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Verdict: 
Superb front and rear light set but undeniably not cheap.
Weight: 
46g
Contact: 
www.exposurelights.com

Exposure Lights' Trace and TraceR light set is a pricy but solidly made and extremely handy pair of LED lights.

Up front, The Trace pumps out a claimed 110 lumens. It's more than enough to be seen with and at a pinch it puts out enough light to see on unlit paths, as long as you don't try and take any Strava segment records on the way.

The lens is clear all the way round, so there's plenty of light coming from the sides for visibility at junctions. In properly dark conditions, that's a bit annoying as it puts a bright light at the bottom of your vision. Easily fixed with a bit of tape, but you feel like you shouldn't have to.

On full power I got over four hours light from the Trace.

Out back, the TraceR is like a USB-rechargeable version of Exposure's classic Flare rear light and puts out bucketloads of light. It's a light for the back-marker on an evening group ride because following a rider with a TraceR (or a Flare) is almost painful. I gave up trying to find out the maximum distance it's visible from when I couldn't find a straight road long enough and they wouldn't let me on the local airport runway.

In throbbing mode I got eight hours use from the TraceR. I have to say I am a huge fan of throbbing mode and not just because it gives me an excuse to write 'throbbing'. Driving on unlit roads I find it tricky to judge closing speed and location when I'm behind a standard on/off blinker. It's much easier with a throbber because the light never goes off and vanishes from view.

Both lights come with quick-release mounts, held on your seatpost or handlebar with silicone rubber bands. They're very convenient to pop on and off the bars or seatpost so you really only need to take the lights out of the mounts to charge them.

That convenience has made them the whole family's go-to lights for those moments when you realise it's going to be dark when you get home, or the morning fog means you need a bit more visibility on the school run.

Both Trace and TraceR charge via micro-USB ports covered by tight rubber seals. From flat to full takes under 2.5 hours from a standard USB charger, so you can charge them from your office desktop if you get to work and realise they're flat. The package includes a USB cable, but no charger. Exposure presumably reasons we're all up to our ankles in USB chargers and if my charger collection is typical, they're not wrong.

In theory there are lower-power settings for the Trace and TraceR, but I didn't bother to use them. When a light is this powerful and this convenient, with a run-time long enough for a week's commuting, why bother emasculating it?

Both Trace and TraceR have machined aluminium housings and have shrugged off being dropped and otherwise mishandled. As with other Exposure lights a double click turns them on and a long press turns them off.

I've used the TraceR for an application that's well outside Exposure's intentions. It turns out the mount fits securely on Flash the husky's harness, so the TraceR has been helping me keep track of him during mountain bike night rides. It's withstood being shaken vigorously, dunked in a stream and scraped against undergrowth. It's stayed put and carried on working.

£95 is a lot of money for a pair of USB-rechargeable lights. The quality, convenience, brightness and toughness of the Trace and TraceR just about justifies the price, but they're definitely at the luxury end of the price range.

Verdict

Superb front and rear light set but undeniably not cheap.

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Exposure Lights Trace TraceR front and rear light set

Size tested: Front and Rear

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 Trace and TraceR are super bright USB rechargeable front and rear lights. New to the range its compact design, high power and ultra reliability make this a winning product.

The Trace and TraceR features Optimum Mode Selector, offering 3 brightness modes and the choice of solid or pulsing beams. The Trace also has Fuel Gauge displaying the remaining battery life using a traffic light system to make it clear when it's time to recharge. Excellent side visibility will make sure you're safe and seen out on the ride.

Exposure Lights have always been designed to get the maximum light from minimum sized unit and Cable Free Design ensures this is maintained. Utilising superb brackets Exposure Lights attach quickly, safely and securely for hassle free riding.

The TraceR can also be mounted under the saddle using the Saddle Rail Bracket(Sold separately).

Optimised Mode Selector (OMS)

The Optimised Mode Selector allows you to easily select from a concise number of programs to optimise the burntime of your light.

Function button

3 colour Fuel Gauge indicator in side the lens operates as light is switched off.

Weatherproof Body

CNC machined aerospace grade aluminium body with efficient heat transfer design. Fully manufactured in the UK.

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

Exposure says:

Weight: 78g

Power: Lithium Ion internal battery

Emitter: 1 XPG LED / 1 Red XPE LRD

Maximum lumen output: Trace 110 / TraceR 75

Minimum burn time (hours): 3

Maximum burn time (hours): 24

Bar mounted: yes

Helmet mounted: no

Seat post Mount: yes for TraceR

Reflex technology: no

SPT+: no

CFD: yes

ITM: no

OMS: yes

Fuel gauge: yes

USB charging: yes

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

Very easy to use.

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

Fits all the bars and seatposts in my fleet - and the husky's harness

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

No problems in the wet.

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

Pretty much faultless for the size as long as you don't need to go full gas.

Rate the light for durability:
 
10/10

Lack of explosives in the toolkit means I can't say they're bomb-proof, but they're definitely husky-proof.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

They're not going to slow you down.

Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

There are now so many USB-rechargeable lights on the market that it's impossible to avoid price comparisons. The Trace and TraceR set is expensive.

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

Brilliantly (sorry). The Trace and TraceR put out loads of light for their tiny size, are easy to fit to a bike, recharge quickly and give a decent run time.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Convenience, plenty of light from a tiny package, very robust, dead easy to use.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The price.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

The Rolls Royce of commuting lights. Close to perfect in quality and function, but the price tag of almost £100 pulls the score down.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,

 

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

20 comments

Avatar
koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Gotta say after a couple of different "standard" rear light switching off mid ride/getting soaked and not switching on/off correctly, the TraceR is just worth it.

