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  1. #1
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    Second Chinese light broke... name a reliable self-contained light

    I had a MagicShine MJ-808 battery die after about a year. Today, the cheap-o "Cree" generic I just bought crapped out on me without warning after about five uses. I guess I could buy another new battery, but frankly I'm sick of dealing with questionable quality and just want to buy something good and be done with it. Also, after years of going with external battery packs, I'mconvinced that self-contained lights are easier to deal with, especially as I primarily use helmet mounts.

    Anyway, what's a good 500+ true lumen self-contained light that retails for less than $200 and is completely reliable? I'm considering one of the Cygolite Expilions (perhaps the 800), is there anything better? Not a fan of the proprietary Cygolite batteries and I would prefer something that uses standard 18650s.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I've had a NiteRider MiNewt.600 Cordless for a couple of years now. No issues. I even have the 150 version that I use on my helmet. (Helmet strap is extra)

    The 600 is on sale at Performance Bike for about $110 right now.

    NiteRider has replaced the MiNewt series with the Lumina series. Suppose to be lighter, brighter, etc.

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    I'm starting my third season of riding under the lights with a Cygolite Expilion, which is my helmet light. So far, so good.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    It kind of makes me wonder why Cree would allow their brand name to be so closely associated with some of these nameless lights coming out of Asia with questionable quality. A bit damaging to their reputation.

    When you buy a bike from Giant, sure, some of the subcomponents come from Shimano, but it's advertised as a Giant bike and supported by Giant, not as a Shimano bike.

    Kind of funny really. When looking at my B&M lights, it's not even readily apparent to me who made the LEDs. I assume since they're German that they're probably made by Osram, but I'm not even close to being sure.

  5. #5
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    I have always wondered the same thing and I'm sure Cree doesn't like it, but these companies are probably pretty hard to track down to send a cease and desist letter.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    Yeah, but they might make some kind of statement on their website distancing themselves from it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    I had a MagicShine MJ-808 battery die after about a year. Today, the cheap-o "Cree" generic I just bought crapped out on me without warning after about five uses. I guess I could buy another new battery, but frankly I'm sick of dealing with questionable quality and just want to buy something good and be done with it. Also, after years of going with external battery packs, I'mconvinced that self-contained lights are easier to deal with, especially as I primarily use helmet mounts.

    Anyway, what's a good 500+ true lumen self-contained light that retails for less than $200 and is completely reliable? I'm considering one of the Cygolite Expilions (perhaps the 800), is there anything better? Not a fan of the proprietary Cygolite batteries and I would prefer something that uses standard 18650s.
    I'd be looking at the Light and Motion stuff. Not only are they self contained but they also have running lights for side lighting. This is is $139 at Amazon for 550 lumens. L&M are honest on their lumens too and make really solid lights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Light-Motion-U...ght+and+motion

    That said, if you can, I'd stretch and get a Taz1000 from L&M - they are fantastic lights with great beam shaping. My kids have these at college and love them.

    Here is a deal for you - a L&M Taz800 from last year - 800 lumens with beamshaping (probably behaves like a 1200 or so in other lights) for $163. This would be worth jumping on post haste.

    http://www.amazon.com/Light-Motion-T...ght+and+motion

    J.

  8. #8
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    I've been happy with my MS and still on my 1st battery after 3 years. Also have a cheep CREE e-bay headlamp that uses the 18650's that has held up for a couple years as well. That being said if I were to go higher end, I have a Light and Motion SCUBA dive light and the quality is exceptional. I would not hesitate to buy anything L&M.

  9. #9
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    I've got the Taz800, its a solid light. Very bright, seems well built. Beam pattern is broad so maybe not the best if you prefer a distant spot. I like the peripheral illumination.

  10. #10
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    For all in one system, I recommend flashlights using either 18650 or 26650 cells. I used 18650 cell flashlights for years before l&m or niterider came out with single system designs.

