Busch and Muller IQ Fly Senso Plus light tested

Busch and Muller IQ Fly Senso Plus £60.00

Dynamo lighting may sound old-school and terminally unhip, but it is benefiting from current advances in high-output LED technology in just the same way as battery-powered lamps. The best example around is Busch and Muller’s IQ Fly Senso Plus, which sits at the top of the four-model IQ dynamo range.

The German cycle lighting specialists have shoehorned a seriously powerful 40lux LED into a neat, versatile housing that offers adjustable lighting angle, a choice of operating modes and a standlight. The 40lux LED is not only more than twice as powerful as the previous generation of BandM LED dynamos lights, but is three times brighter than the output required by the stringent German road traffic regulations. It sits tucked away inside the swivel-mounted headlight unit, projecting its beam indirectly via the IQ reflector, which is designed to optimise illumination and ensure an even spread of light.

Controlling the LED is a three-position switch offering on, off and auto modes. Auto, the interesting one, is the ‘Senso’ part; the lamp contains a light sensor that automatically illuminates any time ambient light is insufficient. The IQ is designed to be used either on its own or wired up to a rear light, in which case both front and rear lights will start up if external light levels fall. The ‘Plus’ bit denotes the provision of a condenser inside the lamp that holds enough capacity to provide about three minutes’ low-powered lighting after only a few minutes riding.

How well does it work? Well, it isn’t going to lure too many off-road mtb’ers away from their high-powered systems, but for any conceivable road situation it provides more than adequate lighting. Both beam intensity and spread are impressive and enough for 30mph on unlit roads. The adjustable headlamp, which can be moved easily while riding, helps when trying to find the optimum angle for any given situation.

A substantial mounting bracket in stainless steel rod is provided. RCUK tried using a flimsy pressed steel bracket to save weight, but went back to the original when the substitute cracked through fatigue. A longer top hat brake nut may be needed since the bracket displaces the front brake by about 3mm. It allows accurate angle adjustment when fitting the lamp, with the headlight adjuster then useful for fine tuning on the move. We powered the lamp using double axis wire from Shimano’s dynamo hub, omitting a rear in favour of the reliable and flexible LED option.

The auto function is a real fit-and-forget job that is worth having at the extra £5 it costs over the IQ Fly Plus, which only has the standlight. In fact, with the auto switched on and the dynamo hub wired up, the system just sits there needing no attention and just waiting to provide excellent illumination on demand. Anyone for a 600k Audax?

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