Lumintop B01 battery powered headlamp with cutoff

Note about judging pictures and videos of lights in action:

To judge pictures/videos of bicycle lamps there are a few problems:
- Perspective overaccentuation of the near field: The near field takes up most of the space on the screen and so being bright there gives an impression of a bright lamp... But the essence is farther away and note that what you see in reality is not a total picture, but the section of road that you focus on.
- The limited dynamic range of cameras and displays along with no accomodation of the eye to low light levels when looking at a screen in normal ligthing conditions: This means you cannot properly convey what you see at the edge of beams, and how well it lights up the road at the lower intensities.

With beamshot pictures: What you see is NOT what you get!


Light with cutoff, not StVZO approved (it has a strobe mode selectable with triple click which already means it would never get approved, but also I suspect the cutoff is too weak and that it doesn't abide by the beamshot requirements as it puts out so much light, i.e. there is likely a too big distance between the spot with highest lux rating and the area where it is supposed to be less than 2 lux).

Size: Diameter 37.0 mm: Length: 115.3 mm
Weight: 81 g for just the headlamp, 69 g for the 21700 (5Ah), so in total 149 g for the headlamp with included 21700 (5Ah), then we add 35 g for the mount for the bicycle which makes the total: 184 g. When using an 18650 with spacer tube you can deduct about 20 g.
LED: Cree XP-L, which is supposed to be ca. 5000K (at least that I was I recall reading somewhere last year, perhaps it was in a review though, I can't find a specific value at the moment in the specifications on Lumintop's website nor elsewhere) but I would give a rough estimate at ca. 4500K, which is pretty good for cycling.
Charging: You can take out the 21700 and charge with an external charger, or charge it while it is in the light via a USB-C connector that is protected from the elements with a rubber cover.

You can use an 18650 battery too, but the 18650 tube that is supposed to be included was not included in my kit with the 21700 battery. Perhaps you get that spacer tube only if you buy the B01 without a battery? Such a spacer tube is easy to make from e.g. cardboard, but I also have a tube from the IF25A that I could use in this light. The main reason to use an 18650 is possibly for travelling to just use 18650s.

You can run the light while it is being charged, so you can run at night while charging it with the Pedalcell Cadencex giving it unlimited runtime.

First test ride 2022-4-6, within a city:

Fairly unsharp cutoff, but reasonably good to use anyway and it puts out a lot of light, and it is quite useful even on wet roads as today because of the light colour (ca. 4500K?), which is a lot better than the 1st version of the Herrmans H-one S with cool white light which is also mounted on the bicycle that I used for testing.

Second test ride 2022-4-7: ca. 10 km ride, roads outside the city and a few km within the city

Note 2022-4-14: I ran the B01 at the same time as the Axendo 40 on dynamo. This may have influenced the impressions a bit, see the next ride for a description. I will redo this test with wet roads at a later date.

I ran the B01 on turbo, which should put out ca. 850lm. The unsharp cutoff is an issue. The roads were wet, it was raining a bit. When aiming it low and looking at the white stripes on the road, I could make them out up to ca. 30m. When aiming it higher, probably too high, I could see them up to ca. 40m. This is pretty poor compared to lights with cutoff with which you can usually see the white stripes 40-45m with light output of 100-200lm and most of these use cool white light. With the cool white Axendo 40 (40 lux) which puts out about 100lm I could make out the stripes about 30m ahead of me, which is a bit less than normally because of the light bouncing off the water on the roads. The neutral white light improves on this aspect (but also it shows the road surface much better in the rain than cool white light from the Axendo 40) but despite a claimed 850 lm (which looks to be a reasonable value close to the true output), I can see no further unless aiming too high. I suspect the lux rating to be fairly low as there is quite a bit of overexposure close to you, and the cutoff is very unsharp, with a lot of light going above the horizon even when aimed low. It wouldn't surprise me if the light does not actually abide even by the StVZO beamshot requirements. It is usable for possibly incidental use, but for daily use the cutoff should be better. It is nowhere near the quality of the beam of the Exposure Optix-S.

Comparing it to the Optix-S: The Optix-S is smaller, lighter (also because it uses an 18650), and nicer to hold as a torch because of this. It has a far sharper cutoff and IIRC about the same lightoutput on maximum as the B01 on turbo. What the B01 has going for it is the light colour (I don't know yet whether the Optix-S will be produced with neutral white light, I mentioned this to the people from Exposure as being important, and asked whether perhaps a special version could be made with neutral white light if it will be produced with a cool white LED just as the prototype version. This is likely going to be done to cater to the propensity of average people to seek for lights that give a 'It's bright' feeling (rather than people checking what they can actually make out with it on the road) ], but we will need to see. The Optix-S will also be much more expensive, I suspect ca. EUR 200 with built-in fixed 8650, vs. ca. EUR 40 for the Lumintop with removable 18650 or 21700. If the Optix-S will be available with neutral white light it could be near perfect as a combination of bike light + torch (the cutoff light is not a problem in this respect as I tested with that light. What was problematic with certain lights such as the Philips Saferide 80 was the distraction from artefacts outside the main beam when using it as a torch, this is not an issue with the Optix-S and also not with the B01), and in that case I would prefer to buy the Optix-S. If the Optix-S will only be made with a cool white LED then it would be better in beam, weight, and worse in light colour and in cost, and in total it would be hard to make a choice. Generally I prefer to buy the best product, even if that product is much more expensive, but only if it is really better in most respects.

