It's that time: time to pony up with a wad of cash and throw it at bike lights. The batteries on both my lights have been getting weak for some time. Last night, I started with one light on low and it still died before the end of the ride. The battery on the other light lasted the whole ride, but the indicator showed that it was low. One of these is a Magicshine from mid-2009, which cost $93. The other wasn't labeled Magicshine, but it's exactly the same, also from mid-2009, and cost $80. Each of these babies lasted over five years, so I'm not at all disappointed. Replacement batteries look like they'll cost anywhere from fifteen to fifty bucks apiece. New lights, batteries and all, with brighter, more modern LED's, are now available for twenty to thirty bucks each. There are literally hundreds of options for this new generation of Chinese lights. They all look pretty much the same, the batteries are all pretty much the same, and they all use Cree LED's and drivers. The lights will be here tomorrow, in time to get charged up for a Thursday ride. Back in 2009, the Magicshines were replacements for my old-school lights. One was a Niterider, about 400 lumens, that one cost $250. After a couple years, that battery was dying. The cost of a new battery was over a hundred bucks, that's why I switched to the cheap imports. The other light was a 400 lumen Dinotte, which I replaced because 900 lumens is over twice as good as 400. Interestingly, I gave that light to a friend of mine. She still wears it on her helmet and it work fine last night. The Dinotte is one well-made piece of hardware. It's fascinating that the light output goes up, and the price goes down. The quality of the Chinese lights doesn't come close to that of American or European products, but it's still usable and reliable at a fraction of the cost. I'm eager to take these out on the trail and see how they perform.