlebag hook. This is a feature we haven’t seen before and adds some versatility to the light.
FIT & FINISH
Visually the Incite XBR has an elongated rectangular design with a prominent round reflector at the top. The face of the housing is black while the rear of the housing is a light gray with yellow accents along the side which is similar to the design of the Incite X3 / XR and X6 lights. Despite the long runtimes of the tail light, it’s surprisingly thin and looks sleek mounted behind seatposts. What sets the XBR apart from the XR tail light is the inclusion of a fourth LED that is triggered when braking is sensed. The additional brake light is mounted at the bottom of the tail light face with a small sphere like protrusion.
Both the primary top LED and brake LED have lens designs that extend from the housing which improves the side visibility of the tail light. The angular design of the reflectors also distributes the light from the LEDs which makes the tail light more visible from different angles. There are also additional slots on the sides that make the XBR visible even from side angles which is a great safety feature. The lens also incorporates what Kryptonite calls a “guide light” which has a ridged lens that creates a nice uniform glow. Visually it looks similar to the Magicshine Seemee 180 and helps the tail light be seen from further distances.
The XBR has a simple single button interface that is mounted on top of the tail light. It’s easy to operate even with gloves and has a low battery indicator that illuminates when the battery is less than 20 percent. The low battery design isn’t as informative as a multi-level battery indicator like the Fenix BC05R but it’s nice to have. Operating the light is straightforward, holding the button turns it on/off while a single press cycles through the seven available modes. As we’ve found with many tail lights, more isn’t necessarily better as it is easy to get lost in the various modes unless you have a user manual in front of you. Also, Kryptonite doesn’t offer any additional programmability which means the brake sensor can’t be fully disabled which is a feature other lights like the Magicshine Seemee 200 offer.
With the Incite XBR tail light, Kryptonite claims a maximum 0.2 lux output from the four LEDs. There are a total of seven output modes with two constant modes and five flash modes. The two constant modes low steady (20 hr) and high steady (10 hr) utilize the accelerometer to turn on the bottom LED when deceleration is detected. There are also three standard flash modes: high flash (20 hr, a high powered flash) and a daytime pulse (22 hr, gradual on/off) and a nighttime pulse (18 hr, low/high pulsing). As with the other Kryptonite Incite lights, we found the nighttime pulse to be our favorite as it still attracts attention due to the pulsing effect but isn’t as distracting for other riders.
The final flash mode is one of the more interesting ones and is called daytime brake light which has variable runtime based on how often the brake sensor is triggered. When there is no deceleration detected the daytime brake light only flashed the LED under the power button (the same one used for low battery) and only activates the other three LEDs when deceleration is detected for a few seconds. In this mode, the tail light will also go into standby mode if no motion is detected after 5 minutes and automatically turn on again. Although unique, the fact that the light isn’t visible during the day unless your braking which is a bit counter intuitive compared to lights like the Light and Motion Vya Switch which are always visible during daytime use.
Even in the higher output flash modes, we found the XBR to not be particularly bright during daytime. However, the large lens shape and curved lens does a great job of distributing the beam horizontally during nighttime use. Also, we were impressed with how well calibrated the brake sensor was. Unlike other tail lights with accelerometers such as the Magicshine Seemee 60 or Fabric Lumasense that we found were too sensitive, the XBR tended to only trigger when braking instead of potholes when we were riding. While we’re still on the fence about the effectiveness of the brake sensors, especially as every light company implements them differently, the bottom brake light does draw attention.
Overall, we found the Kryptonite Incite XBR to be a well designed smart tail light. The four LED design, guide strip, and side slots do a good job of attracting attention while riding. Unlike the 200+ lumen output tail lights on the market today, the 0.2 lux is bright without being blinding. We particularly liked the nighttime pulse mode that gradually pulses between low/high as it attracts attention without blinding cyclists behind you. Also the integrated accelerometer was well calibrated and had good reaction time to actual braking instead of having too many false positives. While we do wish the XBR had a multi-level battery indicator and additional mounts in the box, the high runtimes and thin profile make it a competitive tail light.
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.