The DesignShine DS-1300 is an engineering marvel. It uses three Cree XP-Gs and three Cree XP-Es in a head unit size that would typically be used to house one or two LEDs. To keep it cool, deep fins were machined to create 30+ square inches of cooling area. The six LEDs work in concert to create a beam that has good throw and excellent width. And this is accomplished with a spread that is even with no dark spots or artifacts. And something unique with DesineShine is the use of acrylic to create peripheral spill and side visibility. Continue reading →
Strengths: 1- Powerful, practically a "mini sun" for night riding
2- Small and light weight
3- Provide top cover so light bleeding out will not bother the biker
4- Sides are open so light can bleed out and provide illumination for side traffic (it works!)
5- Brings an amber easy to attach cover for day light street riding
6- Multiple options for patters and/or light intensities
7- Brings great "Cat-eye" post clamps
8- Light and connector are water proof (tested and confirmed to work in Miami steamy rain)
9- Great heat dissipation
10- Superb support and knowledge from the maker who is an avid cyclist as well!
11- Hand made with much love and dedication by a guy in the U.S.A.
Weaknesses: 1- Small and hard to reach on/off/programming button
2- No remote on/off/programming button
I ride on local roads near my home during the week to prep me for weekend "mountain biking". I only can ride during dark hours (early morning (5 ~ 6 AM) or evenings (8 ~ 9 PM)) because of work schedule and to avoid the masses of zombie-like Miami drivers. For a long time I have been using anemic "blinky" bike lights (as shown on this picture) to avoid a very bad situation with these zombie-like Miami drivers but I have never been satisfied with them. One thing that bothered me the most is that these drivers were over passing me very close, so close that I can easily feel the heat coming out from their engines! It did not matter if they had a full lane to over pass, they just wanted to "show" off that they "owned" the road. Add this issue along with recent road bike fatalities and you will understand how dangerous riding the roads in Miami could turn out to be. In my pursuit of finding a brighter rear self contained LED light I found the "DS-1300" and "DS-500" within mtbr.com forums. I was not sold at the idea of having an external battery but being an Electrical Engineer I knew that to get sustained high output light I needed to resort to an external power source. I made the blind jump and contacted Stephen whom amazed me with his knowledge of LED and battery technology along with his passion to bicycling. He poured details and superb attention to detail at each minute step that made me feel that I was setting these lights myself! I requested the front DS-1300 and rear DS-500 lights with a single 5200mAH 11.1v Li-Ion battery. The wait seemed to take an eternity since I did not venture out with my road bike until I received these superb lights. The wait was worth each day that I waited "patiently" for them. I was surprised at how small these lights were, no picture did justice on the size, they are tiny and do not weigh much. The first thing I did was to connect them to the pre-charged battery and turned them on but guess what? They did not, why? I did not read Stephen's very detailed instructions that mentioned something called "Super-lock", I almost lost it but it was my bad for being too excited. Read the complete manual and tried again, "My God, It's Full of Stars!" is what came out of my mouth! These lights ARE bright, not just ordinary bright but it burns your retina BRIGHT! For the DS-1300: Side car traffic IMMEDIATELY STOPS when they get a glimpse of the lights and do not proceed to move forward until I pass! 100% EFFECTIVE! Front lighting/throw is superb for my night riding, for me it was like I was driving in the dark with my front "blinky" lights all these years and somebody just brought out a mini-sun! There is no RF interference with my wireless Bike computer (Sigma Rox 9.0)! This is a BIG plus since I always track my progress with Temperature, Cadence, HRM, Altitude and speed. I was unable to do this with my previous "blinky" front lights. I am very happy with these lights and my family feels better that I know have them to ride the streets at night. They are worth the cost to give me the privilege to ride safer at night on Miami roads. There is always room for improvement and these lights are almost perfect but having a bigger power button would make it easier to navigate and turn on/off the lights with gloves on.
Similar Products Used: Princeton Tec EOS Front Light, Princeton Tec Swerve Rear LED light, Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Tail Light
Bike Setup: 2011 Trek/Gary Fisher HiFi 29er, 2011 Trek 1.2 H2 Road Bike
Date Reviewed: October 21, 2011
Strengths: Extremely well made, very robust, totally waterproof, able to take all sorts of abuse on a daily basis.
Custom made one by one in America, meaning you can specify not just your battery options, but also your lens. Heck, you can even specify custom modifications if you want/need to.
Very bright, very powerful, with 6-cell battery lasts forever (over 3.5 hr in highest setting).
In flashing mode works very well as a daytime safety light.
For the quality you get, price is unbeatable.
Weaknesses: The battery, while perfectly functional, totally waterproof, and very reasonably priced, is not packaged in a hard case like it's becoming the norm in the industry. So it's not that pleasing to look at.
The one battery status indicator LED is rather minimalistic.
The light is programmable but it's not an easy task.
The design is OK, but this thing is not headed for an art exhibition.
An excellent product made in America and very reasonably priced. Sure you can get a 3000-lumen light these days, but what's the point if it can run for only an hour? The combination of 1300-lumen and a 6-cell battery is perfect.
You could also get a Chinese light of the same brightness for half the price, but again, what's the point if the thing is shabby and not waterproof? This is the light for people that take their night riding seriously, do it day in and day out, and do it in all sorts of conditions, including bad weather.
On the other hand, you could spend a lot more money on a better known brand, but what's the point? This light gets the job done.
On value, this lights gets 5/5 without questions. There simply is nothing on the market of the same quality that costs less.
Overall, if price is no issue, maybe 4/5 - it's not perfect and there's some room for improvements. But with price factored in, 5/5.