Versatile on or off the road, belting out a lot of lumen for your cash

At a claimed 1000 lumen output, the Magicshine MJ-808E easily trumps most of the established competition in terms of power to price ratio. Reliability, often a cause for concern with cheaper Eastern lights, has improved in recent times with UK distributors offering a 12 month warranty on all parts. From a numbers point of view, the MJ-808E really has a lot going for it.

The light and battery pack come as separate pieces to be hooked up via Magicshine's own proprietary cable connection. Machined out of aluminium, the light head is robust but lightweight, and includes a number of cooling fins to aid heat dissipation. A single push button at the rear is used to switch between power modes and turn the light on or off.

The mounting mechanism consists of a simple industrial o-ring which is provided in 2 sizes, presumably to fit 25.4 and 31.8mm diameter handlebars (though we did have some issues with sizing as detailed below).

The 4.4AH Li-ion battery claims to provide 160 minutes of juice at maximum power and comes with its own fabric pouch which can then be easily secured to the frame using 2 Velcro straps. These are both capable of wrapping around a modern 'oversize' downtube with plenty of Velcro engagement. The battery itself is rubberized to waterproof it and provide some impact absorption. Aftermarket batteries from German company 'Open-Light' can be purchased through the distributor at additional cost if run-time is an issue. Charge time is around 4 hours though you wouldn't want to let the battery get that low in the first place.

Used as a helmet light, the stock cable isn't long enough to fit into a rear pocket, so you'd have to find some way of stowing it in a rucksack. Extension cables are available if you intend to use the MJ-808E in this way, but the beam pattern doesn't lend itself to helmet mounting anyway.

In the bar mounted configuration, the cable becomes a bit of an annoyance as you end up having to wrap it around the stem and handlebars to take in the slack. Not a major issue in the grand scheme of things, but it will make your cockpit look messy. Those with OCD beware.

On the road, the sheer illumination achieved is very impressive, but the beam pattern is very wide, with lots of light being thrown up and off the tarmac. For road riding, this isn't terribly useful as typically a beam with lots of reach is required, to deal with the high speeds. The MJ-808E overcomes this issue by just putting out more power – it's not subtle, but it works.

Another reason for a more focused beam is that it prevents oncoming road users from being blinded by the light. This is a real issue with the Magicshine, so best to save that mode for deserted roads. The low power level is plenty though for most road riding at speeds of around 20mph which is about as fast as you tend go on unlit urban roads.

Taking the light off-road, the MJ-808E's spill really comes into its own as a bar mounted light. Here, peripheral vision is more important and speeds are generally lower, requiring less reach. As a dedicated road light, the MJ-808E may not be perfect, but if you happen to enjoy the occasional night time mountain bike adventure, then it works well.

The obvious cost cutting measure on the Magicshine is the rather simple control board which offers up 3(and a half) different lighting modes – less than most of the competition from more established names. However, we find that high-low-flashing (plus an SOS mode should things get really hairy) are all you really need for the vast majority of riding anyway. Switching between modes is achieved by a short press of the rubberised button on the back of the unit. This was quite hard to press successfully with gloves on, often requiring 4 or 5 presses just to switch mode once. It also requires quite a lot of force to engage the switch which can result in rotating the light with each press.

Speaking of rotating lights, the light head had an annoying tendency to rotate forwards when bouncing over rough terrain (think mountain bike trails on a cross bike). A switch to the smaller o-ring solved this issue, though it made swapping the light between bikes a little more fiddly. If your bike has 25.4mm bars, then you might find that the small o-ring doesn't provide enough force to hold the thing steady.

Having noted the limited operational modes, the Magicshine does include a multi-colour charge indicator led which shines through the mode button. This shines green, blue, orange or red depending on charge level. A recent 3 hour night ride was completed off a full charge (with most of that time being on full power) without discharging the battery all the way down to the red, 'warning' level.

Over the past month, we've put the Magicshine through its paces on numerous muddy off-road night rides, one of which included near continuous rain for 2 hours, and it's not missed a beat.

As a lumen per pound exercise, the Magicshine scores very well and is ideal for anyone looking for a versatile light for both on and off-road night riding. For something more refined, look elsewhere, but be prepared to pay for it.


Versatile on or off the road, belting out a lot of lumen for your cash.

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Magicshine MJ808-E front light

Size tested: n/a

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-808E is ideal for anyone looking for a powerful light without breaking the bank. It's Magicshine's best selling light though it's been upgraded with Cree's newest XM-L LED

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

Super bright 1000 lumen manufacturer rated output.

CREE XM-L LED. 50,000 hour average LED life span.

Anodised, anti-abrasive, aircraft aluminium.

High, Medium Low, Strobe and SOS modes.

8.4V 4.4AH lithium-ion battery.

Approximately 120-160 minutes run-time at 100% brightness.

Multiple brightness modes plus low battery drain flashing mode.

3.5 - 4 hour battery recharge time.

Battery overcharge protection.

