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Any thoughts on Dinotte versus Magicshine taillights?

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Any thoughts on Dinotte versus Magicshine taillights?

Old 09-15-11, 11:23 AM
  #1  
ROJA
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Any thoughts on Dinotte versus Magicshine taillights?

I am going to start commuting and will often be riding at night and in bad weather. I currently use two PBSFs, but I want to upgrade because of the amount of night riding I plan to do. I've read some reviews of both lights (especially with the MS taillight first came out), but it's not clear how the MS is holding up over time. There were definitely some complaints about the switch, etc.

I like the idea of getting both MS lights (f/r) and being able to power them off one pack. I would prefer to pay less, but I don't want to have to fiddle with stuff frequently or have failures on the road.

I guess these are my main questions:

1. How bright/safe are MS taillights versus Dinotte?

2. Has MS come up with a mounting system for the MS taillight or does it still require a DIY solution (this is a frequent problem noted in the reviews)? How does it compare to the way the Dinotte mounts?

3. How are the MS taillights holding up over time? (The comparison is Dinotte, which is legendary for quality and reliability.)

4. How do these lights work in rain and bad weather (both relative visibility and reliability)?

5. What are the reasons for paying the higher price for the Dinotte and is it worth the premium?

6. Are there any other pros/cons of these lights I should consider?

Thanks for any thoughts! I would like to have at least 3 hours of runtime on a charge and would prefer to be able to use one battery pack to power multiple lights.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:14 PM
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from the teardowns I've seen, the Magicshine are not going to last nearly as long as a dinotte. I don't know if that really matters because I figure there will be better lights before my Dinotte wears out. Otherwise, they are both bright.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:22 PM
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I'd buy a D140 (using my existing AAs and charger) for $124 shipped over 2 MS and a battery for $107 shipped. If you don't currently use a charger and rechargeable cells for your PBSFs, you should add another $20-50 to the Dinotte cost. Rechargeable cells are less expensive in the long run, especially if you bicycle more than once or twice a week. I recommend Sanyo Eneloop cells.

The Dinotte D140 probably yields the same light output (if not more), is more reliable, and you end up with less clutter on the bike.

I've used a D140 for 2+ years now without a single problem. In the same period, I've had 4 MS batteries, 1 MS head light, and 1 MS charger fail under the most gentle road-use-only conditions possible. MS products are only good for about a year before they fail - batteries even less. You can likely expect the MS battery to fail in 6 months (factor in another $45-90 cost for replacement batteries for a 2-yr lifecycle), and one or both of the MS tail lights will have problems with switch malfunction, and will probably shut off while you're riding. Thus, you should continue to use your PBSFs - redundancy is a good thing.

The Dinotte mount works better than you'd guess from looking at pics. You can precisely aim it and it doesn't come loose (unless you bump it). The MS tail light straps to the seat post and is always aimed down at the ground 10-15 feet behind your bike, and you can't adjust the aim point up. You have to make a custom mount to get around this design defect, something like these:

https://www.jensenjensen.com/img/060_...ht_mounted.jpg

https://www.jensenjensen.com/img/tail...n_daylight.jpg

I like the D140. If I could afford it, I'd sell it and get the brighter D300 or D400. You shouldn't be too cheap on tail lights, especially since your life may depend on it.

Last edited by seeker333; 09-15-11 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 09-15-11, 01:53 PM
  #4  
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For what it's worth, my Magicshine taillight last a year before bonking out. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and save up for a set of Dinotte lights.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:03 PM
  #5  
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I am a Dinotte fan-boy; I have two 140/200 series tail lights (one AA, one Li), a 200L headlamp (AA), and a 600L headlamp (Li). The 200L headlamp and 200-AA tailight are 3 years old (I think), the Li 200 taillight & 600L were puchased about a year ago. I've had one light engine failure (I think it was the 200L-AA headlamp) that Dinotte replaced (my shipping only) and a clamp failure on the 600L (my fault and it still works, just won't lock the light unit in-place).

Based on trailing another Dinotte user on a reasonably straight bike path with known mile marks in suburban environment, the taillight is visibile >1/2 mile after civil twilight; my teenage daughter's said when she happend to be driving behind me into the subdivision one evening (approaching sunset), it's "OMG! annoyingly bright". All the lights work fine in cold & heavy rain/sleet conditions; the AA battery holders & connectors are succeptible to moisture but cheap to replace (local radio shack). Run time in cold weather is reduced; again a function of temps affecting all battery chemistries. Battery-light connections for the Li pack models are quality, water-resistant. Their Li pack charger is well made & reliable. User interfaace (buttons for steady & flash modes) are easy to oeprate, even wearing full-finger winter gloves. Overall, well-made, well-supported product from a US company at a reasonable price, especially if you catch them on sale. 3hr run time on AA packs may be tough, but it's easy to carry a spare pack. The larger Li packs can operate front & rear lights using a Y-cable from Dinotte. The 200L headlamp is adequate for suburban, semi-lit (neighborhood light spill) bike trails, fine for on-street use, great as a helmet-mounted light & small enough to work well on a "don't clutter my cockpit" road bike. The 600L (no longer made - look @ 400 or 800) is basically 3x the light output and is more than sufficient for dark roads, unlit bike trail, and sidewalk/MUPs notorious for poor maintenance and debris.

