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Verdict: 
Compact, light and super-bright, a great rear light that fits in seconds without tools and is reliable with good battery life
Weight: 
49g
Exposure TraceR MK2 ReAKT rear light
9 10

Compact, light and super-bright, the Exposure TraceR Mk2 ReAKT is a great rear light that fits in seconds without tools and is reliable with good battery life.

  • Pros: Very bright, lots of modes, good run-time
  • Cons: Expensive

Fitting the TraceR to your bike is easy thanks to the mount that Exposure has developed. The light snaps into a plastic cradle and a large silicone band secures it to the bike. It's secure and very stable; I've even ridden with it on my mountain bike and it hasn't budged at all. The bracket also angles the light down to reduce dazzling of people behind you.

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> Buy this online here

It's stupendously bright, kicking out 75 lumens in its most powerful mode. As with most Exposure lights, there's a multitude of settings available via its Optimised Mode Selector so you can tune the light to suit your needs.

You have a choice between constant and flash mode, the latter using the new DayBright pulse mode Exposure has developed to provide better visibility during the daytime.

The light also packs ReAKT, short for Ambient Kinetic Technology, a new feature being rolled out by Exposure. It's an adaptive technology and simply adjusts the brightness of the light based on braking forces and light conditions. It's similar tech to what we've seen in other lights such as those from See.Sense. It certainly works, though it's tricky to say how much it boosts your visibility to other road users.

Run-time is a generous 3 hours in constant and 6 hours in flash on the maximum mode, which is ideal for a typical commute and adequate for a decent training ride after sunset. If you need more run-time, simply change the mode to extend it to 6 and 12 hours in the constant modes, and 12 and 24 hours in flash mode. I generally found the claimed run-times to be consistent with what I was getting during testing.

The light is really well made, the metal construction much more pleasing than the plastic units of cheaper rear lights, which not only delivers added durability but also helps to justify the rather high price. The only small niggle is that the anodised logos are starting to look a little worn from where the unit has been rotated in its plastic cradle.

The on/off button and USB charge port are covered by a rubber belt. You can activate it when wearing winter gloves but it does need a firm press. Sealing is sufficient to ensure no water ingress when riding in the rain or hosing the bike down after a muddy ride.

> Buyer's Guide: 14 of the best rear lights for cycling

In terms of value, £60 certainly isn't cheap but you are getting a top quality product. Another one to consider is the See.Sense Icon I mentioned above, at £64.99. Like the Exposure, it has clever electronics that adjust the brightness and pattern to suit different conditions, and it's seriously bright at 95 lumens.

All things considered, the TraceR Mk2 ReAKT is a very easy light to use and operate and delivers excellent brightness and good run-times for day and night-time use. It's at the very top end of the rear light market in terms of price, but the performance is near-faultless.

Verdict

Compact, light and super-bright, a great rear light that fits in seconds without tools and is reliable with good battery life

road.cc test report

Make and model: Exposure TraceR MK2 ReAKT

Size tested: 75 lumens

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 TraceR ReAKT is the answer for the cyclist who needs a super compact rear light, with USB convenience and superb build quality. ReAKT (Ambient Kinetic Technology) is the latest innovation enabling the light to adapt to conditions, flaring up under braking or entering brighter environments, becoming your safety beacon for the open road."

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

Exposure lists:

Ambient and Kinetic Technology

DayBright

Cable Free Design

Intelligent Thermal Management

Optimum Mode Selector - 3 Programs

Fuel Gauge

USB charging

Made in the UK

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very solidly built with aluminium case and firm plastic mount.

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

Super-simple to use.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

No fiddling or faffing, it's easy to use.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

Has survived multiple wet rides and being blasted by a hosepipe.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10
Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

It's stupendously bright, with a multitude of settings. It's also very well made and reliable, and super-easy to use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Easy to mount and simple to use, light and very bright.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The light scratches easily in the plastic cradle – that's about all I could find to fault.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The price puts it firmly at the top end of the rear light market but it does justify it with top performance and a solid and easy to use design.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

31 comments

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Disfunctional_T... [290 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

This has to be the ugliest tail light ever. On the plus side, if you don't have a much free area on your seatpost, it's very compact vertically.

Good battery life? Really? The lithium ion battery will be non-functional in 2 years, and there will be no realistic option except to send the whole light to the landfill. Thumbs down for proprietary batteries. road.cc step up and take a stand.

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part_robot [304 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

This has to be the ugliest tail light ever. On the plus side, if you don't have a much free area on your seatpost, it's very compact vertically. Good battery life? Really? The lithium ion battery will be non-functional in 2 years, and there will be no realistic option except to send the whole light to the landfill. Thumbs down for proprietary batteries. road.cc step up and take a stand.

That's just your opinion, man. Yep; also has an under saddle mount. Yep. Really. Nope, nope. Nope. In that order.

I've got various Lithium ion batteries around the house of various ages from months to several years are all are various levels of good. It's cycles that destroy them, not time, which is why they appear to degrade so rapidly in phones which you charge daily. And as it happens I've had the previous TraceR for coming up three years and it still lasts many hours.

