Review Magicshine Eagle F3 MTB/eMTB front light.

E

EddieJ

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#1
Magicshine Lights. Link to site and retail pricing. Magicshine Bike Lights | Cycle Lights | Magicshine UK


The introduction…

Many will already know that I’m not adverse to a bit of night riding, be that using my eMTB or my analogue MTB and from looking at my stats from last year, I spent just over 200hrs riding after daylight hours. Not a bad achievement for what is just a bit of evening fun, and I would guess that the figure in hours to be pretty much the same for the two previous years as well.

Up until September 2017 my light of choice has been a Fenix BT20, which had a modified battery pack fitted, utilising 6x18650 cells, over the Fenix OE 2 cell pack. Two cells are probably fine for on road riding where a low power setting can be utilised, but the OE 2cell pack never met my off-road requirements, and let me down on more than one occasion. The light has served me well though, but after four years of abuse, and an incident involving the front wheel, I had very reluctantly been using a cheapo Ebay light which was far from ideal, as the available beam was not been wide enough, and there have been several other aspects about it which I have not liked, and as a result my off-road night riding fun has been spoilt. Don’t be fooled by claims on forums that state “the best light” etc. as these cheap Chinese lights are not a good substitute for a quality branded light.

Bringing things up to date… Since its release I have had a hankering for a Magicshine Eagle F3, as it meets several requirements that are lacking in other lights.

Whilst lights secured by a rubber band might serve their purpose for many, this hasn’t always been my findings, and the Magicshine Eagle F3 has to my mind, possibly one of the best mounting system currently available from any cycle torch manufacturer. Being mounted rigidly and centrally to the handlebar, fixing to either side of the stem, it is in the optimum possible position. The fact that the light can be clipped into place in seconds, and removed in seconds whilst the mount remains, was another draw for me.

The next major appeal is the battery pack itself and its mounting system. The pack uses an ingenious mount, that can be either secured directly to a bottle cage mount, or held in place in a more traditional way using two Velcro straps which are passed through the mount, then attached around the cycle frame. The battery pack itself is separate to the mount and simply clips into place. It might only be a minor inconvenience, but I find it a chore having to unstrap and remove a battery pack after a wet and muddy night ride before washing down the bike. With a clip-in system for both the light unit, and the battery pack, post ride bike cleaning when freezing cold and wet, might just become easier.

Whilst I have found 6x 18650 battery packs just about okay for the average night ride of between two to three hours long, the Magicshine Eagle has 8x 1650 cells, which would allow more of a range of power settings to be used.

Having a remote switch may be of benefit, but that isn’t high on my list of priorities.

Something that is high on my list of priorities is the range of settings and spread of beam. For my riding, I don’t necessarily require an intense spot beam, preferring instead to have a wider field of vision. The Magicshine Eagle F3 doesn’t disappoint with its vast range of available settings, so there is certainty in finding exactly the right lighting mode for any given situation.

Online reviews have been very favourable, and with the decision made, and daylight hours rapidly diminishing, time had come to take things further. Bonita from Magicshine UK has been exceedingly accommodating to my many questions, and to this end, I now look forward to not only taking delivery of a Magicshine Eagle F3 now that they are back in stock, but also being given the chance to provide a long-term review of the torch. Winter riding is just about to become a much brighter prospect.

After nearly four months of use…

I have now been using this light approximately three nights a week, and I can really only say that I am totally impressed by it.

Fitting was as expected, an effortless affair, and Magicshine were kind enough to provide me with a second mount, so that I could quickly and easily change the light from bike to bike. Analogue to eMTB.

Sadly, there isn’t an option to purchase an extended power lead, as for my eMTB use, the seat post bottle cage position does not allow for permanent mounting system to be used, as the OE battery lead is not long enough. For normal down tube mounting, this is not an issue.

The light mounting bracket has really impressed me, with just how well that it grips around the handlebars, and with several different length restraint straps being supplied, there is never going to be a mounting issue. Once the bracket has been set up and adjusted, there is no need or requirement to touch it again. It also takes just seconds to clip the light onto or remove, and in operation there is no shake or unwanted movement. Onto a major complaint though. The light recently fell from the bike, and hit the ground at about 25mph. I had first thought that this was because I hadn’t clipped the light in place properly. This wasn’t the case at all, as when I stopped and looked, the clip that should have been attached to the light, was still attached to the mount. What had actually happened was that the factory installed fitting that goes directly onto the light had come unscrewed and separated itself from the light. Luckily despite hitting a road at speed, the light wasn’t broken but did suffer major scratches. I can’t say that I was overly amused though, as this should not have happened.

