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Exposure TraceR Mk1 DayBright



Instantly recognisable British design classic that is user-friendly, bright, tough and reliable

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 TraceR Mk1 DayBright is designed and made in the UK and is very popular with British riders: it is tough, reliable, good looking, bright and easy to use.

  • Pros: Bright, plenty of modes, good run-time, tough aluminium casing
  • Cons: Shape doesn't integrate with a bike, standard bracket doesn't always point it straight, etched graphics already looking worn

The TraceR Mk1 has achieved almost iconic status over the last decade. The instantly recognisable red-anodised, CNC'd aluminium casing, the distinctive flash patterns and the fact that it's designed and manufactured in the UK have all set it apart from the more generic competition.

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The 'Mk1' differentiates it from the TraceR Mk2, as reviewed by Dave Arthur. The main difference in the Mk1 is the absence of ReAKT technology, which allows the light to adjust intensity automatically, depending on light conditions and braking forces. Dave's main dislike of the Mk2 was the price, but the Mk1 comes in a full £20 cheaper for leaving out the ReAKT feature.

Lumen count, run-times and weight are the same, and it uses the same aluminium casing.


All the other good features are there. Exposure's 'Optimum Mode Selector' (in plain English 'three power settings') allow you to toggle between just two simple modes (pulse, steady), making it possible to use from the saddle.

To set which of the three power levels you want, you press and hold the on/off button until the red light flashes. First flash is high power (more on that in a moment), second flash is medium, and the third is low. You cannot do this on the fly. However, once selected, it's very easy to find the button (if you make sure you put the light in the bracket with the button facing upwards) and switch the light on or off, or between modes, by feel, even with heavy winter gloves on.

> Buyer's Guide: 17 of the best rear lights for cycling

The brightest setting is what Exposure calls 'DayBright', and as well as using all the 75 lumens on offer, the flash mode gives a double strobe to really highlight your presence on the road. It could be a life-saver on winter days with low sun, though you won't win friends by using it in traffic at night.

Even on the third power mode it's very bright if it's aimed correctly, but with the LED recessed some way inside the casing, you don't get the side visibility of some more modern lights such as the Moon Cerberus or Knog Cobber Mid


In use, the bracket straps simply to the seatpost using a supplied rubber band. The light is a tight fit inside the bracket, good for keeping it secure while riding but not so good for removing it – as with many lights, it's easier to take the bracket off with the light still in it.

The bracket has a very small footprint, so if you ride with a very crowded seatpost area (racks, saddle packs and so on), it takes up a small amount of space.

Exposure TraceR rear light - clamp.jpg

However, the pad that sits directly against the seatpost is hard, slippery and lacks grip. I've found that unless the rubber band of the clamp is evenly stretched, vibration can move the TraceR slightly to one side. On many occasions I've had to reach down and give it a little tap to straighten it. It is also easily knocked out of alignment at the café stop. It isn't compatible at all with bladed seatposts, but Exposure now sells a separate aero seatpost bracket, which would eliminate the tendency to wander on a round seatpost. There is also an under-saddle bracket available that works well for time trialling – which has now made rear lights compulsory as of 1st January 2020 – but can't be used with a seat pack.

In any case, time triallists are likely to look elsewhere: there are more aero lights out there that sit flush against the seatpost, whether bladed or round, such as the Moon Cerberus, which is also lighter and has superior side visibility, as already mentioned.


The Exposure TraceR Mk1 is more expensive than almost all other lights in its lumen class – the 75-lumen Lezyne KTV Pro Drive 75 costs £25, the 100-lumen Giant Recon TL 100 costs £24.99, and the Moon Cerberus costs £34.99 – but you're paying for a high-quality, very tough, British designed light that's metal rather than plastic and should last years, especially as Exposure offers spares and servicing. It's definitely not the disposable type, which is refreshing to see.


The TraceR's looks have proved divisive, judging by the comments under Dave's review of the Mk2. Yes, for some people it sticks out like a sore thumb, but for others it's a British design classic that they regard as an essential feature of their bike and are proud to use. I would put myself in the latter camp.


