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Verdict: 
Well engineered light that delivers massive amounts of illumination for the money…works best on lower settings for the road
Weight: 
354g
Contact: 
www.magicshineuk.co.uk
Magicshine MJ-872 1600 Lumen Bike Light
8 10

In the universe of bike lights the Magicshine MJ-872 (catchy name) is a brighter star than most. Pumping out a claimed 1,600 lumens it's a seriously powerful bit of kit. The beam pattern isn't that well tailored for road riding but you can't argue that you're not getting value for money here. If you venture off-road as well as on, this light is capable of lighting your way.

The MJ-872 is a standard two-pack affair with a separate 4.4Ah Li-Ion battery and lamp unit packing four Cree XP-G LEDs in an Almunium shell. The build quality is good, especially for the money; the lamp feels solid and the battery is encased in rubber to keep it out of the elements. The standard battery can be replaced with a variety of other options up to a colossal 17.4Ah unit capable of giving eight hours of full power; the 5.8Ah battery, which gives a claimed 2h40m on full and pushes the price up to just under £150, looks like it would be a good bet.

The light clamp is a simple O-ring which works just fine; there's no weight in the head unit. You can also helmet mount the light with the supplied fittings, although I found i could only do this if I wore a rucksack and attached the battery to the top of one of the straps. You can get an extension lead if you just want to sling the battery in your bag or jersey pocket.

Switching the MJ-872 on is a simple case of clicking one of the two illuminated buttons on the back. Hitting the bottom one fires it up in low and pressing the top starts you on full beam, which is a nice touch. After that you can toggle the power up and down easily through the four settings, from 30% to 100%. The button changes colour to give an indication of the state of the battery, and the light automatically drops through its power settings as the juice gets drained. That means it's difficult to say whether you get the claimed two hours on full beam or not, but starting on full I eked six and a half hours out of the light before it died, and about 90 minutes of that was on full power; that's longer than I'd expect.

So what's it like on the road? Well, a bit too bright really. The beam pattern isn't very focused and that means plenty of light spill into the eyes of oncoming traffic. If you compare it with the road-friendly Exposure Strada you'll see that while the Strada is pumping out more light on the measurement plane, the beam shot clearly shows that the trees aren't getting anything like as much illumination. I didn't use the light on full power much on the road, save for a few dead-of-night descents.

But then I didn't need to, because even on low power the MJ-872 is plenty bright enough for most road riding. Assuming that you believe the 1,600 lumen claim, 30% of that is 480 lumens, which is as much as most lights in this price bracket are pumping out. Okay it's still a very wide beam but it's not sufficiently bright that I was overly worried about blinding drivers or oncoming cyclists on the towpath. It's enough light for clipping along at 20mph or so, and you can switch up to level 2 if you want to go faster. Even on low, you'll be plenty visible to traffic. Except from the side, of course: fit a flasher too.

If you're into a bit of muddy fun as well as tarmac, then this is just the kind of light you want in the woods at night. Reach isn't such an issue because you're not going as fast, and there's masses of peripheral light to pick your line round corners. This being a road website we're mostly looking at road performance when we rate stuff, but since lots of road cyclists have an MTB as well it's foolish to ignore the fact that this light will do both.

Any other gripes? Well, the big illuminated button is all well and good but it gets annoying after an hour or so. I stuck some gaffer tape on it. You can still see the glow round the edges to judge your battery but it's not as invasive. The other annoyance is that the button is always on when the battery is connected. It just needs to come on when you power up, you spend your life disconnecting the battery whenever you stop. The battery bag feels a bit cheap too. That's Hardly the end of the world though.

Verdict

All things considered, the MJ-872 is a great value, well-engineered light that's easy to use. The beam pattern and high output mean it's overkill for the roads on full beam, but the lower settings are good for road use and it'll transfer to your MTB for woodland-based fun too, if you have one. There are better road-specific lights out there, but it's hard to argue with the value.

 

road.cc test report

Make and model: Magicshine MJ-872 1600 Lumen Bike Light

Size tested: Black

Tell us what the light 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?

The MJ-872 completes the Magicshine range perfectly. The MJ-808 and MJ-808E offer top-end performance at a budget price. The MJ-816 offers wide angle lateral vision and now, the brand new MJ-872 offers eye blistering power.

This amazing beam power comes from a single light head, using four Cree XP-G LEDs. The compact dimensions make this the lamp of choice for your helmet or the bars, using the tried and tested 'O' ring system to secure the light head in less than 60 seconds. The variable power modes allow you to make your choice of power and conserve battery power if required. The 2 buttons to the rear of the head allow you to increase or reduce the power level and they contain coloured LEDs to warn of an impending loss of power. The 'get you home mode' can then be selected to ensure you reach your destination safely.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Amazing 1600 lumens lamp using 4 Cree XP-G

LEDs LED life: 50,000 hours

Shell material: 6061 T6 aluminium alloy

Lens: Optical lens

Switch: Tail switch

Power modes: 100%, 75%, 50% 30%

Battery: Lithium-ion, 8.4v 4.4Ah (Magicshine only)

Battery life: 500 charges Charging time: 3 - 3.5 hours (Magicshine only)

Waterproofing - IP64

Package: Gift box with magnetic lid

Working temp: -10C to 40C

Weight on bike: Approx 470gm

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Good for the money, doesn't feel cheap

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

Press either button to turn on, flick up and down the power, hold the button down to turn off. Simple.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

O-ring does the job just fine, the light head isn't heavy

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Rated as IP64 which is 'splashproof', no problems on test. Battery is well sealed

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

The standard battery life is decent rather than exceptional; other batter options are available too

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

Very strong beam

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

Not as highly engineered as more expensive lights but still rugged enough

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
6/10

About average for the battery size

Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

No two ways about it, this light is serious value for money

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very bright, too bright for road riding on full beam given the beam pattern but bright enough even on low for clipping along

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Easy to adjust beam power, very bright

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Beam isn't ideal for the road

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

14 comments

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mikroos [257 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Wow, wasn't it "the brighter, the better" just several days ago?

