Home
Verdict: 
Exceptionally good road-specific light that benefits from some upgraded features, although the cost might make you think twice
Weight: 
241g
Exposure Strada Mk6
9 10

The Exposure Strada is an excellent self-contained light that provides all the illumination you need to ride with confidence on unlit roads, although the price will deter many.

The Strada has been one of my favourite road lights over the past few years, and I've reviewed the Mk 3, the Mk 4, and the Mk 5 for road.cc.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

Like those previous versions, this Mk 6 model is a self-contained unit (the battery lives within the same tough aluminium shell as the LEDs) and it mounts to your bar via the same quick-release bracket, but it's more powerful than ever, boasts improved side visibility, and gives you better information on the amount of power left in the tank.

You get plenty of light here. You can choose from five different programs, each with different levels of lighting. So, for example, if you were to choose program 2, you'd be able to cycle through high, medium and low modes. The high one would give you about 4hrs of light, the medium one would give you about 12hrs, and the low one would run for around 36hrs.

That would be difficult to remember, so Exposure prints the details on the shell of the light. Changing modes is just a matter of pressing a button, and switching between programs is nearly as easy. You can do it in seconds when you're out on a ride.

If you go for one of the highest lighting modes you'll have no problems seeing everything you need to see when riding fast on unlit roads. Nearly all of my night riding is on unlit roads and this light has allowed me to cut loose on the descents exactly as if I was riding in the daylight.

Exposure Strada - beam shot.jpg

Exposure Strada - beam shot.jpg

Most of the time you don't need the high modes; you can happily ride along on the flat in a medium mode or even using a low mode if it's dusk or the road is partially lit, so you just take the light level down. You can do this by touching the button on the back of the lamp unit or by using the remote switch – a button at the end of a 30cm cable that plugs into the Strada.

I've fitted the remote switch a couple of times but I prefer the simplicity of having an uncluttered handlebar. One of the best features of the Strada is the cable-free design, so why add a cable into the equation? If I was using the Strada every day rather than taking it on and off my bike, maybe I'd consider running the cable underneath the bar tape and positioning the switch close to the levers, but probably not. I'm a cable-free kind of guy! Still, it's part of the package and you can use it if you like.

Anyway, back to the actual lighting... The Strada's beam pattern is broad enough to light the full width of the road and the verges too, which is good news if you're worried about any of our furry friends running out into your path (I could tell you a few stories, believe me!). Dark lanes are its forte and I had no trouble at all riding potholed gravel/chalk surfaces. Not a problem. Plus, one of the Strada's main points of difference from the majority of high-power lights out there is that the beam is shaped so it doesn't dazzle oncoming traffic. You don't want to be anti-social, do you?

The Strada now comes with decent side visibility too, helping you avoid getting sideswiped when you pass a junction and keeping you legal.

Previous versions of the Strada had LEDs on the back to indicate the remaining battery level. That system was simple enough to understand but it's even easier now because the time you have left is shown on the back of the unit using what Exposure calls an OLED Status Display. All you need to do is read it.

Exposure Strada Mk6 - gauge.jpg

Exposure Strada Mk6 - gauge.jpg

At the moment I'm in program 1 and it's telling me that I have 1:35 (hours) of light left in the high mode. If I move to medium mode it tells me that I have 5:12 left, and in low mode it's 12:21. Exposure says that the accuracy of the information can be affected by temperature, but I've found it to be pretty much spot on.

The mounting bracket is the design that Exposure has used for years. It works! It's a hinged aluminium ring that you bolt to your handlebar (using the spacers provided, if necessary). The Strada itself is held securely in place on the mounting bracket by a sprung pin. Putting it on and taking it off takes a couple of seconds. Easy peasy.

The only slight issue is that you can't alter the angle of the light on the fly. Whether you're riding at 4mph or 40mph, the focus of the light is a set distance in front of you (as with many other lights out there) unless you move the bracket with a hex key. In truth, the amount of light the Strada is capable of providing means this is rarely a problem.

You can recharge the Strada from the mains or via a USB port; cables for both are provided. You're looking at a charge time from the mains of about 9hrs from empty.

> Check out our guide to the best front lights and our beam comparison engine here

As far as I'm concerned, the only real sticking point here is the price. The RRP is the same as it was for the Strada Mk 5 and this is a better light in several respects; the trouble is that other brands have upped their game lately and are offering very impressive lights at lower prices.