It is powerful and you are not left thinking "oh I wish they did that". Everything is thought out and executed well. It is very compact, yet it behaves like a full fledged light. It stays in the mount very securely, is very easy to take on and off the bike, gives ample visibility and the pulsing mode completes it.

I am still not clear how accurate the run times are, so conducting a trial this week to see if it comes close to the 6 hours.

I recommend this light anyway, however if the run times prove accurate it will be hands down my favorite light ever.

£50 is not a little amount for a rear light, but I really have no reservations paying that in return for a solid product. It's refreshing to not have any compromises. (pending battery life!)  36

Avatar
andyp [1600 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

'I find it tricky to judge closing speed and location when I'm behind a standard on/off blinker. It's much easier with a throbber because the light never goes off and vanishes from view.'

It's not just you, it's all drivers. It's a simple fact. But people will keep on insisting on running their bike lights on flashing mode...

Avatar
Redvee [431 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

It's not just you, it's all drivers. It's a simple fact. But people will keep on insisting on running their bike lights on flashing mode...

This is why I run 2+ rear lights, one is always on constant and the others on flash etc.

Avatar
nbrus [585 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

A proper front light with beam cut-off would be nice. The rear light is fine, if a bit overkill. Better off with a Philips SafeRide Front and a Smart Lunar R2 Rear ... both take standard batteries and cost less than this Exposure set.

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willvousden [46 posts] 4 years ago
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I have these lights and they're seriously bright for how small they are. So much so that in flashing mode they can actually be too bright for other road users (or so I'm told by other people when I asked them to judge their brightness from a driver's perspective).

I've now taken to running them on medium power, since high power flashing mode is just too much, except perhaps on very well-light urban roads.

The build quality is top-notch and the design is pretty much spot on, but with one small flaw: the front light can be dazzling when riding the bike, since the lens diffuses light in all directions and there's nothing to shield your eyes (it's especially disorienting in flashing mode). This is easily fixed by putting a small strip of black gaffer tape over the top of the lens, but this should really have been thought of in the design process.

Beyond this, I really can't fault them at all. Superb lights.

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Nzlucas [128 posts] 4 years ago
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Interestingly no mention of the fact USE is a british company designing and manufacturing these lights in the UK! Goes a bit into the price but buying UK made has other benefits too.

+1 for riding behind these lights being a bit painful on the eyes.

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gthornton101 [171 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I've got their predecessors the Flash and Flare and have been using them as my commuter lights. Going into their third winter now and they show no sign of any deterioration (though I do supplement them with a Knog for unlit roads). If these are a step up then they are definitely good value.

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timbola [248 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Redvee wrote: This is why I run 2+ rear lights, one is always on constant and the others on flash etc.

+1 from me, Redvee

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Paul_C [583 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

'I find it tricky to judge closing speed and location when I'm behind a standard on/off blinker. It's much easier with a throbber because the light never goes off and vanishes from view.'

It's not just you, it's all drivers. It's a simple fact. But people will keep on insisting on running their bike lights on flashing mode...

that's because they're tight misers trying to stretch the batteries out as long as possible, which is silly if they're USB rechargeable and the normal steady mode lasts long enough for your journey

ps. I run 3 lights up front and 3 lights at the rear.

In each bunch, one steady, one flashing and on off as a spare...

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koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Paul_C - flash modes stand out more, innit.

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andyp [1600 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

'that's because they're tight misers trying to stretch the batteries out as long as possible, which is silly if they're USB rechargeable and the normal steady mode lasts long enough for your journey'

That's the only logical argument for using flashing lights - battery life.

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eurotrash [88 posts] 4 years ago
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I've got the Blaze and Strada MK5, bought them a month ago. Early days but I quite like them. The "throbbing" mode is one of the main reasons I went with them. I expect them to work wonders in the dark of the winter...

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keith roberts [206 posts] 4 years ago
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have a Strada that I got from USE at bikeradar trade stand In 2010..still running, still on original battery and seemingly bulletproof..used it for Mtb'ing as well..i'd recommend Exposure lights wholeheartedly ,well worth the extra money. and the run times are good too.
 41

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LondonDynaslow [264 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Pricey? This isn't made in China rubbish. They're made in Britain!

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mingmong [317 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I've had the Mk7 Joystick for 2 years. Never missed a beat as a helmet mounted light for offroad. I'm going to have a serious look at the these.

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I have a set of LYNZE lights, these sound very similar. Thrbbing mode works well on unlite country roads, an UBERLITE is my main front light which is brilliant.

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Leodis [429 posts] 4 years ago
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I recently bought the rear light, after one ride of light rain water it allowed water in. The battery time is nowhere near the advertised time either.

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koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
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Leodis - aye think the runtime is a bit shorter but not far off. I might have to do a full run test with it dipped in water for cooling.

Water resistance seems okay though, you have to user vaseline or something similar on the port to stop water getting in. Does not bother me too much, think cos I like the light so much. It's kind of similar to tuning loose bearing hubs to spin smoothly. ))

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andyp [1600 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

.

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theador [9 posts] 1 year ago
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deblemund wrote:

Pricey? This isn't made in China rubbish. They're made in Britain!

...and the inners constantly come loose from the outer meaning the switch stops functioning and it’s difficult to get the usb in. I sent the rear back to Exposure and they fixed it no quibbles. But I don’t want to be having to send them back all the time as I use these 5 days a week.

Other than that they are brilliant; although  I’m down to about 2.5hrs on throb mode before needing a charge.