2010 Mtbr Bike Lights Shootout

Lights Shootout Pro Reviews

 

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Exposure Diablo
Price: $249
Claimed Lumens: 700 lumens
Measured Lux: 34 lux

Exposure Toro
Price: $339
Claimed Lumens: 700 lumens
Measured Lux: 36 lux

Exposure Diablo and Toro Combined

Exposure MaXxD
Price: $399
Claimed Lumens: 960 lumens
Measured Lux: 48 lux

Next up is the HID Technologies Lumen8r Quad light

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  • Leonardo says:

    What do you have against Cygolite? I own 3 LED lights from Cygolite (TridenX, Mitycross 350 and MiliOn 200). I’d like to see how those light I have compare to other LEDs on those 3 weight/price/output categories, since I bought them based on specifications that make them seem like great deals.

  • Francois says:

    >> What do you have against Cygolite?

    Cygolite does NOT want to send us lights to test. We’ve made requests about 5 times but they are not interested for some reason.

    I’ve used the lights and they are good. They’re even an mtbr sponsor. Bad experience with other magazines maybe.

  • Dominator13 says:

    Francis-
    Time to mow the lawn!!!
    -Dom

  • Lola Ashwood says:

    Baja Designs brought it’s light technology over from it’s desert race lights to bicycles. Top notch construction and well thought out. Lux might be lower than 60, but just look at the light spread and color. Beats other LED and HID that cost twice as much. They even make LED headlights for the US military. All these high dollar lights won’t like this, but check out Planet Bikes 2 watt light! It’s nicer than my HID at 1/7th the cost! On AAs and no wire.

  • chuckc1971 says:

    I see 2.5 columns above. The third column is cut in 1/2.

  • Francois says:

    >>Time to mow the lawn!!!

    That is astroturf my friend. The lawn on the HID Technologies photo looks pretty angry though

  • Francois says:

    >>I see 2.5 columns above. The third column is cut in 1/2.
    What browser are you using? Anybody else have this problem? We’ll check it out as column 3 is actually the most important one.

  • Greg says:

    Have you measured the light output for combinations of lights? For example, when you have the Ayup helmet and bar light comboas above, does this combo measure 65 Lux? Is the combined light measured equal to the addition of the individual light outputs, or is it a lower measured amount?

  • Francois says:

    >>Have you measured the light output for combinations of lights?

    Yes, I have. And they always add up accurately. Sometimes the combined reading will be less by 1 lux, but it is usually spot on.

    Also, I use an old known light and measure it to see that my test setup is still consistent with what it was in the past.

  • Robert says:

    Also can’t see the half of the 3rd column with “measured lu???”.
    using Firefox. The ad column seems to cover it on the right.
    Perhaps a shift to the left of the Price column woul help?

  • jkellyreed says:

    Great review. Wish you could highlight whether these come as full packages or if batteries, mounts, cables are separate in the price. Like the Stryker but it seems like you have to buy a number of add ons.

    Why no Dinotte…noticed they weren’t on the list though they advertise at the top.

    Thanks.

  • jpre says:

    If 2 Magicshines were measured together would the lux measurement double, or does it not work like that?

  • Sid says:

    I recently purchased a Magcishine since I was on a very limited budget. It’s nice to see it included in this shootout. The Magicshine is such an amazing value, I mean it has higher lux values than 4 of the other lights on there yet it is by far the cheapest light of the bunch. The 2nd cheapest is over 2.5 times its price. Plus you can purchase a 2nd light doubling the brightness and run it off a single battery pack if you get an optional Y cable and it would still be cheaper than the price of any other light in the shootout. Granted, the quality isn’t the best but for $85 it’s still an amazing deal.

  • francois says:

    >>Also can’t see the half of the 3rd column with “measured lu???”.

    This should be fixed now. Let me know

  • francois says:

    >>Great review. Wish you could highlight whether these come as full packages or if batteries, mounts, cables are separate in the price. Like the Stryker but it seems like you have to buy a number of add ons.