The Cateye Volt 1600 that we reviewed recently, for example, has quite a similar output and beam shape (they're by no means identical), but it's £80 less at full RRP. On the other hand, the Volt 1600 doesn't offer side visibility or the OLED display, so the Strada certainly wins in some respects.

Overall, this is an exceptionally good road-specific light, it just comes down to whether you want to spend this much money.

Verdict

Exceptionally good road-specific light that benefits from some upgraded features, although the cost might make you think twice

road.cc test report

Make and model: Exposure Strada Mk6

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light 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?

Exposure says, "The new Strada is your super domestique, delivering you to the head of the pack safely with more power and information than ever before. Power increases by 25% to 1000 measured lumens and the road specific beam includes increased side illumination to enable you to control your environment. Developments also include accurate burntime information with the new OSD and capacitive switching. The Strada is the next level in cycle lighting."

It lists these features:

- Road Specific beam

- Remote Switch

- OLED Status Display (OSD)

- Capacitive Switching

- Smart Port Technology +

- Cable Free Design

- Intelligent Thermal Management

- Optimum Mode Selector

- Fuel Gauge

- QR Bracket

- Hand Made in the UK

In the box: Strada MK6, Handlebar bracket, Remote switch, Smart charger, USB charge cable, Quick start guide

* Run Time:

High - 3hr

Low - 36hrs

* Lumens: 1000

* Battery: 7,800mAh

* Charge Time: 9 hrs

* Dimensions:

L - 104mm x D - 44mm

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Exposure lists these technical features:

* Road Specific Beam

Car-like high and dipped beam patterns perfect for lighting the road for full speed riding while not overpowering other road users.

* Capacitive Switching

Capacitive Switching increases the ease of mode changing. The backcap of the light acts as a button, simply touch the back above the OSD screen to change mode. It intelligently senses pressure so whether you're wearing big winter gloves or just not wanting to take your eyes off the route ahead, simplified switching is a touch away.

* OLED Status Display

OSD advances unique Exposure Lights pat. pend. display technology. The new OLED panel gives program and mode information before switching to a burntime countdown. When charging, the OSD displays the percentage of stored energy left in the battery cells.

* Cable Free Design

The primary design feature of Exposure Lights, Cable Free Design removes the hassle of cables and straps utilising the superb range of brackets for speedy, rock solid attachment.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Everything sits in a tough aluminium shell. You might scuff the surface but you're never going to put a dent in it or damage anything inside.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

The fact that it has five different programs with various modes in each sounds complicated, but it really isn't. You just pick the program you want and then cycle through the modes until you find the most suitable one.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

Once set, you need a hex key to alter the angle of the light. That can occasionally be annoying but it is super-secure.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

The battery will last about 36hrs on the lowest mode and about 3hrs on the highest. Recharging takes 9hrs - so overnight, in most cases.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

It was an exceptionally good light before and Exposure has made it better with a few key changes (detailed in the body of the review).

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10

Everything sits in a tough aluminium shell. You might scuff the surface but you're never going to put a dent in it or damage anything inside.

Rate the light for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

If 5 is average value, I'd struggle to give this more than 6 given what other manufacturers are producing these days. The performance is exceptional, but you do have to pay for it.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It puts in an exceptional performance and the new display on the rear makes life even easier.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The output and the beam pattern, ease of navigation, and the display that tells you exactly how much time you have left in your chosen mode.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

It's one of the most expensive lights we've tested on road.cc this year. It would be good if you could alter the angle of the mounting bracket without the need for a hex key.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes, I'm a big fan of it.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

This is an exceptionally good road-specific light that's a definite 9 for performance. It is expensive, but I think that an overall score of 9 reflects its quality.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

25 comments

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [606 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Does it have a flashing mode at all?

Avatar
earth [363 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have the Mk4 it's great but the beam pattern does dazzle on-comming traffic.  I have been told so.  They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further.  Another problem I have with it is that when mounted on the bars it is impossible to see the display on the back of the light.  This version looks like it will have the same problem.

Avatar
oldstrath [855 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Rapha Nadal wrote:

Does it have a flashing mode at all?

Yes, but I can't  imagine wanting to use it.

Avatar
oldstrath [855 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
earth wrote:

I have the Mk4 it's great but the beam pattern does dazzle on-comming traffic.  I have been told so.  They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further.  Another problem I have with it is that when mounted on the bars it is impossible to see the display on the back of the light.  This version looks like it will have the same problem.

