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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 09-09-13, 03:14 PM   #26
Nachoman
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One other point on the list mentioned above. The prices quoted are list prices and you likely can find many of the lights for less on Amazon or Ebay. For example you can find Nightrider Lumina 650s on Ebay for ~ $100 but it is listed in the article at $140.
I think I got the Nightrider Lumina 650 for just under a hundred bucks. It's really nice. I put the Nightrider on the bars and 300 lumens on the helmet and I'm feeling pretty good.
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Old 09-09-13, 04:38 PM   #27
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I think I got the Nightrider Lumina 650 for just under a hundred bucks. It's really nice. I put the Nightrider on the bars and 300 lumens on the helmet and I'm feeling pretty good.
I have been leaning towards the Nightrider Lumina 650. But also like what Cygolite has to offer?
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Old 09-09-13, 04:51 PM   #28
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If you actually want a proper headlight you want 500+ lumens.
+1 Last year I bought a lezyne super drive XL (XML) and I keep it in the "race" mode which alternates between 300 and 500 (IIRC). 300 is fine as the sun is going down, but 500 is much more comfortable when it's truly dark out (under the trees in a forest preserve). I will probably add another helmet light for better visibility in turns. This is around 17-21mph.
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Old 09-09-13, 05:04 PM   #29
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I have been leaning towards the Nightrider Lumina 650. But also like what Cygolite has to offer?
I don't know anything about anything. But I do know that you'll be happy with the NL650.
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Old 09-09-13, 05:37 PM   #30
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I don't know anything about anything. But I do know that you'll be happy with the NL650.
+1 - I have the Niterider Lumina 650 as well and very happy with it. It also had favorable reviews in the MTBR light shoot out review I posted earlier (see link in previous post)
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Old 09-10-13, 08:17 AM   #31
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I have been leaning towards the Nightrider Lumina 650. But also like what Cygolite has to offer?
I use both regularly-- own an Expilion 700, but use one of my brother's Lumina 650s often-- and can say that while brightness is equivalent with each, the form and switchgear on the Lumina is much nicer. I really hate the button on the Expilion, while the Lumina's offers quick, positive clicks; nice. Visually the Expilion is bulkier, and I slightly prefer the Lumina bracket for the positive detents when turning horizontally. I opted for the Cygolite because of the replaceable battery, which gives me extra, on-the-fly capacity when touring, and a little security knowing that when the battery dies, which they all do, I don't have to toss the whole lamp as I would with the Niterider.
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Old 09-10-13, 09:15 AM   #32
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The knock-off ones have truly crap reliability. Factor in shipping costs and convenience and I recommend spending the few extra dollars to get the real one with Samsung batteries. Action LED has great service and is highly recommended.

Lastly, the one I posted has the latest Cree XM-L2 emitter, it's not the regular MJ808. XM-L2 is state of the art right now.
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Not True...(The knock-off ones have truly crap reliability.)
I agree. I've been using the "knock-off" lamps for about a year and a half now. Zero problems. The batteries are good, the switches haven't had any issues, and the lights have been drenched enough in our goofy monsoon weather pattern this year to test their waterproofness throughly. And the light I get out of them are better than the Magicshines I owned previously.

As far as I can tell from the Cree information on the LEDs, the Cree XM-L T6 is an XM-L2 emitter. The XM-L U2 puts out a little more light than the T6 but only slightly more. If that is important, you can get a 2 Cree U2 LED light from Fasttech for $40, or you can pay $40.73 for this one or you can spend like a drunken sailor and get this one for $51 . All three have state of the art Cree U2 emitters.