    Yes,we will do a separate review page and video for each light. I’ll do the videos outdoors at night too so you’ll see the actual beam.

  • francois says:

    >> If 2 Magicshines were measured together would the lux measurement double, or does it not work like that?

    Yes, my lux setup is accurate like that. Two lights measured together equals the sum of their individual lux measurements.

  • Scott says:

    Why no Light & Motion lights?

  • bruce brown says:

    I am just guessing here, but it sounds like adding 2 Magicshines for the double lux measurement of 74 would pretty much look like the 70 lux of the Nite Flux Max Extreme (with the Magicshine pair costing 37% of the Nite Flux cost). Throw 2 Magicshines on the bars, one on the helmet and a Bob trailer to carry all the batteries and a 6 pack and you’ll still be under the Nite Rider Pro 1200 cost. ;-)

  • francois says:

    >>Why no Light & Motion lights?

    I have the Light and Motion Seca Race and the Dinotte 800 lights. I believe they each have one brighter light now. I’ll call them to get those too.

  • bentboy242 says:

    where is the Dinotte 1200L?

  • chuckc1971 says:

    Columns are fixed. I am running Firefox.

  • m-dub says:

    Huge props for these real tests!

  • protocol_droid says:

    where’s the airbike light LED p7 review?

  • ronen says:

    waste of money you can buy a good led flashlight for 80$
    the dx is locate in HK they sell for 80$ too any location on the planet.
    this is the product and it got 900 lumens with a very well dispertion of the light.
    “3-Mode 900-Lumen LED Bike Light Set”and thr adress is http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.25149

  • Sid says:

    ronen, the DX light you mentioned is in the list of tested lights. It is the Magicshine MJ-808.

  • Gordo says:

    I was going to add a comment about dealextreme too, about a dozen of us up here in the great white north have bought these over the last year and they’re amazing. It’s like a train coming through the trees. I’ve used a VistaLite halogen/NiMn 2 light (10&15W) system for 10 years and switched to these this year after my mounts broke.

    I even beat your price… $34 for the same 900 lumens but in a flashlight style and $4 for a very solid mount! Buy a second one for your helmet, still under $100.
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12060

    This will change the face of night riding… $34 vs. $~340 ??? Sorry but this is a better mousetrap.

  • Matt says:

    Anybody using the Minewt duo 400? I pick this up for $190 for my bars and run the minewt x2 on helmet. This is a real good combination for under $350… Super lighweight set up.

  • markd says:

    Can anyone explain:

    How does the Lux measurement correlate to the claimed Lumens for each light? That is, for us retards, when we read the measured Lux, what conclusions should we make in relation to the claimed Lumens: the claimed output is not/valid?

  • Ben says:

    Won’t you please compare these to the Busch&Muller Ixon IQ? It advertises 40 lux, runs on NiMH AAs, costs $116 from Peter White.

    Why this one? It’s unique here because it has an on-road beam pattern–shaped like a car low beam (B&M makes all of their lights like this, but the Ixon IQ has similar nominal output to the lights you test here). That might rule it out for standalone use offroad, but I would think it would be superb for the handlebar in combination with a round-beam helmet light, and the bonus is that you will be running a (theoretically) much better light for your ride home after the singletrack.

    I’ve never seen one in person, and they have very few dealers in the USA, so a comparison review would be incredibly valuable. Any chance?

  • Wheezer says:

    I use the Minewt duo 400 on my handlebars and a DX Magicshine on my helmet. Forget the Minewt, The Magicshine is a great deal, with a very good beam pattern, battery pack last twice as long, and a spare battery is $35 at SingleTrackStore.com (great service). The Minewt X2 helmet mount works well with the Magicshine.

  • Jey! says:

    Where is the Dinotte stuff? I just did a 24 adv race in night + rain with a 200L on the bar and 400L on the helmet. Everyone was riding at my pace to share in my light.

