DesignShine DS-1300 – 2013 Mtbr Lights Shootout

Lights Lights Shootout

The DesignShine DS-1300 is an engineering marvel. It uses three Cree XP-Gs and three Cree XP-Es in a head unit size that would typically be used to house one or two LEDs. To keep it cool, deep fins were machined to create 30+ square inches of cooling area. The six LEDs work in concert to create a beam that has good throw and excellent width. And this is accomplished with a spread that is even with no dark spots or artifacts.

And something unique with DesineShine is the use of acrylic to create peripheral spill and side visibility. The acrylic cover deflects some of the light down and to the sides. This allows the rider to see the periphery quite well.  And additionally, the light and the rider is seen from the sides quite well. That makes this a good commuter light as well as a great mountain bike light.

The only downside is all the engineering went to the head unit so mounts are sourced from Cateye and battery/chargers look fairly generic.


  • Price: $292
  • Claimed Lumens: 1300 Lumens
  • Measured Lumens: n/a Lumens
  • Measured MTBR Lux: 112 Lux
  • Light Head Weight: 122 grams
  • Installed Weight: 315 grams
  • Run Time: 2.3 Hours
  • Category: High End

2013 Lights from Designshine


  • Great beam pattern with a combination of throw and spill
  • Excellent side visibility
  • Light head is extremely compact
  • Extremely light for the brightness and run time
  • The head unit features an extended roof to protect the rider’s eyes from the light spill from the acrylic lens.


  • Charger looks like a Magicshine and battery looks home made.
  • Cooling fins do not seem optimized for front to back airflow of a moving bike.


Mounts are all sourced from Cateye. These work well as they are very well made.

MTBR Light Meter Measurements: Compare all lights here.

This light measured 112 Lux on our ambient light measurement facility.

Integrating Sphere Measured Lumens: Compare all lights here.

We attempted to measure the lumen output of the DesignShine but there was too much light leakage due to the acrylic material. Even with the leakage, we measured 1100 lumens. So we are comfortable that the light output is close to 1300. Claimed Lumens by the manufacturer is 1300 Lumens.

Backyard Beam Pattern Photo: Compare all lights here.

We photographed the lights in the same location setting with the same camera settings. The photos were taken in the back yard that is approximately 25 yards long. These photos feature many objects and a distinct background to analyze detail and beam pattern.

Related Links
All Mtbr Lights Shootout Articles »
2013 Bike Lights Shootout »
2013 Backyard Beam Pattern Comparisons »
2013 Tunnel Beam Pattern Comparisons »
2013 Mtbr Lux measurements »
2013 Mtbr Lumen Tests »
2012 Bike Lights Shootout »
Mtbr Lights Reviews »
Mtbr Lights Forum »

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Natasha says:

    A while back Stephen asked me to write a long-term review of his lights since I’ve had them longer than most. So after 18 months of use, these are my impressions:

    All my DesignShine lights are working like Swiss watches. They are built like nothing else, I fully expect that they’ll be working just fine for the next 15 years. There’s not much to write really, they are bulletproof and that’s it. I use those lights day and night, rain or sunshine… they just work and are totally dependable. Short of dropping them from a cliff, I don’t think there is anything that’ll stop them from working.

    I do expect that I’ll need new batteries fairly soon and that’s normal. But here’s the good thing about Stephen’s batteries: they are excellent quality (albeit not endowed with pleasing esthetics) and he sells them cheap. Other light manufactures try to make obscene profits on batteries and accessories, but not Stephen.

    The DS-500 rear light is without doubt the very best on earth, nothing else comes close at any price. No need to say more.

    The DS-1300 is perhaps not the best front light out there if money is no object. But in terms of beam pattern and build quality, it is second to none. You’d have to spend 3 times more money to get a better light and it wouldn’t be that much better. It would have some fancy features and more lumens, but it would not have a better beam pattern and it would not be better built.

    Finally the best thing about DesignShine is the personal attention you get from Stephen and the endless possibly for customization. Try giving Light And Motion a call and telling them that you’d like to use one of their lights with somebody’s else battery. They’d freak out and tell you that you absolutely cannot do that. In fact they even use a special proprietary connector to stop you from doing that. But tell Stephen the same thing and he’s say, “OK, no problem, I’ll make it work for you. I’ll build your light with whatever connector you like so that you can use the battery of your choice.” Now, that’s customer service. You can also specify the lens combination for flood or throw or whatever in-between.

    I love riding with those lights, they put a smile on my face, they keep me safe, I can depend on them, and I know they’ll work forever. Had I paid $3000 for them, they would have been an incredible purchase. The fact that I paid only $750 for 3 lights is icing on the cake.

    The only complaint I have about DesignShine is the waiting list. The world would be a much better place if Stephen were to divorce his wife, quit his job, sit his derrière down, and build light 24/7. 😉 I’d like to get a few more.

  • Robert Price says:

    Good looking light. Similiar to my DIY I built a few years back. Just wanted to comment on the fin direction. My designs also have fins running perpendicular to air flow created by a moving bike. Intuition would tell you that is not optimized. I tested this theory in some depth. I placed a TC internally on the inside of the case cover and ran the light (2×3 xpg) at full over its entire battery life. I used a fan to simulate air flow and took data with the fins facing in the same direction as air flow and at a 90 degree angle. I could measure no difference in cooling capacity. Surface area does appear to be the greatest impact on cooling capacity followed by thermal transfer efficiency from the back of the leds to the outside case.


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