Magicshine ALLTY 1000

Looking for a backup light for spring & summer evening rides?

I was sent the ALLTY 1000 by Magicshine, and after enjoying the transformative powers that their Monteer 6500 brought to my night riding, I had high hopes for it. This light delivers 1000 lumens, it has an internal battery that is USB re-chargeable, is waterproof and like the Monteer, uses a standard Garmin base mount.

1000 lumens is not going to replace your main night riding light, but it could be a really good secondary light. With a brighter lamp on your bars this could be an solid option for a helmet mounted light. I however, have been using it as my “get you home” light for my evening rides. During the spring it is all too easy to lose the light and get caught out. Whether heavy cloud or tree cover, riding longer than expected or simply misjudging it, we all sometimes need an emergency light to get us home safely.

The ALLTY weighs only 132 grams, and is small enough to fit in your pocket whilst riding without noticing. The 1000 lumens is delivered as a very usable spot of light rather than a broader flood. This works well as a second light with a flood on the bars, but it is broad enough to give you ample light to ride at pace in darkened tree cover. It is not enough light to ride at full pace on trails I don’t know (but you probably shouldn’t be riding new terrain blind at full speed in the dark anyway).

The running time matches the quoted numbers on the box, but if running in sub zero temperatures, I would expect the running time to drop. My only concern about the build quality, is that the Garmin base mount is not as solid a connection as that on other lights or accessories that use this mounting system. There is a small amount of play, only a few milimetres, but this isn’t noticable whilst riding.

All in all, if you’re looking for a small, self-contained light as second, backup or commuter light, then you wouldn’t have many complaints about this one.

Monteer 6500 – Review

Night riding season is well and truly here.

The Monteer 6500 is Magicshine’s top tier offering, coming in £200.00, it features an array of 5 CREE LED’s which are powered by a large separate battery pack. It certainly lacks the convenience of some of its competitors self-contained units, but what it lacks in compact form factor, it makes up for in sheer brightness.

Magicshine might not be the first name that springs to mind when thinking of MTB specific riding lights. But I have been using some of their smaller units for commuting and as backup lights for a number of years. I have been nothing than impressed by the longevity of the lights. They may lack some of the features of other top lights, but their simple rugged approach is not without merit.

The unit itself feels very solid and made of good quality materials, the same can mostly be said for all the ancillary parts. The CNC Garmin style bar mount for the head unit is nicely finished and comes with rubber shims for different bar widths, the battery housing has a reassuring heft but mine had fine hairline cracks. Nothing that would stop me using is but I am keeping a close eye on them to see if they get worse with use.

Once fitted and on the trail the power of the lights is hard to understate, the rated 6500 lumens is more than a credible headline. The range of settings is a welcome feature, with 15 different light settings that are easily navigated through using the single button on the head unit. This allows for you to find the right amount of brightness for the climbs saving battery life for the descents where you need the full power most.

You get some warning of remaining battery life with the on/control button changing colour at preset intervals (100%, 70%, 30% and 10%). It is relatively vague, but enough to give you ample warning.

The bad news, the cabling and battery placement. the cable exits the head unit at a fairly awkward angle, this makes for a messy run of the power cable. The cable itself is also a fairly odd length, too long to mount the battery close to the head tube, too short to get it near the bottom bracket or set tube.

However, this is just nit picking, as once the light is on and you can see through time on the trail you don’t care how messy it makes your bars. Besides, no one can see it in the dark anyway. In reality it is cheaper than some of the more established names, but it is still an expensive luxury accessory for you riding. However, the performance is greater than that of equal and sometimes greater price tag.

Sounds Different in the Dark

The frozen dew drops reflect crystal light from my head torch, the winter air crisp with each intake of breath.

The darkness just increases the contrast of the light, making each drop, on each blade of grass and pine needle all the more stunning. The song birds are back in their nests, the evening chorus long since sung. The darkness awakens and conceals other animals who silently stalk through the understory.

SONY DSC

As you enter the sanctuary of the trees, the boundary is marked by a literal hard line on the ground where the frost ends. The ground becomes blanketed by pine needles, the boughs high above softening and warming (just enough) the air. Your senses dial up to eleven as things look and sound different. Familiar trails level out and low ridges exaggerate as your vision renders the ground differently when illuminated in measured lumens.

The silence is held back by the sound of your effort and when the trail allows, the whirring buzz of your freehub. But pause to gather yourself and the starkness is striking, we are unfamiliar with this environment and situation now, but we evolved from it.

