Magicshine MJ-816 Lights

3.5/5 (8 Reviews)
MSRP : $129.95

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Product Description

  • Command button allowing wide angle, distance or both
  • Steplessly dimmable in any mode
  • Up to 3 hours run time on maximum power
  • Brighter than a car headlamp

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Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by andychrist a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: December 30, 2014

Strengths:    Beam Pattern[s]
Remote switch with color battery indicator
Rubberized Silicone Battery enclosure with adjustable straps
Mickey Mouse Silhouette

Weaknesses:    Bluish tinge to side lamps
No separate power button
No Strobe setting
Mickey Mouse Silhouette

Bottom Line:   
The MJ-816, with its controversial "Mickey Mouse" design, might be MagicShine's most under-appreciated offering. Taller, wider, perhaps both more fetching and more ungainly than any of their other models, this three beamer bike lamp packs some unique features worth consideration. Its two little side beams are clad with horizontal diffusing lenses, resulting in a broad field of vision without any halo. As many have commented, this gives the illusion of the ground before you being lit from within, rather than being lit upon. For a bar lamp this works out great as no matter how you turn there is always light around you. In contrast, the center beam has a narrower focus and discernible halo, albeit mitigated somewhat by its orange peel reflector which kinda blurs the outline of the spot (that's a good thing!) Best of all, the center and side beams may be operated separately or in conjunction, with continuous dimming (but sadly, no strobe mode. Oh well, can't have everything I guess.) Beauty is that when operated alone and dimmed all the way down, those Mickey Mouse ears will provide extended runtime with just the minimum visibility needed to "limp home." When all three lamps are on together, even on the lowest setting there is a comfortable amount of light on the trail. In precipitous descents, the center beam alone turned up to high will probably be all one needs; all three together at the max is a lot of fun if you really want to blind oncoming motorists (and who doesn't?)

Can't vouch for run time because I don't run "Mickey" in maximode for entire rides, try to employ its lumens conservatively and recharge if possible after each trip (can't harm LiPo batteries when cycled frequently.) On the 4400mAh battery included with this purchase, I've always had at least 50% charge remaining after a two hour journey, usually close to around 75%. This estimate gathered from interpreting the color indicator of the MJ-816 remote switch, which is not meant to be observed on the fly but only after a the unit has been shut off and allowed to rest for a few minutes (or at startup.) Another important caveat regarding runtime which is also true for all batteries, performance can be greatly degraded by extremes of temperature. So if you keep your cell pack mounted to your bike frame when it is cold out, don't expect your lamps to shine anywhere near as long as stated. Two hours of use in summer might translate to forty minutes in autumn or twenty in winter. Keeping the battery pack snug within an inner jacket pocket rather than exposed to the elements can alleviate this problem but for obvious reasons is never discussed by the manufacturer. Anyway, two cell battery packs will stay better warmed inside your pocket and of course feel more comfortable there than the square profile four packs. For equal runtime get two of those and rest them together edge to edge. You can even grab a Y cable from MagicShine and connect them in parallel to extend your journey without having to switch them out along the ride. Just bear in mind I'm assuming NO liability over this recommendation!

Regarding the mounting system, the MagicShine lamp and remote switch fasten to your handlebars with tabbed O-rings, various sizes provided. You're not likely to have any problems attaching the switch but it's possible that none of the O-rings provided will secure the lamp perfectly. If you find there is too much play, make your own shim from a scrap of spent tube or better still a worn out tire. DON'T wrap the shim with electrical tape to stick it on your bars, because that will just result in a slippery unsecured contact area and your light will not stay in position. Instead, trim the tube or tire to the best fit and apply one revolution's worth of 3M double sided exterior quality adhesive tape to the underside of overlapping length of this shim, and draw it tight around the handlebar. Now your MJ-816 will stay put. And don't forget to twine all cables evenly, leaving just enough play around the head tube to turn your bars without yanking at the connections. This will cut down wear so your setup lasts long. Got three or four years out of mine before the electrical connector ground down to nubbins. Charger failed too at the same time, dunno if that was related. New MagicShine charger included in latest build, purchased autumn 2014, is larger and heftier, which instills greater confidence.