I've  had people complain about a dynamo light fitted and adjusted to conform to STVZO regulations.  I think the truth is that some drivers will just complain, about nearly anything cyclists do. I'll  agree the Strada is probably not  the right tool for busy cycle paths and urban  roads, but on the unlit, poorly maintained, potholed minor roads I commute down and train on it is superb. Especially for seeing the wildlife before it hits me!

Avatar
Wilts Cyclist [15 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've used one down unlit country lanes all winter and it's great. What's not shown in the picture above is that the light also covers your front wheel, so you can easily see potholes coming up and see exactly where they are as you pass by. I've only had a couple drivers flash me, my guess is that they're complaining is too bright. Also helped me to see rabbits and Roe deer in the verges - just before they dashed out in front me.

Only downside is you cannot see display on the back of the light easily, and it also illuminates the Garmin which is mounted on K-Egde. I can live with that though.

Avatar
Mr Turning [124 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
earth wrote:

They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further. 

That doesn't follow, no!! 

For a start, side by side doesn't look like a car at all, in any circumstances whatsoever. The two LEDs you're talking about are 2cm apart and you can't even distinguish them from one another never mind think they're 4ft apart!

And as for the idea that putting one LED 2cm above another will dazzle people... well, really, you don't even believe that yourself, do you?!?

Avatar
Arthur Scrimshaw [68 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
oldstrath wrote:
Rapha Nadal wrote:

Does it have a flashing mode at all?

Yes, but I can't  imagine wanting to use it.

 

Why not? I've got a mk 5 and use this in the mornings on my commute this time of year, not dark and it certainly gets the attention of drivers. 

Avatar
earth [363 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Mr Turning wrote:
earth wrote:

They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further. 

That doesn't follow, no!! 

For a start, side by side doesn't look like a car at all, in any circumstances whatsoever. The two LEDs you're talking about are 2cm apart and you can't even distinguish them from one another never mind think they're 4ft apart!

And as for the idea that putting one LED 2cm above another will dazzle people... well, really, you don't even believe that yourself, do you?!?

 

As a peditrian I mistook a moped once for a car in the distance because it had two lights side-by-side.  A motocyclist I knew would never ride anything with two lights side-by-side for the same reason.  In the dark all you can see is the lights and nothing behind them so you can look like a car in the distance.

There are other reviews that show the beam pattern.  It was more horizontal in previous versions now it is like a standard spotlight.  I think they need to work harder on the beam pattern.  Car headlights manage to illuminate the road and nothing above the horizon.  The cut off is like a razor edge.  While bike lights are all circular spot lamps.

Avatar
oldstrath [855 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
earth wrote:
Mr Turning wrote:
earth wrote:

They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further. 

That doesn't follow, no!! 

For a start, side by side doesn't look like a car at all, in any circumstances whatsoever. The two LEDs you're talking about are 2cm apart and you can't even distinguish them from one another never mind think they're 4ft apart!

And as for the idea that putting one LED 2cm above another will dazzle people... well, really, you don't even believe that yourself, do you?!?

 

As a peditrian I mistook a moped once for a car in the distance because it had two lights side-by-side.  A motocyclist I knew would never ride anything with two lights side-by-side for the same reason.  In the dark all you can see is the lights and nothing behind them so you can look like a car in the distance.

There are other reviews that show the beam pattern.  It was more horizontal in previous versions now it is like a standard spotlight.  I think they need to work harder on the beam pattern.  Car headlights manage to illuminate the road and nothing above the horizon.  The cut off is like a razor edge.  While bike lights are all circular spot lamps.

The dipped beam on a car has such a cutoff, it's  true. Fine when they are set up correctly,  a fecking pain when (rather often ) they are not. STVZO compliant bike headlights generally have such a cutoff, with the same issues, but worse because the mountings generally aren't that good, so misalignment is easier.

The other point you omit is that cars also have main beams,  a facility not available  in stvzo land, but very important in some conditions.  Sure, the Strada could have a more 'sociable 'pattern, but for some tasks it is just excellent as it is.

Avatar
Wilts Cyclist [15 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
oldstrath wrote:
earth wrote:
Mr Turning wrote:
earth wrote:

They have changed th e placement of the LEDs in this version, over-and-under rather than side-by-side.  That's a good idea because a side-by-side placement can look like a car in the distance but the beam pattern is now more vertical and will dazzle people further. 

That doesn't follow, no!! 