  • Chappy says:

    I must put in a request for the Busch and Muller Ixon IQ review. It claims 50 lux and comes in around $100. It also has an excellent reflector with cut-off, which makes it very efficient in my view. I have seen some of these lights reviewed on my fellow bike trail commuters and, while some of them are quite bright, they seem more blinding than useful compared to the B&M.

  • Chappy says:

    @ Ben. I didn’t notice your same request for the Ixon IQ. I bought mine here:
    http://www.bike24.com/

    Even with paying (fairly high) shipping and exchange rate, I think it comes in under $100.

    Aside from what I already mentioned about, two other items in its favor are relatively long run time with regular rechargable batteries and the fact that the light is very natural. I’ve found a lot of bike lights have a bluish tint that wash out the road and (sometimes dangerously) reduces contrast.
    As a weekness the beam pattern is fairly weak for 5-10 feet directly in front of your bike, but I find that one should be looking farther ahead at obstacle and/or should use at least a minimal helmet light.

  • Ben says:

    Excellent review. You left out a useful calculation in your chart: Measured Lux / Cost. I whipped together a spreadsheet. The Magicshine 900 crushes everything else.

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=trn-hwaO1h7cKuZukEMg5qw&single=true&gid=0&output=html

  • Tom says:

    The reason is there is such a big discrepancy between Lumen measures and Lux output is that the Lumen measures vary by manufacturer. Some manuf’s measure Lumens at the LED while others measure OTF (Out the front) which includes the lens. The lens will knock up to 20% or more of the light output down. That 900 lumens of the Magicshine is obviously measured at the LED while some of the other manuf’s (whose Lumens/Lux ratio is higher) might be measuring OTF.

    I personally purchased one of the $85 Magicshine’s for the bars, and then a 4Sevens Quark Turbo (230 OTF Lumens) for my helmet. That combo works awesome and it was right at $150 for my whole setup.

    -Tom

  • kenny says:

    lumens/lux is only one measurement which is affected by beam pattern etc. A useful light needs to have some spillage etc. which lowers the total ‘brightness’ number, but makes a more useful light. When the light is too focused, which also make the light ‘appear’ brighter, also makes it MUCH less useful. So numbers are only one indicator. Robustness, beam pattern, reliability, customer service, serviceability etc. should go into the decision you make on which light to buy — maybe even which light you LBS carries etc. Also, don’t forget that you young broke B*****ds can home brew a pretty decent light — plenty of information out there on that. I’ve been using the Niterider Newt, and it works great (I have 2 of them). Good night riding, cheers, Kenny

  • Richard says:

    Tom;

    Even worse than you indicate for some lights.

    The Magicshine for example quotes the high end of the LED manufacturer’s spec as the Lumens out. Per reported measurements I have seen the Magicshine manufacturer is not driving the LED at maximum specified voltage which reduces output. LED manufacturers list output Lumens at 25 degrees C LED junction temperature and a specified voltage and current while in real life the junction temperature will typically be 70C to 100C, lowering output substantially. Add in lens and reflector losses and the effective output drops further. Accurate calculations can give a reasonable approximation of actual lumens out but many manufacturers marketing departments seem to inflate outputs considerably or use LED manufacturers figures.

    So far as I am concerned the only accurate Lumens output is one done using an integrating sphere to truly measure actual output.

    Light & Motion has a report on tests they had done of a number of competitors lights, as well as their own. The test was done by an independent lab and some of the results were way off claimed Lumens outputs. Here is a link to the PDF of the results.

    http://www.bikelights.com/images/test_data/2009_test_data_summary.pdf

  • mergs says:

    you forgot to include the Copperheads by JDro-LightWerks. at least 800 lumens and 9 hours burn. sweet.

  • MontclairBobbyB says:

    I own a J-Dro GenWon, which is every bit as good as my NiteRider Storm, but way lighter, including the Li-Ion battery. I also have the GenWon and a GenToo Kwazar in dynamo versions… Awesome!

