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  1. #1
    Senior Member aeiadart's Avatar
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    Best light in the 200 dollar range?

    I dont care if this is a repost

    Ive been looking at the nite rider series of lights and am considering getting one. Before i jump the *** id like some opionions on them and if there are any lights in the same price range that can outperform them.

    thanks.

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  2. #2
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    I if was you I would check out http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.905 save some money.

  3. #3
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Probably the Dinotte 400L at $229. It's almost exactly as bright as the MagicShine 900 at $85 (the MS may be a tiny bit brighter, I don't know), but if you insist on paying $200, it's a good choice.

    The MagicShine reviews that say the battery isn't waterproof do not apply to the current generation (they made it much more waterproof in gen 2, totally waterproof(*) in gen 3). I have the original and the battery is CERTAINLY not waterproof.

    The other complaint is that the wires are not durable. They've apparently done something about this as well but we won't know until people have it on the road for a few months. Also the very newest version has a hard plastic shell around the battery with a backlit battery gauge.

    Here's the latest version: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.44459

    I really like using GeoManGear.com as a source for MS lights - you get it in 2 days instead of a month, and they carry Lupine as well.

    FWIW, the MagicShine is a pretty close clone of the Lupine Tesla 4, which is a $370 light, if that makes you feel better about only paying $85.

    I have the first generation MagicShine, and while I'd love to upgrade to the latest version, the problems with it are really only a minor annoyance and are easily dealt with (I keep the battery in a ziplock bag, and I ordered a couple of extension cords from DX and replaced the connectors that failed after about a year's use. This took about half an hour and the new connectors look more durable).

    (*) OK, nothing's TOTALLY waterproof, not even submarines. But riding in torrential downpours with the battery strapped to the frame shouldn't be a problem anymore.
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 09-15-10 at 05:37 AM.
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    The shear number of phtons a light puts out is not its most important quality. It matters a whole lot more *where* those photons are. The magic shine just projects a cone of light. That's less than useful; it blinds on coming traffic, and doesn't put most of the light where it's useful for road riding. If the magic shine people would build some decent optics, it would be great.
    It doesn't, and frankly, I doubt they care.

  5. #5
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I would look at the MS 1400 light and you will still have money to get the taillight as well.. I have been using the MS 900 model for over a year and it is still working well, no issues with the battery, have not really had it in a downpour..

    http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...roducts_id=161

    http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?...roducts_id=206

  6. #6
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    The Busch & Muller Ixon IQ @ ~$150 is one of the top lights under $200, you'd have to spend $250 to move to their next light the Ixon IQ Speed. Both have very well designed optics, with nearly all the light focused on the road in a useful pattern, and just enough spill light for other road users to see you.
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  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    The shear number of phtons a light puts out is not its most important quality. It matters a whole lot more *where* those photons are. The magic shine just projects a cone of light. That's less than useful; it blinds on coming traffic, and doesn't put most of the light where it's useful for road riding. If the magic shine people would build some decent optics, it would be great.
    It doesn't, and frankly, I doubt they care.
    Unfortunately, almost all lights sold in the US produce a cone of light, including ones that cost $1000. This is because they are designed for off road use.

    Spending $200, $500 or $1500 still will get you a conical beam shape.

    B&M and some others build EU standard lights with proper beam shape and cutoff. They're not common in the US but you can find them.
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  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Unfortunately, almost all lights sold in the US produce a cone of light, including ones that cost $1000. This is because they are designed for off road use.

    Spending $200, $500 or $1500 still will get you a conical beam shape.

    B&M and some others build EU standard lights with proper beam shape and cutoff. They're not common in the US but you can find them.
    I will add that a conical beam only blinds on-coming traffic if you are riding near the middle line of the road. From the far right side (for the US), there is little to no possibility of 'blinding' any oncoming traffic. Most beams are in the 10 to 12 degree range which still concentrates most of the light in a pretty small space. For example a beam that hits the ground at 30 feet away with a beam angle of 12 degrees has a beam width of 2 feet. Even with some extra spray from the reflector, that a very narrow field.

