Seeing a complete redesign, 2021’s Lumicycle’s Apogee has focused on thermal efficiency, to make the light as cool as possible to avoid overheating on the trail, and low-weight.
Although maximum power hasn’t increased, the head unit has undergone a host of other changes, with Lumicycle drafting in help from an ex-Formula 1 thermal and aerodynamic engineer. The battery pack has also been significantly modified over the outgoing model.
I took to the trails to see whether these changes equate to better on-trail performance compared to the older 2019 Apogee reviewed here.
Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack specifications
During the design process, Lumicycle headed to the wind tunnel to study how air flowed over the light and has shaped the head unit’s body so maximum amounts of air run over it, dissipating heat.
As well as claiming this has made the light two and a half times more thermally efficient than the old Apogee it says it has reduced the unit’s size and weight, too.
The aluminium body is anodised black with some green ‘flashes’ along the side. To the rear is a single toggle on/off and mode selection switch and an LED light that displays current mode and battery life.
The anti-glare bezel can be rotated and the light can be mounted above or below the bars as long as its software is configured correctly. The head unit’s clamp is attached with an Allen bolt, but the clamp doesn’t require tools to attach or remove it from the bike’s bars.
Like the previous model, the bar clamp will work with 35mm diameter handlebars, but isn’t always a perfect fit. However, Lumicycle says a new clamp is on the way soon and anyone with the old one can exchange it free of charge.
The head unit houses four CREE LEDs with a 19-degree beam angle, although a user-replaceable flood optic is also available. Claimed maximum continuous output is rated at 3,700 lumens, but a ‘Smart Boost’ feature exists where output is boosted to 4,500 lumens for three-minute bursts.
The 6,800mAH extender Panasonic-celled battery pack has a carbon fibre shell with rubber ends and uses Velcro straps to mount to the frame. The battery pack is 16cm long and when mounted is 6.5cm high. The cable attaching the light and battery is 58cm long.
The system features an on-board ARM Core processor to make sure the LEDs are running at 100 per cent efficiency and can also be connected to and control other lights as either a master unit or controlled by other lights as a supplementary device.
Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack performance
The optics haven’t changed, which means it still has that impressive gradual beam cut-off even with the less widely spread 19-degree optics. This makes it easier to see around corners and pick lines, while providing great context compared to lights with a more focused beam and sharper cut-offs.
Compared to this year’s crop of lights, though – where the maximum claimed power output of the most luminous light has increased by 1,500 lumens – I did feel the Apogee could have done with a bit of an illumination boost outside of the spotlight’s strong focal point. This would have helped improve its already impressive ability to help with confident riding around turns and over really technical terrain.
The LEDs’ hue also remains unchanged, delivering a fantastic white and green mix of light. This makes the trail pop but doesn’t cause unwanted levels of high contrast, so spotting obstacles is a breeze.
Operation hasn’t significantly changed from last year either. I still found the toggle switch difficult to use on the move, especially when trying to change modes over rough terrain. This made accessing the Smart Boost mode in perilous situations – exactly when you’ll need it – difficult.
The sequences of different flashing colours to denote mode and battery life were difficult to decipher quickly and require concentrated attention to work out.
The way the light operates requires a little more thought than just pushing a button to sequentially change through modes because ‘jumps’ between modes are also possible with longer pushes of the toggle button. This makes the light not especially intuitive to use.
Run time from the extender 6,400mAh battery was 1 hour 50 minutes at maximum power, which is impressive.
The carbon-cased battery pack was easy to mount to the frame and flexible silicone grippers took the form of any tube they were attached to. The Velcro straps easily got the light nice and tight as well. However, the battery sits quite high, taking up a significant amount of space.
If your bike has straight tubes this will be less of an issue, but on bikes with curvy tubes, rear shocks or bottle cages it might be tricky to find a suitable spot to mount it within range of the cable.
Lumicycle Apogee Carbon Extender Pack bottom line
The 2021 Apogee is a clear improvement over the previous version, mostly thanks to refinements in the way it looks. However, the way it operates and how mode and battery life information are displayed need to be simplified to help improve usability.
Thanks to its great optics and beam colour it should still be on your shortlist if you’re willing to spend the time mastering how it works or live with clunky functionality.
How we tested
We put 12 high-power front lights to the test that should let you head to the hills after night falls to discover a brave new world of riding.
Other lights on test:
- Exposure MaXx D MK13
- Gemini Duo 2200 Multisport
- Halfords Advanced 1600 Lumen
- Hope R4+ LED
- Lezyne Mega Drive 1800i
- LifeLine Ara 2000L
- Magicshine Monteer 8000S
- Moon X-Power 1800
- MTB Batteries Lumenator 20
- NiteRider Pro 2200 Race
- Knog PWR Mountain Kit