    Sorry to hear about your negative experience with Chinese lights, those clones in the $25-$30 range aren't the best quality. Although I just bought a $50 one and I'm very pleased at first glance, I'll have to see how it holds up for the long term. http://forums.mtbr.com/lights-night-...es-876449.html

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    18 thousand, 6 hundred cells is a lot, at 1,2v each its like 22KV.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    I had a MagicShine MJ-808 battery die after about a year. Today, the cheap-o "Cree" generic I just bought crapped out on me without warning after about five uses. I guess I could buy another new battery, but frankly I'm sick of dealing with questionable quality and just want to buy something good and be done with it. Also, after years of going with external battery packs, I'mconvinced that self-contained lights are easier to deal with, especially as I primarily use helmet mounts.

    Anyway, what's a good 500+ true lumen self-contained light that retails for less than $200 and is completely reliable? I'm considering one of the Cygolite Expilions (perhaps the 800), is there anything better? Not a fan of the proprietary Cygolite batteries and I would prefer something that uses standard 18650s.
    Have a look at what Leyzne has to offer.

    ETA: I have no experience with their lights, but I'm curious about their beam pattern.
    Last edited by no1mad; 10-03-13 at 02:06 AM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have always wondered the same thing and I'm sure Cree doesn't like it, but these companies are probably pretty hard to track down to send a cease and desist letter.
    Apparently some people aren't thinking this through; Cree loves the Chinese. They buy their product in bulk. The more they buy the happier the Cree stock holders are going to be. This is how business works. You sell something, someone buys it. Done. What happens with the product AFTER they are sold is not the worry of the Cree people. As long as the emitters are operated within the parameters of their designed use there is no cause for the Cree people to have a worry in the world. If someone wants to take a Cree emitter and hook it up in series to a 5A current source which burns out in two weeks ( if that long ) the Cree people will not have a worry in the world because they understand the concept, " Once sold it's your baby now, if you abused it, Que Sera, Sera". If something doesn't work because the design parameters of the sold product weren't adhered to you can't fault the people who sold the emitters.

    Now on the other hand, if some how the Chinese figure a way to dismantle the emitters to produce a "Killer Death Ray" machine capable of knocking down ICBM's or any other ariel weapon system than yes, Cree would have something to worry about.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    I think you're missing our point. The issue isn't how the product is incorporated in the downstream supply chain, it's that the downstream product is misleadingly MARKETED as a CREE product. Therefore the negative aspects of the lights could be damaging to the reputation of the emitter supplier that's working hard to provide a consistent product.

  15. #15
    Senior Member WestMass's Avatar
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    I just got a niterider lumina 700. For $140 retail it's a pretty sweet light with handlebar or helmet mount, USB chargeable, 3 light levels and a "daytime" flash mode that will blind you. I rode to work in the dark on the middle setting and it was wonderful.
    regular commuter, adventurer/explorer of backroads and mtb trails

  16. #16
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    I am about to get one of these Lezyne 1000 Lumen self contained. They look very well made and test over 1000 lumen.

    Anybody have experience?

    http://www.amazon.com/Lezyne-Drive-L...s=lezyne+light
    2012 Felt F55X

  17. #17
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    I'd be looking at the Light and Motion stuff. Not only are they self contained but they also have running lights for side lighting. This is is $139 at Amazon for 550 lumens. L&M are honest on their lumens too and make really solid lights.

    http://www.amazon.com/Light-Motion-U...ght+and+motion
    I've got a L&M Viz360 that seems brighter than the 120 advertised lumens. It's well made, self contained and very reliable - but not bright enough to use by itself unless you're not moving very fast.
    Last edited by no motor?; 10-04-13 at 11:20 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    I've been using the Niteflux Redzone for the last 6 months now. They seem reliable enough.

  19. #19
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    I have last year's Lezyne Super Drive and it has worked without issue for over a year now. It is in fact charging on my office desk right now.

