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Exposure Strada Mk6



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

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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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

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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

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

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.


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

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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:

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?

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

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

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:

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:

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:
Rate the light for value:

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 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 been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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