Instantly recognisable British design classic that is user-friendly, bright, tough and reliable test report

Make and model: Exposure TraceR Mk1 DayBright

Size tested: 75 lumen

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: "Lightweight rear light in a CNC aluminium body for urban commuting, road and time trial use. Three modes, six outputs, side illumination and various aftermarket mounting options make this a superb foundation for our rear light range."

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

Exposure lists:

LED Configuration: 1 x Red XPE-R

Lumens: Max 75

Battery: 700 mAh Lithium Ion

Runtime: 3 - 24 hours

Rechargeable: Through Case USB

Charge Time: 4 hours

Weight: 35g

Material: Anodised 6063 Aluminium

Water Resistance: IP6

Length: 57mm

Head Diameter: 28mm:

In The Box: TraceR Daybright, Seatpost Mount, Micro USB Charge Cable, QS Guide

Rate the light for quality of construction:

Very well made and sealed with an attractive machined finish and anodised red. The etched graphics of the test model were already worn when it arrived.

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

You need to be able to see what you are doing to choose which of the three brightness levels you want. After that, it's easy to switch on and off or to toggle between flash and steady, from the saddle. The button was easy to locate even with gloved hands. Charging is simple enough, via micro USB.

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

A very simple bracket, made of tough nylon, into which the light clips. The bracket mounts to the seatpost with a silicone band. It's held securely in terms of it not falling out, but because of the hardness of the pad against the seatpost it can vibrate or be knocked sideways, which can be frustrating. There are other mounting options sold separately.

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

Excellent. A simple silicone ring covers the on/off button and the USB socket. You don't need to remove this for charging so it won't get lost – a great design.

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

Run-times are close enough to what's claimed, as is charging – but four hours for charging is twice as long as some competitor lights.

Rate the light for performance:

Very bright for the lumen count, even on the lowest power mode, but side visibility is not as good as some lights are now offering.

Rate the light for durability:

Very tough and will last years. I have a pre-Daybright TraceR Mk1 that I bought years ago and it's still going strong.

Rate the light for weight:

It's not the lightest for its size, but you're getting a metal case and a very rugged build.

Rate the light for value:

There are cheaper (more disposable) lights out there, but given the high-quality construction, materials, tech support and performance on offer, it's worth the money.

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

The Exposure TraceR combines a good range of functions and power levels with good usability and it's well made, reliable and bright.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

I like the quality of its construction, the look of the anodised, machined casing (pity about the worn graphics), the well-thought-out way of switching between power levels and modes, the excellent and accurate fuel gauge, and the super brightness.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The bracket can easily be knocked or vibrated sideways and is only compatible with round seatposts. For time trialling I would use a more aero light that's designed to better integrate with a bike. Also the etched graphics wear easily.

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

The Exposure TraceR is more expensive than lights with similar lumen outputs. The 75-lumen Lezyne KTV Pro Drive 75 costs £25 and the 100-lumen Giant Recon TL 100 costs £24.99. The Moon Cerberus has superior side visibility, double the lumen count and costs £34.99.

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

The Exposure TraceR Mk1 is a UK-designed and made light that is tough, reliable, good looking and easy to use. The bracket could be improved and riders concerned with aerodynamics will look elsewhere, but overall it's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 178cm  Weight: 68kg

I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu  My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic

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, touring, club rides, sportives, school run on a tandem

Add new comment


Nick T | 4 years ago
1 like

Nice build, looks like pre-2015 era Shamal Ultras and Chorus 11. What's the frame?

theespressoguy replied to Nick T | 4 years ago
Nick T wrote:

Nice build, looks like pre-2015 era Shamal Ultras and Chorus 11. What's the frame?


Hi Nick,

I used to travel to China a lot for work so I got my Colnago Master Xtra-Light geometery and had it built by Walty Titanium while there.

I have it equiped with Shamal Ultra Mega G3 - 2-way fit, Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed, Full Enve cockpit and Sele San Marco Aspide Superleggera Saddle. 

