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  1. #1
    unrooted
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    Long Term Value Light & What do I "need"

    I have been mt. biking for quite a while now and until now I have never needed a light. I'm starting to learn about lights, but I'm having a hard time determining what type of set up I need. The search function doesn't seem to work with what I've put in so far.


    About me:
    I ride tight & twisty singletrack with my wife, so I need two seperate setups. I have looked at the Magicshine lights, and they sound like a good short term value, but I'm more interested in something that will last at least a couple years.


    Can you answer the following questions:
    Lumens?:
    # of Lights (1 helmet, or 2 helmet & bar)?:
    How much should I be prepared to spend on a quality setup?:
    How long should I be able to ride for (in hours)?:

    What Brands should I look at?:

    Thank you!!!

  2. #2
    what a joke
    Reputation: ozlongboarder's Avatar
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    My first real light was a Lupine Edison HID $800. Its now dead! Then I got a Troutie 7up, its still going strong on my bars. I decided to buy a magicshine MJ808 3 years ago as a helmet light.....it has not missed a beat in 3 years of weekly night rides. Don't discount the cheap lights, if you get 2 years+ from a $50+ light that's cheap riding. They are getting better all the time and spending $50 every 2 years to upgrade is hard to beat.

    As for set up, 1 bar and 1helmet is the best. Also provides redundancy if one goes down.
    blah blah blah

  3. #3
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    I have a set of Exposure lights. Batteries are all self contained and they make a ton of light. I love them.
    All my friends have chinese lights. Either Magicshines or clones. They spent a fraction of what I spent and we all ride the same trails at the same speeds.
    I like turtles

  4. #4
    unrooted
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    So what do I need as far as lumens go? Is 600 at each the bar and helmet considered the standard starting place?

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    My lights are 900 each on high. I usually ride with them on medium and then put them on high on the way back, depending on how long the ride was.
    I really like the 900... Can't imagine using any less after having them.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by unrooted View Post
    So what do I need as far as lumens go? Is 600 at each the bar and helmet considered the standard starting place?
    Yeah, I think that's plenty, especially since you are riding on twisty singletrack.

    The thing with these new generation of lights, that include a Cree xm-l emitter, is that they are plenty bright even at the cheapest price point. You can get a Chinese imported light for $30 or $40, including battery and charger, that will work awesome. See this thread
    Review of Ebay: 1800 Lumen CREE XML T6 LED Bicycle HeadLight Lamp

    The problem is the battery might not last for very long, maybe 6 months. I don't think anyone really has any figures on how long they will last. In rare cases they might catch on fire or even explode. They do run, or least should run, about 2-4 hours on high. But a lot of people use them because they are cheap and because they are brighter then something that would cost you hundreds of dollars a few years ago.

    These type of lights are called clones, because they are copies of the Magicshine 808, which sort of started a revolution a few years ago by offering a very bright light at under a $100. The had some reliability problem at first, but that has since been worked out. An excellent place to buy one of these is action led.
    Action-LED-Lights ? BIKE

    So for $85 you can get something that has excellent customer service, 6 months warranty on the battery and a year on the lighthead (I believe). That price point is the entry point for a decent reliable light that will run for few hours on high.

    Spending more money will get you something that is either lighter, self contained, brighter, better designed or longer lasting (or a combination of these traits). There are two main categories, self contained or separate battery.

    Self contained lights, such as the Lumina 650, are basically very lightweight flashlight type of lights that come with special mounts for attaching the light to the helmet or handlebars. They also use a cree xm-l emitters and put out around 200-700 lumens. The downside is that they don't last for more than an hour or hour and half on high. Upside is that they can be charged via usb using your computer or cell phone charger. Some even have on-trail replaceable batteries.

    Around $200, or maybe less, you get into the super-serious lights. Glowworm X2, Magicshine 880 etc, that have separate batteries, 1000-1500 lumens or more. They have two or more cree xml emitters or equivalent. Also check out Dinotte, Light and Motion or really any of the lights in the 2013 bike light shoot-out. Really look at that before buying anything, especially the beam shots. After this price point you are getting something that is brighter, more reliable, better user interfaces and has a better warranty.

    Back to the low end lights. The Chinese have been stepping up their game in the last six months. They are now offering dual-emitter lights, clones of the Glowworm X2 concept if you will, for around $40 or $50. These are so new that we really don't which ones are better than the others. Examples include the D99, Fandyfire X2, D50 etc. More output than a single xml light, but at quarter of the cost of "real" lights. This is probably the most exciting part of the light market right now.

    Also cree came out with a xm-l2, which is brighter than the xm-l. In the next six months to a year, everything will be upgraded to this new emitter.

