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Old 03-29-10, 11:22 AM   #1
PharmD
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Looking for a light...

I'm looking for a light for early morning rides. Basically I'll be getting up at 5:30am and need probably 1.5-2 hours of runtime until sunrise. I've seen the magicshine, but do I need this much light? Would I be okay going with just a 220 lumen flashlight mounted on the handlebars? I'm just unsure of where to go at this point. I've looked at the light threads, but there is just too much to look through. I'm looking for cheap at his point. The magicshine looks like a great deal for $85 bucks- it comes with everything needed right? How would two 220 lumen flashlights compare to the magicshine? Too many options...
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Old 03-29-10, 11:44 AM   #2
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I'm looking for a light for early morning rides. Basically I'll be getting up at 5:30am and need probably 1.5-2 hours of runtime until sunrise. I've seen the magicshine, but do I need this much light? Would I be okay going with just a 220 lumen flashlight mounted on the handlebars? I'm just unsure of where to go at this point. I've looked at the light threads, but there is just too much to look through. I'm looking for cheap at his point. The magicshine looks like a great deal for $85 bucks- it comes with everything needed right? How would two 220 lumen flashlights compare to the magicshine? Too many options...

MS will give you that runtime and plenty of light.

I do not own a Terralux (or any other 220 lumen flashlight). However, I have a DiNotte 200L and two Fenix (180L each) flashlights. I have ridden with one Fenix and the DiNotte, just the DiNotte, and just the Fenix. I used that set-up for around 2 years and always thought they were plenty of light.

That being said, I recently got a MS (Dec 09). Having the MS, the others get very little use as, now I think in hindsight, they were barely enough. If you need a very good biking only light, get the MS. You can run it in the dark for 1.5 to 2 hrs, then run it in flash mode (the SO-SO-SO-SO... pattern) for the rest of your ride time.

If you need a versatile light, that you can use for other applications (camping, searching your big yard for your lost dog at night, etc.) then start with a good flashlight. The flashlight likely won't give you the runtime of a MS, so you'll either need to run it on a lower mode or bring extra batteries. It also won't be nearly as bright, and when you finally do get a MS (or other P7 based light), you'll realize you were just getting by.

Also, be sure to get the best tail light you can possibly afford. Either a DiNotte now (proven but presumably more expensive), or wait until sometime in April when the MS tail light is available (new product, unproven, but hopes are high because the headlight is so good).
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Old 03-29-10, 12:53 PM   #3
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Where does the battery pack for the MS go? What options do I have for its placement? Are there any good guides for how to waterproof the battery? I don't plan on riding in the rain- but I don't want to take any chances.
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Old 03-29-10, 01:03 PM   #4
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Do you live in a city or will you really need your path illuminated? I think it's overkill to pay $85 on a front light if you live in a city, just my $0.02
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Old 03-29-10, 01:35 PM   #5
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I vote for magicshine too
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Old 03-29-10, 01:37 PM   #6
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Do you live in a city or will you really need your path illuminated? I think it's overkill to pay $85 on a front light if you live in a city, just my $0.02

Many will suggest just the opposite. Often you get lost in the sea of light the more there is available. $85 is hardly overkill for any light that may help you be seen.....it isn't always about illuminating your path.
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Old 03-29-10, 01:46 PM   #7
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Many will suggest just the opposite. Often you get lost in the sea of light the more there is available. $85 is hardly overkill for any light that may help you be seen.....it isn't always about illuminating your path.
I'm not afraid of things hitting me from the front, frankly. 1) we ride with traffic not against it, 2) I can see what's ahead of me and to the sides 3) I can brake
A quality rear light is another story though for the obvious opposite reasons
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Old 03-29-10, 02:24 PM   #8
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Where does the battery pack for the MS go? What options do I have for its placement? Are there any good guides for how to waterproof the battery? I don't plan on riding in the rain- but I don't want to take any chances.
The bag for the battery pack has a velcro flap that lets you hang it from the handlebars or stem. Mine's an older model with about 3 feet of power cable on the light, so I can also hang my battery pack from the top tube if I want (the newer lights have a shorter cable so I don't know for sure if you can put the pack on the top tube without extending the power cable). I believe Geoman sells cable extenders if you want to put the battery pack under the seat or in a rear pannier or water bottle or whatever.

There are a few different waterproofing techniques that I've seen in the MS threads on here. Mostly they involve either covering the battery with a couple of complete wrappings of electrical tape, or just putting it in some sort of waterproof container.
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Old 03-29-10, 02:27 PM   #9
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I have a Magicshine and a P7 flashlight. I bought the Magicshine first, because I needed more than 45 minutes runtime. Well, now that I have both, if I were to do it again I'd just get the flashlight. It turns out that I definitely do not need that much light; the flashlight on medium (about 250 to 300 lumens I'd guess, given my prior experience with the Dinotte 200L) puts out plenty of light for me, and in that mode I get over 2 hours of runtime.

The flashlight is self contained, simple and waterproof, and I can grab it off the bike and use it handheld. Batteries for it are cheap; a few bucks each.
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Old 03-29-10, 02:29 PM   #10
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Whether you need to worry about being hit from the front depends on your cycling environment. For city riders, it's a big issue; left crosses and driveway/intersection pullouts are a major issue and you can't always defend against them. I need the light more to see, since my route is almost entirely rural, there simply isn't any approaching traffic that's going to do anything except drive right on by, and there are only about 2 intersections on my whole ride. Others are probably between the two extremes. So it totally depends on your situation.
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Old 03-29-10, 02:36 PM   #11
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I tossed that ridiculous battery case the minute I saw it. I wrapped the battery in a little bubble wrap for winter thermal protection and made sure it was a compact wrapping so it would fit easily in and out of an empty water bottle. I cover it with 2 sandwich bags a 2 rubber bands. monsoon proof.
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Old 03-29-10, 05:30 PM   #12
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In a nutshell, here are the ways (I can think of) I've read about to waterproof the battery:
1- wrap it tightly in electrical tape. [note: I think most would agree, if done right this only makes it very, very water resistant.]
2- seal the shrink wrap with silicone caulking
3- dip it in plastidip
4- put it in a waterproof container (water bottle, waterproof handlebar bag, plastic bag, etc.)

Personally, I did #2 and #3 above, just to be sure. I live in a very wet area and I ride regardless of the weather.
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Old 03-30-10, 09:15 AM   #13
PharmD
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Ordered the magicshine yesterday....hope I made the right choice.
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Old 03-30-10, 10:50 AM   #14
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You made a good choice. For the price, I've seen nothing that can top the MS. I actually run mine on low beam and the battery lasts me 3-4 days per charge, riding about 90-100 minutes per day. I also have a Fenix L2D flashlight mounted to my helmet. It's not as bright as the MS but lighter and runs on simple AA rechargeable batteries.
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Old 03-30-10, 12:36 PM   #15
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Ordered the magicshine yesterday....hope I made the right choice.
You won't be disappointed. Two things: Remember, unless you take measures, the battery is not waterproof. Second, if the current models come with the connectors as tight as mine did, take action. I used sandpaper on the male part of the waterproofing collar on mine until the connectors came apart with just a little resistance. As it ships, you have to pull so hard that it's almost impossible to not stress the wires, and they will start to fray quickly and some people have had them short out.
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