Low battery warning alert

Approximately 325g fitted to bike

Rate the light for quality of construction:

The light head looks and feel well made. The connections and battery are well sealed and have performed well during the test

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

The MJ-808E wins in terms of the simplicity of its power modes, but the fiddly button lets it down a bit

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

The o-ring design, though simple and easy to swap between bikes, is prone to slipping over rough terrain. Using the smaller of the provided sizes with our 31.8mm bars solved this problem though.

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

No issues so far despite some atrocious riding conditions.

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

The claimed battery life looks to be accurate. If more run time is needed, larger aftermarket batteries can also be purchased.

Rate the light for performance:

It's massive power overcomes the scattered beam pattern. At full power, it can easily blind oncoming road users.

Rate the light for durability:

The light is well made as hasn't skipped a beat yet.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:

Overall weight for the complete package is competitive given the power output

Rate the light for value:

It's hard to find a better value light out there. Sure, there are cheaper options, but maybe not with a 12 month warranty on all parts through a UK distributor.

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: 20  Height: 190cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Giant TCR Advanced 2  My best bike is: Canyon Ultimate CF7

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, sportives, mtb,


For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.


russyparkin [570 posts] 6 years ago

grabs a chair, sits and waits..

robert.brady [155 posts] 6 years ago

I have one of these light and the point you raise regarding the beam pattern can be solved with one of these lenses:


It squares off the beam throwing less light upwards making it more suitable for the road.

The wobbly fit I got around by putting a piece of bar tape on the bar first. The light grips it much better.


joemmo [1163 posts] 6 years ago

I been using one of these for 2 years now - along with the 818 rear light - and I think the review is very accurate as to the pros and cons of the light. It's clearly a budget option that gets by on brute power rather than refinement but has been reliable and I've definitely had my monies worth from it.

A couple of additions - the battery bag is pretty naff and I had to restitch the velcro and one of the seams but it seems to have held.
- If you use a Y-cable to run a rear light off the pack then you get even more wiring to tidy up. I had to counter OCD tendencies and just loop and tape it together into some configuration that didn't dangle about and could be strapped to the battery using the velcro.
- The older Y cables were rubbish and lost connection if you looped the cable, the newer thicker ones seem more robust.
- It's clearly a torch head and circuit in a bike friendly housing, the SOS mode isn't very good as a flasher mode but the epilepsy inducing strobe is useful as a shock and awe device for particularly dodgy road sections. On lit roads I use the low mode, on unlit then middle power is usually adequate.
- worth putting some vaseline on the plug joints, they are quite a firm fit and seem waterproof but it doesnt hurt to back it up.
- The ability to rotate the lamp is actually quite useful if you want to dip it occasionally to avoid blinding oncoming peds and cyclists which some people DON'T DO!
- as an addendum the MJ-818 rear light is neat, well made and damn bright but suffers from a fiddly ring activated switch and odd flashing modes. The full beam is very impressive though, easily on par with a car brake light at casting light onto the road so it needs to be angled down.

finally - thanks for the tip on the lens Rob, I might try one of those.

arrieredupeleton [585 posts] 6 years ago

Why does the routing of an untidy cable bother some. Surely, it'll be dark for the majority of the ride anyway? You could always pay an extra £190 for the Exposure Strada if it bothered you that much. I've also got this one and the review's pretty much spot on.

mingmong [321 posts] 6 years ago
arrieredupeleton wrote:

Why does the routing of an untidy cable bother some. Surely, it'll be dark for the majority of the ride anyway? You could always pay an extra £190 for the Exposure Strada if it bothered you that much. I've also got this one and the review's pretty much spot on.

Agreed. I've taken the battery pack out of the pouch and inserted it (together with some foam filler) into an old water bottle and run the cable through the nozzle. Putting the light on the bike is now a doddle.

andyp [1600 posts] 6 years ago

'we find that high-low-flashing (plus an SOS mode should things get really hairy) are all you really need for the vast majority of riding anyway.'

High and low for the riding, and flashing for the post-ride disco, presumably...

jollygoodvelo [1862 posts] 6 years ago

Just to note - the light in the picture above has a light orange-peel mirror. That creates the light 'scatter' described, and is more suitable for off-road use mounted to the bars as the review says.

You can also get versions with a smooth mirror which produce much more 'throw', typically with a bright dot in the middle and a fainter area around it. These are more suitable for on-road (and helmet use off-road, as you can really light up whatever you're looking at, while the bar light illuminates the whole area).

Having said that, when commuting I actually use an orange-peel one from DealExtreme on my bars aimed very low, it lights up potholes really well that way and I've parked my bike and walked a way from it to check that it doesn't dazzle.

Maccy [1 post] 6 years ago

After having a Cateye unit for the last 4 years it finally gave up and I got one of these. In fact it's actually the 'U' version as in the MJ-808U.

I got it from the folks at www.bikelumen.co.uk (recommended by a fellow club member) and I'm very happy with it.

It makes my old light seem like its from the (excuse the pun) dark ages.

Impressed with the digital battery that came with it. I always used to second guess myself trying to remember if I had charged the battery after the last ride. With this you can see exactly how much power you have left.

6654henry [56 posts] 6 years ago

7 day shop were doing the same light for £27, we bought one, seems alright. They are almost never in stock though.