Regarding landfill, I don't know if it's true of this model but Exposure will replace/service any part of your lights for a very low cost. Almost too cheap. So if the battery fails outside of warrantee, there's a good chance you won't have to throw the whole thing away. Unlike if you had AA batteries which you'd definitely be adding to the landfill at 100x the rate with a light this bright.

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Goldfever4 [404 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

This has to be the ugliest tail light ever. On the plus side, if you don't have a much free area on your seatpost, it's very compact vertically. Good battery life? Really? The lithium ion battery will be non-functional in 2 years, and there will be no realistic option except to send the whole light to the landfill. Thumbs down for proprietary batteries. road.cc step up and take a stand.

What a strange list of grievances. Why pick on this one light when there are so many with proprietary batteries?

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DA69 [8 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

I've always liked Exposure products., solid, well engineered and made in the UK. Pricing though is of course the pain point.

I agree with you comments on See Sense. Were they the first with reactive functionality? Worth contrasting with the new See Sense on Kickstarter. It's 100 lumen with all the reactive stuff and Garmin integration too. Best of all, it's £25!!!

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rogermerriman [138 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:

This has to be the ugliest tail light ever. On the plus side, if you don't have a much free area on your seatpost, it's very compact vertically. Good battery life? Really? The lithium ion battery will be non-functional in 2 years, and there will be no realistic option except to send the whole light to the landfill. Thumbs down for proprietary batteries. road.cc step up and take a stand.

 

2 years? That is very much worse case scenario and frankly unlikely, I’m typing this on a 4 year old iPad that hasn’t shown any noticeable degradation, and the even older Exposure flare which runs on lithium ion batteries one battery is fine the other has lost a fair chunk of capacity. But since they have been used heavily and are 6+ years old that’s fair enough 

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HoarseMann [34 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

That negative comment has prompted me to actually create a road.cc account to respond!

I've had a TraceR for years and it’s been hands down the best investment in cycling tech I've ever made. Still going strong after 10,000+miles in all weathers. Totally dependable and built like a tank. 

It may look different from other lights, but exposure have thought out of the box with the mechanical design and it totally works. 

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Disfunctional_T... [290 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
Goldfever4 wrote:

Why pick on this one light when there are so many with proprietary batteries?

It applies to every device with an integrated lithium ion battery, and people should be speaking up.

I manage a large number of laptops and phones, and the lithium ion batteries often only last 2 to 3 years. If the battery is not user replaceable, the device ends up in the junk pile.

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wingmanrob [47 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

It's a British owned, British manufactured light that works extremely well, no need to look elsewhere

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Redvee [392 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
wingmanrob wrote:

It's a British owned, British manufactured light that works extremely well, no need to look elsewhere

 

I'm running a TraceR & Cirrus Mk5 up front and the only issue I've had is the storm port of the Cirrus wasn't staying closed, I spoke to the guys on the USE stand at the NEC recently but they didn't have any spares left but gave me an email address to blag one for which I did and it duly arrived FOC a few days later. Top notch service from them.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1599 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

£60 for a rearlight, that alone shuld knock a full star off the rating, utterly preposterous.
As for run time, absoutely pitiful, FWE do their own brand quick fit USB rear light, 2.5hours constant and 13hour flash. Small enough to fit in a pocket, plenty bright enough (75 lumens is ridiculous and far too bright) has a pulse mode too and costs £14 (similar can be bought cheaper). It also has a metal body.

I also still use a knightlite rear that has an integrated reflector, runs for around 20 hours on 2AAA but despite not having as big a power draw it's quite bright and from a wide angle too due to its lens design. Whilst not a quick fit it's a permanent fixture on my daily since around 2004.
Many offerings of 'modern' lights are getting silly expensive and offer no greater advantage over lights from 10+years ago.

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RobD [592 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

£60 for a rearlight, that alone shuld knock a full star off the rating, utterly preposterous. As for run time, absoutely pitiful, FWE do their own brand quick fit USB rear light, 2.5hours constant and 13hour flash. Small enough to fit in a pocket, plenty bright enough (75 lumens is ridiculous and far too bright) has a pulse mode too and costs £14 (similar can be bought cheaper). It also has a metal body.

And the FWE is designed and built in the UK? has as long a warranty? has the well known high level of customer support that exposure/USE are known for? 75 Lumens may be a lot, but you don't have to use all of that, at which point the battery life is greatly increased, and could well be still brighter than cheaper alternatives. I'd also trust the waterproofing on this vs cheap lights a lot more. But each to their own I suppose, cheap lights might be fine, but they're usually cheap for a reason.

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crazy-legs [979 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

I've had several TraceR lights over the years (and the matching front light, the Flare) right from the days when they used CR123 batteries and operated off a little twist on/off of the lens case. They're brilliant lights, Exposure back up and warranty is  superb and the new lights are even better. Rock solid in use yet the entire mount comes off in seconds making it easy to swap between bikes or take with you if locking the bike up.