  20. #20
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I have the Cygolite Pace 400. The Pace is simply a version of the Expilion line that is sold through Performance and Nashbar. I would certainly prefer something that used a non-proprietary battery, but I have had good experience with the runtimes, always getting at least a couple of hours out of it.

    I do like having a replaceable battery. I don't have to use it much, but is nice to have the spare once in a while when I do need it.

    I did have the LED in mine go bad. I didn't realize how dim it had gotten until I was riding alongside my wife who has the same model and hers lit up the whole trail. They fixed it under warranty, but if it had been out of warranty, it would likely have only been a $15 repair.

    They do offer different batteries for the 500+ lumen models and the under 500's. A friend has the 750 and I loaned him my spare battery one evening when he had forgotten to charge his own. It works just fine. I did call Cygolite and was told they are pretty much the same battery and the only difference is a modest increase in capacity for the more higher end models. I had wanted to know if I would get significantly more runtime with the higher end battery, but I decided the extended time was not enough to warrant the extra cost.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  21. #21
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Cree makes the LEDs, and there's nothing wrong with them. You might as well expect Fram to complain if someone starts making a bad car and putting their filters in them.

    Anyone who knows what Cree is at all understands that it's just the LED. It being installed in a bad product does not reflect much on the LED itself and buyers understand that.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Cree makes the LEDs, and there's nothing wrong with them. You might as well expect Fram to complain if someone starts making a bad car and putting their filters in them.
    Crappy car with a crappy filter, no love loss there.

  23. #23
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
    I think you're missing our point. The issue isn't how the product is incorporated in the downstream supply chain, it's that the downstream product is misleadingly MARKETED as a CREE product. Therefore the negative aspects of the lights could be damaging to the reputation of the emitter supplier that's working hard to provide a consistent product.
    I understand what you're saying but most people aren't going to think like that. So far I've not seen any Chinese lights being sold as a Cree product. They may make mentioned of the Cree emitter in the ad or product description but I've never seen one marketed as a Cree product. The only way the reputation can be damaged is if the emitter doesn't live up to it's spec's. So far that's not happening.

    If your Chinese lamp fails you look to find out why. Usually it will be shoddy quality control, poor parts selection/assembly..bad battery..etc. Rarely do the emitters fail unless there was poor assembly when the base product was put together. Either way I fail to see how this can tarnish the reputation of the company who made the emitter.

    If you buy the most expensive tires made and put them on your piece of shiits car, why should the tire manufacture care? If the car ends up in a wreck because the driver drove too fast around a curve this is no reflection on the quality of the tires. It just means the car was a piece of crap OR the driver placed too much expectation on how well the tires were going to perform on his crappy car. When something fails you sometimes have to look a little deeper to find the reason why. When you point blame you need to aim at the correct target.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    I understand what you're saying but most people aren't going to think like that. When you point blame you need to aim at the correct target.
    That's what happened at the recent Jackson versus AIG trial.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Dfrost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    I had a MagicShine MJ-808 battery die after about a year. Today, the cheap-o "Cree" generic I just bought crapped out on me without warning after about five uses. I guess I could buy another new battery, but frankly I'm sick of dealing with questionable quality and just want to buy something good and be done with it. Also, after years of going with external battery packs, I'mconvinced that self-contained lights are easier to deal with, especially as I primarily use helmet mounts.

    Anyway, what's a good 500+ true lumen self-contained light that retails for less than $200 and is completely reliable? I'm considering one of the Cygolite Expilions (perhaps the 800), is there anything better? Not a fan of the proprietary Cygolite batteries and I would prefer something that uses standard 18650s.
    I have a near new, current year Lezyne Super Drive XL Fully Loaded kit that I'm ready to sell. This model allows easy battery swaps and the Fully Loaded Kit includes a second standard 18650 battery in a neat little storage tube as well as mounts for both regular and OS handlebars. I will be including a second pair of handlebar mounts. I only used this light for a few summer months this year, so there are very few charge cycles on the batteries. Send me a PM if you're interested.

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