The light is clearly quite a size, but I don’t see that as any concern or issue. I’d more than likely have been disappointed, if it had of been any smaller.

In use, I quickly found a couple of aspects of the light that I didn’t like though. It has a distracting and pointless orange glow of light on either side, and the green battery indicator lights, are rather bright. Fitting tape over both, quickly sorted that one out, but it is something that Magicshine should address.

I wasn’t so sure that I would really use the remote switch, given that it takes little effort just to use the control buttons on the light unit itself. In fact, I was very wrong about that, and just being able to switch between modes without removing the hand from the handlebar, has proved a brilliant and safe option, and the unit just falls naturally to hand. I’d rather that it was mounted between the grip and shifter position, but the rubber band is too long for that option, and padding it out, didn’t work very effectively. A bolt on remote would be better. Actually, a lot better, as I used the light on a different bike a week ago and lost it! The grip on the bike hadn’t been wide enough, and the rubber attachment clearly not tight enough.

Initially with so many mode and power options, the light is slightly daunting to use, but once you have worked out what works best for any given situation, you just leave it alone and just run through the power settings, be this for brightness or battery saving. One massive bonus with this light, is that you do not have to cycle through modes when turning the light on and off. It is very annoying when you either have to go through modes to turn a light off, or have to go through modes when it turning back on again.

Bad luck and minor design niggles aside, I cannot find bad thing to say about this light, and I have really tried to think of something. It is without doubt the best light that I have used, and can go out, put the best part of three to four hours of riding time in, and still only have to recharge the battery pack after every other ride. The sheer brightness of beam, and beam pattern, mean that running the light at full beam, just becomes a luxury, rather than a necessity. I truly cannot find a bad thing to say about it, and have never used a light that picks out so much fine detail whilst offering such superb beam distance.

Even with the hitting the deck incident, I would have no hesitation in giving the light a 9 out of 10, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light for life. One mark lost because of the overly bright battery display, and the distracting orange glow from the sides.

So what's in the box. An additional mounting bracket is also shown.



How the lighting kit looks on the bike.




The morning after the nigh before.




And of course the light in use. These were taking on maximum settings for the light. I shall further this as time progresses, and for comparison purposes, I also intend to show photos of the lesser lights in use.



One photo to show the irritating orange glow and green battery indicator lights.

 
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Rob Hancill

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Thanks Eddie for a detailed review. The light looks quite good, I’m amazed by the amount of spread that you get from it.

My local trail centre do Thursday night rides and I’ve always been interested in attending.

Do you ever use a helmet light in addition to this?

Also would you mind sharing the cost?

Thanks
Rob.
 
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Doomanic

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Is the “over the stem” mount the only mount available?
 
E

EddieJ

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Thanks Esdie for a detailed review. The light looks quite good, I’m amazed by the amount of spread that you get from it.

My local trail centre do Thursday night rides and I’ve always been interested in attending.

Do you ever use a helmet light in addition to this?

Also would you mind sharing the cost?

Thanks
Rob.
Hi Rob.

Many thanks for the reply. The retail pricing for the light, can be found right at the top of the review. I have changed the writing to make it show clearer.

Helmet lights are no go for me with my riding. Much of it involves ducking and diving under low hanging trees and undergrowth, with frequent helmet strikes. It would prove to risky to have anything mounted to the helmet. A shame though, as they are generally a very valuable asset.

Is the “over the stem” mount the only mount available?
You would need to contact Magicshine for clarification, but it looks as though this mount might work.

Magicshine Eagle Bar Mount| Magicshineuk

The appeal for me, was the central mounting position, so the light is facing forward. With tapered bars, it always seems to me that handlebar mounted lights, never really face where I want the beam to be.
 

Rob Hancill

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Thanks. Got it.

I’m going to change the forum link colour for posts, they blend in too much at the moment ?
 

ccrdave

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very nice review.
I use a bar mounted light and a helmet light, I find the helmet light invaluable for looking round corners before you point the bike if you see what I mean.
Its a shame the most of the ebike manufacturers haven't cottoned on the the fact that some of us like to ride at night, a purpose built light that plugs into the bike battery would be cool
 
E

EddieJ

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I couldn't agree more. The Bosch motors have the facility to plug a lighting circuit in, but I have no idea of what light could be used in conjunction with it.

