900 Lumen LED Bike Light

28 05 2010

Power in Motion 900 Lumen LED bike light...

Ken at Power in Motion gave me this 900 lumen LED bike light to try out.  Naturally I said yes!  My reference lights are a pair of Dinotte 200L-AA that are rated at 200 lumens each and run on 4 AA rechargeable batteries.  I’ve always thought the 200L’s were very bright so I was interested to see what 900 lumens was like.

Light engine, battery and charger in box...

This light kit consists of a LED light engine, proprietary rechargeable battery and AC charger.  The box the light comes in is easy to open with a flip top and magnetic latch.  That’s nice because typically I recycle product boxes because they aren’t very easy to open/close for day to day use.  I’d actually keep this box to store the light when not in use and reuse is better than recycling by a long shot.

Business end of light engine...

The light engine features a SSCP7 LED and simple reflector.  Note that the optics are not focused so you get a cone of light that extends from the light engine.

Heat-sink and control button...

The light engine case is waterproof and features a integral heat-sink to keep the light cool.  There is a single control button on the back that cycles between high power steady, low power steady, flashing high power and off.

Battery pack...

I have no specs on the proprietary battery pack other than a stated runtime of 3hrs on high steady.  I tested this and managed 3hrs 10mins with my unit.  Low steady should run for a lot longer and in flashing mode I imagine it will be a week or more of night riding before you would have to think about charging.  It took me 4hrs to charge the battery from empty to full with the included AC charger.

I should note it looks like the light engine may draw a small amount of current when off [same as the Dinotte] so I’d recommend you unplug the battery pack if you aren’t using it so you don’t drain the battery unnecessarily.

The plug is waterproof and easy to use.  Both the plug and the wiring look solid and should be robust enough for long term use.  Ken mentioned that this light can be connected to one of his e-bike kits so you can run it from the main e-bike battery. That would be a convenient option for a electric bike commuter.

The battery come with a nylon case that can easily be attached to your bike via a velcro strap.

My test light on the left and my Dinotte 200L on the right...

The test light engine mounts in a similar fashion to the Dinotte 200L using a rubber o-ring.  This is a very versatile mounting method that has lasted several years of regular use.  This means the light can be swapped from bike to bike in seconds without tools and the beam can be aimed up and down on the fly.  Of course this type of mount means the light can be stolen easily so you’d be advised to take it with you when locking the bike.  You get a large and a small o-ring with the light kit so you should be set for just about any diameter bar.

On the whole I really like these o-ring mounts.  The convenience of use outweighs the security issue for me.

Top view...

The test light is attractive and looks well made.  As you can see from the photos it’s quite a bit bigger than the Dinotte 200L, but at 4.5 times the rated lumens maybe that’s a necessary thing – the Dinotte 800 lumen light is much bigger as well.  The Dinotte case is a work of art to be sure, however, it comes at a cost.  The 900 lumen LED tested here sells for $145 CDN at Power in Motion compared to $229 USD for a 200L – LI proprietary [lithium battery version] or $351 USD for a Dinotte 800 lumen light.

Rear view...

The 900 lumen test light is controlled from the rear via a single button that is illuminated to show it has power and switches to red to indicate a low battery.  The button is not as easy to use as the Dinotte button because it doesn’t protrude from the case as much, but I was able to change settings with a gloved hand no problem.

The light engine and battery weigh 340 grams [12oz] – light enough I didn’t notice them on my bikes.

Dinotte 200L...

Here are two pictures to try and compare the 900 lumen test light and the Dinotte 200L.  This is not an ideal test as my camera adjusts settings differently between pictures, but it was the best I could muster on short notice.  In real life the difference is even more dramatic.  I have no way to measure the brightness of these lights to verify the stated lumens, but I can tell you the 900 lumen light is much brighter than the Dinotte 200L and illuminates a much wider area.  This means you’ll see more of the road both close and far than you would with the Dinotte 200L.  For higher speed night riding I often use two Dinotte 200L’s one aimed low and close to illuminate the near section of road and one aimed higher to illuminated the road further away.  With the test light only one light would be necessary to achieve the same result.

900 lumen test light...

Keep in mind I’ve only been testing this light for a couple weeks so I can’t speak to the long term durability of the unit although the construction leads me to believe it will be robust.  I am thinking about buying one to test over the next year, but I have a some existing lights that meet my needs and other bike spending priorities…not to mention living so far north it’s already light until 10pm+… so I haven’t made a decision yet.  This light is definitely a great value which is making me think it’s worth owning.

In summary:

  • the test light is well made
  • the price is excellent
  • the light is exceptionally bright
  • the battery provides 3hrs on high steady
  • the mounting system works well

If you are interested in one of these 900 lumen lights contact Ken through his Power in Motion website or call the store at 403.233.8841. Power in Motion ships to Canada and the US.

Now this is where I would typically rant about the need for focused optics in bike lights like they have in Europe.  However, nobody selling bike lights in North America seems to care so I’ll spare you the diatribe!…=-) I will say this – be responsible with your high powered bike lights.  Consider other MUP/road users and don’t blind people with poorly aimed lights.

10 min shower test...