    Best light for $200? 2.2 Magicshines
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  9. #9
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Yeah, I would prefer to be running a proper wedge-shaped beam, but I don't really think it's that big a deal.

    Back when I was running an HID, it had a very wide conical flood pattern, and I had cars flashing their brights at me quite a lot, and I got some comments from friends who saw me on the street that my light was really kind of blinding.

    I have not had this problem at all with the MagicShine, it has a tighter beam with a better cutoff than the HID did. My $40 P7 flashlight has an even tighter beam than that. I think the MagicShine is just about right. I can aim it about 50 to 70 feet in front of me and the glare into an oncoming driver's eyes isn't any worse than low beams on a pickup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Probably the Dinotte 400L at $229. It's almost exactly as bright as the MagicShine 900 at $85 (the MS may be a tiny bit brighter, I don't know), but if you insist on paying $200, it's a good choice.

    The MagicShine reviews that say the battery isn't waterproof do not apply to the current generation (they made it much more waterproof in gen 2, totally waterproof(*) in gen 3). I have the original and the battery is CERTAINLY not waterproof.

    The other complaint is that the wires are not durable. They've apparently done something about this as well but we won't know until people have it on the road for a few months. Also the very newest version has a hard plastic shell around the battery with a backlit battery gauge.

    Here's the latest version: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.44459

    I really like using GeoManGear.com as a source for MS lights - you get it in 2 days instead of a month, and they carry Lupine as well.

    FWIW, the MagicShine is a pretty close clone of the Lupine Tesla 4, which is a $370 light, if that makes you feel better about only paying $85.

    I have the first generation MagicShine, and while I'd love to upgrade to the latest version, the problems with it are really only a minor annoyance and are easily dealt with (I keep the battery in a ziplock bag, and I ordered a couple of extension cords from DX and replaced the connectors that failed after about a year's use. This took about half an hour and the new connectors look more durable).

    (*) OK, nothing's TOTALLY waterproof, not even submarines. But riding in torrential downpours with the battery strapped to the frame shouldn't be a problem anymore.
    lol, based on your other posts I would also say the Dinotte has much better built quality. The wires have never frayed on mine, the light has always performed flawlessly in rain, Dinotte customer service has been like 9/10 (sometimes they're a little cranky, but on the other hand they let me exchange a light ordered 6 months later when they came out with a new one). I'd prefer to pay a little more in order to not have to track down, order, and replace frayed wires later...though I do have to admit that the 2 times as much cost does make it a tough decision vs the Magicshine. If it was $30 more it would be a no brainer for me, but obviously it's a "bit" more than that. :-)

    One drawback of the Dinotte 400l is the mount - it's not easily removable, it's attached with screws, at the same time you can snap the mount off with your hand so it's not theft resistant either. (I see the new Dinotte tail light claims to have a quick release option...wonder if they make a new one for the 400l...)

    One advantage of the 400l is that you can buy a lens kit with it for...$5? It's not going to give you a "cutoff", but it would let you change lenses to switch between a narrower and a wider beam. I personally like the beam pattern that was created with 2 400L's - the first 400l on high, the 2nd 400l on medium, one led on the stock narrow beam, the 2nd with the semi-flood lens. This was actually the first light / combination I owned that I felt was good enough for road riding on my road bike at night. (Not that that stopped me from always wanting more, lol...)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Unfortunately, almost all lights sold in the US produce a cone of light, including ones that cost $1000. This is because they are designed for off road use.

    Spending $200, $500 or $1500 still will get you a conical beam shape.