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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Ah but it's what you do with the brightness, a good road light projects it down the road in a focused beam so you can see what the road's got in store for you well in advance. An off-road light on the other hand gives you a spread of light so you can see any potential obstacles on a twisty turny bit of singletrack including stuff like overhanging branches and the like. A full spread beam on the road isn't such a good idea because it would be like riding down the road with a floodlight strapped to the front of your bike… not something you'd be too happy about if you were riding along and met someone so equipped coming in the other direction.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
mikroos wrote:

Wow, wasn't it "the brighter, the better" just several days ago?

Don't know, was it?

Certainly there's healthy discussion on road.cc whenever we review more powerful lights. Having used a range of lights both this year and last, I'd say it depends on the light. Also you have to bear in mind that although we try hard to make the reviews on road.cc as directly comparable as we can, it's a bunch of people with differing riding styles and views about stuff.

My personal view is that the power and beam pattern of this light means that on full power it's not really suitable for road use. I'd still maintain that "brighter is generally better" like what it says in the buyer's guide and I expect it won't stop some people from using it on full, on the road, with no qualms. I also like this light a lot.

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chris22 [5 posts] 4 years ago
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I own this light and it is immensly powerful, however it has no lens on the front. Thus all the light is just shot forward as it comes out of the LED's. This means that there is often alot of light splash from the ground directly in front but not sufficient projection. As such using a higher power level does not project the light further but just lights up the ground in front more.

This light definitely gets the rider noticed more on the road. Since getting this light I ride with it on the low setting all the time and have had noticably fewer near misses on the road.

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mikroos [257 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

@Tony

Please note that right now you are saying exactly the same thing that I said a few days ago. But at that time you did not agree with me.

Of course a bright light is good, but its beam HAS TO be appropriately shaped to actually make you safe on the road. On a singletrack things are completely different, of course, but that was also discussed last time.

@Dave, Tony

I hope you don't feel offended. It's not like I don't appreciate your work because what you do is great (I especially like the graphs - I'm a scientist so I generally prefer numbers and objective data to personal feelings and preferences). So still thanks a lot for your work and keep going!

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

no problem at all mikroos!

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arrieredupeleton [574 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Could this problem of it being too 'floody' be overcome by some sort of cowl attached to the front of the light to direct it a little more? I'm sure it's an easy bodge.

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mikroos [257 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Of course you could do that (for example by simply attaching a bit of electrical tape to the upper part of the lens). But does it make any sense? You don't buy suh a powerful light just to waste ~30% of its power!

If you really need a strong light that is not blinding, try lights such as Philips LBL, B&M Ixon IQ or Trelock LS950. They are very comparable in terms of light output and will give you enough light to ride safely on unlit roads, but will be perfectly safe for the oncoming traffic.

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MarkD [1 post] 4 years ago
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I bought this light a few wks ago. It lasted for about 50 seconds before it packed in. Well hacked off with this light and Magicshine. Would not recommend it. Ended up buying a Light & Motion Seca 800 which is great although a good bit more expensive. You get what you pay for........

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
MarkD wrote:

I bought this light a few wks ago. It lasted for about 50 seconds before it packed in. Well hacked off with this light and Magicshine. Would not recommend it. Ended up buying a Light & Motion Seca 800 which is great although a good bit more expensive. You get what you pay for........

Why didn't you just return it Mark, surely it was still under warranty? We've had a couple of Magicshines in for test now and we haven't had any problems with reliability, but it does seem that with bike lights you can often get the odd dud… I've had similar experiences myself with lights, but if they are brand new and don't work it should be a simple case of asking for a replacement or your money back.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 4 years ago
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we've had a couple of the test lights out of the 50-odd we asked for that had to be replaced cause they failed in one way or another. they weren't necessarily the cheap ones...

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 4 years ago
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mikroos wrote:

If you really need a strong light that is not blinding, try lights such as Philips LBL, B&M Ixon IQ or Trelock LS950. They are very comparable in terms of light output and will give you enough light to ride safely on unlit roads, but will be perfectly safe for the oncoming traffic.

We're testing the Trelock LS 950 and although it's a fantastic light, it doesn't compare to the Magicshine in terms of output.

I agree that there isn't much point buying an expensive and powerful light if you then have to mess about with it to make it road/path friendly. I get the impression that some manufacturers are simply badging up powerful off-road lights as road compatible but without putting any thought or effort into the different optics required. When the light is costing you well over £200, that's not good enough.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
arrieredupeleton wrote:

Could this problem of it being too 'floody' be overcome by some sort of cowl attached to the front of the light to direct it a little more? I'm sure it's an easy bodge.

yeah, probably. and in fact i'll be trying that bodge and blogging about it reet soon.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

I hope you don't feel offended

nah, not much. the fact of the matter is that bike lights just keep getting brighter and brighter. The magicshine is the first one i've personally tested where i've had serious doubts about using it on the road on full beam. other big-hitting lights such as the brighter lupines would also fall into that category. I haven't tested them though.