They've lasted years and even when they finally fail you can just send it back to Exposure and they'll put a new battery in, recyle the old one and send it back all for a very reasonable price. Basically you've bought a light for life.

As to what it looks like - it's on the back of the bike, you can't see it in use so what does it matter?! The ReAKT & Daybright technology is amazing, a mate commented the other week on how good it was during a daytime ride.

I've got two on my commuter, one is the newer TraceR with ReAKT mounted under the sadlle, the second is an older TraceR with just the three brightness modes. It'll last an entire week of commuting. Brilliant bit of kit, worth every penny.

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808999 [3 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

After years of replacing regular plastic LEDs that either fall off/smash or seals fail you realise you need to spend more to spend less - plus they offer an excellent backup service - old mk 6 Joystick fixed by Exposure recently, still going strong after 5 years. In my opinion this is a far greener option.

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drosco [429 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

It is however extemely irritating to be behind mind, even in the daytime. 

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ficklewhippet [93 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

The Tracer is an outstanding light. I'm generally a bit of a tightarse but bought the Mk1 front & rear pair as a 'be seen' backup. The quality's great and the rear light is worth the price alone really.

What price can you put on your visibility?

And if you don't like being behind it, don't wheelsuck! 

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StoopidUserName [418 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Big fan of the previous version of this light. You'll be able to get this discounted soon no doubt around xmas (if you can't already)

 

I've had plenty of lights over the years...this is one of the best. Certainly the best rear light I've had. You do have to pay for quality

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Rapha Nadal [799 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

drosco wrote:

It is however extemely irritating to be behind mind, even in the daytime. 

Yes & no.  Only in the brightest setting does it become a pain.  Otherwise it's tolerable.

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mingmong [307 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Got one.  Love it.  Reliable.  Performs well.  Peace of mind.  

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graybags [98 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I have a two year old Trace rear light which is now proving unreliable, think it's just the spring in the base intermittently losing contact with the battery, but regularly switches itself off, not good

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part_robot [304 posts] 5 months ago
1 like
graybags wrote:

I have a two year old Trace rear light which is now proving unreliable, think it's just the spring in the base intermittently losing contact with the battery, but regularly switches itself off, not good

Speak to them. They fix stuff within warrantee and it's very cheap if not.

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nbrus [573 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Exposure lights ... they don't innovate enough, but instead build very overpriced products in the UK. They are good products and better quality than most other makes, but the designs are pretty lacklustre ... nearly all are round metal tubes because that is cheaper and easier to make, but the price is still high. I don't like the shape of the TraceR, it adds nothing to the useability and does look fugly. Custom lithium cell and 75 lumens are also pointless. Maybe I'm being too harsh as I don't own one. It would be nice if the battery could be swapped on longer trips.

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ficklewhippet [93 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes
nbrus wrote:

... I don't like the shape of the TraceR, it adds nothing to the useability and does look fugly. ...

Really? and if this is (subjectively) right, it's a problem in the dark?

nbrus wrote:

...Custom lithium cell ...

Bolox! It will be a standard cell. Send it back for refurb but I reckon a competent person could replace

nbrus wrote:

 75 lumens are also pointless

Daytime riding? TT'ing? 75 is max, BTW there are 11 other lower power modes to consider - runtime is 1.5 - 24 hours.

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Chris Hayes [233 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I bought the earlier Exposure rear light due to  the underseat mount. It looks a bit obtrusive on seat post mount, but as long as you don't use a saddle bag it tucks nicely under the seat....I'm not one for things cluttering up frame....

Had mine a few years, use it daily in all weather and it's not dead yet.  I run an Exposure front light too....lightweight, easily removeable, and bright enough to see and be seen.  

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SingleSpeed [424 posts] 5 months ago
3 likes

Best company I've ever dealt with, all my lights save one is an Exposure.

Can't rate them highly enough, whether it repairing a light in a muddy field at 3am in the morning during a 24hour race or swapping out and upgrading LEDS's on an old Joystick, their tech team is amazing. Consumer society is at fault not USE.

As for comments complaing about making stuff out of metal tubes? LOL seriously? If it works it works, I don't really like the boxy shape of a Landy Rover said nobody ever.

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part_robot [304 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

I love the metal tubes. Pretty much every other light looks like it was designed by an industrial designer in the 80s who was fired from designing £10 Panasonic Walkmans. (Some are alright though)

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a1white [88 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

<double post>

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drosco [429 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

Smart R1 does me. Small, light, bright and reliable for under a tenner. I'm sure the exposure is good like people say, but why spend £60?

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nbrus [573 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

They should have called it Marmite!

I don't doubt the quality ... I just don't like anything else about it (a bit like Rapha).

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Anthony.C [251 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

If you want a bright daytime light why would you choose this above the SEE.SENSE which is far brighter has better battery life, doesn't look ridiculous on the seatpost and can fit to a saddlebag ? 

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a1white [88 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

I'm getting the fact that this is good. But £60 for a rear light? I just bought a Lezyne KTV2 Pro Drive Rear (Also goes up to 75 lumens) for a third of the price. Which though not metal, is well made and rain-proof.

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