    There are other Chinese lights, triple xm-l, and even 4,5,6 xm-l emitters lights that are being produced. They are questionable in my opinion because of bad thermal management and bad user interfaces. There are a few exceptions, but I think it's kind of a gamble.

  7. #7
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    Oops, I reread first post and I didn't really answer your concerns.

    You need two lights per rider, one for the handlebar and one for the head. The bar light can be more of flooder, and the head light can be more of a spot.

    Lumens - 400 or 500 per light is probably plenty. The beamshape is just, if not more, important.

    Money and Battery Life - See above post for a discussion. Most lights will go 2.5 or 3 hours on high. The self-contained lights won't, but they are generally cheaper. If you only plan on riding an hour, then you don't need to spend $200 per light.

    Brands - Dinotte, Light and Motion, Glowworm, Magicshine or any of the brands represented in the 2013 Light-shoot out.

  8. #8
    unrooted
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    I ended up buying 4 of these: CREE XML XM-L T6 LED Bike Bicycle Light HeadLight HeadLamp 1200LM Gold : Amazon.com : Sports & Outdoors

    I am headed to Rad-O in two weeks and didn't want to wait till I new exactly what I wanted before buying, from the reviews I should be able to get at least a few months of use out of them. If I get even 1 light to last a couple of years then it will be worth it. I forgot to buy a light diffuser. Does anyone know if this one will work for this light: Wide Angle Lens for MagicShine, Gemini, and many other Bike Lights / Headlight : Amazon.com : Sports & Outdoors Do I need 2 or 4 of those?

  9. #9
    turtles make me hot
    Reputation: NYrr496's Avatar
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    That's exactly the light all my friends have. It's a bargain.
    I like turtles

  10. #10
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    Hey Guys. I've been an owner of magic shine lights for 4 years and still using them till this day. And I ride a lot in the mornings and late at night. I've been through the recall of batteries too. I think I'm due for another set of lights cause I'm having a hard time seeing at night now. I think its just time for another set. They still work great though. So I clicked on the amazon link above and SERIOUSLY $25.00 for a set??? Holy smokes... How is the performance? If you guys give it a thumbs us and that price is for real, I will place an order by the end of the day.

  11. #11
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    Just like all products, there is a happy medium of price points and quality. I've found that Magicshine definitely gives you the most light for your buck, but the quality is just OK. Some people have theirs last for a couple years, some people have problems with the batteries or light heads in just a few months. It seems that $150-200


    Lumens?: Minimum 750 lumens, but I prefer at least one to be at least 1200.
    # of Lights (1 helmet, or 2 helmet & bar)?: One really bright one on the helmet is fine, but in case of failure/crash/dead batter, I prefer to have a bar and helmet.
    How much should I be prepared to spend on a quality setup?: For a bar and helmet, I'd plan for $250-300.
    How long should I be able to ride for (in hours)?: If you go for a lightweight helmet, those max out at 2 hours. If you do a heavier battery that goes in the backpack, 4-6 hours is typical.

    My favorite light is the Gemini Duo. It's about $210 for the full kit with the small 2-cell battery. The light is incredibly small for the light it puts out, and the whole setup is light enough to go on the helmet...no cords into the backpack! The best thing about it is the amount of light it puts out, and the beam pattern. It's a great mix of flood and throw, so you can see far down the trail but the light also spills in a wide beam.

    Bang for the buck goes to the newest Magicshine 808U. For $85 you get a very good light with passable quality control. Make sure you buy two, one for the bars, one for the helmet. Also, it pays to purchase from a USA supplier just in case you get a bum unit. Their quality has gone up since the first version of the Magicshine, but it's still not on par with the bigger names out there. Finally, the beam on the MS-808U leaves a bit to be desired. It's incredibly bright, but is a tighter spot and not much spill. You get a very focused "hot spot" at the center, and a dimmer halo around that. Some of the higher end lights have a more even beam pattern that is more useful for biking.
    "Got everything you need?"

  12. #12
    unrooted
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmanuel09 View Post
    Hey Guys. I've been an owner of magic shine lights for 4 years and still using them till this day. And I ride a lot in the mornings and late at night. I've been through the recall of batteries too. I think I'm due for another set of lights cause I'm having a hard time seeing at night now. I think its just time for another set. They still work great though. So I clicked on the amazon link above and SERIOUSLY $25.00 for a set??? Holy smokes... How is the performance? If you guys give it a thumbs us and that price is for real, I will place an order by the end of the day.
    I'll put something up about them once i recieve them. Out of all of the cheap LED's sold on Amazon these get only good reviews. Hopefully they'll last me a few months, then if I continue night riding I'll upgrade, or keep using them. We shall see!

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