Experimental music, photography, and adventures

New light! And, a couple of test rides.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The Light

As I have alluded to previously, I got a new light for riding. Actually, my wife ordered it for me after realizing that I’ve been gimping along with subpar lights. I’m a lucky guy, having a great wife AND a very bright light!

This new light blows everything I’ve ever tried out of the water. The new light is a Magicshine 900, rated at an incredible 900 lumens!

Now, something weird is going on. Last night, I went to the site where Sarah ordered the light, and I saw this:

GeoManGear has temporarily discontinued sales of Magicshine lightsets due to our concerns regarding the quality of Magicshine’s lithium-ion battery packs. We are working with the manufacturer to quickly resolve these issues and will begin selling Magicshine products again after we have obtained a high-quality battery pack for our customers. If you wish to be notified when we have new Magicshine or comparable lightsets available, pleaseĀ click here to place your name on our waiting list.

I have sent them an e-mail asking for more information. And I really hope that my batteries are not affected, or that there is a solution, because this light is amazing, and promises to expand my night riding capabilities. Interestingly enough, I have read quite a few reviews of this light, and most of them have been very positive, not mentioning any battery problem. So I wonder what’s going on.

In my living room, I did a couple of unscientific tests comparing this light to the two other brightest lights I have, a Planet Bike Blaze 2W, and a Cygolite Hi-Flux 100. On low, the Magicshine is about equal in brightness to the other two lights. On medium, it ‘s about twice as bright. On high, it’s so bright that I had to check to see if the other lights were even on.

The beam pattern is also quite useful on this light. It has a bright spot in the center, but it’s not as tight as the Blaze (a good thing — I think the beam on the Blaze is too tight). The Magicshine also projects light out to the sides, and above and below the main beam. In practice, I have found that I can focus the brightest part of the beam about a block away, and have the road directly in front of me illuminated quite well also. It’s incredible. The beam pattern will be immensely useful for mountain biking, though I haven’t tried that yet.

So, you can see why I hope there will be a good solution to whatever battery problem there may be.

Test Rides

The day the light came, I did a brief test ride through a couple of neighborhoods and parks. I was amazed at how well I could see. I was able to ride a lot faster than I could with my old lights. Plus, it was a beautiful, clear, starry night and I loved riding along under the stars.

Last night, I did a longer test of about 16 miles, west of town. It was dark before I even left the house. I found traffic getting out of town a bit sketchy, but once out in the country the roads were incredibly quiet and beautiful. I saw a cat, a skunk, and some cows … and I think an owl overhead, though it was out of the corner of my eye. It was a hilly route, and I even hit about 34 mph — in the dark — without ever feeling out of control. Wow. There were some choice moments rolling under the stars, with a crescent moon and Jupiter also visible.

I was a little nervous about this ride with the hills in the dark in a sort of wild area, thinking maybe I should have done something shorter, but I loved being out there; it was over too soon. Traffic was much less of a problem on the way back, so maybe it would help to start my night rides a little later, after traffic has died down more.

Right now, I cognitive dissonance is getting to me. My experiences with this light have been amazing so far, but obviously I am concerned about the battery packs. I’ll post updates as I figure out what’s going on.

9 Responses to “New light! And, a couple of test rides.”

  1. Steve A Says:

    Great minds think alike! I have the same light on order from eBay. I look forward to further reports from you on this. My new PB Blaze 2w also showed up yesterday. I’m phasing out Cateye headlights that all seem to have design problems. BTW, look on eBay – they sell replacement/spare batteries for your new light.

    I KNEW you married a smart woman!

  2. RANTWICK Says:

    Jealous. I want a serious light now. Focus “a block away”? Holy cow!

  3. DirtBum Says:

    I got one of these last Christmas, and it’s a great light. “Low” is plenty bright for road riding, in my experience. Unfortunately, the battery pack died on me in August (and I didn’t use it all that often). It was out of warranty, but GeoManGear was nice enough to give me a discount on a new (supposedly improved) battery pack. So far so good on the new batteries, though again, I haven’t used them very much yet.

    I also got one of the MagicShine tail lights, and love it as well. I comes with a splitter cable, so you can run both the front and back lights off the same battery pack.

    I’m concerned about the news on the battery packs; I’d hate to have to give up on these otherwise excellent lights.

    I’d suggest carrying one of your older lights in a backpack or pannier “just in case”…

  4. Apertome Says:

    Steve: Wow, what a coincidence! I should post some thoughts on my Blaze 2W later. I like it “to be seen,” but it’s not ideal to ride by its light. It’s bright enough, but the beam is too focused.

    Rantwick: I know, it really is incredible. And it’s shockingly affordable, for a light this bright. I just hope the battery issues are fixed.

    DirtBum: Cool that you have experience with this light. Riding on Low is definitely doable — I tried it — but since brighter options are available, I was running mine on high most of the time. It’s great to have the option to turn it down, though, to make the battery last longer. I might order the tail light too at some point, assuming this works out.

    And yes, I always carry at least one backup light.

  5. Steve A Says:

    I think I have a solution to the PB focus – mounting the light low on the fork. Not coincidentally, that is a good place to keep a backup light and its light weight is also good for a backup light.

  6. Apertome Says:

    If I can find a good way to mount it, I just might try it. Also curious if that would work better with the Magicshine …

  7. David Crowell Says:

    I don’t own a Magicshine light, but I’ve seen them. They are probably just a tad brighter than my Dinotte 600 lumen headlight. They claim to be 900 lumens, but they are not accurately rated.

    They are good lights though, and much more affordable than a Dinotte. I wish they had been around two years ago when I paid too much money for my Dinotte.

    As far as battery issues, you may not have any. If you do, there are options to getting replacements, or even building your own replacement.

  8. Errin Says:

    I just heard about this light for the first time yesterday, and now you have one too! Weird. I’m interested to see how you like after some time using it. It looks like it could be a good light for mountain biking.

  9. Myles/ rattrappress Says:

    I believe I’ve said it before, your wife is awesome (I remember the GoPro camera she bought you a while back). I sure hope you avoid battery problems.

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