The school yard logic tells us that our ancestors went to bed when it was dark and awoke when the sun rose, but in the extremes of the hemispheres, that is just impractical. Man once stalked the landscape under the stars, living as an nocturnal and daylight creature, when the seasons or latitude necessitated.

We used to be at home in the dark, our eyes, whilst not ideal can still navigate without the aid of artificial light. Our torches whilst lighting our way, in fact blind us to what our eyes can see once accustomed to the night.

We have moved inwards and surrounded ourselves with conveniences, which is all certainly progress in the right direction. But sometimes we need to be in the dark, we need the silence, we need to hear our own hearts beat.


Elsewhere

Instagram Stravaiger Strava Facebook

Things are different in the Dark

The summers sun still shines, but the post work ride will soon need some additional lumens as our northern skies darken.

With night riding comes a new sense of your surroundings, the trail becomes a tunnel, peripheral distractions are obscured by the velvet night. Trail features are held in sharp contrast, the head torch both helping and hiding what rolls beneath our tyres. This sharper focus has led me to some PB’s that have taken years in the daylight to topple.

I am comfortable in the dark, I spent years walking my labrador as a teenager in the kind of night that only those in the true countryside can enjoy. I walked in the dark for a few reasons, I realised my night vision quickly adapted to the woodland and I could see perfectly. I didn’t interrupt the natural flow of the woodland by disturbing the fauna with artificial light. And finally the cost of batteries would of eaten away the meagre pay packet from my weekend jobs.

That being said, once accustomed to the low light, you do see some strange things in the night.

On clear nights I saw on regular occasion pinpricks of light amongst the stars moving in controlled ways. Satellites move in a constant arc across the heavens, shooting stars burn a line of brilliant, but soon fading light. I also saw dots of light move then stop, then move in a different direction. Once I saw two lights move toward each other then make 90 degree turns to avoid colliding and then glide away from each other.

Lights in the Sky and big cats on the ground

In the dark your eyes and mind can play tricks, your black and white night vision is in the periphery of your field of view, the centre of your vision has more colour receptors and therefore needs more light to see clearly. Easy to think that there is something in the corner of your eye that disappears when you turn to get a better look. The mind interrupts the eye with what the mind wants to see.

I Want to Believe

But sometimes there is no mistaking what you saw.

On a night ride on terrain I ride on a nearly weekly basis I had an encounter with what you could probably call an apex predator. That is, if you are one of those people who know our hills and woods are home to such animals.

Having climbed a farm track I was pushing across a field to access a fire road and some single track on the other side. The L shaped field was usually full of sheep and I thought that it was funny that all the sheep had gathered in the furthest corner from me. Literally as this thought dawned on me I turned the corner in the field, looked up and was met by two pairs of feline eyes glowing back at me from the light of my head torch.

One pair was significantly higher off the ground than the other, we paused. As I took a step tentatively forward the eyes turned and bounded high over Broom and Gorse bushes, over the boundary fence and sat on the fire road behind the field. Turning, they stopped and watched me. Not processing what sort of animal I could have disturbed I kept light in their direction and watched the eyes and carried on walking forwards. The hairs on the back of my neck were fully on end when I found the object of their interest.

A full grown ewe lay dead on the ground, drag marks showed where it had been pulled from concealment from under the Gorse and Broom. The front quarters were untouched, no puncture marks or goring around the neck. The hind haunches where a different matter, a scalpel like precision had removed the skin, organs and a lot of the muscle tissue leaving the open cavity of this poor animal. Now realising that most likely the taller eyes had taken down the sheep, cleaned part of the kill and hidden it, before returning with the shorter eyes that were presumably her young. The adrenaline started to seep into my system.

The eyes  stood still, both pairs unmoving, watching me with their kill.

I decided, rightly or wrongly that turning my back on an ambush predator was a mistake, so for some unknown reason, I carried on walking towards them. I didn’t get far before they turned and slunk into the dense under story, I still kept walking towards them, struggled through the Broom and climbed the fence.

The adrenaline was really starting to hit now and I finally decided that a mother cat with young was not something I wanted to disturb. Flight had finally won out over fight, I have never pedalled so hard, for so long in my life. it was only a few kilometers to a road but but it felt like a full length time trial.

Maybe they were pine martins, possibly wild or feral cats. I don’t know, all I know is the size of the gorse and the steep of verge they jump in two bounds whilst clearing the fence means that it was unlikely to be either of those. Things are different in the dark but one thing is certain, something took down that ewe.

This post has been shamelessly inspired by a Mike Levy article on Pink Bike.


Scroll down for a photo of the ewe, don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see a poor dead animal.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.


Elsewhere

Instagram Stravaiger Strava Facebook