For a start, side by side doesn't look like a car at all, in any circumstances whatsoever. The two LEDs you're talking about are 2cm apart and you can't even distinguish them from one another never mind think they're 4ft apart!

And as for the idea that putting one LED 2cm above another will dazzle people... well, really, you don't even believe that yourself, do you?!?

 

As a peditrian I mistook a moped once for a car in the distance because it had two lights side-by-side.  A motocyclist I knew would never ride anything with two lights side-by-side for the same reason.  In the dark all you can see is the lights and nothing behind them so you can look like a car in the distance.

There are other reviews that show the beam pattern.  It was more horizontal in previous versions now it is like a standard spotlight.  I think they need to work harder on the beam pattern.  Car headlights manage to illuminate the road and nothing above the horizon.  The cut off is like a razor edge.  While bike lights are all circular spot lamps.

The dipped beam on a car has such a cutoff, it's  true. Fine when they are set up correctly,  a fecking pain when (rather often ) they are not. STVZO compliant bike headlights generally have such a cutoff, with the same issues, but worse because the mountings generally aren't that good, so misalignment is easier.

The other point you omit is that cars also have main beams,  a facility not available  in stvzo land, but very important in some conditions.  Sure, the Strada could have a more 'sociable 'pattern, but for some tasks it is just excellent as it is.

If the concern is you want to distinguish yourself as a cyclist then I can suggest a helmet light ? Assuming you wear a helmet - lets not get onto that debate. 

I use a Moon Aerolight mounted on my helmet - it fits on bars as well if preffered - review here http://road.cc/content/review/175854-moon-aerolite-cob-light 

In combination with Strada I find it excellent for getting drivers attention - particulary when they're approaching a junction and have to give way to you.

Avatar
Peowpeowpeowlasers [518 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I use a Philips Saferide 80, but in response to the point above about main beam, I believe the Specialized Flux Expert has a main beam function.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb/lights/lights-ftb/flux-expert-headl...

Avatar
carlosdsanchez [14 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I have used a Philips Saferide 80 and a MKIV Strada. Strada has a higher lumen output, but the saferide beam pattern means that it is a more effective light. It is pretty much the most ugly light I've ever seen though and the battery life is pretty awful, which is why it now sits in a drawer and the Strada gets used every day.

Maybe the Exposure R&D department should get hold of a philips saferide, evaluate it, then come up with a reflector and lense that match it's perfomance. Then we'll end up with a light with propper "low" and "high" beams.

 

 

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [606 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Arthur Scrimshaw wrote:

oldstrath wrote:

Rapha Nadal wrote:

Does it have a flashing mode at all?

Yes, but I can't  imagine wanting to use it.

 

Why not? I've got a mk 5 and use this in the mornings on my commute this time of year, not dark and it certainly gets the attention of drivers. 

That's what I'm after.  To get to the South Down of an evening, I often have to ride through traffic clogged Brighton and something flashing won't just disappear in a sea of headlights. I can put up with the odd beep or flashing of lights - confirmation that I've been seen!

Avatar
bendertherobot [1453 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The hyper constant mode on the Cateye Volt 1200 is pretty good. 

Avatar
cyclesteffer [275 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I've been running one of these the last three months.

 

Paid £214 off of amazon.

Amazing brightness - I use the flashing mode all the time in traffic - I've had cars pull over, its a lot like a police car approaching them from behind.

Some things I didnt like.

1) The remote switch has failed.

2) The button is hard to press, as its some kind of capacitive button and doesnt respond that well.

3) the display started flickering.

4) You cant see the display that well, as your head is above it. Its hard to tell the difference between "H" for High, and "M" for Medium when you are cycling at speed.

I might send it back once I've given it a good caning on the battery charge cycles and get a replacement, as I heard exposures warranty is very good.

 

Avatar
Darkerside [76 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Echo comments above that the Strada's beam is slightly shaped, but still nothing like as advanced as anything coming out of Germany. I struggle to get my Mk2 set up in a position where it throws light far enough down the road to be useful, but still doesn't blind people driving towards me.

No such problems with the  B&M Luxos.

Avatar
cat1commuter [1422 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

How well does the capacitive button work when wearing gloves?

Avatar
LankyEdinburgh [10 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
cyclesteffer wrote:

Some things I didnt like.

2) The button is hard to press, as its some kind of capacitive button and doesnt respond that well.

