Magicshine has been taking the ‘top value’ awards in the best mountain bike lights tests we’ve been doing for well over a decade but, in recent years, it’s also been outshining much pricier units in terms of power and tech, too.
The RN3000 packs excellent ‘Garmin mount’ versatility and other practical features into a compact, self-contained format with more than enough power and run time for most after-dark adventures. That fact, plus its awesome value, makes it a total win if you’re okay with buying direct.
Design and aesthetics
With a full metal body, side ribs and laser-etched logos, the RN3000 certainly doesn’t look cheap. The fact that it comes in a slow slide-open ‘Apple’ style box adds to its premium vibe, and you get a USB-C charging cable and selection of different switchable straps for the small, but very effective, bar-block mount as standard. It can be a bit awkward to hook the strap into the block when you’re first fitting, but once located, it tightens up very securely with the included hex key, and it’s small enough to stay in place without being an eyesore. The actual light junction is a GoPro half-turn design with a very positive click lock that’s stayed in place fine on rough trails, and even when we’ve hit stuff hard enough to be thrown off the bike ourselves. Using a Garmin-style connector also means it’s compatible with any out-front or other mounts you might have, and it’s generally a really smart idea. The USB charging port is hidden behind a big, 3D rubber flip-up plug to keep it clean and dry, and the whole light comes with an impressive IPX6 waterproof rating that shrugged off wet weather rides and deliberate puddle drops well.
While a lot of lights - especially far eastern direct-sell ones - use a theoretical lumen count, the Magicshine lights are tested to full ANSI standards, so you should be getting a genuine 3,000-lumens from the two LEDs. Each one sits in a slightly different medium-width beam optic rather than using the more common one flood/one spot setup, and there’s a ribbed horizontal diffuser across the top third of the lens. Unsurprisingly, that puts most light down the centre of the beam at a medium distance from the bike, rather than giving dramatic reach. That means it doesn’t look as dramatically ‘night into day’ on the trail as the lumen numbers suggest, but it still puts out enough light to push the pace on all but the most complex and challenging trails.
While it’s not as broad in spread as the L&M Seca Race we tested at the same time, you still won’t be wishing you had a helmet lamp as well for twisty trails and roads. In common with a lot of lights we’ve tested recently, the theoretically 50 per cent dimmer ‘mid’ output actually seems a lot more than that on the trail. It is certainly ample for uncompromised speed on the road or simple tracks, and you don’t have to rein it in much even on more radical terrain. Apart from a ring on the lower edge of the peripheral rim caused by the traffic friendly cut-outs, the beam is impressively even, with no edges or obvious burn spots to interfere with your trail translation or prematurely tire your eyes. As well as the side cut-outs, the upper ribs are designed to stop you blinding oncoming motorists. However not only does that dilute the potential distance reach of the RN3000, it also means you get a real eyeful if you lean slightly forward over the light on an out-of-the saddle climb.
The multi-mode menu consists of four (Eco, Low, Mid, High) power settings for each LED, but you can double click the top mounted backlit switch to shift between the separate wide and mid width, or run both together for maximum power. Another double click will put you into a flash mode for traffic safety. Thankfully that isn’t actually the maze to work through as it sounds, but we generally just left it in double LED mode at mid-power, as that worked for pretty much everything without worrying about battery life. That’s a good job, too, as the RN3000 doesn’t give you any indication of how much life is remaining until it starts pulsing the beam slightly, and the mode light flashes red with about 15 minutes of fading light left. That’s our only major gripe, but being able to streamline or ‘custom tune’ the output would definitely be a bonus, too. On the plus side, the 10,000 mAh battery gives plenty of run time even if you insist on running the light at full power, but as we spent most of our riding in ‘Med’ we never saw the blinking low battery alert even on extended night raids. The USB-C connector also lets you use the RN3000 as a power bank for other devices, which is always handy. Past experience with Magicshine kit means we’re not worried about reliability either, especially as the self-contained design means no external connections and cables to worry about.
With a bright, broad beam output that’s enough to ride without compromise even in complex situations, a tough and self-contained design with solid Garmin mount versatility, generous run times and a power pack function, the RN3000 is a great light. Add in a killer price and it’s easier to forgive the very limited battery communication, lack of menu tuning, and no remote control option, but if it had any or all of those added it would be literally brilliant.
Tech Specs: Magicshine RN3000
- Price: $159.99
- Weight: 296g (including mount)
- Max output: 3,000-lumens (ANSI tested)
- Battery: 10,000 mAh
- Max power run time: 2:19 (average of 3 runs)