    For Christmas this year I’m going big… I’m asking for the J-DroRoraBorealis… it’s SICK!!!

    Peace,
    BB

  • Mantzikert says:

    This is all very good, but you are not testing the most important thing.

    How easy is it to break the clip holding the light on to the bike!!!!!!

    Every bike light I have ever owned has had the clip snap off shortly after getting it. They break in crashes, when they get caught on branches, or something else has gone wrong.

    Please test how easily the connectors break.

  • AlanB says:

    Any weight information? I hear that using some lights as a head lamp requires a neck brace!

  • Clint B says:

    Gordo-Where did you get the $4 mount for the flashlight?

  • Rich Tinley says:

    Lux is NOT an accurate way to measure the total, or usable light output. A tight spot beam with the same lumen output as a wide flood will have a much higher lux value, but would not be a usable bike light. The better lights on the market may have a lower lux value, but will have a wide spread of usable light.

    Another point to mention is the colour of the light. The highest lumen output LED’s on paper DO NOT produce light in the best colour for human eye response. Warmer LED’s that may not seem so well specified in lumens, actually produce more light that the human eye can respond to. Very few manufactures have picked up on this.

    So the lux value is fairly irrelevant, just study the photos and see which you prefer the look of, noting that the yellower light will offer much more detail without the dazzle of the blue tinged LED’s.

    When taking the photos, I note that you have correctly set the camera to manual mode for exposure consistency, but you should also check that the white balance is also set to manual for colour consistency!

  • Rich Tinley says:

    To back up my comments above, (43), here is a data sheet I did for Cree MC-E Led’s. The important figure is the average human eye response.

    http://www.tinleyelectronics.com/Cree_LED_Human_Eye_responce.pdf

    The resultant light I made with three LED’s is awesome, and knocks the spots, (pun intended), off my Lupine Wilma.

  • wwwhack says:

    I second the call for Dinotte – great stuff! Small, light, bright, sane prices… Mine have been bullet proof through their second season.

  • Francois says:

    >>Lux is NOT an accurate way to measure the total, or usable light output. A tight spot beam with the same lumen output as a wide flood will have a much higher lux value, but would not be a usable bike light. The better lights on the market may have a lower lux value, but will have a wide spread of usable light.

    We are aware of this. What we are doing is shining the light on a white ceiling in a controlled room and measuring the Lux reading on the room. This is very different from shining the light on the light meter. We are in effect creating our own ‘integrating sphere’ to measure total light output.

    We are getting great results. Two lights with the same LEDs are showing very similar readings. Usually, the light with a wider beam pattern will have a better Lux reading. Furthermore, the our Lux readings reflect what we see in our photos and riding experiences.

    Our Lux readings our only for our relative comparison though and can’t be used to compare to our people’s light meter readings.

  • Gordo says:

    Either of the bottom two mounts are good.

    > (Crappy) Handlebar Mount
    > http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15342
    > (Better) Handlebar Mounts
    > http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15642
    > http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8274

  • Francois says:

    New lights are coming in:

    Light and Motion Seca 900
    Dinotte 1200l
    Lupine Wilma 5 with Cree XPG

    Plus we’ll link include our previous reviews on all the Dinotte and Light and Motion lights.

  • FreightTrainMD says:

    I just bought the Magicshine on ebay without seeing these tests but I can tell you that it blows my (2) mi-newts away. I ran one ride with both Mi-Newts on the bar and the Magicshine on my helmet. After a half hour I turned off the Mi-newts & just went with the helmet. I’ve now transferred one of the Mi-newts to my commuter and use the other as a backup on my mtb rig. The only concern I have is a Light & Motion guy told me at a night demo that you have to be careful about the Magicshine charger… Li-on batteries are pretty touchy and if the voltage regulation is not exact they can blow up and start a fire. I don’t know about this but from now on I’m leaving the battery outside to charge… at $85 I may buy another and put it on the bar. Wish I had this light when I recently did a 24hr race. It has a really nice wide even pattern too.

