The Exposure Strada Mk4 might not be cheap but it's an exceptional light for riding unlit roads.
I reviewed the Strada Mk3 last year and got on really well with it. This time around, Exposure have increased the battery capacity and the brightness, and they've also added a new program selector (more on that in a mo).
The Strada lives in a CNC machined body that's made from aerospace grade aluminium so it's very tough. You operate it via a single button on the back. Last year I found that the button and the charge port were a little close to one another, which could make things difficult with gloved fingers, but they're further apart now so that's no longer an issue. It runs on a 8700mAh lithium ion battery and light comes from two Cree XPG R5 LEDs.
The new setting selector is called the Optimised Mode Selection (OMS), and it allows you to choose from six different setups. So, for example, Program 1 gives you three different light levels. On the high setting you'll get 3hrs of runtime with a high light power that you might want for lighting up dark country lanes. On the medium setting you'll get 10hrs, and on the low setting you'll get 24hrs.
Go to Program 6 and you'll get just two different light levels, the highest of which gives you 10hrs of light. It's not as bright as you get with Program 1 but it's easily enough for riding on lit roads. You just select the program that works best for the riding you're doing, and the various runtimes are listed on the lamp body so you don't need to remember them.
The beam pattern is both broad and deep so that when you have the light on a high power you can see the full width of the road a long way ahead. If all your riding is on urban roads, that's probably not a lot of use to you, but I head out on country roads at night and I like to know what's coming up as far ahead as possible, especially on a fast downhill section. You need to know about potholes, big puddles and anything else coming up in the road, so that you can take evasive action where necessary. I also like having quite a bit of sideways extension to the beam pattern so that, if I do need to change line, I know that that the alternatives are safe. The Strada gives you all the warning you need.
The light sits securely on your bars via an aluminium clamp, the only real criticism you can have there being that you can't alter the angle of the beam without an Allen key.
A remote switch comes as part of the package so you can alter the light level with your thumb without removing your hand from the bars. You can fit it close to the hoods on a drop bar but it's much better suited to flat bars.
Lights on the rear of the unit tell you how much charge is left, and you can recharge either from the mains or via a USB port. The charge port comes with a silicone cover to stop mud and rainwater getting in.
The LEDs are covered by a lifetime warranty to the original owner. All other components are covered under a two-year warranty.
The Strada does not conform to BS6102/3 standards - in common with many other very good lights out there. That means that to be legal you should use it alongside a cheap light that does fulfill the requirements.
I've really not got anything negative to say about the Strada. Yes, it's one of the most expensive lights we have on test this winter, but it puts in an exceptional performance. If your riding will make the most of its level of capability, you won't be disappointed.
A pricey choice, but the powerful Strada puts in an exceptional performance across the board.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Exposure Strada Mk4 front light
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?
It's for riding unlit roads, essentially. If you ride only lit urban roads, you won't use this light to its full capability.
Exposure say, "The Strada has been designed specifically for road riding with wide and flat beam pattern to increase your peripheral vision, lighting up the verge as well as the road.
Coupled with a remote switch, the Strada's mode can be changed between high and dipped beam safely without taking your hands off the bars. The battery has been upgraded for 2013 and has 50% more capacity and is also 25% brighter than last year.
The 2013 Strada also benefits from the new Optimum Mode Selector technology. OMS, Optimised Mode Selector is a new feature for 2013 and allows you to easily select from a concise number of programs to provide the optimum lighting for your ride. OMS programs enable you to obtain the lights full potential and optimise the output whether it's a three hour night sprint or a week's commuting."
That all sounds fine (apart from the "three hour night sprint" bit; who sprints for three hours?).
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Exposure list these technical details:
Output: 800 lumens
Power: 8700mAh Lithium Ion battery
Burn time: 3 - 36hrs (depending on OMS selection)
Emitter: 2 Cree XPG R5 LEDs.
Cable Free Design (CFD): A primary feature unique to Exposure Lights removes the hassle of cables and straps utilising the superb QR Bracket for speedy, rock solid attachment.
LED Info display: The all new info display gives a 5 step fuel gauge and a 3 level mode indicator. It also doubles up as the OMS display.
Intelligent Thermal Management (ITM): Patented technology that combats the loss in efficiency of LEDs at elevated temperatures, maintaining optimum output keeping you shining 'Brighter for Longer'.
Smart Port Technology Plus (SPT+): Patented technology that enables a wide range of accessories to be used; Additional rear lights, back-up power supplies, remote switches and even charging other USB devices direct from your light.
Collimated Lens Technology: Exposure Lights use these high-tech resin lenses which have been extensively researched. These lenses are specifically designed to maximise light collection from the LEDs and efficiently produce an optimum beam pattern for cycling ensuring no light is wasted.
Weatherproof Body: CNC machined aerospace grade aluminium body with efficient heat transfer design. Fully manufactured in the UK.
Gold plated charge port: The charge port is gold plated for corrosion resistance, more efficient conductivity and it is sealed to a greater level adding protection to you light.
Storm Cap: The Smart Port in protected by a silicone cover to stop muddy gloves pushing dirt into the port.
Includes: Remote Switch, Quick Release handlebar bracket and Smart Charger.
It's totally secure, but you can't alter the angle of the beam at all once set.
It's very tough. You might put a scratch in the black finish, but that's about all unless you're really unlucky.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The intensity, the beam pattern, the sturdiness... lots.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
There's no way of altering the angle of the beam once you have the clamp fixed to your bars, so you can't point it a bit further ahead on a fast descent – although the amount of light on offer here means you never start squinting into the darkness.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes, it's my favourite road light at the moment.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 41 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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, 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 youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.