    B&M and some others build EU standard lights with proper beam shape and cutoff. They're not common in the US but you can find them.
    Yeah, the only thing I've been able to find that's even close it the Light and Motion Seca lights, they have kind of a "partially shaped beam". There certainly isn't a "sharp cutoff", but it does do a decent job of illuminating the road evenly. For the cutoff I'm of mixed mind...once the road isn't flat you get some...interesting results, and my Cyo (a dynamo light with a real cutoff) makes coming up on people a little weird - sure I don't shine a bright light in their face, but first you see their legs, then their body...people have surprised me a couple of time because I think I can see them (because I can see the road where they are) then they almost show up out of nowhere (though it's not a huge danger, they're still halfway the throw of the light out). Anyways...sorry, probably a topic for another discussion.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    lol, based on your other posts I would also say the Dinotte has much better built quality. The wires have never frayed on mine, the light has always performed flawlessly in rain, Dinotte customer service has been like 9/10 (sometimes they're a little cranky, but on the other hand they let me exchange a light ordered 6 months later when they came out with a new one).
    The first generation (which I have) MagicShine does have some issues, but it looks to me like they've addressed those. Even the problems that I've had are not that big a deal if you know about them; the battery pack isn't waterproof; ziploc bag. The wires tend to fray and not work after a year or so; $3 for a new connector and 10 minutes to put it in, I'm good for another year.

    It depends to some extent what your tolerance for flakiness is. Personally I won't put up with lights that commonly fail in use, so the old flashlight I was trying to use got replaced; it changed mode on bumps. But I'm OK with a light that lasts a year and then has a small, easy to fix problem, if the light is less than half the price of one that would not have that issue.

    Also, as I said, it looks to me like the newer lights solve the problems anyway, or at least made an attempt. Given the price difference and given that I'm willing to spend a few minutes a year to save $150, I don't think there's any way I'd personally buy the Dinotte, but that's a personal decision.

    I also had the Dinotte AA versions, not the LiIon. I don't really like the AA solution - the packs are not waterproof and they rust and get unreliable. I'm sure the LiIon packs don't have this problem, but even Dinotte is not above making bad design decisions. They were trying to hit a price point with the AA versions, but I think they probably should just have skipped it and stuck with the LiIon design.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    The first generation (which I have) MagicShine does have some issues, but it looks to me like they've addressed those. Even the problems that I've had are not that big a deal if you know about them; the battery pack isn't waterproof; ziploc bag. The wires tend to fray and not work after a year or so; $3 for a new connector and 10 minutes to put it in, I'm good for another year.

    It depends to some extent what your tolerance for flakiness is. Personally I won't put up with lights that commonly fail in use, so the old flashlight I was trying to use got replaced; it changed mode on bumps. But I'm OK with a light that lasts a year and then has a small, easy to fix problem, if the light is less than half the price of one that would not have that issue.

    Also, as I said, it looks to me like the newer lights solve the problems anyway, or at least made an attempt. Given the price difference and given that I'm willing to spend a few minutes a year to save $150, I don't think there's any way I'd personally buy the Dinotte, but that's a personal decision.
    Yeah, it's like you say. You say that constantly placing the battery in a plastic bag when you ride is "not a big deal". I find it intolerable - I spend the extra money for lith-ion version of the lights so I can charge the battery without taking it off the bike (now that I'm out of college and have a steady job), screwing around with a plastic bag every time is out of the question, lol.

    Ditto with ordering and replacing wires that stop working. Even in college I wouldn't have done that, because I just know I'll keep putting it off and putting it off and then it will fail at some critical time. Plus who knows if the parts will be available next year, and how long it will take to actually replace them. Can't tell you many times "10 minutes of work" turns into "2 hours of work over 2 days, plus I missed a ride" or something like that.

    It's some a matter of personal preference. If the difference was $30 I be more in the "it's worth it for better quality, no question" camp. $3 every year plus all the hassle is worth something...though since the price difference is $140 ($90 to $230), even if you got the Dinotte on sale (for...$200?) twice as much money still makes it difficult. As people say, you can buy an entire second magicshine and keep it as a backup for that kind of money.


    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I also had the Dinotte AA versions, not the LiIon. I don't really like the AA solution - the packs are not waterproof and they rust and get unreliable. I'm sure the LiIon packs don't have this problem, but even Dinotte is not above making bad design decisions. They were trying to hit a price point with the AA versions, but I think they probably should just have skipped it and stuck with the LiIon design.
    I don't agree that they should have "skipped" the AA version - that's the only reason I bought it in college. And in college it was really "good enough"...I didn't ride in the rain much.

