Thursday, 21 March 2013

Magicshine MJ-872 Review

An e-mail dropped into my inbox recently, from Rob at Magicshine UK, asking if I'd like to have a test of one of their range of bike lights. Like most, I'm always keen to get my hands on some shiny new kit and see how it well it performs; and that's how, a day or two later, UPS came to be handing over a Magicshine MJ-872 at my door.

It's been great to see the nights starting to lighten over the last few weeks, but it's still plenty dark enough that lights are a necessity when riding later than about 6:30pm. A quick call to a good friend and fellow MTB guide, Nick Holt, and a blast out around Arnside and Silverdale was on:

Fitting the light was a doddle, a rubber O-ring attaches the light unit to the bars in seconds and a substantial velcro strap fixes the battery securely to (in my case) the underside of the top tube, a welcome additional strap allows any spare cable to be neatly secured out of the way, a nice touch.

We set off into the gathering dusk with the lights switched to minimum, so that we could be seen on the short road climb which takes us to the first technical off-road climb. Switching on the light involves a quick press of the handy illuminated switch, which also serves as a battery indicator and enables the light to be cycled up and down the power levels. It's easy to do with gloved hands, certainly there's no faffing or fiddling to find the switch in a hurry. Up the first climb and into the woods and the 'up' button sees action as the remaining light fades and increased visibility is required, I'm pleasantly surprised with the available light from the claimed 1600 Lumens available, and I've not asked for full power yet.

The first descent is twisty through the trees and then a nice flat out blast down a rough trail, at the top the light is up to full, and the power and shape of the beam are excellent. The pace of the descent confirms this, there's plenty of light for flat out riding and the shape of the beam gives good visibility in the twisty corners, even with the light mounted as it is, on the bars.

 The rest of the ride is good fun, a bit muddy in places but otherwise just how a good night ride should be, cold but clear, with good views and the light doing its job as it should.

The light is on for about 3 hours, switched to low on most of the climbs / road sections and up to high on the descents. The light indicator dips into the red on the last descent, but has recovered back to blue after the last section on the road, so I guess it's more of a guide than a definitive indicator but it's still a handy feature and at the end of the ride the indicator on the battery itself is still reading at about half-full, which I'm sure would allow for most people's night riding requirements.

The light itself looks like it's well made, although with just a one ride test I couldn't vouch for longevity of course. The only minor niggles I found were that, although the O-ring fitting is quick and simple, the light does vibrate fractionally at speed (compared to my regular light which is on an aluminum bracket); and where the cable exits the light is very close to where the O-ring sits, which makes it more fiddly than it could be and pushes the cable to one side in use. The current helmet mount also needs revision, I couldn't get a satisfactory fitting on either of my xc lids (Giro Xar and Feature) but as a bar mounted option the light works extremely well.

Overall, I was pretty impressed, the beam power and shape were great and the light was easy to use. The cost is certainly very competitive as well. Big thanks to the guys at Magicshine for the loan of the light - much appreciated!

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