Exposure Strada Mk 3 Front Light  £244.99

9/10

Powerful LED with good peripheral illumination in a neat, strong unit. A pricey option, but with a performance that justifies the expense

Weight 245g   Contact  www.exposurelights.com

by Mat Brett   October 25, 2011  

Exposure Strada

The Exposure Strada is a serious light for road riding, putting in a strong performance across the board. It's a serious price too, but one that's justified if you do a lot of road riding out beyond the street lights.

The main beam is among the best we've tested. The centre of the beam isn't the very brightest so you don't get as much punch straight ahead as you do with Lumicycle's LED4si, for example, but you still get plenty of illumination. I could see far enough ahead that I was happy to head downhill at 35mph on unlit roads with the Strada on board. I never once during testing felt like I needed to slow down because I couldn't see the road ahead well enough.

The other main feature of the beam is that you get a good spread of light for useful peripheral illumination. In other words, the light you get doesn't drop off steeply towards the sides of the beam. If you're in town that's probably not particularly handy but if you ride on smaller roads and lanes at night it's a real bonus (the Lumicycle LED 3Si looks like it has similar levels of penetration but maybe not quite as much peripheral oomph). It means you can see potential hazards that aren't right ahead of you - sticks in the road, overhanging foliage, small woodland mammals in the verge just about to commit harikiri under your front wheel... It's a jungle out there.

Increased peripheral vision also makes a big difference when you're cornering. It means you can see where you're going to go even when you're not yet heading directly for that point. Make sense? Basically, you can see further around the corner with the Strada than you can with most other lights I've tested you can tackle the bends more safely. Forewarned is forearmed.

The Strada has two different settings: there's the high setting which has a run time of about 3hrs and the dip setting which runs for around 8hrs. The dip beam is less intense generally, but especially in the centre. It's still strong enough to see your way on unlit roads; you just don't get as much confidence when you're riding fast.

Switching between the modes is a matter of pushing a button on the back of the lamp body. That button is illuminated and easy to spot although it's situated right next to the raised charge port that comes with a silicone cover over the top. I sometimes found it difficult to get my thumb on the right thing with gloved hands. No worries, though - Exposure also provide a remote switch. It's a little button that straps to your bars; you can sit it right next to a gear shifter and then you don't need to move your hand to control the light.

Actually, there is a third flashing setting too and it'll keep going in that mode for days on end. I guess you might use that if you're about to run out of charge.

If you want the technical data, the Strada uses two Cree XPG R5 LEDs powered by a 5200 mAh lithium ion battery. Exposure quote an output of 645 lumens.

The battery is contained within the CNC-machined aluminium light unit which is tough enough to handle all kinds of use and abuse. I've been using Exposure's MaXx-D light for maybe three years and it has a similar (though larger) body. I've dropped it and accidentally whacked it a few times but it's still running absolutely fine, so I'm guessing durability on the Strada will be equally good. And although it's not 100% waterproof, it's fair to say that it's highly water resistant. I've ridden in the rain with the MaXx-D a load of times and water has never got in.

The Strada sits on a quick release handlebar bracket that comes with a spacer and a silicone strip to fit various bar sizes. You can remove and remount the light unit in no time although you can't really alter the direction of the beam while you're on the road. Well, you can tighten the bracket just to the point that you can still twist it on the bar slightly but that's probably not the best idea. You're better off just setting the right direction and leaving it.

The illuminated button on the back acts as a fuel gauge - it glows different colours to indicate how much juice is left in the tank. The Strada automatically shifts to its low setting when there's only 5% charge remaining, then it dims gradually over the next hour so you've got a fighting chance of getting home before it runs out.

Recharging takes around 8hrs from empty. You can recharge from the mains or from anything with a USB port, from your car if you buy Exposure's In-Car Charger (£20), or you can plug in one of Exposure's Piggy Back batteries that start at £40.

Bear in mind that although Exposure have designed this as a road light, it does not conform to BS6102/3 standards - in common with many other very good lights out there. That means that to be legal you should use it alongside a cheap light that does fulfill the requirements.

The Strada comes with a two-year warranty.

Verdict

Powerful LED with good peripheral illumination in a neat, strong unit. A pricey option, but with a performance that justifies the expense

road.cc test report

Make and model: Exposure Strada Mk 3 Front Light

Size tested: Black

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 say, "The Strada feels most at home on the road. Designed specifically for road riding, the Strada has a dipped and main beam function. Coupled with a remote switch, the Strada's mode can be changed safely without taking your hands off the bars."

It offers about as much illumination as you could need for riding on unlit roads at night.

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

The Strada features what Exposure call Intelligent Thermal Management. That is, "New patented technology combats the loss in efficiency of LEDs at elevated temperatures, maintaining optimum output keeping you shining 'Brighter for Longer'."

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

It's a really solid light. The lamp casing is CNC-machined aerospace grade aluminium. You'd have to be really clumsy or unlucky to damage this one

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

It's super-easy to use. You clamp the handlebar bracket on with one Allen bolt and the lamp unit just pushes in place. You switch between the high beam and the dip beam with the button on the back, or you plug in the remote switch. It could hardly be easier.

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

The quick release handlebar bracket takes a minute or two to fix to you bar. Then removing and reattaching the light unit takes no time at all. It's a very simple job.

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

You're very, very unlikely to get any water in here. There's even a silicone cover over the charge port.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

You get about 3hrs on the high beam. Not many people are going to ride for longer than that on the road at night. If you do for any reason, switch to the dip beam and you'll get about 8hrs. It recharges from flat in about 8hrs, so stick it on overnight and it's good to go in the morning

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

£245 is a lot to spend on a bike light, clearly, but you're getting a very high performance and it should last years.