The only minor complaint I have with the Dinottes, shared I think by many (all?) lights, is the beam is not shaped; there's a tradeoff between how far out you can put the spot and get spill over into drivers' eyes and above the cyclist's head height. Probably OK if you worry about overhanging branches. I have read that some european-made lights for commuting have to conform to GER standards and provide a beam better-shaped to illuminate a road surface.

If you have to go cheaper on taillights, look at Planet Bike Superflash (PBSF) and the similar models from Portland Bike Works and the knock-off Performance & Nashbar sells. I run a PBSF as backup for the Dinotte. A cheap blinky may be adequate for an overtaking cyclist, but is too dim IMO to alert a driver, especially if there is competing background illumination. Also, check your state's DMV regs - mine (VA) requires a rear reflector and I'd prefer to not give someone an excuse to get out of a citation or damages claim

I figure the total I've spent on lights I actually use is way less than the medical costs, let alone pain & suffering and bike repairs if I had a collision with a car, debris/road hazard, or one of our local ninja-style joggers, bikers, walkers. Well worth it to me as a year-round commuter.

I recently found out about Exposure Lights & will be trying out a Joystick as a helmet-mounted light (caught a sale on the 2010 models). They cost more than the Dinottes; I think they are from the UK, not US. Light is self-contained, looks to be a bit lighter than Dinotte 200L + AA pack.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:50 PM
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Not to hijack this thread, but I'm looking at this set up: https://store.dinottelighting.com/sha...t=products.asp

Right now I run this in the front and this in the back, would the Dinotte set-up be a worthwhile upgrade/add-on?
Thanks for any tips. I'm about to get married and I've been real paranoid about safety lately.

(sorry if a question has been asked like this before, I don't make it to this part of the forum often)

Last edited by walnutz; 09-15-11 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 09-15-11, 06:26 PM
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The magicshine is bright, mine also failed after 6 mo, geoman sent me a new one for free and it's still working.
I do not own the Dinotte, but they are at least as bright.
In my view, I'd rather have 2 lights anyway, one on the seat, a smaller one on the helmet.
I think that 2 lights showing vertically helps the drivers comprehend a bike is there, and there is some redundancy if one stops.

Either brand is bright and I'm happy with mine, but I do not fully trust it now and always have a PBSF spare I can throw on the seat.
If you want one reliable rear light, Dinotte sounds better.
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Old 09-15-11, 08:22 PM
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I have friends who use the Dinotte tail light and I can't see how anything could be brighter. I have seen them as far as 1/3 to 1/2 mile ahead of me and they are brighter than a car's brake lights and this is in bright sun.
Of the six that use them one has had to send his to Dinotte and they sent him a new one.

Last edited by davidad; 09-17-11 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 09-15-11, 09:20 PM
  #9  
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I'm a long time Dinotte user. Currently I own a 400L headlight and a 140R tail light. Dinottes customer service is top notch. I originally used the AA powered version, but eventually switched to the LI Ion and the performance is awesome. I did eventually get the Y-cord and now I can run both lights off one battery.

As for the brightness, the 140 is extremely bright. I wouldn't hesitate to get one. As a back up I still run an older cateye LD600 on the chain stay, but the 140R is so bright that you cannot see it unless the 140 is switched off.
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Old 09-16-11, 07:17 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by walnutz View Post
Right now I run this in the front and this in the back, would the Dinotte set-up be a worthwhile upgrade/add-on?
Thanks for any tips. I'm about to get married and I've been real paranoid about safety lately.
Hard to say - a quick look at the specs suggests your front light is a little less powerful than the Dinotte 200 and the rear is in the same class as the PBSF and knock-offs. How are the run times, ability to recharge, and most important, do they provide enough illumination for your riding? Having (and continuing) to seek the ONE TRUE BICYCLE LIGHTING SYSTEM (TM?), I suggest the following:

If your current light doesn't seem to you to be bright enough, add a 200L (AA or Li) for better illumination and eliminate a point of failure. Maybe helmet-mount the Dinotte. AA's are easy to carry spares and cheaper, Li will provide longer run time. If you need much more lighting, look @ their larger lights. If your rear Cygo is comparable to the PBSF-class lights, do you feel you need to provide overtaking drivers even more warning that you are there? You could have someone else ride your bike for you and do some test passes at night on the roads (or similar) you use - if the amount of "be seen" warning you get feels inadequate to you (and you know the bike is there and are looking for it), it'll definitely be inadequate for drivers who don't include the possibility of anything smaller than a subcompact car could be on the same road. Consider off-angle as well as directly behind/ahead. And add a code-compliant red reflector if required by your state/local vehicle codes. Too many jurisdictions will use any excuse they can find to find the cyclist at-fault and avoid holding the driver responsible for anything if the worst does happen.