3rd test ride, ca. 2022-4-11

Riding when it is dry, I noticed the Axendo 40's beam added significantly to the lighting up of the road surface up to ca. 40 m. I did angle it upward a bit at the start of the ride as it got a knock and was aimed a little too low, so it was likely not as much of an addition to the B01's beam on the previous ride on a rainy night, also because cool white light is very ineffective on wet road surfaces, but still I need to retest the rainy ride to be sure.

On the dry roads I found: I could see (make out) the white stripes on the road surface that indicate the edge of the road, up to ca. 45m, more only if I aimed it far too high, in which case I could make out the white stripes at the edge of the road up to ca. 55m. This is far worse than the Saferide 80 which produces 'only' 270 lm but has a superior cutoff and superior light distribution.

It is hard to make out exactly how to aim it as the cutoff is so vague. In contrast the Axendo 40 is fairly easy to aim and that doesn't have a very sharp cutoff just as most StVZO bike lights have a fairly soft cutoff compared to really good cutoffs such as with the Optix-S and ...

Aiming it low so I could make out the white strips on the road surface to at most 40-45m, I found that as oncoming traffic the annoyance was minimal. When aiming it higher is was almost like a non-cutoff beam which causes blinding in that you can't see much in the area near the light (road surface etc.) because of the direct light shining in your eyes. All in all I classify the cutoff beam as poor.

4th test ride, 2022-4-14:

I was looking for a new place to make beam shots. I took my equipment with me but it was mistty so on one road that was not suitable I did a brief comparision of the B01 and Philips Saferide 80 and saw that in the mist the vague cutoff was clear to see, at least in person as camera's and monitors are always a problem due to limited dynamic range but perhaps I can show the issue with the cutoff of the B01 anyway so I made a short video of the B01 and the Philips Saferide 80 alternating and at different aims, where it was clear that the B01 lights up more of the mist above the ground. I will upload that soon. Then I went further and got to one road which is suitable to make beamshots, with no streetlighting, and there I played a bit with these lights. There was almost no mist there, and I saw that the B01 lights up the trees on the side of the road to an estimated 4 metres high on a tree at a distance of ca. 33m, possibly it was even higher, and this was when aiming the lamp reasonably far (for a range of ca. 45m on high). In contrast the Saferide 80 lit up the road better but let almost no light go above 1.0m high so no cyclists or pedestrians (except small children) would get much light into their eyes. This showed just how bad the cutoff of the B01 is compared to the Saferide 80 (but also compared to the Saferide 40 dynamo that is mounted on the bike). Range of the B01 is maximally 45m when not aiming too high (and ca. 70m for the Saferide 80), and I could get to perhaps 60 m with the B01 but then I had to run on turbo (stated to be 850 lm), and aim it very high. You might as well use a torch that has no cutoff then! I estimate the colour temperature of the Saferide 80 neutral white to be ca. 5000K (the light colour is similar to the Skilhunt H04 RC with 5000K LH351D), which is better than the original cool white LEDs used but still not optimal yet, but everything is lit up well, much better and more even than the B01. The B01 starts with the beam ca. 7m from the bicycle, where it is overexposed quite a bit up to ca. 20 m compared to the rest of the beam.

Beamshots 2022-4-16: Lumintop B01 + Axendo 60 battery + Saferide 80

I had searched the pervious night for a good place to make beamshots. I needed to find a new spot due to selling my house. With my old house which is located in a village and surrounded by many farms there were many unlit roads within a few hundred metres up to a few kilometres. Where I temporarily reside now in a city, I needed to ride 4.7 km which is not optimal for quick testing but for making beamshots not so much as that process takes a long time any way. The road I found is close to Woubrugge, and it offered a good secondary road normally used for tractors and bicycles, mopeds, not many cars. I usually make beamshots areound 3.00 in the morning, arriving a bit earlier (this time ca. 2.30) to set up the tripods, distance markers, etc., as then you encounter the lowest number of cyclists. On this secondary road there should really be no cars, and also no tractors at that time, but even at ca. 2.45 there was 1 cyclist. Then at about 3.00 after I had made the beamshots of the B01 and the Safride 80, a car approached. it was going slowly, I moved the tripods so it could move past, but it stopped so I walked up and noticed it's a police car. They were curious what was going on :) In all beamshot sessions I did before this had never happened, perhaps this is because I was making the pictures close to Woubrugge whereas all other places where I made pictures up to then were more 'in the middle of nowhere' (even those places not far from my old house). I told them a bit the process, the issues with beamshots not showing what you see in reality which is why I use 2 different exposures, that I laid little white blocks on the right hand side every 10 m, and that I placed some blocks with retro-reflective elements in a bush at various heights from ca. 1 m to 2m (I hadn't prepared a pole yet with such elements). When they left the policeman who was driving asked if the blocks were only on the right hand side, yes they were, so he drove on the left to avoid those.