Helmet mounted lights are definitely a valuable asset, and I'd certainly use one if it wasn't for the low hanging branches etc. I might well give mounting one on the side of the helmet a try, and see how I get on with that set up.
 
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Nicely written review - but what is going on with adding external wiring to a bike that has integarted wiring? - ok if we are in 2006 but ever since 2007 we have had the Cable Free Design (CFD) from Exposure which is far neater/ lighter.

I use a Exposure Joystick on my helmet - which is great for riding - but anti social in a group as if you talk to someone and look at them - you blind them!
 

Gary

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The link above just takes you to the magicshine site and I couldn't for the life of me find the light package from their drop down menus, nevermind the price, only the light unit, or battery or accessories separately. in the end I had to google it to find it on the site. Here's a direct link

Front bike light | Magicshine Eagle F3 3000 lumen bike light | Magicshine UK

£139 is a bargain but after all that it's out of stock. (possibly why it's so difficult to find on the site?)

Looks to be a really great light with what initially looked to be a great light mounting system. But Unfortunately the over the stem mount won't fit along with a Shimano E8000 steps display.
 

Gary

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I use a Exposure Joystick on my helmet - which is great for riding - but anti social in a group as if you talk to someone and look at them - you blind them!
Yeah, don't you just hate folk who don't turn off their helmet light and look straight at you?
;)
 

Gary

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You would need to contact Magicshine for clarification, but it looks as though this mount might work.

Magicshine Eagle Bar Mount| Magicshineuk
.
@Doomanic
I've just spoken to magicshine and the single mount is compatible with the F3 Eagle but they don't rate it a strong enough mount. I'm guessing you're thinking the dual clamp will not work with your bike's bar display. I was thinking the same. But I 'think' the shimano will slide along an inch (not ideal) and make space for the magicshine clamp. We'll see.
 

Doomanic

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Thanks @Gary, I’d forgotten all about this but the night riding season is upon us so I suppose I should dig out my eBay cheapies and see if the batteries still charge without burning the house down...
The centre bar mount position is no longer a problem now I’ve changed head unit to a Purion.
 

Gary

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I'm getting rid of my Solarstorms (I have 4) and my 3000lm torchy light.
And this year I'm replacing them with one of these Magicshines and a stand alone usb 1600lm 3LED light for shorter rides. I'll be keeping one solarstorm with a smaller high capacity custom battery pack that's permanently mounted on my night ride helmet. Oh.. and the single cree XLM that stays mounted to my roadbike (again with a custom higher capacity battery pack)

Less faff and quicker bar/battery mounting is my aim.
 

Gary

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My Eagle F3 3000 turned up this week.
Bonita was great. The MagicshineUK website showed no stock of this light but after Emailing and a few enquiries I was offered one they still had. I also wanted extra mounts and that was no problem either. There was a small problem with Email delivery and the mounts were included free. Can't complain at that at all.
I'm injured just now so can't really use it properly but from initial impressions and fitting it to my various bikes and testing the light outside (I live in the middle of nowhere and the boredom of injury meant I couldn't resist lighting up the countryside) I'd agree with everything @EddieJ has to say about the light. The light modes and quality of the optics is outstanding for the money and an incredibly well thought out system.

Unlike Eddie one of the features that really convinced me to buy this light in the first place was the remote. I absolutely hate faffing around with switches so the remote brings every control right next to my hands so I won't ever need to slow down to adjust the settings. If anything the remote is a massive improvement on the two light top buttons. Where the lights buttons simply cycle through the settings. One button for brightness level and the other for mode. The remote has one button for the 3 modes and a + and - button for brightness. Making it far more controllable with less thinking required. One odd thing about the remote though is the clamp. it's not actually sized for 22.2mm bar diameter but instead it's adjustabe like a watch strap to be able to fit various diametersl. This has it's pluses and negatives. on the positive side it means the remote can be fitted to grips or bars or road bar tape, and probably even to your brake lever (depending on design). The negative of this being it's no way as secure as it could be if sized properly for the one place ie.22.2mm bare bar. Luckily my shifter/brake/grip spacing on the right hand of the two bikes I'll be using this light with is just right to place the remote next to my lock on collars where it luckily stays secure from the (Guide) brake levers being placed close to it. (kinda lucky considering different shape/positions of many levers).
Eddie, if you read this, try a strip of Mastic tape between your grip and shifter band to mount the remote more securely to. (my Ebike had this fitted already for my other light's remote, so did the same on my non ebike (which because of the SRAM matchmaker almost doesn't need it)

Can't wait to be up and riding again to use this light properly. I reckon it's going to be a game changer for my ageing night vision for proper full pelt descending and jumping.