First model of the MJ-816 I owned was rated at 1400 Lumens, 500 for the two side lamps combined and 900 for the center spot. Current MJ-816-U is rated 1900 Lumens but MagicShine does not break this down between side lamps and center. (Prior year's "E" model, which utilized the XM-L2 rather than the XM-L U2, was 1800 lumens, FWTW.) Taking in mind I've had my old 816 three or four years so there might be some degradation in the performance of the LEDs, comparing it with new one, the most noticeable difference is with the side lamps. The new XP-Gs in those Mickey Mouse ears seem about a third brighter than in the older model, a welcome improvement. However, MagicShine apparantly went with Cool White emitters to acheive the greater output on the same budget, rather than going with the Bright White XPGs (which I gather are not as efficient.) Not a deal breaker but think I would have preferred whiter if slightly dimmer LEDs there; the XM-L U2 in the center lamp is much closer to Neutral and more pleasant looking, at least to my eyes. In summer when trails are verdant the XP-Gs do a fine job, greenery responds okay to cool lights. But after the first frost when foliage all turns dull it gets harder to discern boundaries between road and brush. That's where warmer LEDs would be more effective, especially as its the job of the side lamps to pick out those details. With brightness turned all the way up I can make things out all right; it's really just in economy mode there's the difficulty. If I were assured the batteries would last all the ride home with my lights on full blast I wouldn't hesitate to do that; just don't want to find out the hard way. ;)

Other difference between this light set and previous one I owned, current one does not have "memory." Used to be if you dimmed or raised brightness when clicking between lamp combos, when you returned to the same one the brightness would be at the same level you left it. Current model clears your setting so brightness is always full when switching. Doesn't bother me but I know it will bug some aficionados. Personally think its better this way, much safer. What is NOT safe is that you still have to cycle through Off after reaching All to get back to either Sides or Spot. Wish there were a separate power switch or something. I mean, imagine you were driving and had to turn your headlights off for one click between high and low beams? No one would ever stand for it. Oh well, other little difference is new model starts out on Center beam, then clicks to Sides before going to All and then Off. Used to start on Sides, then Center. Think that made more sense because the lower operating powered Sides makes a better default at average speed, and that way each two subsequent clicks increase overall brightness. The new way of starting on the bright center beam, then going down in lumens to the sides before all the way up to the three makes less intuitive sense. Am guessing MagicShine did this because they figured everyone would prefer using the neutral spot to the cooler sides lamps so made that the default. Please MagicShine, use the whiter XP-Gs next iteration. Those combined with the terrific XM-L U2 would make for such a winning combination, the 816 would rule!

Sigh. This is still the best one-shot LED setup you can buy so yes, I recommend the hell out of it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Dales Bridge

Duration Product Used:   two to three hours at a time

Purchased At:   eBay

Similar Products Used:   MJ-816 (Earlier generation) and coupla el cheapo Chinese knockoffs

Bike Setup:   Mach 2 with Xtreme Mountain Gearing

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Luis R a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: November 21, 2014

Strengths:    This lights emit a very nice arc of light, side and frontal illumination there is absolutely no complaint there.

Weaknesses:    Mounting system is weak but usable. And at least you can quickly instal on and off if desired. But for trail riding with a lot a bumps, not so much.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased them mainly after reading a few really good reviews online. The price was really good, maybe too good. They initially work fine, battery lasted a good 2 hours +. But alternating brightness settings. On my 4th time using it, the battery started dying after about 30 min of use and at the cable connection juncture where power switch, battery and light meet there is an internal wire disconnect. This is a non serviceable sealed juncture, I ask customer service for a schematic so that I can fix/ solder myself but received no response to several emails.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Planet bike Beamer 3

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jeffj

Date Reviewed: May 30, 2014

Strengths:    Excellent beam pattern.
Lots of options to adjust the brightness and combination of lights used at one time.
Remote control is handy to use while riding.

Weaknesses:    O-Ring light head mounting system is weak sauce for a light of this size and configuration.
Over the years I used this light, I had several issues with the charger, wiring and plug.
Battery replaced on recall.

Bottom Line:   
The Good:

I used the heck out of this light over the four years I have owned it. The light itself, and especially, the pattern of the beam are great for trail riding at night. The flood bead is pretty wide and affords the rider good peripheral vision, and the spot isn't terribly harsh, which makes this light a pretty value for what it costs.

The amount of control available when you can separately dim the side floods or the larger spot, or both the flood and spot together, is a nice feature to have. I can leave the spot off, and dim the floods down pretty low and have a nice long lasting climbing light. Then, put all of them on the highest setting for high speed descending fun. It's even better if you have a spot beam on your helmet that is set to reach further down the trail, and to look around sharp bends.

