The latest version of the Exposure Switch, the MK3 DayBright, has been boosted to 475 lumens which gives it the output to be considered a 'see by' light rather than just a 'be seen by'. This commuter-friendly headlight offers great quality, decent burn-times and simple-to-use modes, although as always with Exposure lights, it'll cost you.
- Pros: Impressive burn-times, quality build
- Cons: No battery level warning while on, not cheap
The Switch is a great light either as a secondary source of illumination or the primary source for more casual-paced commuting, and now that it pumps out 475 lumens it is no longer restricted to use in an urban environment under streetlights for instance.
Like a lot of the original Exposure lights, the Switch offers three programs, high, medium and low, each with a constant and flash mode. Each one is selected by pressing and holding the on/off button down until the main LED flashes once, twice or thrice. Press once to switch between constant and flash.
Program one is the brightest, with that 475 lumens in the constant mode, while the flash is its DayBright option – as seen on the latest Blaze and the Strada RS. On this setting the LED stays on throughout at low power while it pulses with a single flash and then a double before going through the cycle again. It's attention grabbing and gets you noticed during the day as you filter through rush hour traffic and the sea of daytime running lights.
You'll get six hours of battery life, too; three for the constant mode.
If you need to see where you are going, the beam pattern isn't bad. It's more a spot light than many of the road-specific beams we see but it allows you to see where you are going at a decent enough speed, especially if you are travelling familiar roads and you know where the defects and potholes are lying.
The bracket is a simple snap fit affair attached to the handlebar via a rubber band. It works well but with vibration it can make its way upwards, so if you are using it as a light to see by you might need to keep adjusting it which is a bit of a faff.
For programs two and three the output halves each time, while the burn-times double, so at its extreme on flash you'll get 24 hours out of a full charge.
Neither of these programs get the DayBright flash, they each have the more traditional pulse where the LED stays on with a consistent flash. It still does a very good job of getting you noticed without hammering the battery.
Unlike many lights, though, the Switch doesn't keep you updated on the state of the battery. When you turn the light off it does display the battery level at the lens with either a green or red hue, but there is no LED button to show you the traffic light display while it's running, so you have to keep an eye on your watch.
Considering the battery life and power output, the Switch is a very small and low-bulk light. Exposure has proved its quality over the years, and it is no different here. The CNC machined body is as tough as hell and the whole light will take plenty of knocks. The fact that the unit is built in the UK means, should you have an issue, aftersales service is quick and easy to sort. I've owned various Exposure lights since before I started writing for road.cc to the current day and if I've had issues they've been dealt with quickly.
Unlike Exposure's larger lights, the Switch is charged via a Micro-USB which makes it perfect for commuters who have access to a phone charger, rather than carrying around the specific yellow jack plug.
Depending how you charge it, the Switch will go from flat to fully juiced in less than a working day and the burn-times are realistic to those quoted.
Water ingress is the main thing that can be an issue when it comes to lights, but thanks to its rubber cover over the charging port the Switch doesn't suffer here. In heavy rain it keeps the elements out and even when giving it a blast with the garden hose I had no issues whatsoever.
Value is always the sticking point when it comes to Exposure lights; they're not cheap, but time and time again they have proved hugely reliable both in terms of the LEDs and their battery life.
For example, for the same output you could get something like the Oxford UltraTorch 500lm Headlight for £39.99, but that full 500 lumens will only get you 90 minutes' burn-time.
Another competitor is the Kryptonite Street F-500, which looks to be far superior to the Switch in terms of the amount of light it dishes out, according to our beam comparison engine. The battery will only last half as long, but the price is £44.99.
Overall, the Switch MK3 is a very good light. It's trustworthy throughout whatever weather is thrown at you, but you are paying quite a whack compared to the opposition. For an occasional light, I'd probably go cheaper but for something I need to depend on day in, day out, the Switch is hard to challenge.
You can get cheaper, but if longevity and reliability are high priorities then this light should be on your shortlist
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Exposure Switch Mk3 Daybright
Size tested: Max 475 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, "Premium light geared for commuting with side illumination for 180 _visibility, USB charging and DayBright flash pattern.
"Can be helmet mounted (helmet mount sold separately).
"Available in a pack with TraceR DayBright rear light.
"In the box: Switch MK3, Handlebar bracket, Micro USB charge cable, Quick start guide"
It's a great light for those with an urban commute or riders who may find themselves caught out in the dark.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Exposure lists these features:
LED Configuration: 1 x White XPL2 Cree LED
Lumens: Max 475
Battery: 2,600 mAh Lithium-Ion
Runtime: 3hrs - 24hrs
Rechargeable: Micro USB
Charge Time: 4hrs
Anodised 6063 Aluminium
Water Resistance IPX6
Head Diameter: 30mm
Very simple to set the program and mode.
No issues whatsoever.
Impressive considering its size.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Absolutely great as a secondary light source, while stepping up to plate if needed as your sole illumination.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
No battery level warning while on.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are other lights out there with better beam patterns for less money, but the Exposure responds with great build quality and impressive burn-times.
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 overall score
Its simplistic design and amazing build quality will see it last years. It's a very good light but it is pricey against rivals; if you're happy to pay more than you strictly need to for the same power output, you won't be disappointed.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!