Even if the things go completely to pieces in a year, you've lost $40. Big deal. I wonder if people who paid a couple of hundred dollars for a Niterider MiNewt a few years ago think of it as a great investment

I put my money where my mouth is and ordered the Yinding Sunday. Let's see how it does.
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Old 09-10-13, 09:32 AM   #33
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avoid niterider lights with their previous "squeeze together" mount however. it looks like its been rengineered for this year so a new light should be good to go. lights from a few years ago had a stupid mount that had opposing ratcheted teeth on either side of the mount and you squeezed it together around the bar. stupid idea. good light but what good is having a bright light if the mount sucks....
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Old 09-10-13, 12:14 PM   #34
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650 lunums way bright enough, NO WIRES lithium battery inside USB charge, easy release clamp
While I like the idea of not having a separate battery (I use a magic shine knock-off), I don't like the reduction in run time. Of course, I also don't see why anyone pays > $50 for a 600 lumen light ;-) You can get way more output than that with a battery good for 2hrs on high for < $30:
http://www.amazon.com/SUPERNIGHT-TM-...e+xm-l+bicycle
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Old 09-10-13, 12:14 PM   #35
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I agree. I've been using the "knock-off" lamps for about a year and a half now. Zero problems. The batteries are good, the switches haven't had any issues, and the lights have been drenched enough in our goofy monsoon weather pattern this year to test their waterproofness throughly. And the light I get out of them are better than the Magicshines I owned previously.

As far as I can tell from the Cree information on the LEDs, the Cree XM-L T6 is an XM-L2 emitter. The XM-L U2 puts out a little more light than the T6 but only slightly more. If that is important, you can get a 2 Cree U2 LED light from Fasttech for $40, or you can pay $40.73 for this one or you can spend like a drunken sailor and get this one for $51 . All three have state of the art Cree U2 emitters.
You guys convinced me. I ordered the $23 one from Amazon. At $23 if it works for the rest of the year, I'll be pleased.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:34 PM   #36
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Add the $5 wide angle lens to your $23 amazon light. It makes a huge difference. The throw and output is decreased slightly, but the rectangular beam is really nice on the road and paved trails.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:36 PM   #37
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The Magicshine was the "it" light two years ago....but the knockoff ones on DX/ebay/amazon are likely just about as good and cost $30ish. So even if they break every year, it's still cheaper to get one of these. Heck, you could buy THREE of them for under $100.

edit: here is one on Amazon, under $25 now.

http://www.amazon.com/Lumen-Bicycle-...ght+1200+lumen
I own one of these from this seller. Look no further, this is your light.
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Old 09-10-13, 12:55 PM   #38
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good luck on the china crap, I have a 3000 lunums one I paid 40 for UNRELIABLE POS works sometimes and sometimes don't, sits on garage shelf I don't feel like getting stuck in the dark AND not worth shipping back to China
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Old 09-10-13, 12:56 PM   #39
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I put my money where my mouth is and ordered the Yinding Sunday. Let's see how it does.
DX just posted the yinding today. $1 more than fasttech.com.

http://dx.com/p/yinding-yd-2xu2-2-x-...x-18650-243661

DX only has two colours (red, black) while fasttech.com has 3 (black, red, blue).

This is quickly becoming THE light for the next few months where the solarstorm x2 was THE light 6 months ago. Nicer design than the solarstorm, the solarstorm has sharp edges.

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good luck on the china crap, I have a 3000 lunums one I paid 40 for UNRELIABLE POS works sometimes and sometimes don't, sits on garage shelf I don't feel like getting stuck in the dark AND not worth shipping back to China
I'll bet your light isn't 3000 lumens (false advertising) and you probably bought from a crappy unreputable seller.
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Old 09-10-13, 01:04 PM   #40
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holy crap, when I think that I paid like $120 for one of those a couple years back from action-led...Well, I needed it at the time. Couldn't wait 2-3 years for the bottom to fall out on the price. Might have to pick up one or two spares. Was thinking about building up a dyno-hub and getting back into evening commuting with some fancy lighting, but with prices like this, that might not be necessary.
Got them for $20 each thanks to an alert on BF.
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Old 09-10-13, 02:51 PM   #41
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good luck on the china crap, I have a 3000 lunums one I paid 40 for UNRELIABLE POS works sometimes and sometimes don't, sits on garage shelf I don't feel like getting stuck in the dark AND not worth shipping back to China
Probably more like 1200 lumens. Most of the knock-off lights are rated based on the maximum rating for the LED bulb. Almost none actually run the LED that hard due to heat and battery life limits. Typically they produce 30-50% of the rated output. Even de-rating to account for that, they're still a bargain.

