One of the newer generation of LED lights from the USE Exposure brand, a name already well known in the mountain-biking world, the Toro promises an outstanding mix of car-dazzling illumination, small size and long battery life.
Designed primarily for off-road racing, with a built-in battery and single, high power P7 LED from Seoul Semiconductor, the Toro gives a claimed 700 Lumens of light output with a run time of three hours on maximum, in a package that weighs only 276g. There is a choice of three power outputs, the light will run for around three hours on high beam, 10 hours on its medium setting, or a whopping 24 hours on its low setting, on just one charge. This makes it well suited to weekly commuting, or even all-night mass participation events such as the Dunwich Dynamo, the Exmouth Exodus or the London to Brighton Night rides.
The beam profile is quite narrow, with most of the light within a beam approximately 7° wide. While this is fine for most riding, it does mean that on the open road, only the high power setting spreads enough light across the road to see detail, such as junctions, clearly on the other side. However, with a neat handlebar mounted remote switch available as an accessory, turning to high beam when you need it is easy. On full power, the beam is bright in the middle and has a softer ‘flood’ effect at the edges, and a fox was clearly visible at around 60m away. In comparison with other similarly bright lighting set-ups such as Lumicycle’s Halogen System (much cheaper) and the slightly brighter Hope Technology Vision 4 LED (a bit more pricy), the Toro offers the ability to see a similar distance, but with a slightly narrower, more intense beam of light. As mentioned, this narrower beam does make the opposite side of the road less easy to illuminate. The light features an incredibly bright flashing mode as well, in case you need to draw attention to yourself in an emergency.
Packaged in a neat weatherproof aluminium body, the light fixes onto either standard, or oversize bars with a forged metal clamp. While the clamp bolts into place on the bars, making fixing the light in an optimum position an easy, fit once and forget affair, there is a nice quick-release to attach the light to the clamp so you can take your light with you when you lock up the bike.
The power, and mode selector is at the rear of the light, and has a simple, ‘double-click’ on, and hold to switch off function. While on, the light can be cycled through the output settings with single clicks of the switch. A multi-coloured LED within the button also acts as a mode indicator and fuel gauge. There is a multi-function charge socket on the back as well, but more on this later. One excellent feature of the Toro is a machined, raised lip around the rear face of the light, which protects the switch and socket in case of a fall.
With our test unit, we were also supplied a ‘Red Eye’ (optional extra at £40) rear light unit that can be powered from the multi-function socket at the rear of the light unit. Velcro-ing onto the seat-post this provides a near-car-brakelight bright rear light at 80 Lumens to ensure excellent visibility. Again made from an incredibly robust looking chunk of aluminium, this unit has a long cable to run along the bike’s top tube to the Toro on the handlebars. I say long cable, but it is not really quite long enough and may be a stretch for longer framed bikes.
In addition to the ‘Red Eye’, we were also provided with a remote switch, which velcros onto the handlebars within easy reach of a thumb, and also plugs into the multi-function socket. Designed more for mountainbikers who may wish to change modes rapidly off-road, the switch is easy to use, but prevents the simultaneous use of the rear light.
The multi-function socket, known as a ‘smart-port’ is a nice idea, and certainly provides a lot of flexibility for the light in a small package, but I am not entirely convinced. It does limit the system to the use of one accessory at a time, and changing its use from a passive, charge or remote switch socket to a powered light socket requires a sequence of button presses that take time to learn. One real advantage for extended night rides though is that it will permit the connection of additional, ‘piggyback’ batteries available as an accessory from Exposure.
Charging time is not the quickest, at around nine hours for a full charge from empty, but considering the long run times on low and medium settings, for many riders this may only be a weekly occurrence.
All in all, the Toro offers a remarkably capable, and versatile package. Its long run times, and small size make it ideal for use as a bright commuter light, and for longer winter training rides as well as for night-time events, and it can even open up the odd off-road adventure after dark as well. The only drawback is the price. With an RRP of £275 it is a significant investment, and one not to be taken lightly!
An excellent light, compact and powerful. Well suited to longer commutes on dark roads, extended night training rides and off-roading.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Exposure Toro LED front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed primarily at off-road endurance riding. Exposure claim the Toro is designed for high-speed racing.
However, its light weight and long run times make it well suited to all types of extended evening training rides, nighttime events and sporty commutes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A claimed 700 lumens on maximum power setting.
Quick Release Bracket - forged metal handlebar mount, strong, light and easy to fit. Fits both 25.4mm and 31.8 handlebars.
Cable Free - no messy cables or separate batteries to deal with.
Smart Button - mode indicator plus battery fuel gauge.
Smart Port - charge from the mains, add piggyback batteries, attach remote switch or power the Red Eye rear light.
Internal lithium-ion battery
Well built, solid and looks like it should withstand years of hard use.
Some nice touches, like the raised rim at the rear to protect switches from bumps and knocks.
Manufacturer's 2 year warranty shows their confidence.
Performs well, lighting the road well ahead. A point to consider is that on anything but high beam the spread of light is insufficient to reach right across the road.
Nicely and solidly constructed, the only drawback is the self-contained battery, which may be hard to replace when it does eventually wear out.
For its power this is an extremely compact and light package.
Comparable to similarly specced lights on the market.
The RRP of £275 is nonetheless very high for anything other than the most dedicated nighttime riders or racers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
With a bright and even beam, the light performs excellently on high power for all types of riding.
Lower power settings give greatly extended battery life at the cost of beam penetration and breadth.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to remove and replace at rest stops.
Long battery life.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Breadth of beam on anything but the brightest setting.
Length of cable for optional rear 'red-eye' light.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but it is pricey
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A well engineered and capable product.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.