My first lights used to look like this, now lights look like this,and they do this, so you can do this
Bike lights have improved dramatically over the last ten years. Halogen, metal halide, LED. Lead acid, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion. The key thing is that bike lights work. They keep working in the rain, they last for hours and they allow you to take your bike out into the dark. Bike lights are really good now.
Off road lights are not expensive with Magicshine the best known brand at the inexpensive end of the market and probably the most popular light on our riders bars and helmets. Over the last couple of weeks we have tested the 1600 lumen MJ-872. Cross country, singletrack, jumps and a little downhill. Fast and slow, smooth and bumpy, dry and wet, warm and cold. Even the odd fall or two. Or three.
Batteries last for over two hours on full power so enough for an average night ride. It can be used as a helmet light with the battery in your backpack or on your handlebars with the battery attached to the frame. Although a focus lens can be added to use it as a spot it seems best to me as a flood on both bars and helmet as the output is massive. Four LED’s give a wide spread without black rings or uneven shadows and the distance of the light throw is longer than I need but nice to have in front of you.
Box contains the usual smart charger, battery and light unit but you need the helmet mount and extension lead to use on your head.
The light was used by different riders and beginners and experts rated it highly. There was no mounting problems on any frame, it worked faultlessly and survived several crashes completely unmarked and remained turned on. This is an important feature when riding alone if you have a tumble. It never overheated so it did not switch down or off and the output remained as set by the rider.
Although the output is excellent the battery life would restrict it for race use unless you added a second battery and you do need to recharge it before every ride but they would be the only limitations. I have run a couple of the original MJ 808 lights for a few years without any qualms and after hundreds of recharges one battery is beginning to lose a little running time.
Overall the MJ872 is much better than the original single LED unit due to the higher output. This allows it to compete easily with the most expensive lights when riding in a group through the wilds of Stanmer and makes it better value compared to the MJ808.
So if you unsure about night riding buy the inexpensive MJ 808, which is a great light, and try a familiar trail in the dark. A two light bar and helmet combination will allow you to ride safely and reasonably briskly on bridleways and through the singletrack until ….
you want to move to the front of the pack and test your mettle. Then more light is your friend. You can see further, obstacles move towards you slowly instead of jumping out on you, trees lean back and give you more room, sniper stumps can be seem glinting menacingly through the leaves and you can ride faster, much faster, maybe faster than in the daylight.
A bar and helmet combination would be equivalent to any other system and steal all my excuses but if you want to move to the front of the pack, choose the more powerful option.
Magicshine MJ872. No excuses.