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Verdict: 
Excellent little light for getting you noticed at night or even in daylight
Weight: 
44g

The Exposure Trace Daybright is a small and lightweight option for getting you seen (rather than for illuminating the way ahead), whether that be on a well-lit urban commute or for riding during daylight hours. The tough and durable design means that although you can buy cheaper alternatives, it should last you years.

  • Pros: Small and lightweight, user-friendly, durable
  • Cons: You'll find cheaper rivals

The Trace weighs 44g (including its mount) and is 57mm long with a 28mm maximum diameter – so a little shorter and a little fatter than a stick of lip balm, for example. It's the sort of thing you can carry virtually unnoticed in the pocket of a commuting bag until it's needed.

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The mounting system is really simple, comprising a plastic handlebar bracket and a silicone band to hold it in place. The light itself just snaps onto the bracket. That might not sound the most technically advanced piece of engineering but it works well, the light remaining securely in position even over rough roads. The only issue I've had with the mount system is that it's designed for round-section handlebars and isn't compatible with anything deep and aero.

Like all of Exposure's front lights, the Trace has an anodised aluminium shell. I've been using these lights on and off for years and the worst damage I've ever inflicted on one of these shells is a bit of scratching; I've never had one fail in any way.

The Trace is equipped with a single white XPG2 Cree LED that offers a claimed 110 lumens. It runs on a 700mAh lithium-ion battery that you recharge via micro USB.

The micro USB port is hidden underneath a silicone band that runs around the head of the light. You might think the band's grip tab is going to come away in your fingers when you want to get to the port, but it's tougher than it looks. The band also keeps the rain out well, the Trace coming with an IP6 rating (meaning that water projected in powerful jets – 12.5mm nozzle – will have no harmful effects).

You get the choice of three different programs, each with a constant and a flashing mode that you can swap between with a single press of the function button. The brightest program gives you about 3hrs of use in constant mode and 6hrs in flashing mode, while you can get run-times of up to 12hrs constant and 24hrs flashing if you want to save power.

The Trace is at its best for riding around urban streets at night, or for riding elsewhere at dawn or dusk when you need to announce your presence but not light the way ahead. The lens extends about 7mm in front of the aluminium shell for decent side visibility.

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You could use it for riding unlit lanes in an emergency – if your main light packed up, for instance. It's not designed for that type of riding and doesn't have a hood to stop the light shining up and distracting you, but it would get you home. The DayBright mode is also surprisingly effective, even in sunshine, the irregular flashing helping to draw the eye of other road users in your direction. Of course, it's no guarantee that you'll be seen in all circumstances, but we trialled it out on the road and found it to be very noticeable.

You can't check how much juice is left in the tank with the light on, but when you turn it off the LED glows briefly in a colour that indicates roughly how much remains. It's a traffic light (green, amber, red) system so it's easy to remember. When it flashes red you're running on fumes!

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The £32.99 Blackburn DayBlazer 400 front light that we reviewed is 200 lumens in low mode (compared to 110 lumens for the Trace in its highest mode) with a 90-minute run-time (compared to 3hrs for the Trace). On the other hand, the Blackburn is larger and heavier and not so good for squirrelling away in the corner of a commuting bag.

The Lezyne Micro Drive 500XL is £40, the same as the Trace, and it also has a daytime-friendly flash mode. Again, it's brighter than the Trace, but it's also larger and heavier so it comes down to what you value most. I'd say that the durability of the Trace (and it comes with a two-year warranty) means the price is justified.

Overall, the Trace is a really neat little option that'll get you noticed both at nighttime and in broad daylight. It's also small and light enough to tuck away in a bag or pocket to get you home in the event of your main light failing. With an aluminium shell and tough lens, it'll probably last years.

Verdict

Excellent little light for getting you noticed at night or even in daylight

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 Trace DayBright

Size tested: Length: 57mm Head Diameter: 28mm

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, "Extremely lightweight entry level front light for urban commute or as a secondary light. Features USB convenience, a choice of 6 burn times, DayBright flash pattern and side illumination for 180° visibility makes this an attractive package. Also available in a pack with TraceR DayBright rear light (£75)."

And lists these features:

DayBright

Cable Free Design

Intelligent Thermal Management

Optimum Mode Selector

Fuel Gauge

2 Year Warranty

Made in the UK

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

Exposure lists this product spec:

Output

LED Configuration: 1 x White XPG2 Cree LED

Lumens: Max 110

Battery

Battery: 700 mAh Lithium-Ion

Runtime: 3hrs - 24hrs

Rechargeable: Micro USB

Charge Time: 4hrs

Construction

Weight: 35g

Anodised 6063 Aluminium

Water Resistance IP6

Dimensions

Length: 57mm

Head Diameter: 28mm

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

The fact that the run-times of the three different programs are given on the shell of the light is really handy.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
10/10

It has an IP6 rating which means that water projected in powerful jets – 12.5 mm nozzle – will have no harmful effects. It'll be fine in rain as long as you correctly position the silicone band that covers the micro USB port and the function switch.

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

It's not as bright as a light designed to light up the way ahead, but it's great for getting you seen, whether that's at nighttime or during the day.

Rate the light for durability:
 
10/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
9/10
Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

You can get a similar function at a lower price, but the durability is good.

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

It packs a much bigger punch than its size would suggest.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Compact size, ability to choose different programs – which is handy if the battery is running low – and the overall durability

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The price is okay, but nothing special.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The £32.99 Blackburn DayBlazer 400 front light that we reviewed is 200 lumens in low mode (compared to 110 lumens for the Trace in its highest mode) with a 90-minute run-time (compared to 3hrs for the Trace). On the other hand, the Blackburn is larger and heavier and not so good for squirrelling away in the corner of a commuting bag.

The Lezyne Micro Drive 500XL is £40, the same as the Trace, and it also has a daytime-friendly flash mode. Again, it's brighter than the Trace, but it's also larger and heavier – not that weight is a huge concern here – so it comes down to what you value most. I'd say that the durability of the Trace (and it comes with a two-year warranty) means the price is justified.

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

This scores highly almost across the board, just the price bringing the overall score down a mark to 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

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 road.cc 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 pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

5 comments

Avatar
Welsh boy [706 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

"Like all of Exposure's front lights, the Trace has an anodised aluminium shell."  Nope, not all of their lights, I have an Exposure Joystick with a carbon fibre shell.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1746 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

If my Knogg Mini Chippy ever bites the dust, I'm picking one of these bad boys up as my front daylight running light.

Avatar
Tinbob49 [29 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

I have one on flash mode (medium setting) alongside a cat eye volt 800 when commuting through town. 12 hour run time, and is tiny. It’s fantatsic.

Avatar
risoto [105 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

They are fantastic, size, design, effect and battery time. Use them in daylight daybright mode also. BUT they are expensive for whay they are. Tried some cheap lights from Aliexpress, 5 punds each, not as polished but they do the job. I could buy almost 10 of these for the price of 1 exposure light. The cheap ones have much better battery life also. Just saying.

Avatar
ghostrider64 [1 post] 1 week ago
0 likes
risoto wrote:

They are fantastic, size, design, effect and battery time. Use them in daylight daybright mode also. BUT they are expensive for whay they are. Tried some cheap lights from Aliexpress, 5 punds each, not as polished but they do the job. I could buy almost 10 of these for the price of 1 exposure light. The cheap ones have much better battery life also. Just saying.

What lights are you getting from aliexpress?