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Blog - SB1600

Stupidbright 1600 VS. Magicshine 1600

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January 24th, 2016

So I finally got around to ordering the SB 1600 to replace my older Magicshine 1600 and wanted to see how it stacks up to the MS 1600 as well as compare the SB1600 to its bigger brother, the SB 2600, which I also use in my lighting set up.

Packaging and delivery:

The SB 1600 arrived when it was supposed to and neatly packaged in a nice foam lined box of its own. I like these boxes with the magnetic lid as they are great to keep small parts and hardware in.

First impression comparison:

At first blush comparing the SB 1600 with the MS 1600 is that the SB 1600 is a bigger, beefier unit but it actually weighs about the same as the MS 1600. It is longer, a little wider and bigger in circumference than the MS 1600 and the bar saddle is larger too.

As with the other Stupidbright products as well as the Magicshine lights they are secured to the handle bar using hooks on the saddle ends and a thick rubber “band” that wraps around the handlebar. I have been using these bands for years and they work pretty well as I have yet to see one break on me even single-tracking down trails at night. The SB 1600 comes with bands in two different sizes so try the smallest band first and it should hold the light pretty securely. This type of system has the added benefit of allowing you to swivel the light head down as needed for oncoming cyclists.

Fit Finish and Design:

As with the SB 2600 I purchased over a year ago, the SB 1600 looks to be a well-built head. The barrel jacks fit together securely with the battery cable and where the wire goes into the head is sealed and secure. As advertised these heads offer and fair measure of protection from the elements. Though I wouldn’t want to fully submerge this head in water the SB 1600’s bigger brother, the SB 2600 has trucked through some recent rainstorms with no problem at all. I would expect the SB 1600 to perform just as well as I should be finding out soon.

In the saddle of these heads is a screw that secures the saddle to the head. It is located under the rubber pad inside the saddle. If you tend to do a lot of rough trails and generally beat the hell out of your equipment that screw can loosen up a wee bit but a quick tighten with a Phillips heads screwdriver and you’re good to go.

So where the SB 1600 really starts to differ from the MS 1600 in its design and how it affects its performance. Even though they are both rated the same in terms of lumen output, just looking at these two heads side by side and it’s obvious right away. Both units feature four LEDs but the larger SB 1600 features larger and deeper reflectors than the MS 1600. 

With the MS 1600 its shallow and smaller reflectors really splashes a lot of light side to side but not really projecting downrange. In my original set up I had 2 MS 1000’s which are spots that really only project downrange. I had added the MS 1600 as I wanted to see more around me rather than just down the road. With the SB 1600 you get a mix of the two features which is really nice. In comparing the two lights, you will notice in the two pictures the MS 1600 lights up the nearby door more than the SB 1600 does but even with that, on my first test ride last night through Oakland and Berkeley I found the SB 1600 lit up both side to side and downrange well and did not leave me wanting in either area. In this sense the SB 1600 is really the SB 2600’s little brother; a good mix of near and far lighting that does both well.

MS 1600

SB 1600

My rig:

Top is the new SB 1600, just below that in the center is the SB 2600 and on the bottom is a pair of MS 1000s. The two little lights attached to the bottom of the SB 2600 is actually a pair of 3 watt blue LEDs. It’s part of my Bike Party set up. 

Performance:

So how do these little beasties perform? All the academics in the world don’t mean squat until you strap on the equipment and go beat it up. The spot I chose is Aquatic Park in Berkeley California. In the first pic (sorry for the blur), is the little street with no lights on. 

Next is just the SB 1600 Note it picks up the reflectors on the cars and gives a nice throw downrange and it actually hits the reflective signs that are about 200 yards away.

Next is the SB 2600 alone. Brighter overall. It’s like the SB 1600 but just more of it. Also gets the trees.

Next up is everything. The 2 MS 1000’s, the SB 1600 and the SB 2600 for a whopping total of 6200 lumens! Road blasted, trees blasted and the road signs way down the road look like they are lighted. 

Heat and battery:

The SB 1600 comes with a solid little rechargeable battery and an included plug in charger. I have found that these batteries can take a couple of hours to fully charge and I am expecting a solid run time as advertised. The back of the light has a lighted button that starts green and ends in red at which point you will have up to an hour left if you continue on the higher setting. The SB 2600 goes through a lot of juice but I usually get around three hours on high and still have juice in the can. I would expect the SB 1600 to run longer being that it has one less LED than the SB 2600. 

As for heat, yes the SB 1600 does have to shed heat, it’s simply the nature of the beast. It’s designed to be on a moving bike with air flowing past it. If you are riding on a warm night it’s usually a good idea to kick the light to its lower setting for the duration of a traffic cycle if you are waiting for a green light. I don’t care what light you give me, as long as it’s an LED, it’s going to generate a lot of heat.

Conclusion:

The SB 1600 is a well built, balanced, bright light with good all around performance which should serve quite well on the street as well as on the trail. While not as bright as its big brother the SB 2600, its smaller size and longer run time make it a good choice for anyone needing a decent light. You will not find a better light in this price range and it is even cheaper than the MS 1600 by a substantial amount. On top of that you have responsive customer service which you will not get with MS lights.

I ride on group rides several times a month year-round with hundreds of other riders and with just the Stupidbright lights on I get compliments like “Holy crap those lights are bright! I thought a car was coming up behind me!” With everything on I get cars flashing their brights at me! I think I have the brightest lighting set up in the Bay Area and am proud to be running Stupidbrights in my rig.

I wrote this review for the guys at Stupidbright as they asked if I could give them a side by side comparison with the Magicshine and Stupidbright lights. No kind of compensation was offered to me to do this review. I like the product and with the SB 2600 having so far taken a year of beatings from me with no problems at all and I anticipate the little brother, the SB 1600 should stand up to my level of abuse as well.

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