Now on to the beam shots + road during the day for reference.

Picture of the road during the day time (made the next day):

Images made with white balance 5000K except where noted, ISO200, F4, 0.5s and 2s:
The 5000K white balance makes the beam of the B01 look about as yellow on the pictures as I experience it in reality:
B01 aimed such that I can see about 45m ahead on the road, 0.5s and 2s:

Next I aimed the B01 too high, which means far too much light goes upwards, for oncoming traffic it is more like a high beam, but only then can I see farther than ca. 45 m with it, namely 55-60 m:
B01 aimed such that I can see about 55-60m ahead on the road, 0.5s and 2s:

Saferide 80 on high, white balance 5000K, 0.5s and 2s. 5000K makes the beam look greenish which I don't exprience at all in reality which is why in the next set I have pictures where I tried 5500K.

Saferide 80 on high aimed about optimally (no blinding), white balance 5500K, 0.5s and 2s:

Axendo 60 battery version aimed about optimally (no blinding), 0.5s and 2s:

To come

To show the issue with the cutoff I will make a pole ca. 2m high (likely in 2 or 3 parts), with white and/or with reflective elements every 20 cm or so, to show where the light ends at say 40 m distance. Also due to selling my house I need to select new roads where to make videos and beam shots.

The button + status: switching on/off, mode switching

I put the light in my coat pocket when going to the supermarket the next day and when I got home I noticed the light was turned on. Luckily in the lowest mode, in the high mode it could have burned a hole in my coat. Putting the light on my hand on high, after 20 seconds it was already uncomfortably hot... The button on the Saferide 80 is better as it has a rubber cover that is a bit higher than the actual button, which protects against accidental activation (unless it is at the bottom of my backpack with lots of stuff on top then it could get activated) and yet its action is light and has a tactile click.

Switching off via pressing the button for ca. 1 second. This is a good choice for a bicycle lamp as you don't want the light to go off with a single click while riding, you only want the light to go off when you absultely don't need light, which is when you are standing still, which is when a press-hold works well...

The green status light switches off when you activate the light, which means you need to search for the button while riding... The light also does not serve as a battery indicator, via colour change and/or blinking. Why not? After a few rides I tried to put it in turbo but saw no difference between high and turbo. Aha, so the battery is almost empty? I checked and yes, that was it.

Conclusion (preliminary)

- The cutoff beam is poor in beam shape but usable in the sense that the artefacts (or sub-beam you may call it) close to you (near/on the front wheel) don't matter much and the overexpoure close to the bike at ca. 7-20 m also doesn't matter in the sense that you get a feeling of riding with a huge amount of light which lights up everything you want up to ca. 45m, which works pretty well even with wet roads because of the neutral white light colour. Here the overexposure (because of too much light close to you, not enough far away, i.e. at the top of the beam) seems to be less of a problem than it would be with cool white light. Cool white light just does not work well at all in the rain.
- The cutoff is very vague, people will likely aim it too high making it no different from a car's (or moped's) high beam: annoying and blinding.
- The light colour is very good, which is especially useful on wet roads. I will compare it to the Saferide 80's neutral white beam soon [ done ]
- It is very cheap. ca. 35 euro or 40 euro with a 21700 cell.
- It is of good quality construction.
As to other options:
The Axendo 60 battery has a better beam (same as the Saferide 60) and is only a little bit more expensive (ca. 60 euro) but is not easily usable as a torch. The Axendo 60 uses cool white LEDs which is a pity. For a pure biking light I would recommend the Axendo 60 battery because of the better beam shape and cutoff.
For a biking + torch light I would want an Exposure Optix-S which has a far better cutoff than both, is smaller, lighter, and better to use as a torch, but that is far more expensive (and at the moment, April 2022, still not available due to 'paperwork' issues, i.e. related to Brexit and who can hold the approval for StVZO approvals).

For me it is not a very useful light so I will either just put in a drawer with all other bike lights that I don't use but keep for reference, or I will give it away... First I will make beamshots and do a comparison with the Saferide 80 neutral white [ all done, pictures to be uploaded ].

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