I have updated the lightening system on my Surly Long Haul Trucker to a dynamo powered system in part for winter commuting duties but also in preparation for my forthcoming
Dreaming Tour Chasing the Dirt tour where I require access to power on the road (PedalPower+ Super-i-Cable charging system). This post is about the Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus front light, model number 175QCSNDi, its installation and my first impressions. Once I have had some decent night use of the light I will update the blog with a long-term use report.
First some details about the light itself. I purchased this light from Starbike.com at a cost of $AU84.21. Service from Starbike.com was very good, however the postage as is common with German retailers is slow. I would recommend Starbike.com if you are looking at purchasing these lights.
The model I have is the Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus. Senso refers to the feature which turns the light on when it determines that there is insufficient light for good illumination. The cool aspect of this feature is that it also turns on my rear light, a Busch & Muller Toplight Line plus at the same time. The Plus feature refers to the stand light function, that is the lights will remain on for a certain period of time when the bike is stopped, e.g., at traffic lights or when you are parking the bike, say in a shed.
The other particular feature of this model is that it does not meet German road traffic regulations, StVZO as it does not have a reflector and its light beam brightness is a claimed 60 lux which exceeds the regulatory requirements.
The light weighs approximately 100 grams. It came with all necessary wiring, mounting bracket (more on this below) and connectors to install the light to my SON 28 dynamo.
The manufacturer’s claim for the light as given on the packaging is:
IQ-Reflector. 500% brighter than required by StVZO (German road traffic regulations). Indirect light source for maximum consistent illumination and double lightening area with an even spread of light. Approved high voltage protection. With headlamp bracket for universal fit and cables for hub dynamo and rear light connection. Senso: whether in the dark, in twilight or tunnels: the seÃ±or automatically activates the entire lightening system when the hub dynamo is in operation. Plus: stand light with condenser, no (rechargeable) batteries required. Maintenance free. Always ready for use.
My first impressions ofn the various features:
Senso: A great idea and it does seem to work quite well turning the light on when I went into underpasses or when light was getting dim due to cloud cover (rain on the way). It also has a delay as I understand of about eight-seconds to avoid car headlights tricking the light into turning off. All this said I doubt that I will use this feature much if at all, as I have decided to just ride with the lights on as it makes no noticeable difference to my riding effort. This means I can benefit from whatever additional safety comes from having the lights on during the day.
Plus: I like this feature. What happens is that a small amount of energy is stored in a condenser built into the light. So when you stop say at the traffic lights, the light draws on the energy stored in the condenser to keep the light glowing. I haven’t tested the time but have seen reports of around four minutes which should be sufficient for most traffic lights. I do however notice that going into stand light mode does drop the level of light output. Something to keep in mind.
Wiring: The light comes with a piece of wire hard wired into the light housing for running to the dynamo. This was just long enough for my 58 cm Surly Long Haul Trucker. I really would have liked this to be a bit longer. In addition to the dynamo wiring a short section of wiring with connectors is hard wired into the light to allow for the connection of a rear light. A coil of wire is also supplied for this purpose. This coil was more than sufficient to reach the tail light on the Surly. I have the tail light installed on the rear of my Tubus Cargo Expedition.
This went well and not so well. My first and really only problem was the standard mount supplied with the light. It did work out of the box with the Surly Long Haul Trucker’s cantilever brakes in combination with SKS Chromoplastic P50 mudguards. I have documented this issue here so will leave the details for that posting.
I have fixed, at least in the short term my mounting issue and will only purchase an additional mount if required.
Once I had the mounting issue sorted out the wiring of the light to the dynamo was a pretty straight forward process. As I am also using a PedalPower Super-i-Cable power supply I used the piggyback connectors supplied with this unit to connect to the dynamo. The lights connectors then connect to the piggyback connectors. There was no compatibility issue here. My only two concerns where the length of the wiring; a few more centimetres wouldn’t hurt and I would have preferred more robust plastic protectors for the connectors rather than heat shrink covers.
Once I had the light connected, a quick spin of the front wheel and it was all go. No issues at all from that aspect. All that I had to then do was set the beam height which you can easily doing out on a path or road at night.
The light can be switched to three modes via a rotary switch on the back of the light. The three modes are off, sensor mode or always on. I cannot detect any discernible difference in the level of drag from the dynamo between any of the modes so I now ride with the lights always on unless I require the dynamo power to go to the Super-i-Cable. The nature of the dynamo system is such that the light gets priority over the Super-i-Cable for its energy. Also I find it easy to switch between modes whilst riding along and it is nice to only have three choice so modes. No endless clicking through modes to just miss the one you want and have to start over again.
Preliminary night riding has been very positive with the light providing a good strong beam, slightly off to the left and with a noticeable squared off top of the beam. This means that the light should not blind on-comping cyclists or motorists. Based on this early riding with the light I believe it will be more that adequate for night riding and I am seriously considering converting over my commuter bike to these lights as well. Maybe not as bright as my DiNotte 400L but a better light spread for sure and one more suitable for riding in an urban environment.
The light is connected to a SON 28 dynamo. This dynamo is a new SON model in 2011 and are specifically designed for LED lights such as the Lumotec IQ Cyo Senso Plus.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Stand light feature. This is really cool;
- Continuous availability of light; no need to remember to charge the batteries. I just love being able to get on the bike and off I go with the lights going. No interference at all by me required;
- Good brightness and light pattern suitable for an urban environment;
- Easy to install, well besides the mounting bracket;
- Easy to operate on the go;
- Turning on the front light turns on the rear light.
- Wiring for the dynamo was a little on the short side; whereas the wiring for the rear light was more than sufficient. Maybe less penny pinching here would be a good idea;
- Standard mount is not as universal as claimed by the manufacturer;
- Provision of heat shrink rather than better quality covers for the connectors was disappointing;
- Senso feature is probably not something of great value and I would get the version with the stand light but no senso if buying one of these again.
- Perthcyclist has a review of the light as fitted to a Bike Friday New World Tourist. Worth a read;
- For in-depth reviews of various dynamos and lights see http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/index_en.html;
- Installation instructions and user guide can be download here (PDF).
- Dave Mccraw reviews the Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Cyo including an interesting discussion of powering it with batteries. Added November 2012.