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  1. #1
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    Chinese light roulette! Help me place my bets!

    I've got the itch to try some new lights. In the interest of "taking one for the team", I'd like to branch out and get one that looks interesting but hasn't yet been sampled by MTBR. I'm also going to order one of the "safe bets" just in case. I'm open to ordering from any of the usual suspects: lightmalls, fastech, dx etc. For a baseline, I'm currently running a MS mj-872 and a 1*XML from dx which I grafted a much improved lens into. I have a DSLR and will take pics of the fresh recruit against these for reference.

    So! Feedback please from the regulars. The following have caught my eye, but I'm open to suggestions. I know some of these have been mentioned in other threads but I haven't yet seen a full workup on them.

    Contestant #1: Magicshine look-a-like from the front. I know this one has been mentioned elsewhere, but I didn't find a formal assessment.

    MTB MJ-880 2*Cree XM-L U2 2000-Lumen 4-mode LED Mountain bike light - lightmalls online Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Likes: Appears to have the battery pack which accepts individual cells.
    Dislikes: Orange peel reflector? Don't know if this is a + or a - to most.

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    Contestant #2: BMW angle eyez Playa!
    New Bike Light For BMW LED HeadLight Style | 2*Cree XM-L2 3-Mode 3000-Lumen Bike Light Lamp Cap ( Not include Battery pack) - Bicycle Lights Lamp Cap - Bicycle Light & Headlamp Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Likes: ?
    Dislikes: Seems overpriced compared to the others and doesn't include batteries
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    Contestant 3A
    High Power 2U2 Bike Light / 2*Cree XM-L U2 1200 Lumen 5 Modes Bike Light Set With 4*18650 Battery - Bicycle Light & Headlamp Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Likes: Has an interesting form factor.
    Dislikes: Modes aren't likely to make most here happy. I generally don't mess with the light during the ride so I don't mind the epilepsy inducing strobe.
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    Contestant 3B
    High Powerful 2* Cree XM-L U2 3Modes 1200Lumen Headlamp With Charger (2*18650) - Bicycle Light & Headlamp Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Likes: Looks like it's the same as 3A, but includes a helmet mount 2x18650 holder for individual cells. Also significantly cheaper than 3A
    Dislikes: Only rated for 1200 lumens. Did they decided to only double the maximum theoretical output or are the LEDs driven at a low amperage?
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    Contestant 4
    $51.18 YINDING 2*Cree XM-L U2 4-Mode 1800-Lumen White LED Bike Light / Headlamp - 1*battery pack (4*18650 / 4400mAh / 2S2P) / US plug at FastTech - Worldwide Free Shipping
    Likes: Looks like a nice, compact form factor. Lots of external ribs for heat dissipation, though who knows if there is any heat path to it from the emitter?
    Dislikes: A little pricier than the other options. Doesn't instill confidence since it lacks "fire!" in the branding. My homeowner's insurance recommends only purchasing Chinese electronics with the word "fire" in it.
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    Contestant 5
    $40.00 MT-U2 2*Cree XM-L U2 4-Mode 1500-Lumen White LED Bike Head Light - black + blue / 1*battery pack (4*18650/3200mAh/2S2P) at FastTech - Worldwide Free Shipping
    Likes: Again, I like the packaging & form factor
    Dislikes: Not sure how I'm going to access the clamp screw when attaching it to my helmet.
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    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So, there we have it. I'm also planning on buying a Solarstorm X2 as my "safe bet" option, though I'm open to suggestion on this as well. What say you oh knowledgeable connoisseurs of cheap light?

  2. #2
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    Without having seen ever any of these lights, but according to what i've read, the MS MJ-880 doubtlessly ranks on top of the popularity charts. Quality seems to be above-average, in MS terms, and its beamshot is also often praised.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    BMW angle eyez Playa!
    New Bike Light For BMW LED HeadLight Style | 2*Cree XM-L2 3-Mode 3000-Lumen Bike Light Lamp Cap ( Not include Battery pack) - Bicycle Lights Lamp Cap - Bicycle Light & Headlamp Worldwide Free Shipping!!!
    Likes: ?
    Dislikes: Seems overpriced compared to the others and doesn't include batteries
    Name:  cont 2.jpg
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    well. What say you oh knowledgeable connoisseurs of cheap light?
    With duel XM-L2's and a more robust lamp head the heat dissipation on these could possibly be better than most. Would be nice to see one of these in a review.

  4. #4
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    My vote is for #1 or #5.

    I have #4 coming (aagghh, the wait!).