    I agree though that for regular commuting the AA light is good, but the battery pack leaves quite a bit to be desired. Batteries can pop out when you hit bumps (had to use a rubber band to hold them in), not waterproof, have to remove the batteries every time to charge them. It's annoying.

  14. #14
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Yeah, it's like you say. You say that constantly placing the battery in a plastic bag when you ride is "not a big deal". I find it intolerable
    Not only is it not a big deal, it's completely a non issue - I simply bought a 1 meter extension cable and snaked it out of my bike bag. The battery is in a plastic bag down in the bottom of the thing, I haven't even seen it for months. I'm sure it's down there somewhere, because my light runs off it and my charger is charging something.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    - I spend the extra money for lith-ion version of the lights so I can charge the battery without taking it off the bike (now that I'm out of college and have a steady job), screwing around with a plastic bag every time is out of the question, lol.
    If you never take it off the bike, then there's no point in ever touching the plastic bag either.

    Besides, all the current versions are already waterproof, so this whole discussion is moot.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Ditto with ordering and replacing wires that stop working. Even in college I wouldn't have done that, because I just know I'll keep putting it off and putting it off and then it will fail at some critical time. Plus who knows if the parts will be available next year, and how long it will take to actually replace them.
    I ordered the parts months before it went bad.

    Mine did fail in mid ride, but I just reached down and flipped on my backup light. I would never, ever ride with only one light, no matter how reliable it is. My commute is on rural roads with 60 MPH traffic in pitch black, all seasons. I had my lights go out once with no backups; I was really scared every time a car came by, to the point where when a car got close I stopped and got way off the road. I'm not going to ever let that happen again. I ride with two headlights and four taillights (bright Magicshine down load, a Planet Bike Superflash on my helmet up high, two more superflashes pointing to the sides on the seat post)
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  15. #15
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Yeah, it's like you say. You say that constantly placing the battery in a plastic bag when you ride is "not a big deal". I find it intolerable - I spend the extra money for lith-ion version of the lights so I can charge the battery without taking it off the bike (now that I'm out of college and have a steady job), screwing around with a plastic bag every time is out of the question, lol.

    Ditto with ordering and replacing wires that stop working. Even in college I wouldn't have done that, because I just know I'll keep putting it off and putting it off and then it will fail at some critical time. Plus who knows if the parts will be available next year, and how long it will take to actually replace them. Can't tell you many times "10 minutes of work" turns into "2 hours of work over 2 days, plus I missed a ride" or something like that.

    It's some a matter of personal preference. If the difference was $30 I be more in the "it's worth it for better quality, no question" camp. $3 every year plus all the hassle is worth something...though since the price difference is $140 ($90 to $230), even if you got the Dinotte on sale (for...$200?) twice as much money still makes it difficult. As people say, you can buy an entire second magicshine and keep it as a backup for that kind of money.




    I don't agree that they should have "skipped" the AA version - that's the only reason I bought it in college. And in college it was really "good enough"...I didn't ride in the rain much.

    I agree though that for regular commuting the AA light is good, but the battery pack leaves quite a bit to be desired. Batteries can pop out when you hit bumps (had to use a rubber band to hold them in), not waterproof, have to remove the batteries every time to charge them. It's annoying.

    As a get real moment we have to acknowledge that the Dinotte is now an old design. There are now cheaper and I'd say brighter and more reliable options now available. Including the aforementioned Magicshine and ever the CygoLite Pace 135 LED which is now even cheaper than the Magic shine ($59.99).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
    As a get real moment we have to acknowledge that the Dinotte is now an old design. There are now cheaper and I'd say brighter and more reliable options now available. Including the aforementioned Magicshine and ever the CygoLite Pace 135 LED which is now even cheaper than the Magic shine ($59.99).
    ...

