Chinese cheapo cree lights – first hand experience?

Home Forum Bike Forum Chinese cheapo cree lights – first hand experience?

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)
  • Chinese cheapo cree lights – first hand experience?
  • z1ppy

    Dear god, welcome to 2006 😉
    Huge lumens claims are rubbish, but still very high, actual beam output/shape can be poor. Some people prefer the reliability & quality (build & reflectors) of branded kit, though are still made to pay through the nose.

    I’ll be trying a dual XML unit at some point this year. I’ve had lupines, Deal extreme torches & bike specific torches, & a troutie unit. All have there good & bad points, @ £30 give it a punt

    Premier Icon tom200

    I ran some Chinese led lights over the winter (1 big light with 2 smaller ones), available as one two three from uk. They cost a bout 60 on ebay/amazon an have proved pretty good, I had to send the charger back as it died after the first use, as did a mate’s set. They are definitely bright enough for proper inch riding and you get a couple if hours use.

    Overall definitely worth a punt.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    I have one.
    It has lasted well.
    It is not as bright as they suggest, and beam is narrow / some darker rings.
    But it is more than useable offroad.
    And cheap.

    Premier Icon ads678

    Paid about £35 for a 1200 lumen one a couple of years ago. It’s great. When it dies I’ll buy a new one and still be quids in.


    I’ve had 5 sets over 4 years – which says it all. They are cheap but don’t last too well.


    Got some old skool Light&Motion NimH lights that were never that great new 6/7 years ago.

    Some of the new generation cree LED lights have crazy lumen ratings for peanuts.
    Are they too good to be true (eg 5000 lumens for @ £30!) or a no-brainer?
    Surely if they are that good the likes of Lupine are dead in the water….thoughts.

    Fancy taking a punt…


    There worth every penny..never had one fail on me yet…lightmalls is a good place to start it.

    Premier Icon tenfoot

    Have a couple of Ultrafire 501b torches. The switches need a bit of fiddling with occasionally, but they have been used in all weathers with no problems.


    Me and my mates use them cheap as chips last a few years but for 30 quid it’s a no brainer


    Amazing value, had one set for 4 years and it’s never missed a beat

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Depends a bit on what you get tbh. The old P7-emitter magigshines were better than the newer XML ones imo, the latter are brighter but the beam pattern on most is poor for riding, very tight, chase the dot.

    There’s a middle ground between expensive lights and cheapo ones, things like the Magicshine MJ872, Fluxient 4X, and others… These are well priced (sub-£100) but excellent quality, genuinely great wee lights with quality chargers and decent batteries etc if my MJ872s said Lupine or Hope on the side people’d happily pay hundreds of quid for them. The 872’s a fairly old light now, probably there’ll be something newer and cooler but I reckon this area is where the smartest money goes. All the performance that you get from many of the expensive lights, at a fraction of the price.


    I have two Ultrafire torches. The second one I bought because the first one started switching off after a few minutes. Which to be honest, is exactly what you don’t want when going at any pace in the pitch dark.

    But they’re much brighter than anything else I’ve seen in a similar price range. In fact, the first comment I got from the other half when turning it on, was ‘WTF is that…a portable moon?!’

    Depends what your priorities are.

    I also bought a little one, just for general torching duties and it doesn’t seem to work at all…

    Premier Icon scandal42

    Mine are great, cant beat them for the price.

    Premier Icon tenfoot

    Along with the Ultrafire torches, I also have a C&B Seen 1200 lumen light. At £40-50 depending on whether you get a couple of options, the light is excellent and is shipped from the UK, providing some back-up.

    Not needed that back-up yet.


    These have been great, I’ve used them on off road trails through forest and were bright enough to go at normal speed. Not from China either. £17
    Ebay link


    Been using mine for 3am commutes on unlit roads for the last few months and they have been fine. Waterproof too which is a big bonus. Not bad for £30.


    Over the last 3 years I’ve acquired a few – all torches. My original P7 SSC was great, and I still have it, but I’ve replaced it with a C8 XML U3 which is usefully bright on MID mode for 2+ hours, and very bright on high power.

    I’ve now just ordered a 501b XM-L2 to uprate my lid light… at the moment I have a couple of 501b XML-T6s which have also been excellent.

    My experience with the previous generation 501b XPGs was less good – one packed up (replaced the drop-in with an XML) but the other is just a general use torch as it gets too hot and then won’t switch modes.