The Not-So-Good:

The o-ring mounting system for the handlebars isn't sufficient for aggressive trail riding on bumpy trails. It either bounces so violently that it acts like a strobe light, or rotates forward/down so you can't see. For a while, I would use a few small zipties daisy-chained together in place of the o-ring, and put a wind or two of electrical tape on the bar, and that was fairly good at keeping the light in place while riding, but left something to be desired in terms of being user friendly. I also had a ziptie break a couple times while riding, and that was fun when all of your light suddenly disappears.

I eventually adapted a mount from a bar mount from an old Blackburn 6v halogen system I had from many years ago, and that mostly solved my handlebar mount issue, except it would only fit on the narrowest part of the bars. BUT, at least it was secure and didn't shake like a wet dog.

Eventually, the connector plug failed, and I replaced it with a plug from Radio Shack, but the wires are so thin, that they would eventually break away from the plug, and I would have to re-solder a new plug on there. Using some electrical tape for strain relief helped, but only for so long.

Then, the insulation that covered all of the wires began cracking and splitting in several places and I knew it was only a matter of time before the wiring would be the death of this dandy little bike light for using as a handlebar mounted light.

As for using the MJ-816 as a helmet light, it's a little heavy and tall to be enjoyably used while mounted on your head (helmet). And, the Magicshine helmet mount leaves plenty to be desired. It mounts the light head at the front of the helmet, which makes the helmet slide down onto your forehead. All-in-all, there are better helmet light solutions available than the MJ-816 IMHO.

It was a bit of a love/hate relationship with the MJ-816. It was a wonderful trail light when everything was functioning properly, but I never knew when it was going to fail in some way, or go into limp mode. I got four years of heavy use from it, so for the price, I can't complain too much.

Trying to find a suitable replacement at a similar price point has not proven easy. I would get anopther if not for the wiring/plug issues. I have a suitable mount, but I don't know if I could solve the wiring situation over the long haul. That wide flood feature was really nice, and I'm not finding an all-in-one solution without resorting to having to get two of them to get the beam wide enough.

I am finally trying to get away from having a separate battery type light, and I am finding that the all-in-one lights are generally designed for commuting, so the flood part of the beam doesn't have to be as wide as it does for high speed aggressive trail riding.

If you get this light for trail riding, I would add a little budget for some kind of more secure bar mount, and they are available here and there if you look for them, and use some imagination. I think the wiring will last long enough to more than get your money's worth, but it will likely fail eventually.

I would recommend the light, just know what the possible issues are, and be prepared to deal with them

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   4 Years

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   Geo-Man Gear

Similar Products Used:   Many various light systems from old AA powered commuter lights, lots of 6v halogens from several manufacturers, and quite a few newer HID and LED systems.

Bike Setup:   Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er, Trek Stache 8, and a Cannondale CAAD 5 R500 road bike.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by dinankid05 a Weekend Warrior from Edina, MN, USA

Date Reviewed: February 12, 2012

Strengths:    This is for the MJ-816E -->1800 lumens

extremely bright, side lights are excellent for wide visibility, easy installation and operation. Great price.

Weaknesses:    battery seems kind of cheep but it is easy to mount in a water bottle frame against the down tube. The mounting system uses thick urethane bands. The light can become misaligned over a series of nasty bumps but are easily straightened out. Its not a major issue. and you don't have to have a mount on your bike when you remove it.

Bottom Line:   
On of the best choices I have made this year. I just hope customer service is ok if I have an issue.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Riverbottoms

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $50.00

Purchased At:   erics

Similar Products Used:   cygolite 400- narrow beam more expensive good helmet mount.

Bike Setup:   mainlander stock, stump-jumper comp with lots of extras

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chris a Cross Country Rider from austin

Date Reviewed: January 25, 2012

Strengths:    Excellent beam.

Weaknesses:    Unnecessary large battery case that does not appear totally waterproof. Ridiculously cheap mounting system.

Bottom Line:   
What can not be said enough about this light is the perfect beam pattern that the two outside leds cast. Beam pattern is easily more important than total lumen output. For riding in traffic, the 800 lumen output of the two side leds with their wide angle lenses is all you need. For the trail, add the center and you are good to go.

