With 4 CREE X-PG LEDs and high quality optical lens, the newly developed MJ-856 brightens the nights with even and brighter light. Besides, 4x18650 long lasting BAK Li-ion batteries and waterproof water pack makes your night adventure more enjoyable. Mtbr Bike Lights Shootout - over 50 bike lights reviewed, photographed and measured here.
a Weekend Warrior
from Santa Clarita, CA
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2011
Strengths: Nice sized light head, affordable, tons of light for the size. 4 modes and with the upgraded 5.6a battery hours of runtime. Updated O-Ring Mounts that include tabs for easier installation.
Weaknesses: Cable routed out the front of the head. Bar mount has rattled loose a couple of times.
I'm a weekend warrior and just started riding again 8 months ago. Living in SoCal the winters are definitely rider friendly so a good lightset is a must. After riding with a MS-900 for a couple of rides I liked what I saw. This light head puts out a nice floody beam that illuminates the trail and damn near everything else in a 20+ yard span. I upgraded to the Samsung 5.6a battery that comes in a Neoprene case that mounts nicely and securely to the downtube of the frame. I use this light head as a bar mounted flood light coupled with a MS-900 mounted to my helmet. For my riding style and skill this is a great light setup.
I've only been rocking this light for a few months so only time will tell on how it holds up.
a Cross Country Rider
from the Netherlands
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2011
Strengths: NB: review of MJ-856 with optional helmet mounting set and optional upgrade Samsung 5600 mAh battery in neoprene battery pouch.
1.) Beam pattern; very even spread light without a hot spot.
2.) Power! Highest setting is extremely bright, only used (but not realy needed) for high speed biking.
3.) Does not get hot, even when used indoors.
Weaknesses: 1.) Cable routing; cable exits lamp head at the bottom, turns in a square edge pointing forward, exits screwed on nylon lamp clamp on the front, interfering with O-ring mount.
2.) When using O-ring mount lamp turns around handlebar (25.4 mm carbon with textured surface) when operating light switch at back of lamp.
3.) Not (splash)waterproof (?): haven not tried this, but there are no seals between:
- lamp housing & lens,
- lamp housing (cable exit) & cable,
- lamp housing and screw / clamp.
4.) No real off switch (need to disconnect lamp from battery).
5.) No integrated means to store excessive cable.
6.) High price (€169.- = US$ 226.-).
7.) Rather heavy for mounting on helmet.
8.) Riders / drivers in opposite direction are blinded; no means to dim bike light sufficiently.
9.) When riding very tight & twisty single tracks (in unknown terrain) an additional helmet light should be used for best vision.
I wanted something similar to Hope Vision R4 but at a lower price and with a higher capacity battery.
I decided to buy the MJ-856 because of its nice, very even beam pattern, more than sufficient power and "cool", T-ribbed housing.
Over the standard BAK battery 4400 mAh in a nylon pouch, I chose the optional 5600 mAh Samsung battery in a neoprene battery pouch at an additional €22.- = US$29.5) and optional helmet mount with extended battery cable at an additional €11.- = US$14.75).
When using the MJ-856 as a helmet lamp, the (250 grams)battery should be carried in the backpocket of your bike jacket or in a CamelBak. The lamp itself is rather heavy (130 grams) for helmet mount, unless it is mounted on top of your helmet. However when mounted on top the lamp is prone to catch twigs and low hanging branches.
Altough most other bike lights are way more expensive, as an industrial design engineer with lots of experience manufacturing products in China, Taiwan and Malaysia I know this kind of bike light kits should not cost more than US$50,-.
To justify the price Magicshine should redesign the cable routing and mounting of this bike light and its sealings in order to turn it into a true MTB bike light for trail riding in wet conditions. For now 3 stars for value and 3 for quality.
Lumens per dollar, this is the best value out there. The first thing you have to decide though is whether you want a SPOT light or FLOOD light. The 856 is a FLOOD light, ideally suited for slower (less than 15 mph or so), more twisty and technical riding. If you are mostly riding roads, fireroads or rail trails going 15mph or faster, then you should rather consider a SPOT light. At full 1600 lumens the 4.4aH battery lasts about 1:45 (given about 80-100 lumens per watt). I recommend the 8.7aH upgraded battery from OpenLight to double your run time. At a very respectable 1200 lumens you will get 2:45 on the standard battery and over 5 hours on the 8.7aH battery. I find 1200 lumens as ample lighting when riding single-track, and the full 1600 when riding more open or faster trails. Also, outside of Lupine, no light from 2 years ago can come close to compare to the brightness of this light (so forget about what you think is bright - this light redefines brightness). Today there are others that can, but at double and more the price.
No other light at this prices comes close to this. Granted, Lupine still produces more lumens per watt (their equivalent lights appear maybe 10% brighter), but at 3 to 4 times the cost of this light. I love it, and even my friends with Lupine's says if they had to do it again, they would go with the MJ-856 too. My one riding buddy the other nigth thought it was a car approaching him when I was riding towards him running at 1600 lumens!
Also, this light does NOT get hot. I've been running and riding with it with temperatures at about 60 degrees and this light barely even heats up. Any heat it builds up is shed in minutes of turning it off. It never feels hot to the touch, and riding in 40 degrees the light actually feels COLD! Compare that to a halogen or HID light!