Lumicycle is a UK company that aim is to make the best components it can, selling via a direct to consumer sales model, and this Apogee front light was new to its range for 2019.
Putting out a max claimed 4,500 lumens in Smart Boost mode from four Cree LEDs, which are positioned in a square pattern on the front of the light, the Apogee promises to be quite the performer. At 3,650 lumens Lumicycle claims it will last up to to 2 hours 42 minutes even using the smallest Enduro battery.
Lumicycle is keen to point out that the Apogee is its range-topping light so should be well-suited to mountain biking applications.
It also told us that while the light’s hue is white, there’s quite a lot of green in the LEDs’ beam, which should make leaves, grass, ferns and moss ‘pop’ at night.
The head unit and battery are available separately and you can mix and match almost any light with any battery from Lumicycle’s range, customising the light’s run-time according to your needs.
The lens that dictates the beam pattern is adjustable at the point of order with two options available: a standard 19-degree lens that, Lumicycle claims, pumps light out 10 metres either side of its source, and a wider 26-degree offering. This can also be changed after purchase, but you’ll need to send the light back to Lumicycle.
It has on-board processing that claims to help manage voltage and current by adjusting the LEDs’ power requirements to ensure they’re running efficiently at all times. The small LED indicator on the rear of the light displays which of the five modes the light is currently operating in and there’s a Get You Home feature that taps into its reserve power. A single toggle switch on the rear turns the light on and off and selects its modes.
It comes supplied with a single in-line bar clamp that’s compatible with up to 32mm diameter bars but only when an additional adaptor is installed. This adaptor can be daisy-chained to extend the possible diameters the clamp can accommodate. Out of the box the clamp works for up to 27mm diameter bars.
Its dazzle cover can be removed and reattached on any of four different locations, making it possible to mount the light upside down or on its side still protecting the rider’s eyes from its light.
The separate 45Wh battery pack is attached to the light unit with a 47cm long cable with a push-fit plug on the end.
Lumicycle Apogee performance
Out in the depths of night the first thing you’ll notice is how concentrated the Apogee’s impressive power is. It doesn’t feel like there’s any wasted energy lighting up the back of beyond or past where you need light.
Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the beam’s pattern and output. The 3,650 lumen and 4,500 lumen modes offer more than enough light to clearly highlight any obstacles in or to the sides of your trajectory, and I’d go as far to say that it almost totally eliminates on-trail shadows.
The 1-hour run time at max was a bit of a let-down considering the 2 hours 42 minutes claim, but if you’re happy to manage which mode you’re in rather than blasting it on max, you’ll get more from the battery, and bigger batteries are available.
The standard, narrower 19-degree spot lens offers exceptional side-to-side illumination with a particularly graduated cut-off, which makes tackling twisty, technical trails an absolute breeze.
Couple this with a particularly focussed spot light directly in front of you and great short-range flooding, and the detail out on the trail is fantastic. Even when your front wheel is pointing in the air, the light manages to illuminate the ground directly in front of you.
This is at the sacrifice of the beam’s range, however, and it doesn’t light up the far flung reaches of the trail, but then I didn’t find it needed to.
The colour of the light put out by the LEDs is very white, which helps to improve the definition and detail your eyes can pick up on the trail. I didn’t notice the green hue of the LEDs, but that isn’t to say it’s not there.
The light does feel a little unrefined; the battery pack’s bag appears well made but you can see the soft rubber cap when you look down the end of it, and the head unit’s toggle switch feels vulnerable and has some play when wiggled.
Not having a 35mm-compatible clamp supplied with the light is also annoying. You’ll need to screw the mount into the head unit making sure it’s tight and correctly aligned. Form and function can go hand-in-hand, but the Apogee seems to sacrifice the former for exceptional illumination capabilities.
The light’s flashing LED battery and mode indicator are also fairly hard to decipher, especially out on the trail. Even after studying the instructions thoroughly and understanding how it works, vital information isn’t clear, requiring a solid amount of concentration to figure out. For cursory quick checks, they aren’t suitable. Likewise, mode selection, while intuitive, will require a thorough read of the manual to master.
The battery’s Velcro straps and shape make it easy to mount almost anywhere on your bike and the cable is plenty long enough to reach any nook or cranny you wish to position it.
Lumicycle Apogee bottom line
The Apogee’s power, beam-spread and LED colour make it one of the best-illuminating lights I’ve ever tested. It won’t cause you to feel out of your depth on any sort of trail you wish to ride, even especially slow, twisty ones — something not all lights can claim to do.
However, as a whole package, and after you’ve bought any relevant unsupplied accessories, it is quite expensive. For the price I’d expect a better executed, more refined product.
Max-power run-time wasn’t as good as the claims either, but if Lumicycle can polish the Apogee further, it’s on to a winner.
How we tested
Testing lights objectively is a tough task. While it’s entirely possible to measure the number of lumens a light emits, there are a lot more variables that dictate how much of that light illuminates the trail. The colour of the light, its beam pattern and lens type have as much effect as the outright power.
With that in mind, we haven’t measured the number of lumens each light emits for this test. Instead, we’ve assessed how the light performs by describing the beam pattern, its colour and overall performance, while also measuring run time on the most powerful setting.