    These torches are cheap as chips… my C8 XML-U3 was £15 and my new 501b XM-L2 is £10. I find that the 501b’s often have heat management issues – fixed by wrapping the drop in with foil to improve thermal conductivity. They also have issues with cells rattling around inside – which breaks the contact causing the mode to switch just you are hitting something rough! But that can be fixed by wrapping the cells in electrical tape to make them fit more snugly, and by using one or two rare-earth magnets on the -ve end of the cell to make it a bit longer so it has more pressure on the contact spring (I’m using reclaimed laptop cells which are unprotected and so a bit shorter than protected 19650s).

    The latest kit is unbeatable at the price… but some fettling is required to make it reliable.


    I used a 2+1 set up last winter. The claimed 2400 lu was an exageration, probably nearer 900, but plenty bright enough for night riding in the local woods. No reliability problems, and the charge lasted about 2 hrs on full use. I’ll definitely get another set if these have failed over the summer, well worth £60.

    Premier Icon scandal42

    Sorry rascal, didn’t realise it was you who started the thread, I’ll bring mine along on wednesday so you can have a look at one if you want.

    Premier Icon stewartc

    Have a couple of the 1200 lumen ones which I bought locally for about 20GBP each, still going after 2 years with no problems.


    rascal, if i manage to get the kids bed at a reasonable time i’ll bring my xml.

    Good while it’s working but VERY unreliable. As mentioned above, keeps switching off. No amount of tinkering has made it better.


    Had the oldest for nearly 3 years now and it’s been flawless. Added 3 more to get extra power packs and my lads have one each. They are great for the money. If they last 2 years for £30 that’s 10 years before you get into mag prices and if you have a bad off they can all break. Did The Beast at dusk with one light yesterday and it was plenty bright enough. They are amazing value.


    For £18 I thought it was worh a punt, mine only came this week so I can’t say much about reliability and I’m sure the number of lumens is very approximate but it’s certainly bright. There seem to be loads all over amazon and ebay which look the same. The only difference I could see in the listings was the battery pack so I went for a 6400mAh one.

    As others have said, it is a narrow beam so I’ve ordered one of these too for a fiver:

    The diffuser hasn’t arrived yet but if it’s here by Weds I’ll bring it along so you can have a look. 🙂


    I have an Ultrafire torch – £13 on eBay. Zoomable beam, advertised as 1200 lumens but probably 600, but good for all that. It came with two 18650 Li-ion batteries, that I don’t think (based on price and being 1.5mm shorter than others) have the circuitry to limit charging current and hence are reputed to be liable to explode. They have been fine so far, but I never charge them when I’m not about and I put the charger inside a large open topped metal biscuit tin.


    I’ve had a £250 maxx d for 3 years which I have on my bars. I have a Cree light on my lid. In the 4 years I’ve had the maxx d ive gone through 3 sets of cheapies…

    Premier Icon fathomer

    I got 3x torches last year, pretty sure they’re trustfire ones, used mainly for commuting. Cheap and bright, but the batteries never last very long even on medium and one of the torches has stopped working, as has one of the batteries. I also worried about the charger going bang all the time!

    I’m pretty sure I’m getting a Lumenator (hopefully for Wednesday night) as I want some reliability.

    Premier Icon Johnny Panic

    Each of the original P7 ‘900 lumen’ magicshines I’ve had has lasted maybe 1 or 1 and a half seasons. In each case it was the clicky button that failed. My latest ‘1200 lumen’ XML has also done 1 season and I find the tight beam useful on my head in combination with a wider beam on my bars. However that is also falling now. It just cut out the other night half way through a ride. It’s either the battery or charger to blame. It was only £25 though so I’m torn now between replacing it with something similar or spending £100 plus on a bit more quality.

    crispy bacon

    As the others have said great value for money & @ £30 you can buy another one if it dies and it’s still cheaper than UK stuff.

    One word of caution thought.

    I was charging up my chinese cree once using the charger supplied & it blew up with an enormous BANG !! scared the cr@p out of me & it actually blew the charger unit apart, luckily it did not catch fire but it could have done. I then bought an EU/UK approved charger from MTB Batteries – smudge off here.

    The moral of the story is the units are cheap for a reason but please invest in an EU/UK approved charger for them.

Viewing 28 posts - 1 through 28 (of 28 total)

The topic ‘Chinese cheapo cree lights – first hand experience?’ is closed to new replies.