    Please feel free to list these other cheaper, brighter, AND more reliable lights. The Magicshine is less reliable than the Dinotte. At half the cost the extra may not be worth it, but even the Magicshine supporters usually say the Dinotte's are better made. The Magicshine is brighter or cheaper, depending on the model, but a Pace 135 sure sounds like it puts out noticeably less light than a Dinotte.

    I don't see where you listed a light that's cheaper and brighter and more reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Not only is it not a big deal, it's completely a non issue - I simply bought a 1 meter extension cable and snaked it out of my bike bag. The battery is in a plastic bag down in the bottom of the thing, I haven't even seen it for months. I'm sure it's down there somewhere, because my light runs off it and my charger is charging something.
    lol, well that's a pretty cool setup. However, I don't have a front bag on any of my bikes, some of my bikes that I need my light on don't really have a bag at all, and I need to switch which bike the light is on fairly frequently so that wouldn't work for me. Love your thing with snaking an extension cable out of the bag though. :-) I love laziness...I mean, efficiency.



    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If you never take it off the bike, then there's no point in ever touching the plastic bag either.

    Besides, all the current versions are already waterproof, so this whole discussion is moot.
    Fair enough, we'll skip it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I ordered the parts months before it went bad.

    Mine did fail in mid ride, but I just reached down and flipped on my backup light. I would never, ever ride with only one light, no matter how reliable it is. My commute is on rural roads with 60 MPH traffic in pitch black, all seasons. I had my lights go out once with no backups; I was really scared every time a car came by, to the point where when a car got close I stopped and got way off the road. I'm not going to ever let that happen again. I ride with two headlights and four taillights (bright Magicshine down load, a Planet Bike Superflash on my helmet up high, two more superflashes pointing to the sides on the seat post)
    I'm not saying you don't have a point, but people who I know in real life think *I'm* crazy for having *two* tail lights. I'm just saying I'm more than willing to pay more for more reliable lights.

  18. #18
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    lol, well that's a pretty cool setup. However, I don't have a front bag on any of my bikes, some of my bikes that I need my light on don't really have a bag at all, and I need to switch which bike the light is on fairly frequently so that wouldn't work for me. Love your thing with snaking an extension cable out of the bag though. :-) I love laziness...I mean, efficiency.
    Using your lights as a helmet light would be even more efficient/less lazy..... unless you've got multiple helmets or don't use one.

  19. #19
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    No reliability issues with my MS light, with about 150 hours of useage.. The battery runs about 30 minutes less on a full charge than when I bought it but same thing happened with my NR Trinewt and L&M Arc HID..

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    I just got the MS 1400 a few weeks ago. It works amazingly well with the 3 lights. It lights the road really well in the rain or dry. It also goes on and comes off very quickly. If I paid $500 for it, I think it would have been great value.

  21. #21
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If it rains when I ride I put my battery inside my jandd stem bag..

    http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FSBR-S

  22. #22
    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Consider this ...


    Fenix L2T 2 Level High Performance Cree LED Flashlight $34
    http://bensbargains.net/deal/156514/
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001GAOOGO

    Amazon has the Fenix L2T 2 Level High Performance Cree LED Flashlight for $34 with free shipping. Features 152 lumens high output (2.4 hrs), 16 lumens low output (32 hrs), over 115 meter (377 ft) reach, waterproof to IPX-8 standard, 3 ounce aircraft-grade aluminum body, and runs on two 1.5V AA (Alkaline, Ni-MH) batteries.
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshnc View Post
    I if was you I would check out http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.905 save some money.
    Keep in mind that the quality of these lights is generally quite poor.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    Keep in mind that the quality of these lights is generally quite poor.
    I have heard some complaints about the earlier MS lights, but from what I can see, they have fixed the issues. Also, just because you pay $300 for a light at your LBS, doesn't mean it's any better - and it certainly won't be as bright!

  25. #25
    Senior Member trx1's Avatar
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    why spend sooo much for a light...??
    do it on the cheap
    flaslight and 2 clamps...low dough and JUST as good as those high $ lights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edikfIC-RJU
    or for u DIYers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKUss...eature=related
    Last edited by trx1; 09-16-10 at 08:18 AM.

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