The beam pattern is on cheap lights will be poor though, think glorified flashlight The wide angle diffuser is a cheap attempt to partially resolve the issue. I decided on a Light and Motion headlight to get a more tailored beam and overall quality.
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Old 09-10-13, 04:00 PM   #42
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Probably more like 1200 lumens. Most of the knock-off lights are rated based on the maximum rating for the LED bulb. Almost none actually run the LED that hard due to heat and battery life limits. Typically they produce 30-50% of the rated output. Even de-rating to account for that, they're still a bargain.

The beam pattern is on cheap lights will be poor though, think glorified flashlight The wide angle diffuser is a cheap attempt to partially resolve the issue. I decided on a Light and Motion headlight to get a more tailored beam and overall quality.
While I agree that the light output is vastly overrated...a Cree XM-L T6 puts out almost 700 lumens at 2000 mA...I don't agree on the beam pattern. I've had Magicshine LED, Niterider halogen, MR16 halogen and one of the Chinese Crees along with other lights that don't need mentioning. The lamp I currently run (which is no longer available but you can find that housing everywhere) has a (roughly) 12 degree beam pattern that is just about the same spread as the MR16 halogens I used to run. The lights that look like Magicshines have a 35 degree beam which is too floody for my taste. They aren't all that different in beam quality from anything else I've seen that uses a parabolized reflector.

As for the overall quality, I have 3 of them and haven't had a single issue with any of them.
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Old 09-10-13, 04:22 PM   #43
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FWIW - the knockoff $25 Magicshine light works extremely well for me - I even use it running in the wee hours of the morning (can't use it most other times as it's too blinding for pedestrians) and it's awesome, with great runtime and form factor.

Also, the 3W rear light that goes with this light is insanely bright. Makes a PBSF look wimpy, amazingly enough. The only bummer about it is that there's no special mount for it - uses a simple O-ring, so you're pretty much limited to the angle of your seatpost. But if you can put it there, it's more rear brightness than you'll ever need on a bike.
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Old 09-10-13, 04:44 PM   #44
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As for the overall quality, I have 3 of them and haven't had a single issue with any of them.
Have you forgotten, are unaware of, or discounting the infamous Magicshine battery debacle of 2010? And Magicshine was as reputable a Chinese light supplier as they come...not that I'm saying that all cheap, Chinese stuff is lousy, only that if you buy cheap, Chinese stuff the odds are very good you'll get a lousy product, and that I don't think you or anyone else really has a good way of picking the winners from the losers, apparently even after the fact.

Add to that the facts surrounding product return and warranty claims as indicated above, and I'm pretty comfy putting my money on there being more broken and disused Chinese bike lights sitting around in American garages than the buyers are willing to admit. Nobody wants to seem a sucker, especially when half the folks would be loke, "I told you so."
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Old 09-10-13, 04:55 PM   #45
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Have you forgotten, are unaware of, or discounting the infamous Magicshine battery debacle of 2010? And Magicshine was as reputable a Chinese light supplier as they come...not that I'm saying that all cheap, Chinese stuff is lousy, only that if you buy cheap, Chinese stuff the odds are very good you'll get a lousy product, and that I don't think you or anyone else really has a good way of picking the winners from the losers, apparently even after the fact.

