The Lupine SL AF is an StVZO-compliant front light that can kick out 1,300 lumens on full power.
The beam is heavily shaped, which may limit its appeal if you don’t live in a region subject to StVZO restrictions.
Compact in size, the build quality is excellent and the design attractive. However, it commands a very high price.
Lupine SL AF specifications and details
The Lupine SL AF offers a central main light surrounded by an array of daylight-running LEDs.
It also features a sensor that detects ambient light levels, enabling automatic switching between daylight running and beam use.
In bright light, where a beam is theoretically unnecessary, it engages the LEDs surrounding the main light, and when ambient light fades, the main beam mode kicks in to light the way.
This defaults to an 850-lumen low-beam output, which is manually switchable to a 1,300-lumen high beam, as well as an even lower 450-lumen output.
The beam is heavily shaped, in line with StVZO regulations, to prevent glare to other road users. There’s a straight cut-off to the bright top of the beam, which fades towards the front wheel (more on this later).
The shape is maintained in all modes, but with no loss of light quality when changing outputs.
The light body is connected directly to the bracket, with a single power and function button located on the underside.
A wireless two-button remote is included. The larger button turns the light on and enables fast switches between low and high outputs when the beam mode is active.
The smaller button enables the light to be dimmed below the lowest setting.
This remote, and the back of the light itself, light up blue when the high beam is engaged.
The battery pack is separate, and is attached to the top tube with an adjustable Velcro strap. There’s a moulded strip on the underside to help it grip to the frame, and offers a small amount of spacing to keep it from rubbing.
It comes supplied with its own fast-charging unit, which attaches via the same cable as the light when in use.
Run time on full beam is claimed at three hours.
Lupine SL AF performance
The light body and bracket are combined, and attach to the bars using a cam lever. The bracket is slim, but the alloy construction and quality are excellent.
I found operation of it all to be easy, with practice.
It can prove somewhat fiddly because the parts are small, so the adjustment needs to be just right to avoid damaging the bracket. It requires a cautious approach and took me several attempts to get right.
Once in place, though, the bracket sits neatly and securely in a central position without taking up excess space on the bars.
The battery fits well to rounded and flat top tubes. Although it’s chunky (around twice the size of the light), it fitted neatly to a curved top tube with no catching issues when pedalling.
The claimed run time of three hours should be enough for most there-and-back commutes. It lived up to those claims, so I often took advantage of it to use it on longer, more interesting routes home.
The power button is situated underneath the light, which you also use to cycle through the modes. It’s not positioned in the most convenient spot to hit on the move – a downside if you want to change mode without the remote installed.
I always used the supplied wireless remote, which is easily positioned on the bars to suit your needs and available space.
The battery indicator lights illuminate in increments of 20 per cent to keep you well apprised.
The unit also emits audible beeps, the same number as there are lights showing, so you don’t necessarily need to look down.
The light-up SL branding on the reverse of the light body (and the remote) glows blue when you’re in high beam – this proved a useful reminder at a glance.
The lens takes the form of a convex dome, with cutaway edges to the side of the body to ensure enough sideways glow for some peripheral visibility.
The shape and overall design leave the lens somewhat exposed though, evidenced by a few early scratches I’ve seen appear through testing.
The top of the body protrudes over the lens, protecting eyes well from upward flaring when standing on the pedals.
The beam provides a full, even light with a clearly defined shape that has no fade to the edge – the beam drops off quickly.
You get the typical ‘tunnel effect’ associated with StVZO-compliant lights, with a strong cut-off at the top of the beam.
Unlike some lights, the Lupine SL AF doesn’t fill this when in its most powerful mode. Instead, it brightens the output and raises the level of the cut-off a little.
In short, the StVZO effect remains, albeit the depth and breadth of light is naturally extended due to the 1,300-lumen output and raised top edge of the beam.
You still get a strong contrast between light and dark, limiting the floodlight capability.
However, while some may prefer a broader full beam, this characteristic comes into its own on unlit roads or bike paths with occasional passers-by.
Here, you get clean light quality and on-the-ground reach, which enables faster riding, combined with courtesy for other road users.
That said, even though the 1,300-lumen rating is powerful enough for off-road use on paper, the tight beam doesn’t give enough visibility to the periphery.
On that note, with its marketing imagery especially, Lupine positions the SF AL as suitable for use as a mountain bike light.
I found the beam limitation to be less of a problem on straight trails, but as soon as I threw in some tight, twisting turns I needed a broader spread, especially when riding at speed.
As a footnote here, Lupine retails and ships from Germany – the territory where, at time of writing, StVZO standard lights are mandated by law.
In countries where you can’t use anything else, the Lupine SL AF doesn’t have such stiff competition.
However, in most other areas, where the onus isn’t yet on manufacturers to conform to anti-glare restrictions, there are many more powerful lights to choose from – particularly those that offer an anti-glare beam in conjunction with a full floodlight option, such as the Supernova M99 Mini Pro B54 I’ve also tested.
With an already incredibly steep price tag of €499 – which may be subject to additional import duties (plus VAT) outside the EU – there are plenty more cost-effective options listed in our best bike lights buyer’s guide.
Lupine SL AF bottom line
The Lupine SL AF manages to balance powerful output with functional StVZO-compliant courtesy for other road users.
It manages this without losing beam quality in any mode, has a high-quality design and includes a neat wireless remote for easy control on the move.
In short, it’s a good StVZO-compliant light for road riding and some mixed use.
However, its output isn’t broad enough for more technical off-road cycling and it’s very expensive.
How we tested
Front bike lights are essential accessories for your bike if you intend to ride at night, in dark and gloomy conditions or simply want to be seen more easily on your regular rides.
Here, we’ve focused on a range of the latest lights that either conform to StVZO regulations, or incorporate some kind of technology or feature designed to reduce glare.
Lights on test
- Trek Commuter Pro RT review
- Lupine SL AF review
- Supernova M99 Mini Pro B54 review
- Exposure Strada Mk11 SB AKTiv review
- Busch + Müller IQ-XM Speed review
- Magicshine ZX Pro StVZO review
|Features||Run time (full beam): 180 minutes
IP rating: 6/8
Battery capacity: 50Wh
Modes: Daylight running, high, low, full beams
Best for: Road riding, unlit commutes, gravel, bike paths