IMO, I'd look at adding up front. For the back, a reflector + a second PBSF-class light (reliability, broaden the visibility cone) may be good enough for you. Congrats on your wedding!
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Old 09-16-11, 08:04 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ks1g View Post
Hard to say - a quick look at the specs suggests your front light is a little less powerful than the Dinotte 200 and the rear is in the same class as the PBSF and knock-offs. How are the run times, ability to recharge, and most important, do they provide enough illumination for your riding? Having (and continuing) to seek the ONE TRUE BICYCLE LIGHTING SYSTEM (TM?), I suggest the following:

If your current light doesn't seem to you to be bright enough, add a 200L (AA or Li) for better illumination and eliminate a point of failure. Maybe helmet-mount the Dinotte. AA's are easy to carry spares and cheaper, Li will provide longer run time. If you need much more lighting, look @ their larger lights. If your rear Cygo is comparable to the PBSF-class lights, do you feel you need to provide overtaking drivers even more warning that you are there? You could have someone else ride your bike for you and do some test passes at night on the roads (or similar) you use - if the amount of "be seen" warning you get feels inadequate to you (and you know the bike is there and are looking for it), it'll definitely be inadequate for drivers who don't include the possibility of anything smaller than a subcompact car could be on the same road. Consider off-angle as well as directly behind/ahead. And add a code-compliant red reflector if required by your state/local vehicle codes. Too many jurisdictions will use any excuse they can find to find the cyclist at-fault and avoid holding the driver responsible for anything if the worst does happen.

IMO, I'd look at adding up front. For the back, a reflector + a second PBSF-class light (reliability, broaden the visibility cone) may be good enough for you. Congrats on your wedding!
Thanks for the extensive reply! I agree with adding up front, it's a bright light, but I got pulled out in front of twice in a short span recently using that light. As for the rear, I'll try to get a look from a car like you suggested. Reflectors are a good idea also. In the end, if those Dinottes are as bright as people say, I might just go ahead and buy one.

Back on topic, the Magicshine tail light I had was bright as heck and I felt comfortable using it at night and in the day, but it just didn't last.
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Old 09-16-11, 06:45 PM
  #12  
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Have had my M/S tail light snice they first came out and use it every day and night and that light is bright as heck as fair as the switch I set it were I want and have not touch it snice I just unplug the battery when I am done when I plug it back to the battery it is still at the setting I left it in day light it is bright BUT AT night it is really bright
I am really happy with mine
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Old 09-17-11, 02:35 PM
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I have four MS tailight that I often use. One is on a bike which I ride maybe only one time a week in the dark. However, the other three are mounted on my commuter which I ride in the dark 5days a week throughout the year and in the rain. If you ride the train system here you may have seen my setup....red bike, black cargo box and a gazillion lights. So far none of the four had fail after over 1 year of use (yeah, surprised me too). I got those from Geoman if that makes any diffrence?

The only issue I had so far is the inconsistency of the tension on the rotating ring switch. Some are easy to twist while other are tight. Beside that, I also notice the HET in the circuit does not get trip properly if I rotate the ring too fast. I think the magnet passes through the HET too fast and the HET does not get a signal. If I turn the ring in a normal speed it is not an issue.

As for brightness.....well with three MS it is very bright and many times I gets car pulling over the next lane to their left to pass me although I am in the bike lane . I have yet seen many rider out here set up with Dinotte or MS. Majority are just whatever the LBS sell them. So most likely you will get notice whichever one you choose since it seems driver are more condition to the lower power lights here for the time being.
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Old 09-19-11, 11:22 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
I have friends who use the Dinotte tail light and I can't see how anything could be brighter. I have seen them as far as 1/3 to 1/2 mile ahead of me and they are brighter than a car's brake lights and this is in bright sun.
Of the six that use them one has had to send his to Dinotte and they sent him a new one.
OH yes, it get's much brighter with 5+ hours run time:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVisFnaKjso

But really, this is only beneficial during the day. At night, any ol' 1watt flasher will do.
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Old 09-19-11, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
I am going to start commuting and will often be riding at night and in bad weather. I currently use two PBSFs, but I want to upgrade because of the amount of night riding I plan to do. I've read some reviews of both lights (especially with the MS taillight first came out), but it's not clear how the MS is holding up over time. There were definitely some complaints about the switch, etc.
>> At night the, higher power of the MS taillight is just about right, but you'd probably do just as well with some of the new 2 watt flashers.