Add to that the facts surrounding product return and warranty claims as indicated above, and I'm pretty comfy putting my money on there being more broken and disused Chinese bike lights sitting around in American garages than the buyers are willing to admit. Nobody wants to seem a sucker, especially when half the folks would be loke, "I told you so."
I've had a magic shine copy since 2011 and it's been working great. I've only had to replace the battery a year ago and that was only $20.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:00 PM   #46
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I've had a magic shine copy since 2011 and it's been working great. I've only had to replace the battery a year ago and that was only $20.
I have a Niterider halogen I bought like 20 years ago and have never had to replace the battery or even the bulb.

But listen, I wasn't dogging on Magicshine, just on those who'd dismiss real issues with a corny, personal anecdote.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:07 PM   #47
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I have a Niterider halogen I bought like 20 years ago and have never had to replace the battery or even the bulb.

But listen, I wasn't dogging on Magicshine, just on those who'd dismiss real issues with a corny, personal anecdote.
I'm guessing that's a trail rat. I have one myself. Good solid lights, though I have replaced a couple bulbs. Though I haven't used halogen since I made the switch to HID about 10 years ago. Added LED about 3 years ago. It's crazy how cheap good lights have gotten. Those old HID's were crazy expensive.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:18 PM   #48
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I agree with this. I can't say it's better or worse than anything else because it's the only one I use. I ride pre-dawn on a regular basis, on un-lit Mups. I am VERY happy with it - so happy I bought one for Mrs. PJ, too. Beam pattern is perfect for me. I often run it on medium and it give me plenty of light for my riding style. YMMV, but I'd buy these again in a heartbeat.
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Old 09-10-13, 05:19 PM   #49
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I'm guessing that's a trail rat. I have one myself. Good solid lights, though I have replaced a couple bulbs. Though I haven't used halogen since I made the switch to HID about 10 years ago. Added LED about 3 years ago. It's crazy how cheap good lights have gotten. Those old HID's were crazy expensive.
I'm pretty sure it was pre-Trail Rat, but yeah, that's the same type of unit.

Of course, I'd never suggest that Niterider's don't need bulb changes based on my experience... In fact, the run time was always crappy, so it wasn't long that it was retired to commuter duty and replaced with Light & Motion halogen! So really, because it wasn't used much, the fact it has made it 20 years isn't saying much...until you compare it to cheap Chinese batteries that catch fire or conk out after a year!

But yeah, the cost of light these days is nothing compared to what it used to be.
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Old 09-10-13, 06:53 PM   #50
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Have you forgotten, are unaware of, or discounting the infamous Magicshine battery debacle of 2010? And Magicshine was as reputable a Chinese light supplier as they come...not that I'm saying that all cheap, Chinese stuff is lousy, only that if you buy cheap, Chinese stuff the odds are very good you'll get a lousy product, and that I don't think you or anyone else really has a good way of picking the winners from the losers, apparently even after the fact.

Add to that the facts surrounding product return and warranty claims as indicated above, and I'm pretty comfy putting my money on there being more broken and disused Chinese bike lights sitting around in American garages than the buyers are willing to admit. Nobody wants to seem a sucker, especially when half the folks would be loke, "I told you so."
The Magicshine battery issue was a tempest in a teapot. Yes, I got batteries replaced by Geoman but I don't think he needed to do so. I have friends...another corny personal anecdote...who have the old batteries that are going strong. I also look on batteries as a consumable. They will wear out at some point and have to be replaced. Li-ion more so then other battery chemistries.

If I paid north of $100 each for my 3 lights, I worry more about how long they last. If the technology wasn't changing rapidly, I'd probably buy lights for the long haul but over the last 10 years, LED technology has changed rapidly and the cost has reduced dramatically. At around $25 per lamp, I can afford to have a stinker from time to time. I haven't had a stinker yet and that's over 6 different lamp units.

The very best and brightest headlamp under $100 are the $25 Chinese Crees. You can buy 4 of them for that cost. There ain't nothing else to compare to them. You could spend $100 and get a 500 lumen light or you could spend $100 and get four 500 lumen lights. A little bit of math indicates that you get 2000 lumens for the same money.
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