Update:

Adrian [a blog reader] mentioned he has some waterproofing issues with his battery pack in a similar LED light.   So the investigative reviewer in me wanted to try out my test light in the wet.  So I placed it on a shelf in the shower and hit it with a full force water barrage for 10 mins.  I occasionally picked up the light engine and ran it through the various modes to ensure it was working fine.  The light worked great and exhibited no problems from being wet or sitting in a puddle of water.


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11 responses

28 05 2010
Adrian Q

This looks pretty identical to the Magicshine, available elsewhere on the web as well. I’ve had mine since December and so far its been great! It replaces a DiNotte 5W and I agree it’s far brighter. My only wish is for a better optics package– especially a horizontal cutoff so I’m not blinding the drivers I’m riding opposite of.

The only problem I’ve had is with the battery- if even a little moisture gets into the battery pack, it wreaks havoc on the controller circuitry. I left my bike out in the rain for a couple hours and when I came back, the battery appeared to be dead- no light from the head, refused to charge. Fortunately after a few days of drying it came back and works as well as it ever did, but from now on, I keep it in a plastic bag zip-tied shut.

28 05 2010
thelazyrando

Adrian see my updated shower test of the light at the bottom of my review…

28 05 2010
CHARLES

I have had one of these lights for about six months and love it… No problems so far and made my old niterider seem like children’s toy the first time I used it.

One word of warning – do not leave the light on when not in motion for very long. They get very very hot if there is not wind to cool them down. The instructions carry a warning, but it is to be taken very seriously.

Love the blog – btw.

28 05 2010
Don

I’ve been using the MagicShine 900 since last fall & have been very pleased. As you noted, optics could be improved, I’m forced to aim lower than I would like. Also some of the tech types that post to BikeForums stated that as bright as it is, it’s not 900 lumins, closer to 500, and that the connect point of the wire to the engine is weak & needs carefull handling. Overall though its a great light & great value. Geoman out of the US has it for US$80.00 last time I checked & they ship to Canada for about $20. Also the connector between the battery & the engine has a double click feature, the light will work after the first click but is not sealed until the second click.

29 05 2010
thelazyrando

Thanks for the feedback from folks that have used this light for a while…all good points. I agree that a focused bike specific set of optics would be ideal…I don’t know why North American bike lights don’t have ‘em they use them in Europe so it’s nothing new or that has to be invented from scratch??

I have no way to measure lumens so I can’t comment on what 200L is vs. 900L. Ultimately from a cyclists point of view what we care about is how well the light illuminates the road. I have a hard time imagining why I’d need more light than the test light provides whether it’s actually 900L or not.

31 05 2010
supp

Dear Vik, the answer to the question why the bike light isn´t focussed is very simple. It´s intended to be used as a mountainbike head light. You can mount it on Your head or on the handle bar, and it should not only light the road or trail in front of You but should also light trees and other obstacles which could be on a trail during a night ride. So You need a wide spread light beam. This light seems to be a copy of the original Lupine lights. Lupine is a German manufacturer of probably the brightest lights available at the moment, well the pricing is also exceptional! Lupine does not make focussed lights (which is a pity), they target night mountainbikers and other outdoor activities. In Europe in certain countries the light beam of a bicycle light is very precisely defined by law. In German, where there is no speed limit on freeways, the law is very restrictive regarding bicycle lights. The use of lights which could blind oncoming traffic is forbidden. Manufacturers have to let their light approve for street use. Theoretically the intention of the strict law is OK, it´s safety, on the other hand, only few manucaturers achieve really bright lights fitting into those rules, as You need specials optics.

1 06 2010
thelazyrando

That would be great if these lights were only used offroad, but in north america this style of light is the only one available without importing from Europe or buying from one or two suppliers that buy from Europe. So most road riding cyclists use a light like this and have issues with blinding oncoming traffic.

2 06 2010
supp

Blinding oncoming traffic, no matter whether cars or bicycles, is not safe (neither for You as a cyclist, nor for the oncoming traffic) as it increases the risk of a crash, and it´s not helping to improve acceptance of cyclists. As I already mentioned above, for manufacturers it´s easier and cheaper to build blinding lights. Bright non blinding lights require more know how, more testing, better and more expensive optics, … By the way, non-blinding lights don´t have to be weak, this is maybe popular superstition. This happens because manufaturers tend to make weak lights in order to prevent blinding and meet the regulations. Bright and non-blinding sounds like an opposition, but it´s surely not! One of the brightest lights on the market presently is Busch und Mueller´s (www.bumm.de) Big Bang. It´s an expensive 600 Euro gas discharge light (like a car Xenon light), that is great, really bright, and because of the optics does not blind! They also offer other smaller and cheaper non-blinding head lights. Sorry for the advertising … just want to give an idea where to look … Supp (from Europe)

7 06 2010
Nik Heathman

Look out for Supernova to have a focussed light available in the UK for this coming Winter. I think QBP are the distributor over your side of the water.

You can see beam shots on their website:http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/e3pro3.html

7 06 2010
thelazyrando

@ Nik – thanks for the tip…

14 06 2010
meade

I’ve got a magic shine and its a pretty good light…no problems yet with the battery but it seems they either manifest themselves early or work fine…

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