I would prefer to pay less, but I don't want to have to fiddle with stuff frequently or have failures on the road.
>> Magicshine is the poster child for "you get what you pay for." As long as you don't mind the possibility of paying for it 2 or 3 times, they're great.

1. How bright/safe are MS taillights versus Dinotte?
>> IMO the flash patterns of all the Dinottes are FAR superior to MS, especially at night. The MS is almost as bright as the lowest power Dinotte, but like you say, aiming is an issue. Keep in mind that Dinotte has multiple models that go up from the 140.

2. Has MS come up with a mounting system for the MS taillight or does it still require a DIY solution (this is a frequent problem noted in the reviews)? How does it compare to the way the Dinotte mounts?
>> Unless you want to think outside the box, the MS taillight mount is for the seatpost and nominally angled down (bad), provided you have enough seatpost below your saddlebag. To really take advantage of it, you'll need to add a DIY component or you could use the Dinotte extender bracket for the 140.

3. How are the MS taillights holding up over time? (The comparison is Dinotte, which is legendary for quality and reliability.)
>> Perhaps better stated, "How long did your MS taillight last, before it failed." Mine worked exactly twice. Disassembled and found that the entire circular PC board is prone to rotating if the outer switch ring is stiff to turn. Snap goes the solder joint to the main board, and in my case, it shorted and took the battery out with it.

4. How do these lights work in rain and bad weather (both relative visibility and reliability)?
>> The MS taillight is decidedly NOT waterproof, primarily between the little plastic piece and the metal housing. If water gets between the two, it can work it's way inside the housing. Again, you could seal this up if you wanted.

5. What are the reasons for paying the higher price for the Dinotte and is it worth the premium?
>> IMO the only reason you want to pay big bucks for a taillight is so that you can have enough power to jolt drivers out of whatever else it is that they are doing and alert them to your presence during the DAYtime. To do this with real effectiveness requires some decent power, and heat dissipation ability, and higher capacity batteries, all of which add up to the higher premium. There are those that will tell you (including myself) that an effective daytime beacon is as important as being seen at night. Much of what you're trying to achieve with direct rearward visibility at night can be equally achieved with good reflectors. The high dollar lights tend to be less mass market and more towards high quality and are definitely worth it for daytime visibility.

6. Are there any other pros/cons of these lights I should consider?
>> Pros... they're cheap and when they work, do a reasonably good job. Cons... reliability is VERY hit or miss. You should only buy the MS products from someone like Geoman who at least provides some level of customer service. If you prefer not to go with the Chinese mass market lights, there are a couple of very nice, moderately priced and very high power alternatives out there that fit your run time and single battery requirements.
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Old 09-19-11, 12:39 PM
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I think anyone that "starts out" with enough money should go ahead and buy the best lights they can afford.

However, as a matter of "bang for the buck" - it is possible that MS products can satisfy.
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Old 09-19-11, 09:55 PM
  #17  
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I just use one MS taillight, and I had previously used a DiNotte 400 taillight but consider it too bright for the urban setting I was riding in. I still want motorists to see me, but not be blinded in the process, and the MS taillight is just the right level of light for my type of evening commute.
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Old 09-20-11, 11:06 AM
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The Cygolight taillight is 2 watts. I think the PBSF is 1/2 watt. I've never seen the Cygo light but I am asking my wife to get me one for Christmas. It looks like it would be bright, and convenient to use.
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Old 09-20-11, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
The Cygolight taillight is 2 watts. I think the PBSF is 1/2 watt. I've never seen the Cygo light but I am asking my wife to get me one for Christmas. It looks like it would be bright, and convenient to use.
The Cygo is a serious little light.

On the original topic, if I were entertaining the idea of the Magicshine to save money, I'd just get the Cygolite Hotshot instead. Self-contained, about 60 grams, extremely potent, rechargable, only $40. Just make sure to aim it dead-level, or concoct your own diffuser to turn it into a flood beam... the spot beam is the only area where it might concede anything to the MS, as far as I can see.
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Old 09-20-11, 02:13 PM
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Thanks for the Hotshot youtube videos and your thread from 6 weeks ago, mechBgon.

I almost bought one weeks ago, but I'm concerned about the relatively narrow beam, and even more so about the longevity of its rechargeable battery.
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