It's a light, stiff, beautiful ride with excellent geometery.

theespressoguy | 4 years ago
1 like

Currently have two sets of tracers (front and rear) and also a Joystick and absolutely love these lights, although I now use the joysitck as a everything torch it's that good.

My only real complaint is they aren't available in different colours to match bike set up. Red or black is kind of limiting.

Also I have had issues with one of the front Tracers moving around in the casing which makes turning it on and off kind of time consuming. it's also probably not the best for the light as you need to tap in on the lense to make the internals move forward after they move around during rough rides?

Even so, I wouldn't use anything else..




JWL | 4 years ago
1 like

This is presumably a joke? 

"In any case, time triallists are likely to look elsewhere: there are more aero lights out there that sit flush against the seatpost"

The TraceR is absolutely miniscule... and sits behind the seat post. On which is fitted your saddle, and on which sits your fat arse. Anyone worried about the aero characteristics of a TraceR should be even more worried about their sanity. 

MNgraveur | 4 years ago

"Is that an Exposure Tracer, or is your bike just glad to see me?"

HoarseMann replied to MNgraveur | 4 years ago
MNgraveur wrote:

"Is that an Exposure Tracer, or is your bike just glad to see me?"

It's a throbber not a flasher.

The lighting regulations specifically mention a flash, so maybe it's not technically legal to ride around with a throbber strapped between your legs?

MarkiMark | 4 years ago

Agree with a lot of what's been said already, just a few more comments...

Mine is now in it's 3rd winter, and has survived all kinds of abuse.

Actually had an original before my current unit, be warned, the elastic that covers the charge port needs to be (er...) put in place after charging. My bad, it failed obvs.

Never had any complaints about being too bright, always run on full power. 75 lumens isn't that bright.

Never had a problem with it slipping, or turnign sideways. A tip from me would be to fit the rubber band to the seapost, insert the unit then pull the whole lot backwards, which seems to sort out equalising the tension in the two rubber sections.

Brilliant (d'oh!) light.

mingmong | 4 years ago

Awesome piece of kit.  Riden through many winters with it and it's never failed and the burn times are still excellent.  Money well spent.


quiff | 4 years ago
1 like

"The brightest setting is what Exposure calls 'DayBright', and as well as using all the 75 lumens on offer, the flash mode gives a double strobe to really highlight your presence on the road. It could be a life-saver on winter days with low sun, though you won't win friends by using it in traffic at night."

Guilty - it's tempting always to use the brightest setting available, but another cyclist last week told me mine was too bright. Must get into the habit of changing modes. 

Nick T | 4 years ago

The original rubber band started to tear after a few years, the under saddle bracket doesnt fit carbon saddle rails very well but other than that it's been a decent light in the 3/4 years I've had it

crazy-legs | 4 years ago
1 like

Same here. The only light you ever need to buy; Exposure will fix it (usually FOC) if it goes wrong. It's completely reliable, absolutely bombproof, doesn't come with a pile of useless disco modes.

I went through a host of rear lights which would last a few weeks of commuting, the batteries would die, the plastic casing would crack.... until I got Exposure. Now I wouldn't buy anything else.

Luv2ride | 4 years ago
1 like

Yep, one of THE best bits of kit I've bought.  Used every ride, rain or shine and (so far) utterly dependable...

Prosper0 | 4 years ago
1 like

Exposure lights are the gold standard for anyone riding bikes seriously in the UK. They are no compromise on light power, quality and battery life. I have two TraceRs, one trace front and a Sirius front  

I'm glad that they've moved to providing black rubber straps rather than red. We get it for brand recognition, but honestly matching the bike is more important. 

The provided post mount is a bit rubbish, as the review states it moves around and looks odd, but the under saddle mount is so nice and neat. This is great and aero for TT riders. 

I do think that the ReAct version is over priced though. Make the fancy Mk2 version at the Mk1 price and they'd be on to a winner.  

Miller | 4 years ago

I got one not long ago for my TT bike along with the insert that allows it to sit against the back of a bladed seatpost. Not had many chances to use it yet but there's no doubt it's a quality item. 

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