There’s no escaping the fact that the days are short in the southern states. Morning rides are in complete darkness.
To combat the dark, we’ve been testing two awesome lights by Exposure. The Strada MK5 and Toro MK6 are both designed to ‘see’ and ‘be seen’.
Words and Images - Mike Boudrie
Exposure Lights are made by British based Ultimate Sports Engineering. There’s no getting away from the fact that these lights are expensive, however they produce some of the best on the market and the quality of their products are not to be underestimated. We’ll be up front and say that we are confident that these are two of the best lights we’ve seen so far.
We’ve selected the Stada MK5 and Toro MK6 as they are closely matched in price, and while the Strada is focused on road and the Toro on XC with think that they are the two Exposure lights best suited to road riding.
Both of the exposure lights are built to a very high specification. They feel really solid in the hand, with a great machined finish. We’d expect these lights to last well beyond their two year warranty. The lights are both supplied with a case that will protect and hold the light, charger and clamp. Even the charger feels solid, nothing has been missed.
There’s a lot of technology in these lights. We won’t go through it all because the main thing we were interested in was do they work. In short, yes they do. The output from both of these lights is just awesome.
The mount is the same for both lights. They are made from aluminium, held in place by a bolt and have a quick release so the light body can be removed in a second. The clamp is great, we found it did not budge, even on the most bumpy roads.
Both lights carry an internal battery, so there’s no wires or unsightly battery packs to attach to your frame. The lights are largish in size, but we’d always choose a fully contained light and battery over an external battery pack option.
On paper the Strada is down on power with 800 lumens versus the Toro’s 1,800 Lumens. While there appears to be a massive difference, we actually found the Strada really effective on the road. The light pattern provides a wide and flat beam, making maximum use of the 800 lumen.
There’s no light wasted with a good push of light down the road and a nice spread to either side to allow you to see anything to the side of the road. This light pattern is not to be underestimated, it actually stops you blinding both your bunch riders that look back and riders and drivers coming in the opposite direction.
The Strada also comes with a ‘remote switch’. Basically it’s an additional on/off button that you can place around the hoods, or wherever you like, that allows you to change the mode of the light without having to take your hands off the bars. Very nice.
The Strada offers 5 programs. You can run each program in high, medium or low to provide you between 3 and 36 hours of battery life. We found that for morning blasts running on full power was the way to go until dawn, we then changed to one of the lower or flashing settings.
Controls are pretty simple, battery life and modes are shown by lights on the back. There's no time remaining display like on the Toro though.
The Toro MK6 packs a massive 1,800 lumens. Ultimately this light is designed for mountain bike trails, but we’ve loved having it on the road. Overall the light it pumps out is very bright, providing excellent visibility.
On the road some of this light is a little wasted, going forward/sideways and upwards. It’s great for being seen but there’s a chance you’ll be blinding anyone heading in the opposite direction. We found the Toro awesome on a few early morning CX/dirt trail rides where it really came into its own.
There’s a massive 10 programs on the Toro, each of which can be run in high medium and low, providing battery life of 2 to 36 hours.
There’s no remote button like on the Strada so if you do need to change to a lower setting you’ll need to play with the back of the light while riding. This brings us to the controls, there’s no physical button with a ‘click’ you just touch a round circle on the back of the light to change modes. it took a bit of getting used to but it works really well. There’s also a display that provides percentage charge and run time in hours and minutes based on the current setting. Very nice.
Size and weight
Strada MK5 - 228 grams - 108mm long, 50mm max diameter
Toro Mk6 - 232 grams - 118mm long, 48mm diameter
Expect to pay around:
Strada MK5 - $370
Toro Mk6 - $350
Both of these lights from Exposure are really high quality and as a road rider we think you’d be pleased with either light. They both have good battery life, a great ‘flash’ setting for low light or day time riding and are suitable to a range of uses and also make excellent lights for commuting.
Thanks to BikeBox for supplying the Exposure Lights for review.