MagicShine LED Tail Light Review

MagicShine LED Tail Light Mini-Review & Comparison

July 2010 - A review by Warren Beauchamp

I ride a very low lowracer recumbent on the roads. I'd rather not get run over. For the past several years I have been using a Serfas 3-LED tail light. This is a very bright light which is visible for over half a mile during the day. Unfortunately it uses AAA batteries, which have to be replaced a lot. I think it's now out of production.

Earlier this year I purchased an Ultrafire red LED Luxeon K2 flashlight from DealExtreme. It was inexpensive at $10, and used a Lithium Ion rechargable battery (another $10 for two, plus you need a charger).  The DealExtreme Ultrafire light was very bright, but very focused, so it had to be pointed perfectly, or it seemed dim.

MagicShine, a Chinese company, makes a very nice 900 lumen LED  headlight, as well as a 1400 Lumen flamethrower. Recently they  released a very bright 3 watt tail light. It's available from DealExtreme or from GeoManGear for around $55. It comes with a Lithium Ion battery pack and a charger, is fairly lightweght, and seems well designed.

I purchased my tail light from GeoManGear. It comes in a nice foam lined box with a magnetic catch. Spiffy. It attaches to bars and other stuff with a rubber O-ring.

I tested all 3 lights in my basement test lab. As you can see, all three have similar brightness.

  • The single K2 LED DealExtreme flashlight is very focused, which means nobody can see it unless it's aimed right at them.
  •  The Serfas 3 LED taillight has a bit wider focus, but is still very bright. I'm impressed. Maybe I just should have purchased some rechargable batteries for it.
  • The MagicShine is the same brightness, but has a MUCH wider focus, so it should be very easy to see from a wide angle.
The MagicShine LED tail light has one bright LED in the center, and a bunch in a ring around the outside.

The battery pack is in a nice little bag, but doesn't come with a way to mount it. Maybe you are supposed to use the bigger O-ring? No instructions other than a Lithium battery disclaimer were included.

The MagicShine has 3 flash patterns, One switches flashing between the bright center light and the LEDs in the outer ring, one flashes all the LEDs, and the final is all LEDs on solid.

The chrome band on the light twists to switch between the various modes. It has a nice feel, and supposedly uses some kind of magnetic switch which probably helps with the waterproofing.

Since there are no tubes to mount the light to on the NoCom, I mounted a small chunk of aluminum strap to the disk brake mount and attached it with the rubber O ring and a couple wire tires for good measure.

After half a year of use, the taillight has worked fine. I have had no issues with the light or battery. Several other people noted that they had problems with battery pack failures. The battery pack consists of four batteries packaged in shrink wrap. The shrink wrap can loosen over time and allow the battery connections to vibrate loose, and also it is not waterproof.  I wrapped my battery pack tightly in electrical tape to ensure the connections did not vibrate apart and it stayed drier, and I do not ride in the rain (intentionally!).

GeoManGear has issued a recall on the battery packs. I'm confident if they are well cared for they will work fine, but if you like to ride in the rain or let the batteries run down all the way or bash them around, you should probably heed the recall notice. These are LiPo batteries and as such they require more care than other battery formulations.

My recommendations:

  • Wrap the battery pack tightly in electrical tape. Do not allow the battery pack to get wet. If you are going to ride in the rain, coat it in a layer of silicone glue too.

  • Mount it somewhere where it will not become physically damaged.

  • Do not allow it to run completely down.

  • Do not leave it on the charger for an excessive amount of time (overnight should be fine)

I noticed that DealExtreme now has a new fancy MagicShine Headlight and another one available with a new battery pack now. This new pack has a clear plastic shell with an integrated voltage display, and is water resistant. This new design should solve most if not all of the issues with the previous battery packs. These new packs may be used with the existing tail lights and head lights concurrently by using an available Y cable.



Back to the recumbent miscellaneous page