Mine also was difficult to switch on. I contacted Exposure and they took it back, and adjusted the firmware, and paid postage. It works really well now, and is easy to use with winter gloves, I use it every day. I've had it since November, I think.

Avatar
Rixter [53 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

For over $600USD it better be amazing. That's the price of a cheap bike! kiss

Avatar
urbane [87 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Really not impressed....

The Strada LEDs and back display may now appear better than the mk2 and mk5, however the design is fatally flawed:

* My mk5 had to be warranty repaired because of crap battery retention from being dropped, then died after being dropped outside warranty.

* The mk6 model has an unreliable capacitive switch and the high front distance seems worse than the MK1.  My mk6s brittle back panel has now partially shattered and some SMD resistors fell off the PCB, because the still crap battery retention failed from being dropped, so I'm pissed off by this crap design!

* The external switch is still pointless junk, without a dedicated switch socket for it (my lights socket powers a rear light) and a proper bar mount.

* My mk2 still works fine despite being dropped several times, so I doubt I'll buy any more Exposure front lights until it fails.

Lights will be dropped, so they need to be designed to survive (especially at these prices!), by shock tolerant and secure housing mounting of PCBs and batteries, not stupid use of friction fiting, floating plastic separators or crappy glues!

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [606 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Perhaps if you didn't keep dropping it, it wouldn't keep failing?  Just a thought.

 

Avatar
oldstrath [855 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
urbane wrote:

Really not impressed....

The Strada LEDs and back display may now appear better than the mk2 and mk5, however the design is fatally flawed:

* My mk5 had to be warranty repaired because of crap battery retention from being dropped, then died after being dropped outside warranty.

* The mk6 model has an unreliable capacitive switch and the high front distance seems worse than the MK1.  My mk6s brittle back panel has now partially shattered and some SMD resistors fell off the PCB, because the still crap battery retention failed from being dropped, so I'm pissed off by this crap design!

* The external switch is still pointless junk, without a dedicated switch socket for it (my lights socket powers a rear light) and a proper bar mount.

* My mk2 still works fine despite being dropped several times, so I doubt I'll buy any more Exposure front lights until it fails.

Lights will be dropped, so they need to be designed to survive (especially at these prices!), by shock tolerant and secure housing mounting of PCBs and batteries, not stupid use of friction fiting, floating plastic separators or crappy glues!

Out of interest,  which bike  light do you have that does survive repeated dropping? It's  surely not the Busch Mueller Ixon, which died after falling from it's  bar holder, nor the Philips Saferide  which (as well as having a short battery life,  occupying most of the bar and possessing a stupidly annoying  fastener ) also broke when accidentally  knocked from the shelf. 

Avatar
Ross K [17 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

My Mk2 Exposure Toro was once incorrectly clipped in (I had it too close to my Garmin) and it came off on a downhill, bouncing down the road like a demented lighthouse.  Lots of chips to the casing but otherwise completely unharmed.  The new ones sound more fragile.

As for dipping/beam patterns, my Mk4 Toro (1200 lumens) is a dazzling nightmare for drivers but I have an easy solution - swivel it down on its bracket when a car approaches, giving a very bright beam close to the bike but away from drivers' eyes.  The Exposure bracket allows this as (a) It is positioned more or less on the balance point of the light and (b) the rubber gasket on the clamp allows swivelling but at the same time more than enough grip to keep it in position even on bumpy roads.  I've done this for years with no problems, although I ride almost entirely on very sparsely-trafficked back roads so I "dip" it maybe four times on a 20 mile night ride.

Avatar
Wilts Cyclist [15 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I thought I had an issue with switch as well, but when firmly mounted on the handlebars it was fine. Exposure admitted they had some issues with sensitivity of capacitive switch, they can fix it if you send it back.

Dropped mine on concrete floor as well, it's worked perfectly ever since.

Avatar
part_robot [259 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Mr Turning wrote:

And as for the idea that putting one LED 2cm above another will dazzle people... well, really, you don't even believe that yourself, do you?!?

That's not how it works. From the manual:

 

Quote:

The Strada has a road speci c beam with side illumination for increased visibility and safety on the road. It is supplied with the Remote Switch to change mode when you’re on the drops for speed and ease. The beam pattern acts like a car headlight with high and dipped outputs. There is a wide at beam for dipped usage and the focused spot beam increases in intensity in high mode for greater distance visibility. The Strada is designed to be road friendly but can dazzle, please use it responsibly.