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Exposure Joystick Mk16

9
£170.00

VERDICT:

9
10
The best helmet/bar light is still the best – just now 50 lumens besterer
Still as good as before
50 more lumens
Repairable
No USB charging cable
Weight: 
98g

At road.cc 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 new Exposure Joystick once again ups the game in the contest for best helmet/bar light, and once again it's up there at the top of the pile. There are cheaper options – check out rivals in our best bike lights buyer's guide – but in my opinion it justifies it; it's well worth the money.

Few things in life are as certain as death, taxes, and Exposure Joystick reviews. Here at road.cc Towers we've been reviewing Joysticks since at least 2012, when the Mk6 got 4.5/5 stars for its 325 lumens, £165 cost and three-hour run-time.

I've been using a Joystick Mk10 (£140, 800 lumens) since 2015, and it's still going strong thousands of rides later. I did have to send it in for a service a year ago as the modes had started playing up – and it cost me the princely sum of £14 including postage. For the repair of a six-year-old light. That's why I'd say investing in a quality UK-made light is well worth it, even if it's a not-inexpensive purchase.

In 2019, Ash gave 4.5/5 to the Mk13, back up to £165, but now with 1,000 lumens.

Looks like we've skipped a few editions, because what we have here is the Mk16 Joystick with 1,150 lumens (50 more than the Mk15). Price-wise it's £155 for the 'lanyard' version without helmet/bar mounts which you may already have (£22/£14 respectively as an aftermarket purchase). Or you can get both mounts included with the light for £170.

2022 Exposure Joystick Mk16 - mount 2.jpg

At 98g the Mk16 is still as light as its older siblings, even though it's packing over 40% more output for the same run-time as seven years ago. This sort of inflation I like.

My only gripe with either kit is that you get a wall charger, capable of 4.2A/18W output, to charge the light in under four hours. Yes, this means it's faster than using the USB-A cable that Exposure sells as an aftermarket accessory – but come on, Exposure, it's 2023. We don't need more wall chargers. Where's a USB-C cable capable of utilising the 18W PD spec output of most USB-C wall chargers, battery banks and laptops?

2022 Exposure Joystick Mk16 - 4.jpg

But that's indeed my only gripe – that you get a fast charger. And what a gripe to have, given manufacturers usually include the slowest, cheapest charger and offer fast ones as an upgrade.

Otherwise, yes, it's Groundhog Day folks. The Mk16 Joystick is solid, rugged, beautifully made and performs brilliantly out on the trail or road, day or night.

The focus of the beam is still Goldilock's porridge-perfect – equally good at illuminating a wet road from the bars without excess wastage to either side as it is on your helmet, seeing around corners and shortening shadows on a twisty mountain bike descent.

The helmet and bar brackets are still super-easy to fit and swap between bikes/lids, and hold the light rock-solid. The seven selectable modes plus the daytime constant + flash mode are identical to the previous versions, and again are handily laser-etched on the outside for reference if you want to change.

2022 Exposure Joystick Mk16 - 3.jpg

If there was ever One Light To Rule Them All, it would be the Exposure Joystick. If my bikeshed was on fire and I had to rescue one luminary accessory, it would be the Joystick.

Yes, it's £170 for the full kit. As per all the previous reviews, that's the only criteria where we can't award full marks, because it is a premium or at least on a par with other similarly-performing products. If there were an extra star awardable for reliability, repairabily and corporate responsibility in maintaining products/reducing landfill, the Joystick would get five-and-a half stars out of six.

But anyone arguing that the Joystick is overpriced is utterly missing the point of making an investment in future happiness. That's what purchase of an Exposure product is – an investment in long-term reliability and repairability. My anecdote above of a £14 repair after six years of battering that would have been impossible with any other brand of light out of warranty proves the value of that investment in spades. 'Buy cheap, buy twice' was an adage invented to justify Exposure light sales.

Not every cyclist can afford a Joystick. But every cyclist deserves one in their lives.

Verdict

The best helmet/bar light is still the best – just now 50 lumens besterer

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Exposure Joystick Mk16

Size tested: 1150 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?

It's for handlebar (road) or helmet (mountain bike) use.

Exposure says: "Here from our beginning the Joystick remains the lightest, and most award-winning helmet light in the range; with a more focused beam, and now with 1150 lumens the Joystick enables you to spot the terrain changes in the distance and the tight corners at your wheel."

In the box: Joystick MK16 GMB, Handlebar Bracket, Helmet Mount, Lanyard, Fast Charger, QS Guide.

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

From Exposure:

The Nitty Gritty:

LEDs 1 x White XPL2(W3)

IP Rating IP65

Max Lumens 1150

Battery 3,500 mAh Li-Ion

Runtime 1.5 - 36 Hours

Charging Time 4 Hours

Weight 93g

Material Anodised 6063 Aluminium

Length 112mm

Head Diameter 30mm

In The Box Joystick MK16 GMB, Helmet Mount, QR Handlebar Mount, Lanyard, Smart Charger, QS Guide

Specifications

Specification

SRP £170

Output 1150 lumens

Weight 93grams

Burntime Min 1.5 hrs Max 36 hrs

Battery Capacity 3500 mAh Li ion

Dimensions (mm) Length - 112, Head - 30, Back – 27

LEDs 1x XPL2(W3)

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?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
10/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

It would be nice to see a USB-C PD-spec charging cable included.

Rate the light for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
10/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
10/10

Keeping the weight and run-time constant while increasing output by 40% is some achievement.

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

Can't fault it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The beam – it's perfect. Just right.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Only the lack of a USB-C cable.

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

It's premium, but Exposure really is in a class of its own regarding performance, repairability and quality.

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 only thing to rate the Joystick down on is relative value – it's a premium product, but there's no criteria for long-term repairability and longevity; if there were, it'd get six out of five stars.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

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2 comments

Avatar
RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
0 likes

You might want to fix the mess under "Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?" part of the review Mike.

seems like you copy and pasted twice -- or maybe thats how it is on exposures website?

Avatar
ktache | 1 year ago
2 likes

I went for the slight upgrade of an Axis (mk4), that extra little bit of power and the TAP controls. Over 6 years of trouble free daily usage.

I would say that when using it on the bars when I have had to send my Hope R4 back for repair, the beam is a bit tight, it's better as a helmet light, and then to remember to turn the TAP off.

My only problem with it was that during the coldest parts of the beast from the east the flash mode wouldn't stay on.

On my third helmet mount. They don't last a huge amount of time.

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