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

There's no doubt it's a top-level light for road riding.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The beam pattern and the fact that the battery is contained in the light unit. It means there's no clutter on the bike, and no wires.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

I wish the function button and the charge port weren't right next to one another. Or, if they have to be so close, I wish the function button was more prominent. I got them confused a few times while wearing gloves.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes, I probably would

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

It's a good light, but I reckon the Diablo is better bang for buck. Brighter, lighter, helmet-mountable and cheaper. Win.

posted by mrhallorann [18 posts]
25th October 2011 - 21:37

12 Likes

mrhallorann wrote:
It's a good light, but I reckon the Diablo is better bang for buck. Brighter, lighter, helmet-mountable and cheaper. Win.

but only a third of the run time

Follow me on-
Twitter - @StuKerton
Strava - http://www.strava.com/athletes/931095

stuke's picture

posted by stuke [321 posts]
25th October 2011 - 22:19

9 Likes

Great light. I do 17 miles in the dark on unlit roads every weekday winter evening and quite a few dark mornings too.
This light is perfect for the job.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [322 posts]
26th October 2011 - 12:23

8 Likes

So what does dip do? Does it turn off one of the two LEDs? I see that one has vertical fresnels to spread the light out horizontally.

(That brake lever is in a crazy position in the picture!)

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1362 posts]
26th October 2011 - 16:18

13 Likes

"(That brake lever is in a crazy position in the picture!)"

Also looking at the angle of the stem, the light is mounted pointing somewhat upwards and the angle of the photo has been rotated to make the light horizontal - is my guess.

Anyway what is the functional purpose of the mounting point of the light to the bracket being right at the front? That is a very high stress way of attaching it with the entire weight of the light/battery behind the mounting point. It would be much stronger if it was mounted in the middle of the body. Looks to me like a case of form at the expense of function.

posted by horizontal dropout [159 posts]
27th October 2011 - 12:51

10 Likes

I think the light bracket has to stick out in front of the handlebar like that so that you can have the button underneath that you pull down to unmount it. The centre of gravity of the light is actually more or less over the bar, so there isn't any rotating force on the clamp when you hit bumps in the road.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1362 posts]
27th October 2011 - 22:03

12 Likes

You're right there shouldn't be much rotating force between the bracket and the handlebar but I meant where the light attaches to the bracket. From an engineering point of view the bad decision was choosing a mechanism for fixing the lamp to the bracket which then required that the attachment point was a long way from the centre of gravity. The BBB HighFocus is much better in this respect. http://road.cc/content/review/47086-bbb-highfocus-15w-led-headlight

posted by horizontal dropout [159 posts]
29th October 2011 - 10:32

7 Likes

horizontal dropout wrote:
You're right there shouldn't be much rotating force between the bracket and the handlebar but I meant where the light attaches to the bracket. From an engineering point of view the bad decision was choosing a mechanism for fixing the lamp to the bracket which then required that the attachment point was a long way from the centre of gravity. The BBB HighFocus is much better in this respect. http://road.cc/content/review/47086-bbb-highfocus-15w-led-headlight

That may be so, but Exposure have been using that design for around 5yrs now, with no issues reported by users. I use my MaxxD (the stradas big fat brother) on my road bike mounted upside down, under the bars and its truly solid.

Its funny, but every time one of their lights gets reviewed someone (usually the reviewer!) comments about how poor a design the clamp is, or how it will never support the weight etc. However, ive never yet seen a report of a broken clamp (that hasnt been in a massive crash) on any of the main cycling forums (offroad or on).

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [418 posts]
2nd November 2011 - 22:14

13 Likes

So, for a road-specific commuting and winter light. What's the recommendation between the Strada and the Lumicycle LED3si? (which I presume has also been tested but not yet published, given the beam shots)

Both have road specific beam patterns, with the lumi being slightly more centrally focussed, but also more visible from the side with the 'glow ring'. And judging from the beam shots, the 3si has slightly longer reach. The Strada however is lighter and the single unit design is probably less of a faff day to day.

Any thoughts?

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
17th November 2011 - 20:18

13 Likes

STATO wrote:
horizontal dropout wrote:
You're right there shouldn't be much rotating force between the bracket and the handlebar but I meant where the light attaches to the bracket. From an engineering point of view the bad decision was choosing a mechanism for fixing the lamp to the bracket which then required that the attachment point was a long way from the centre of gravity. The BBB HighFocus is much better in this respect. http://road.cc/content/review/47086-bbb-highfocus-15w-led-headlight

That may be so, but Exposure have been using that design for around 5yrs now, with no issues reported by users. I use my MaxxD (the stradas big fat brother) on my road bike mounted upside down, under the bars and its truly solid.

Its funny, but every time one of their lights gets reviewed someone (usually the reviewer!) comments about how poor a design the clamp is, or how it will never support the weight etc. However, ive never yet seen a report of a broken clamp (that hasnt been in a massive crash) on any of the main cycling forums (offroad or on).

I have broken the hinge on one bracket (a roll pin) and like you I used to mount my maxxd upside down (to avoid illuminating the brake cables mainly)........it jumped out of its cleat mounting on a pot hole and went under an artic behind me! Most lights would have been a big write off, but the cracked lense and popped emitters were replaced by exposure for £50. needless to say it is the right way up now , with a supplimentary cable tie!

posted by wyadvd [123 posts]
19th November 2011 - 22:34

1 Like

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