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No matter how many times I do it, night riding never ceases to excite me. Sounds that seem ordinary during the day — the croaks of frogs, the calls of birds, the rustling of deer through the woods — transform into an unnerving racket in the night. In this dark wonderland, your mind wanders freely because it has no reference point to use. There is only a black, blank canvas for your imagination. Maybe that noise was a running deer, or maybe it was a hungry bear. All you know is the path immediately before you, the obstacles just ahead.
In the exhilarating world of night riding, one thing must be predictable: your light. A good light that is reliable, bright, and tough is the pivotal difference between the electrifying experience of only knowing the trail in front of you and having to hike-a-bike home with only your phone’s flashlight to guide you.
Last year Magicshine overhauled nearly all of their cycling-oriented product lines in an attempt to refine their offerings even further. This spring they sent me one of their new USB-charging lights, the Allty 1000, and over the course of a couple of months, I’ve had the chance to put it to the test to see what it’s really made of.
- Actual weight with mount: 146 grams
- Dimensions: 96mm x 30 mm x 37 mm
- Maximum brightness: 1000 lumens
- Actual run time: 114 minutes on high
- Recharge time: 5 hours
- Beam spread: 21 degrees
- MSRP: $84.99
When designing the aluminum-bodied Allty 1000, Magicshine clearly emphasized its ease of use, and the included handlebar mount was their main focus. One end of the mount’s malleable plastic strap has a cylindrical feature that users can snap out of the mount to open up the strap. Once they’ve then closed the strap around the bars by snapping the cylinder back in, a deceivingly simple screw system is used to tighten the mount.
In addition, the light itself can be removed from the mount with a quick twist. The interface between the light and the mount is the same as the system for the Garmin Edge computer, making switching accessories between bikes just that much easier.
If you’re looking at the Allty as a helmet light, Magicshine sells a specific helmet setup separately.
One of the most innovative features Magicshine added to the Allty 1000 is the new Daytime Running Light (DLR). In theory, the DLR’s 25 lumens are bright enough for other people to see it but soft enough so that it won’t blind them. Although its applications are limited for mountain biking, the DLR is a nice touch if you’re looking to ride beyond the trails.
The Allty has 5 other settings, in addition to DLR. Three “steady” settings provide 250, 500, or 1000 lumens while the two flashing settings have 500 and 1000 lumen blasts. In terms of the battery, the power button indicates battery life with green (30%-100% battery), red (10%-30% battery), and flashing red (0%-10% battery).
Lastly, Magicshine drop- and water-proofed the Allty 1000, so dumping it on the sidewalk or riding with it in the rain won’t be its undoing.
On the trail
Out in the wild, most of the Allty’s features contributed to a reliable, smooth user experience.
First, the hex bolt mount proves very effective. I’ve spent way too much time struggling with traditional rubber straps that stretch, so Magicshine’s take on securing the light to the handlebars is refreshing. The user only needs to tighten a bolt, and once it’s tightened, it stays there. It almost never shifts like rubber straps commonly do. The only time it does move is when you install it on a set of handlebars that tapers immediately from the center. The plastic strap just doesn’t conform to the shape of the bars like rubber would. Luckily, Magicshine sells a much slimmer handlebar mount with a clamp that usually solves this problem.
The only drawback to the hex bolt design is that it is hard to adjust on the fly. Instant adjustments are impossible without a tool, and under the cover of night, it can be hard to see what you’re doing with a hex wrench. To me, though, the inability to make quick adjustments is a worthy sacrifice for how solid the mount stays.
Additionally, the Garmin-style, twist-lock system between the light and the mount makes night riding much simpler. Getting most lights off their mount can be a pain, and this design saves users that trouble. If you need to use the light to root around in your pack or check out a mechanical, it easily twists off and is ready to go. Just make sure to twist the light back on slowly so the system engages again.
As for the light itself, the Allty 1000 delivers exceptional brightness over almost 2 hours on high mode. On every trail the light illuminates obstacles clearly, and it’s consistently bright across its whole range in any weather. Although Magicshine hints that it’s a great helmet light for mountain biking, I chose to mount it on my handlebars because of its wide, 21-degree beam spread. Essentially, this means it floods the whole trail with light, which is optimal because handlebars won’t always be pointing where you’re looking.
The only drawback of the light is heat dissipation. Compared to other models on the market, the Allty 1000 burns hot. So hot that after a long ride you could lightly burn yourself if you touch it near the bulb. However, remember that you won’t have to deal with that heat for 99% of the ride: it will either be on your bars or helmet. Furthermore, the aluminum body cools down just as fast as it heats up. A couple minutes after the ride ends it should be at room temperature again.
The Allty 1000 isn’t perfect. The stock mounting strap needs to conform to different types of bars better, and it needs some sort of insulation or improved heat diffusion features.
However, Magicshine is definitely onto something. Technically, the light is on point. It’s bright, reliable, long-lasting, and versatile in all conditions. These traits along with the user-friendly Garmin mount and hex wrench tightening all combine to make it a good light worthy of recommendation. Magicshine made a bold move by completely rethinking their whole bike light line, and slight adjustments to new technologies are understandable.
In short, if you don’t mind a hot light or getting extra accessories to perfect your setup, and you’re willing to pay a little extra for a light the will deliver consistent, intense power, Magicshine’s Allty 1000 is the perfect light for “working on your night moves.”