by Franz Kelsch
There has been a tremendous change in the technology for cycling lights. My first light was big and bulky and the battery was the size of a water bottle and very heavy. It was difficult to ride on a very dark road. H.I.D. lights were much brighter but were very expensive and somewhat fragile. What changed everything for the cyclists riding at night was the high powered LEDs.
My first LED light was produced by BR Lights, C2-H model, which I wrote about it in a prior entry. That light has served me well through two Furnace Creek 508 rides and a couple of Devil Mountain Double rides. I have used it also on several night rides, both road and mountain bike. The BR light is all in one package, both battery and light. That means it can only be mounted on the handlebar. When mountain biking at night, I wanted a helmet mounted light. With the Hoodoo 500 coming up, I needed a second light since you need two independent lights to be able to ride at night without the van following you.
You can pay a lot of money for a LED light but there is no need to now days. I had heard a lot about the MagicShine light, so I decided to order one from GeoManGear.com. I bought their Racer’s special which came with a 2nd battery, helmet mount and cord extension, all for a price of $129.99.
I was impressed with GeoManGear’s service because the light arrive in just a couple of days to our Utah home. That night I mounted the light on my helmet and went out for a test ride. The MagicShine has a nice mounting system, using a single o-ring. It comes with two o-rings, one for a standard size handlebar and a larger one for an oversized handlebar.
The helmet mount attached to my helmet using Velcro straps. I then used the smaller o-ring to mount the light to the helmet mount. I used the extension cord so I could put the battery in my rear pocket.
The light has 3 levels, along with some strobe effects. This photo shows how much the trail was lit up using the three different settings.
Doing some tests while riding near, I felt comfortable riding at 25 mph using the brightest setting, about 16 mph using the middle setting and about 12 mph using the lowest setting. I wish the lower setting was dimmer so I would have an option with battery saving for climbing, where I do not need as much light.
The light and battery were less than a pound, but still a bit heavier than my BR light.
They claim the MagicShine is 900 lumens but I highly doubt that figure since they lights from Hong Kong are almost always have over inflated ratings. I did a test comparing each light at their highest setting, middle setting and lowest setting. At the highest setting, the BR light which is rated at 325 lumens, seemed about the same as the MagicShine.
At the other settings the MagicShine was brighter but that also means it does not have a setting that would allow to ride all night on a single battery. With the BR light, I can ride all night since the middle setting will give me 9.5 hours and I would use the high setting (3.5 hours) only for descent and the lower setting (20 hours) for the climbs. But at one third the price, the MagicShine is still a good deal.
What do I like about the MagicShine?
- Mounting is very easy using one of the two supplied o-rings
- Can be helmet mounted
- Spare battery at a reasonable price
What do I not like about the MagicShine?
- You need to cycle through all the settings in order. If you are riding and wish to switch from the middle setting to the high setting, you have go switch to low, then to strobe, another strobe setting, then off. That is not very appealing while riding if that is your only light since it goes to no light before you can turn it on high. If you just want to turn the light off, hold down the button for 2 seconds.
- There is a single indicator of a low battery. The BR light has 6 stage of colors to let you know where you stand.
I have not done any extensive testing yet of the MagicShine light. I am interested in how long it will last on one battery on the various settings. But those tests need to be done while riding because the light depends on that air flow for cooling.