Xeccon Spiker 1206 Bicycle Light Review – The first automatic bike light!

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Xeccon have been working hard on moving forward bicycle light design. The first of their recent Spiker lights, the 1206, incorporates an innovative mode which adjusts the output level automatically based on the ambient light levels. We have got use to our car headlights coming on automatically, well now your bike light can do the same.

The Spiker 1207 is a very different light, reviewed here, and does not include this automatic mode, but both incorporate innovation and make significant improvements on earlier bicycle lights.

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Initial Impressions:

The Spiker 1206 supplied for review was part of an initial evaluation sample, so there have been some adjustments to some aspects of the design. It was however one of the most polished presentations of an early sample I have received.

Having reviewed earlier Xeccon bicycle lights (which were well made), the Spiker 1206 was a surprising large step forward from the earlier lights in design, function and build. The previous lights were good, but the Spiker 1206 has proven to be a significant improvement.


What is in the box:

The Spiker 1206 is supplied in a two tier hinged box.

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After slipping off the card sleeve, the main flap can be lifted and the two tiers hinged open

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The top layer contains the main light unit and battery pack

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The bottom layer has the charger, extension cable, handlebar clamp and neoprene battery case

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Laid out the kit of parts consists of the Spiker 1206 light unit, battery pack, mains charger, handlebar mount, extension cord and neoprene battery case/holder.

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Taking a closer look and looking inside:

The first difference of note on the Spiker 1206 is the position of the power switch. This has been moved from the rear of the unit and moved to the top.

This change of position makes for very easy access to the button for mode changes, however the other notable addition is a feature which makes access to the power/mode switch less important.

In place of the normal position for the power switch there is now is a light sensor which is used to control the automatic output mode.

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View of the top of the light with the power/mode switch and cooling fins.

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Looking into the reflector at the textured reflector and XM-L emitter.

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The lens is retained with a stainless steel bezel

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The quick release handlebar mount allows the light to unclip for security, however the removal of the clamp itself is not that quick as the threaded strap need to be completely unthreaded to release it from the bar

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The light unit and mount combined

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Modes and User Interface:

The Spiker 1206 has four output modes which are simply accessed by clicking the power switch and come on in the order of Maximum, Low, Automatic and Strobe.

The illuminated switch also serves to provide information to the user about the state of charge:

-When you first attach the fully charged battery the switch will light up green.
-Switching on the light leaves the green light showing as long as the battery has plenty of charge.
-Once the charge level of the battery drops, the switch illumination changes to red.
-With continued use, as the battery level drops further still, the switch starts to flash the red light.

With the automatic output mode, if there is sufficient ambient light, the Spiker 1206 will remain off. As light levels decrease, the 1206’s output will automatically come onto the lowest of four output levels, stepping up through the remaining levels until maximum output is reached.

If the ambient light levels increase (such as riding out of a tunnel) the output level will automatically decrease and switch off completely if there is sufficient light.

The automatic steps are described further in the next section of the review.



Batteries and output:

The Spiker uses a Xeccon battery pack consisting of 4 18650 cells in 2P 2S configuration (8.4V pack). Xeccon have been using the same connectors and battery pack specifications (apart from overall capacity) since the Xeccon S14, and the packs from the S14 and Spiker 1207 are compatible with the 1206.

The 1206’s battery pack is rubber armoured to provide increased resilience.

To measure actual output, an integrating sphere is used. The sensor is a photo-diode restricted to visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not register). This was chosen as our eyes can only use the visible wavelengths of light so this is generally the only useful output. Output figures are quoted as ANSI lumens where the measurement is made 30s after turning on the specified output level. Initial figures when first switching on are always higher, but all quoted measurements are ANSI.

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Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.


Spiker 1206I.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency (Hz)
Maximum672N/A
Low394125
Automatic Level 120945.4
Automatic Level 248250
Automatic Level 357955.5
Automatic Level 4672N/A

The Strobe runs at 8.3Hz

The following graph is the result of taking measurements of ambient lux levels and actual output with ambient light levels initially decreasing (so the 1206’s output increasing) and then increasing again (with the 1206’s response measured while the output level reduced)

The red line shows the first triggering of the automatic output comes when ambient lux falls to 174 lux, then increases again at 167, 135 and 89 at which point the output is at its maximum.

With the ambient light level now being increased (green line), it must reach 112 Lux before the output starts to decrease, then again at 216, 270 and 327 before the output reduces to nothing.

There is a ‘hysteresis’ in the triggering lux values when ambient light is rising after falling, but this works well in real use

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The beam

The Spiker 1206, though revolutionary in its interface, is not so in its beam. The beam has a good strong hotspot and a bright enough spill light to fill in, but is pretty typical on this type of XM-L bike light unit. It is bright but with the strong hotspot, is quite directional and sensitive to correct alignment.

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What it is really like to use…

Shown mounted side by side with the Xeccon S14. The 1206’s mount grips a standard 25mm handlebar very well. It needed part of the mount to be removed to allow the plastic nut to be fully removed. Only then could the threaded strap be removed and placed around the bar, However once this was done, the mount worked very well.

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Initially it was nearly impossible to slide the light into the mount, but after a little easing with a file, the light slides securely into the mount. Xeccon have made changes to the mounting system for the 1206 so if you buy one it may be different to the one pictured in this review.

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There has been no movement of the mount even on bumpy trails.

The battery pack supplied with this review sample is one of the best packs I have come across. The neoprene case is totally non-marking and fully padded to protect your paintwork and cushion the battery itself from the bumps.

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So in particular with the Spiker 1206, how has the automatic mode been working? Very well indeed.

Setting off for a ride while it is still perfectly light, I would not normally have the headlight switched on, but the 1206’s automatic mode is activated before you need the light to be on.

Having set the automatic mode on, it is now a case of light being provided as you need it. Cycling into a fully enclosed trail, the 1206 will gradually come on as more light is needed. As ambient light levels fall, you start to need more light and the 1206 gives it to you. It is a strange experience to be able to forget about switching on the light, but very useful.

Having ridden into a dark trail or tunnel, as you emerge into the light and no longer need a headlight it switches itself off again. Brilliant.

The switching levels have worked well and you have a virtually seamless transition, as the ambient light levels change, you have light when you need it, and none when you don’t – an innovation of automation.


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Test sample was provided by Xeccon for review.
 
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