Amazing lights, at £100, probably the most exciting money you can spend on a bike this winter
Weight: 535g Contact: www.magicshineuk.co.uk
You’re going to like these Magicshine lights, I did. I’m getting this test report out as quick as I can because, you might need to strike something off the Christmas list and convince yourself or your significant other, that you need a present just like this.
I discovered the Magicshine brand on a US forum when searching for the best bang for your buck. I’ve been riding with Light and Motion Solo Logic front light for 3 years and the huge cost of a battery replacement was starting to concern me as the life span on full beam had dropped to 10 minutes from the original hour plus. The forum carried lots of talk of geeky types sourcing the best LEDs, HIDs etc, building batteries, reflectors and lenses, and spending fortunes on near nuclear fission type lighting; a common theme however was Magicshine. Googling Magicshine UK revealed a UK distributor which for some reason brought huge relief.
A set of MJ-816 lights were sent through to the road.CC office and the test began to see if a mere 100 pound spend could deliver what we usually hear claimed about lights costing four times that or more. Immediate impressions:- both the lamp unit and the battery were very much smaller than I imagined having only seen the web site, an encouraging start. The battery is housed in an aluminium cylinder 9cm by 5cm and somewhat lighter than my existing battery.
There are 3 lights making up the lamp unit, I understand that across the pond this is known as the Micky Mouse light by virtue of the larger central light and the two smaller lights reminiscent of Mickeys ears. The bar fitting bracket looked a bit basic, a shaped and ribbed half circle secured in position with a thick rubber O ring. The battery fits in a neoprene fabric drawstring bag with a broad Velcro strap attached for securing to your down tube, bottle cage or wherever else you want to stow it, long enough for any preference and an extension cable available as an extra if required.
Battery placed on charge with the charging unit supplied ready for tomorrow. My daily commute of 32 miles includes 4 miles of unlit rural lanes, an unlit dual carriageway and the usual heavy traffic and congestion in Bristol. The lanes are as black as…. so much so that the local astronomical society do their stuff in the fields around here. The road surface is poor, grit patches, mud from tractor tyres, the leaves are down and that’s before we start talking badgers and deer. A perfect testing ground for just what can be seen when heading down the lane at 30 mph. If this is as bright as some I’ve seen, then motorists might be dazzled, I understand that in Germany there are new laws relating to high output bike lights. Having once put a Range Rover into a bank with an old pair of double 10watt Smart lights, I can see some logic here. Still, hasn’t happened here yet, so enjoy! Waiting for charging to complete I quickly checked on replacement battery price e-bay 35 quid, can’t complain. If you want a 12 month guarantee on batteries and a full range of replacement parts and extras look at www.magicshineuk.co.uk
The technical stuff:
P7 led outputting a whopping 900 lumens as well as two 250 lumen leds (Cree XP-E) which can be operated independently or with the P7. The Cree leds give a wide spread of light, the P7 led a focus of light and operating together a huge 1400 lumens.
· 4 Lighting modes; Short Mode, Far Mode, High (all), and Step-less dimming.
· Stepless dimming allows you to choose from 5% to 100% power output using the remotely mounted Command Control Button
· Lighted Command Control Button has a 4 level LED battery fuel guage: Green = 100% charge, Blue = 75% charge, Yellow = 50% charge, Red = 25% charge
· The light has a highly efficient Digital constant current control circuit that uses Pulse Width Modulation to control the light output.
· 250 hour run-time on lowest setting, between 2 and 3 hours on highest setting
· 1 SSCP7 and 2 Cree XP-E LED's - all with a 50,000+ hour lifespan.
· T6 aircraft aluminum enclosure - type II anodized
· Battery - 4 protected 18650 Li-ion cells in a highly durable water tight enclosure!
· A Magicshine branded neoprene battery case with an elastic Velcro attachment strap.
· Cable: Approximately .75 meter in length - perfect for stowing the battery on the top bar, behind the seat, or in your jersey pocket or Camelback
Charge complete, turned on and, flippin’eck, all I can see now is green splodges having frazzled my rods and cones. Looking forward to finishing work and heading home.
Boyish excitement as I fired up the Magicshine MJ-816, absolutely no worries about anyone with eyesight saying they didn’t see you. The dual carriageway was disappointingly busy and spoilt my fun. Got to the lanes turned up the power to max and wow! what can I say. Near the performance of car headlights, I felt hugely confident in the bends, grit and mud, 3 cars coming towards me pulled over and stopped, probably thinking what on earth it was coming at them. The beam from the 3 separate lamp units gives excellent spread and spot at the same time something I particularly liked.
To carry out a bit more of a test I made myself put a hose pipe on the lamp and battery to simulate the very worst of weather. Not something I wanted to do just in case I broke them. This was a bit like having a new top spec Range Rover and taking it into a sloping woodland after a days rain. Technically possible but you just wouldn’t. Anyway everything survived, phew! I would happily use these in torrential rain.
Battery life was claimed to be 2-3 hours on max. More than enough for me, my test indoors gave me 2 hours 17 minutes on max. Temperature will inevitably be a factor effecting battery performance.
I have to look at the negative side also and to be critical, the O ring mount isn’t wonderful and can permit wobble. If this bothers you I’m sure that you can unscrew the mount and find one fixed with a single screw from another lamp that might fit. Both my old Cateye and Light and Motion clamps looked like they would be in with a chance of fitting. The controls need practice in order to learn how many presses of the button does what. The button is illuminated and a bit distracting so I turned it to point at the ground. Lastly the cable connector fits in line just above the battery it is not that tight a fit and if you don’t think enough about where your cable is running and what to do with the slack you might disconnect yourself with your knee. All these things are a small price to pay and some of these points are no different with far more expensive lights.
Amazing lights, at £100, probably the most exciting money you can spend on a bike this winter.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Magicshine MJ-816 LED front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A light that seems to live up to the claims, aimed at the club man or Audax rider but at one hundred pounds much wider appeal
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Massive lighting capability from a three seperate light units 1% to 100% variable output.
The wobble from the handlebar mount might upset the off roader, but it didn't put me off.
Take care with your cable runs, will need securing in place.
I haven't had the chance to thrash this through the winter, but stood up to the hose even when hot.
I can't find more output, more longevity and lighter weight at anything even near this price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Bright,choice of output and price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Cable connector a bit slack and handlebar mount a bit basic, both of which can be overcome or easily lived with.
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much
Would you consider buying the product? Definite yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If your looking for the most bang for your buck, I think you've just found it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Super Corsa Ultegra My best bike is: Pinarello Paris Dura Ace
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, Tandem