  • markd says:

    Just received my Magicshine today.

    Its actually smaller than I thought it would be. Im really excited to test it out. I ride in Los Angeles traffic nearly every night. Pot holes across my 12 mile commute from West LA to the east side. Dark sections without streets lights through Beverly Hills, pot holes and bumps all over the place.

    If this light does the trick, Im ordering another one, so I can hit the mountains after work.

    If this Magicshine is as good as it seems, I think it will be Iconic in the bicycle community. If they keep the price point, expect other brands to stop the ridiculous marketing and pricing of headlights.

    Its time a company offers a light that is both a reasonable investment and can increase the safety for bicycle commuters too.

    We’ll see..

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  • Anonymous says:

    MagicShine for me too – y pay more? Top up with a helmet mounted Cree flashlight or similar and ur good to go! LOTS of goodies on the dealextreme site – may take a couple of days xtra for shipping, but worth the wait Now if u wanna go homebrew – check out this guy………… http://www.singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/trout-light-mk2-good-idea-or-a-waste-of-time

  • Anonymous says:

    I have personal experience with two of the lights that are featured in the first installment of the 2010 MTBR Lights Shootout: the Magicshine MJ-808 and the Niterider Pro 600.

    I purchased the Magicshine and then returned it because of reliability issues.

    I noticed one thing about the UL Laboratories symbol on the Magicshine charger that made me suspicious. According to a document on the UL Laboratories website (http://database.ul.com/glistinterf_00-1-frnt.pdf), “A separable UL Mark (not part of a nameplate and in the form of decals, stickers or labels) will always include the following four elements: UL’s symbol , the word “LISTED” or “CLASSIFIED,” the product or category name, and a control number assigned by UL.” The Magicshine charger that I received had a UL symbol on it that did not include a control number. I checked it with a magnifying glass and there was no control number to be found. This makes me wonder about the authenticity of the UL symbol on the Magicshine charger.

    The Magicshine battery is clearly not waterproof and the battery bag that it comes in requires additional twist ties and/or additional velcro straps to get it to mount securely on the bike.

    Overall, I was not very impressed with the quality and performance of the Magicshine.

    The light from the Niterider Pro 600 is definitely whiter and brighter than the light from the Magicshine. The light from the Magicshine had more of a yellow cast to it. The Niterider Pro 600 reflector creates a narrower beam pattern. It seems to me that the differences in the color of the light and the differences in the reflector design make it possible for the Niterider Pro 600 to throw usable light much further down the road than the Magicshine. The Magicshine beam pattern was wider and not as deep. With the Niterider Pro 600 and a 200 lumen helmet light (and my glasses) I can see fairly clearly out to 75 yards. The Niterider Pro 600 has a fuel gauge to show approximately how much time is left on the battery. The light levels on the Pro 600 are user-programmable. The Niterider universal handlebar mount is more adjustable and allows the user to mount the light dead center in front of the stem rather than off to one side. If you can find a good sale on this light, then it’s possible that the added features and quality may make it worth the extra cost.

    It is great to see that the cost per lux ratio is dropping across the board. The MTBR Light Shootout statistics clearly show this. In 2008-2009, the cost per lux ranged from about $35 per lux for one of the versions of the Light & Motion Vega down to $6.14 per lux for the BR Light C2-K. Now in 2009-2010, all of the lights that have featured so far come in under $9.50 per lux and many of the lights are in the $5 to $7 per lux range.

  • Tim says:

    I see a number of comments about people’s preference for wider beam patterns. This brings me to wondering about the type of riding these folks are doing. While I agree that wider beam patterns can be useful, particularly for a handlebar light, I find that for a helmet light used on twisty forested singletrack, I like a tight beam pattern to focus as much light as possible a good distance out. The helmet light is often used for previewing the turns before the turn has been initiated, especially helpful on switchbacks.
    I also like to combine it with a handlebar light to light up the rocks, roots, and holes on the trail so there are fewer surprises that arise as a result of parralax lighting/vision with a light on the helmet

  • Allan says:

    Nice review and I look forward to seeing the videos you plan on posting in regards to these comprehensions.