    Incidentally, here is #1 at a cheaper price in case you're interested: New! Outdoor 3 colors 2000LM 2 CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle Headlight Headlamp 8.4V 4400mah Battery Pack 4 Modes Bike front light-in Bicycle Light from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com

  5. #5
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    I would choose #2 or #4 out of the group. I just purchased a 3cree xml for 31$ and was very impressed. Here is a bad quality vid with the 3cree rated at 1800 lumens. But more like 600-800 lumens.
    https://vimeo.com/m/75725388

  6. #6
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    #4. Optics > reflectors.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  7. #7
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    1 and 4 for me. 1 is supposed to be more of a flooder according to Kir. 4 is the Gemini duo clone that could be great (or really suck). It looks tiny. The rest of the lights look like they would suck.

  8. #8
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    I have a Contestant #4 on its way to me from Fasttech, I'll post up my impressions in this thread, but this is my first real bike light so I won't be able to comment on how it compares to anything else.

    I vote for Contest 3A or 3B, might be a viable poor man's version of the Klarus BK 20

  9. #9
    Kir
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    This may help
    Clicky - more pictures here, sorry for weird angles - it was hard to place all these lights on flat surface.
    Some thoughts on these lights:
    1) Good clone of MJ-880. 2 buttons, one switches modes, one turns it on and off. A bit heavy compared to others but good heatsinking. Best feature - very easy to upgrage cells in battery pack, just unscrew 4 screws and replace them. Beam has more flood compared to SSX2.
    2) Don't underestimate this light Its a clone of Jexree Owl, here is the original:
    http://kaidomain.com/product/details.S022573
    Its a good, high quality light. Uses XM-L2 leds, high brightness in maximum mode, original version has good 4200mAh battery. Best feature - see these rings on the front? There are 2 rings of bright SMD leds beneath them and on the back of the light you have 2 buttons. One button controls main leds and one controls these glow-rings (steady on and flashing modes for rings). They're bright enough to be used as daytime lights, they can be switched to flashing mode which will increase your visibility at night when used with main leds. And they just look very cool
    This light is at least different from all other 2 XML lights and imo its a very good light.
    3A 3B) Clones of Shadow BL-20. Not recommended as they seems to use crappy flashlight driver with 5 modes and competely useless Strobe/SOS modes.
    User Review: Shadow BL20 - here is a review of BL20. Buy original version if you'll decide to get it.
    4) Still waiting for my Yinding, shipping takes forever... It should be a good floody light due to TIR optics, but can't say anything else atm.
    5) This is roughly the same as Solarstorm X2, just in different case. Batteries are crap with 2400mAh capacity, but you'll probably get the same batteries with SSX2 too. Light is ok, best feature is probably metal mount which should be better than the usual rubberbands.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kir View Post
    5) This is roughly the same as Solarstorm X2, just in different case. Batteries are crap with 2400mAh capacity, but you'll probably get the same batteries with SSX2 too. Light is ok, best feature is probably metal mount which should be better than the usual rubberbands.
    I have number 5 as well. The metal mount idea seems neat until you try using it. It comes with rubber shims to adapt to different diameter bars. I find on my bars (31.8) I have to mount it a little too close to the stem for my liking and it sits at a slight angle. Also the metal mount is no good for a helmet with the standard MS style helmet mounts. Bar mount only.

    I did swap the mount for a cat-eye one with quick release so I can put it on the bars or helmet. Much better this way!

    The light is bright! It has a strong hot spot and decent flood. It seems to be brighter than my glowworm X2 on high. On high I was able to get two hours from the supplied battery.

    It also comes with a very long cord around 2 feet.

    not bad for 40 bucks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Optics < reflectors.
    Fixed this.

  12. #12
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    I have the first light. I like it much and have posted about it in that thread. Another poster there saw it as brighter than the SSX2, but that person also received a unit with a defective power cord so there is that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljracer View Post
    I have number 5 as well. The metal mount idea seems neat until you try using it. It comes with rubber shims to adapt to different diameter bars. I find on my bars (31.8) I have to mount it a little too close to the stem for my liking and it sits at a slight angle. Also the metal mount is no good for a helmet with the standard MS style helmet mounts. Bar mount only.

    I did swap the mount for a cat-eye one with quick release so I can put it on the bars or helmet. Much better this way!
    .
    I was considering this light also. I was thinking of it as a helmet light, so I'd be interested to see detail of how you adapted the cat eye quick release on it.
    I was thinking of cutting/grinding the "T" shaped mount rail off the bottom and using 3M Velcro to stick it flat on my helmet for a nice low profile. But your way might be easier.

  14. #14
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    Chinese light roulette! Help me place my bets!