One thing to be aware of with thi light is the size of the battery. it's massive! and as such can't actually fit inside the front triangle of my YT Capra. (not a huge problem as I can just mount it above the top tube but if you have a frame with not much space inside the front triangle or funky shaped tubing measure first to make sure it'll fit.
 
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Gary

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Finally went for a proper ride with this light. 2.5 hours and 23ish miles of local wet/muddy XC. (1hr 50 actual riding time)
About 10minutes into the ride the magicshine remote became temperamental not wanting to change mode and struggling to change intensities. I faffed about a little, switched everything off and then on again (IT genius here). still the same. Rode on anyway and then a further 10minutes into the ride my E8000 controller down paddle stopped working properly. It would either do nothing at all or change mode UP instead of down. it's had plenty hits and the casing is damaged so I tried wiggling the levers in the housing to see if it was a connection problem in the shifter/controller. didn't seem to be but I did get it to work the correct way a few times in doing so. I also made sure all the connections were firmly in place on the controller and display which they were. nothing left for it but to use my supreme IT skills again and swich the bike off, wait a minute and switch it back on again. Nope. same result. tried this a good few times (because IT genius) to no avail.
Apart from not having a down paddle and the temperamental lights remote the ride went fine. until around the 2hrs mark when the bike/battery went straight from two green LEDs to one red (there's no way I'd consumed a whole battery in two hours with less than 1000ft of climbing). About 5 minutes later 2 green lights came back on - weird!
about the same time the light battery indicator on the light dropped to one LED so I started to head home. Only 5mins later (around 2hrs15 of use and on full chat a lot -too much really) the light died on me with no warning (no blinky or change of colour) - should have RTFM really as it says when it hits one LED it's time to lower the power and head home) leaving me to ride home through the woods with no light and no moonlight to see by. I don't mind this TBH but I know my local trails incredibly well and quite like riding in the dark with no lights from time to time.
Anyway. i got home. Washed the bike quickly, wiped it dry etc. and brought it indoors. I removed the light and tried the bike controller. Now working absolutely perfectly again!!
This screams to me of some sort of interference beween the light and the shimano system causing issues. The E8000 manual does mention strong electronic signals and electromagnetic forces causeing the STEPS system to behave eratically.
From the E8000 manual
2.4 GHz digital wireless system 2.4 GHz-frequency digital wireless technology, which is the same technology used for wireless LAN. However, on very rare occasions, objects and places may generate strong electromagnetic, waves and interference, which may result in incorrect measurement. • Television, PC, radios, motors/engines, or in car and trains. • Railroad crossings and near railway tracks, around television transmitting stations and radar bases. • Other wireless computers or digitally controlled light
Now I need to work out if it's interference from the magicshine wireless remote, the LEDs/light housing, battery or cables. (I'd routed the battery cable alongside the left gear/shimano cable/wire following them up to the stem and wrapped round the stem one time before it reaches the light bracket.
I'm hoping routing the cable on the other side of the frame and not coiling it (causing an electromagnetic force) so close to the display/controller/wires will solve it. Otherwise this light really isn't going to be as great as I'd hoped for. (it's still optically a great light though)
I'll contact Magicshine for ideas once I've narrowed down the issue a little more.

[EDIT] with both bike and light batteries fully charged and the light fitted to the bike again indoors. I can't get anything odd to happen. No matter how I route the cable or how close I put the light/controller/battery to the display/wires/controller/battery... (even running the light of full chat standing still to heat it up).

Hmm.. I'm hoping this was some sort of weird teething glitch and not going to be one of those annoying lighting issues that only presents itself out in the dark away from home.
 
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SimonLsie

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Hey guys, ive had the Eagle F3 light for almost 2 yrs and still working well. 2 problems, the connectors pull away from the cable exposing the internal wires and the battery mount bracket (uses the bottle holder screws) has snapped. It looks like the metal used for the bracket has simply perrished and is a cheap alloy of some sort. Ive now sent countless emails to purchase a replacement but no help or replies!!!
img_7875-jpg.11057
 

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