    Any chance of of seeing a shootout with some of the top DIY lights made? All though Magicshine looks like that may make that point mute, but I seriously doubt that. Regardless, would love to see how some of the best DIY projects compare to some of the best lights out there.

  • Allan2 says:

    Great info and reviews. I’m never spending $400+ for bike lights again, that’s for sure.

  • Nicholas says:

    Getting the Tesla for the helmet and either the Betty or NR 1200 for the bar. Thanks for this review and the great pictures that helped me decide.

  • Daniel says:

    HID Technologies Lumen8r Quad is $495 Australian Dollars.

  • quazzle says:

    is it possible to make a snapshot of mine L30 light discussed here – http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=560438

    I can provide free samples for the test.

  • Francois says:

    >>I can provide free samples for the test.
    Sure. As long as the lights are currently commercially avaialable for purchase in the US, we can test. Email me at fcebedo@yahoo.com for details.

  • quazzle says:

    thanks. I have sent you an email.

  • dennis says:

    I would like to see right next to the specs the claimed run time too. Something just as important if not more so than lux.

  • freerider says:

    I look forward to your reviews of the Light and Motion Seca 900.

    Francois you are doing a great job!

  • woodyak says:

    What about Iblaast? They have a mini-quad LED that looks pretty sick. I have an old triple LED of theirs that is still running great. It outshines all of my buddies systems.

  • Dwight says:

    What is the review status? I have not seen any activity for a long time. I hope the reviewer is OK!

  • Marcel says:

    What about cateye?
    I just bought a cateye double shot pro thinking it was a good deal (US125) but now I see this magicshine…?

  • the1ronald@hotmail.com says:

    Does anyone have any instructions, owners manual for use of the DX light? Mine came with no instruction sheet or How To page. Please help me learn all of the fine things this light system will do. I have not gotten an answer from DX after two (2) emails. Thanks.

  • Shannon@BajaDesigns says:

    Hi Francois,

    I really enjoyed the LED test and video, I look forward to more like it! I have enjoyed reading the input from various MTBR readers, great stuff for future product development.

    Today is my first day here at Baja Designs Inc. as the Director of Sales and Marketing for their fledgling Bicycle Division. We have a sweet new light that will be debuting at Interbike and I’d like to make sure you get one for testing as soon as possible.

  • Aaron says:

    Trail Tech Light – I got the 30 Watt Trail Tech light for road bike use. The light output is awesome. You do need to DIY your own mount as the one that comes with it is so pathetic it is not even close to being usable. The light worked great for for a year and then stopped working. Trail Tech and Batteryspace.com are complete tools when it comes to customer service I don’t know who is worse. I have been emailing with both customer service departments. They don’t answer questions. You have to ask 5 times to get an answer and then they are completely ignorant about trouble shoooting their products.

    Jerks. No matter how tempting the light output is don’t buy a Trail Tech light.

  • Pingback: brickhouseracing » Trail LED Darkstar- Initial Shakedown

  • Dafus says:

    Great test, but I am disturbed by the apparent lack of standardization in the set up. Measuring the height of the playset and/or the number of cones, it is clear that either the lens on the camera varied from one shot to another or the distance from camera to the playhouse varied with the tests. It is reasonable to wonder if the distance of the light to the playhouse also varied.

  • Francois says:

    >>Great test, but I am disturbed by the apparent lack of standardization in the set up. Measuring the height of the playset and/or the number of cones, it is clear that either the lens on the camera varied from one shot to another or the distance from camera to the playhouse varied with the tests. It is reasonable to wonder if the distance of the light to the playhouse also varied.

    Camera position is the same and camera settings are manual and always identical. Some of the lights were shot several months or a year later so the background and positions may be slightly different. The light output on the photos though should be a good reference point.

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