As far as build quality, a few months ago I purchased the mj-856 for my wife and mounted to it a separate wide angle lens that magicshine sells, and she has used it without incident through wind and rain. I am hoping for the same.

In the end, some people may find it cumbersome to mount three separate things (light, switch, battery), which is way I imagine that magicshine is now placing all power switches on the light.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   my commute

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   mj-856

Bike Setup:   mountain commuter bike

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Porch a Cross Country Rider from Lost Almost

Date Reviewed: November 23, 2011

Strengths:    Great light output, great battery life, and great price.

Weaknesses:    None that i've found.

Bottom Line:   
Have not had any problems with mine. Everyone i rides with uses these lights and they haven't had problems either. There is of course the battery problems of a year ago, and they seem to have recently switched to internally circuited power for the smaller lights, so i imagine they had some problems at some point. However, for the price, they won't be beat.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   All of them!

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $125.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   The usual bike store Cateye's.

Bike Setup:   Blur LT

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pablobaq a Cross Country Rider from FL

Date Reviewed: October 5, 2011

Strengths:    Great quality. Fast and easy to install on your bike. I remove them once a week to save weight on the weekends when I ride during the day. the power switch is also an indicator that lets you know when your battery is running out of juice by changing color. (red means get

Weaknesses:    Haven't found one yet...

Bottom Line:   
These lights are great. I truly recommend them. They flood good light towards the sides of the trail with the secondary bulbs. Use them with the MJ-808E and you will really get a good coverage on a pitch black night.

I work in product development and let me tell you that NO light in the market should be more than 300 USD. Up from here companies are making HUGE markups.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Markham

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $130.00

Purchased At:   Amazon

Similar Products Used:   This is my first set of lights. I cant compare them with anything other than lights from other riders in the trails.
Trust me, these Outshine the competition.

Bike Setup:   2011 Fuel EX8

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by TDK a Cross Country Rider from Portland, Oregon/Okinawa, Japan

Date Reviewed: September 29, 2011

Strengths:    Cheap light. Bright. Really bright. To the point where cars drive in the other lane to avoid being blinded.

Weaknesses:    Cheap company. Quality. Self destructed almost immediately (about 8 uses and issues started after only 4). Water proofing of the light unit was only done of obvious areas like lenses. Non-existant customer service.

Bottom Line:   
Bought the light because of a few decent reviews though mostly because of the price. I was impressed at first the light was bright, had a pretty good beam pattern and ran quite a while on a charge. After about 4-5 uses it started acting odd. When turned on there was a shrill pitched and oscillating squeel coming from the light. I soon noticed that it was also dimming slightly in time with the oscillation at roughly 1/2 second intervals. Additionally the light also seemed to be throwing off all sorts of radiation when turned on as my wireless bike computer and GPS, as well as my TV would all go nuts when turned on. Having now read up on the battery problems of previous models I decided to test the battery and charger with my multimeter both of which measured within their listed voltages. After charging the battery again and trying the light the squeal turned into a shriek, then the button would only give the flashing red (battery almost dead) light. Shortly thereafter it died altogether. At this time I hunted the web for a solution for which there was none. Finally I ended up at MagicShine's page and after determining there is no service shop in my area as I am currently deployed to Okinawa with the Marines, I sent emails to the warranty department just describing the issue and asking what I should do. I did not demand anything I just asked for a course of action. As you must already suspect I was ignored.

Lets be honest bike lights do not really need to cost $600+ and run on refined unicorn tears, however a company with prices this low ($85) will get a lot of initial business from those who dont want to spend a months pay and their left kidney on a light. The issue is that they have two choices as to what kind of business they want to be: 1. Build a decent quality product. Perhaps not quite as nice as those $600 guys but decent and usable. Also offer good to great customer service. Which leads to a loyal/autopromoting customer base. Or 2. Build a cheap product fast and then ignore your customers when they ask you to fix the garbage product you sold. This leads to quick profits and an equally quick and inevitable business collapse Ala General Motors. I hope you are not expecting a Government bail-out Magicshine. Bottom line folks: Aviod this company they are out for a quick buck and will spend it on hyping their newest product rather than taking care of their customers. Thanks for nothing MagicShine...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anywhere you can leave a little sweat and blood

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $85.00

Purchased At:   Deal Extreme

Similar Products Used:   Exposure, Niterider

Bike Setup:   Motobecane hardtail w/XT/XTR, Revelation, Elixr=continual evolution.

Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

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