    Quote Originally Posted by fightnut View Post
    I was considering this light also. I was thinking of it as a helmet light, so I'd be interested to see detail of how you adapted the cat eye quick release on it.
    I was thinking of cutting/grinding the "T" shaped mount rail off the bottom and using 3M Velcro to stick it flat on my helmet for a nice low profile. But your way might be easier.
    Yup. The mount comes off with two screws. Very easy. Then you have a flat surface with predrilled holes. I post pics when I get home.

  15. #15
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    Chinese light roulette! Help me place my bets!


  16. #16
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    ljracer, thanks for the pics. I have to apologize, I was confusing that light with another light that has "T" shaped rail on the bottom (the downside of viewing MTBR on my little iPhone screen, lol).

    But this is still helpful, because I kinda like that light too :-)
    Thanks.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Fixed this.
    be gone with your evil reflector fetish!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Fixed this.
    Ahem.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Znomit is solid. He will have sound advice based on real world experience.
    DIY LED Bike Lights:
    A few Dynamo builds and some Small battery lights

  19. #19
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    Thanks everyone for feedback. I've been continuing to research this since posting and have come to realize that Kir has already researched, purchased and tested almost all of these! So, extra special thanks to you Kir! Given that, my intent of trying to help research alternative offerings isn't carrying much value. So, instead of going for a "safe" bet and an "unknown" I guess I'll go for two "little knowns"

    I've decided on #1 & #4 since those seem to fit best with what I'm looking for in use: helmet light with enough flood for tight singletrack.

    Here's Kir's review of this one: MJ-880 Clone - Imgur
    I'm also going to be ordering a couple of the empty battery boxes from this one to use with my other lights:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S022419

    #4 is looking really good the more I've research it. The housing construction has a mid wall where the LED's mount so it should do really well with transferring heat. See here:
    Free shipping 1Set CREE XML2 T6 3B Bike Light 1600lm Waterproof Bicycle Light LED HeadLamp + 8.4v Battery Pack + Charger-in Bicycle Light from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com

    #2 certainly looked interesting and carries the curiosity of both Cat and Kir. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between this one and #1. In the end, I decided it'll likely be too spotty for me.

    So, thanks again everyone! I'll update when they've arrived.

  20. #20
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    I'd also like to express gratitude and respect to Kir for his valuable reviews: it prevented many mistakes for the others.

    car_nut, I'm especially interested in your #4 light: YINDING 2*Cree XM-L U2. Don't forget to post your opinion upon receiving it!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Thanks everyone for feedback. I've been continuing to research this since posting and have come to realize that Kir has already researched, purchased and tested almost all of these! So, extra special thanks to you Kir! Given that, my intent of trying to help research alternative offerings isn't carrying much value. So, instead of going for a "safe" bet and an "unknown" I guess I'll go for two "little knowns"

    I've decided on #1 & #4 since those seem to fit best with what I'm looking for in use: helmet light with enough flood for tight singletrack.

    Here's Kir's review of this one: MJ-880 Clone - Imgur
    I'm also going to be ordering a couple of the empty battery boxes from this one to use with my other lights:
    http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S022419

    #4 is looking really good the more I've research it. The housing construction has a mid wall where the LED's mount so it should do really well with transferring heat. See here:
    Free shipping 1Set CREE XML2 T6 3B Bike Light 1600lm Waterproof Bicycle Light LED HeadLamp + 8.4v Battery Pack + Charger-in Bicycle Light from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com

    #2 certainly looked interesting and carries the curiosity of both Cat and Kir. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between this one and #1. In the end, I decided it'll likely be too spotty for me.

    So, thanks again everyone! I'll update when they've arrived.

    That Yinding #4 in your link is different from the fasttech offering. Is it because of the LED? T6-3B vs XML-U2? Also claims battery of 8800mah. Price is 82 vs 51...

    thanks,

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljracer View Post
    That Yinding #4 in your link is different from the fasttech offering. Is it because of the LED? T6-3B vs XML-U2? Also claims battery of 8800mah. Price is 82 vs 51...

    thanks,
    That seller is (was?) selling the same light with the xm-l2 emitter. Also it was on sale for $57 or $58.

  23. #23
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    Chinese light roulette! Help me place my bets!

    Quote Originally Posted by varider View Post
    That seller is (was?) selling the same light with the xm-l2 emitter. Also it was on sale for $57 or $58.
    How much better is the 3B bin?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljracer View Post
    How much better is the 3B bin?
    I don't know.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljracer View Post
    That Yinding #4 in your link is different from the fasttech offering. Is it because of the LED? T6-3B vs XML-U2? Also claims battery of 8800mah. Price is 82 vs 51...

    thanks,
    Sorry for the confusion. I ordered the one from Fasttech. The purpose of that link was to show the pictures of the innards.

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