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.
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
Good for the money, doesn't feel cheap
Press either button to turn on, flick up and down the power, hold the button down to turn off. Simple.
O-ring does the job just fine, the light head isn't heavy
Rated as IP64 which is 'splashproof', no problems on test. Battery is well sealed
The standard battery life is decent rather than exceptional; other batter options are available too
Very strong beam
Not as highly engineered as more expensive lights but still rugged enough
About average for the battery size
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
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.