“The new Indigo 5.01 is still the brightest single LED bike light” – a bold claim to make. Indigo Lights purports their single high CRI (color rendering index) emitter light boasts 1,850 lumens, Road and MTB lighting programs and “Broad Beam Technology” in a cordless and self-contained, compact design. Cyclists who roam the pavement, trails and gravel roads of the Northern Hemisphere may be unfamiliar with the Indigo brand, but cyclists in Australia know the brand well. Designed in my home state of South Australia, the guys behind Indigo don’t just design lights, they ride them too. Click on through to see how the Indigo 5.01 light fared in the Northern Hemisphere…
Measuring 46mm in diameter and 122mm in length, the first thing apparent about the Indigo 5.01 is its build quality. Resembling a beautifully designed compact flashlight (or torch as they’re known in Australia), machining and finish are reminiscent of self contained lights by UK manufacturer, Exposure. Finished in a unique blue anodized texture, the light gives an impression of sturdiness with its tapered design and large reflector lens.
On the scale, the Indigo 5.01 weighs in at 166 grams sans battery, and 259 grams when the 5,000 maH battery is installed. The light housing comprises two sections that screw together; the larger, front section of the light houses the Cree MTG2 LED emitter and half spherical refractor lens atop, enveloped by a conical reflector.
In addition to housing the Cree MTG2 LED, the body is the repository for the 5,000maAh rechargeable battery. The tail section of the light body contains the electronics and LED driver, along with the power / mode switch, power connector and LED status lights.
The Indigo 5.01 features two lighting program modes; Road and MTB. The relevant program is activated by how long the power switch is held down – a full second for MTB program and a quick press for Road program – each program features Low-Mid-High and Max. The road program features two additional modes – Racing Heart and Daylight. As the name suggests, Racing Heart resembles a heart beat and Daylight is a simple flashing mode. Status LEDs on the rear section of the light indicate battery condition; Green light on: 100% – 51% Yellow light on: 50% -11% Red light blinks: 10% – 0%. To turn the light off, hold down the power button for a second. When powered on again, the Indigo 5.01 returns to its previous program / mode.
Various mounting options are available for the Indigo 5.01. The MTB mount (pictured above), a simple clamp that bolts to a 31.8mm diameter handlebar and cradle for the light itself. The light body clips into the cradle – for extra security, a tether can be added in the event the light is ejected from its cradle. See two photos above for the tether slot at the tail of the light.
The Roadie mount clips onto a 31.8mm diameter handlebar and is held in place by a burly rubber strap. During the period of my review, only the roughest of gravel roads moved the light, but it would be wise to use the MTB mount for gravel riding.
A third mounting option is the dual mount, which enables the attachment of two devices; a Garmin twist connector on the top deck and Gopro compatible type down below. Suitable for 31.8mm handlebars and stems up to 48mm wide.
Available accessories include the anti-glare bezel, installed by unscrewing the metal ring at the front of the light that holds the lens in place. This bezel minimizes potential glare for oncoming traffic.
An optional booster battery is available in 5,000mAh or 15,000mAh sizes. Either battery plugs into the charging port of the Indigo 5.01 to increase runtime. Important to note, do not run a booster battery unless the primary battery is fully charged.
These photos were taken with a smartphone, so don’t expect professional quality. Above left: Low mode, right: Medium mode.
Above left: High mode, right, Max mode.
The beam pattern is a large circular pattern that is evenly spread with a hot bright spot that blends nicely with the rest of the beam.
With the 5,000mAh internal battery – LOW (>7H), MEDIUM (>3H), HI (>1H), MAX (0.5H) and Racing Heart (>3.5H).
With the additional 5,000mAh booster battery (supplied for the review period), runtimes jumped up to LOW (>12.5h), MED (>5.5h), HIGH (>1.8h), RACING HEART (>6.3h), DAY (>10.8h),MAX (>0.9h).
I tested the light alternating between Medium and High mode and found the advertised runtimes to be fairly accurate. Of note, Max mode is only recommended for short periods of time due to potential overheating issues. The Indigo 5.01 will run for half an hour in Max mode, but automatically switch to High mode to help reduce heat. Max mode is not recommended at temperatures of above 86 degrees Fahrenheit / 30 degrees Celcius.
Because of the weight of the Indigo 5.01, it is not recommended for use as a helmet light. However, it works superbly as a handlebar mounted light for Road, MTB and nighttime Gravel cycling. I really liked the MTB mount which I intentionally mounted so the light sat below the handlebar, versus the recommendation of the manufacturer atop the bar. The rear power / mode button was still in easy reach, but I found this mounting position perfect for gravel use.
The Indigo 5.01 is hard to beat and the best self-contained light I have used to date. From its durable construction, optional plug-in batteries to extend runtime and other accessories, it is clear this light is designed by guys who ride their bikes. Simon and his crew put a lot of thought into the features of this light.
The Indigo 5.01 is well priced at $US 180 with the Roadie mount and $US 185 with the MTB mount which includes shipping to the USA! Included in the package is the Indigo 5.01 light, 5,000mAh battery, fast charger and appropriate handlebar mount. A charger for USA wall sockets is supplied for the USA market. Pictured above is the review unit I had with Aussie plug and USA converter.
Photos and article by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.