When it comes to electric bicycle safety, a good headlight is king. Any night time riding requires that drivers can see you and that you can see hazards in the road.
Bicycle lights can be lumped into two main categories: lights that are meant to help you see, and lights that meant to help you be seen. The “be seen” lights are the little, blinking AAA-powered lights that screw onto your handlebars. It’s important to have at least one of these so you are always visible to other cars. But if you want to actually see whats on the road ahead of you, something stronger is required.
Enter the MagicShine bicycle light!
The MagicShine is my favorite bicycle light for seeing what’s on the road ahead of you. Its powerful 1,000 lumen CREE LED provides seriously high powered light that turns a dark path into a bright swath of light. It’s so powerful that the whole unit actually heats up while operating, but the finned Aluminum shell helps keep things cool while you’re riding.
The MagicShine is powered by it’s own lithium pack that is easily removed from the bike for recharging via a standard wall outlet. The pack is 8.4V, so if you have an adjustable DC-DC converter on your electric bicycle then you can actually run the MagicShine right off of your main ebike battery pack. Either way, the Magicshine provides unparalleled power and ease of use.
It takes up the same amount of space on your handlebars as the little AAA lights, but can easily be seen from hundreds of meters away. The button on the rear of the MagicShine cycles through different power settings. I like to keep the power turned down when I’m riding on sidewalks at night. This keeps me from blinding all the pedestrians around me. As soon as I’m back on the road though, I can easily bump the power back up to full and light up the road ahead of me.
You’ve got options!
A genuine MagicShine retails for $120, but you can get it for $75 on Amazon here. But thanks to the world we live in (and to China) you can get a knockoff MagicShine also on Amazon for just $19! At first I was skeptical of the knockoffs and was loyal only to the real MagicShines. However, I finally tried one of the knockoffs and I have to say I was blown away at how well it worked for the price.
Now to get the disadvantages out of the way immediately, I did notice that the surface finish isn’t as nice, the lens looks visibly cheaper, it only has two power levels instead of three and the battery doesn’t seem to last as long as the real MagicShine. But other than that it works basically the same and the light power seems nearly identical. It’s still super bright and easily lights up the road. It connects easily and securely to my handlebars and has never given me an issue.
I’ve since used three of these knockoff MagicShines and I’ve never had one fail on me after over a year of repeated use. The biggest complaint I have is that the battery only seems to last for about two hours at the highest power level. For me, the $50 price difference easily makes up for having to charge it about twice as much.
Broaden your (and your light’s) focus
The MagicShine and knockoff MagicShine are both super powerful lights, but one downside is that the light is focused in a very narrow beam. This would be great for a flashlight or headlamp, but on a bicycle headlight you ideally want the light to be spread out across the road in front of you.
The good news is that there is an aftermarket replacement wide angle lens for the MagicShine that also fits the knockoff Magicshine and is designed to spread the light out in a wider strip. It works incredibly well, just check out the demonstration below.
The only problem is that sometimes the lens would begin to spin on me just a bit, and my strip of light would start angling instead of staying horizontal across the road. I fixed this with a drop of super glue to keep the lens from spinning in its holder.
I forgot to mention the best part about the wide angle lens: it’s only $5! So for less than $25 you can have a super powerful ebike headlight that spreads light clear across the road in front of you. This not only helps you be seen by cars from a distance, but it lights up everything around you and helps you see obstacles and hazards long before they would pose a problem to you.
The MagicShine verdict
The knockoff MagicShine has become my ebike light of choice and the one I recommend to everyone. If you want even better quality you can upgrade to the real MagicShine and you won’t be disappointed. But if you want to save money and still get great value, it’s knockoff MagicShine all the way!
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