Exposure Strada Overview
The Exposure Strada light is clearly designed with the discerning cycle commuter in mind. This is evident through the subtle differences in feature set compared to most of the other Exposure Lights which are generally aimed at the mountain biker. The differences include the addition of a remote push-button switch to allow the light to easily be dipped for oncoming road users, and the use of two brightness modes (high and dipped) instead of the usual three (high, medium and low) to avoid too many button pushes. There is also a different beam pattern compared to the other lights in the range. More on that below. The latest version is the Mk3. The Review model is actually the Mk2, but the general form factor and feature set are the same. I shall point out differences between the versions where applicable through the review and I’ll update beam pattern photos and the video when and if I get hold of a Mk3 model for review.
Exposure Strada Mk2 Mk3
LEDs 2 x Cree XPG 2 x Cree XPG R5
LED Output (total) 600 lumen 645 lumen
Weight 228g (with bracket) 192g (with bracket)
Modes High / Dipped / Flashing High / Dipped / Flashing
Battery Life 3 / 8 3 / 8
In Most respects the Exposure Strada Mk2 has a similar design and features as the other Exposure Lights. It weighs in at 228g and has a luxury machined alloy case. It’s about 4.5 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter at the narrowest part rising to 2 inches at the widest. As with the other Exposure lights, the rechargeable battery is built into the unit and the light is of exceptional build quality.
The quick release handlebar mount supplied with the Strada is of high quality and works very well. The light simply clicks into place when fitting and a gentle pull of the red button underneath is required to release. Extra quick release brackets may be purchased so if you have several bikes you could fit a bracket to each and use the same light for all of them. I have no difficulty operating the quick release with winter gloves.
Exposure Strada Remote Switch
The Strada light is supplied with a remote push button switch which allows it to be safely operated (e.g. to set the dipped beam for oncoming traffic) without needing to remove your hands from the handlebars. The lead length is perfect for the average MTB or Hybrid bike but would be too short for mounting the switch at the ends of drop handlebars. The velcro strap holds the light to the bars well but the switch can slide around if mounted directly to bare metal. It works best by wrapping it round the end of the grip as shown in the photo. Alternatively a rubber puncture repair patch wrapped around the bars under the switch would solve any slipping. The button, being reasonably large is easy to locate when wearing gloves but the switch itself needs to be pressed quite hard and doesn’t have much travel. It would be nicer if it had a more positive feel. All in all, it’s a good addition to the Strada light but we feel there’s room for improvement in future models. The remote switch, when used performs the same function as the switch on the rear of the light unit.
Operating Modes & Battery Life
The light has a single button on the reverse. Pressing the button twice switches the unit on. Then each push of the button toggles the light between high and dipped modes. Pressing and holding the button for a short time puts the light in a flashing mode. Pressing and holding the button for a longer time switches the light off.
Battery life on high mode is quoted as 3 hours. The review model achieved at least 30 minutes more than that in our tests and the light remained very bright throughout. Dipped mode gives approx 8 hours. The average commuter could easily use the unit for a number of days between recharges. When I was using my Exposure Diablo last winter I got into the habit of plugging the light into a USB charger for an hour or so each day at work. Exposure say it’s not possible to overcharge the light so it’s worth just topping it up after every ride if convenient. Lithium Ion Batteries in general like to be kept charged up so it’s a good habit to get in to. A great feature is that when the battery is running very low, the light automatically drops down to a low brightness “get you home mode”.
Exposure Strada Beam Pattern & Brightness
In dipped mode, the beam pattern of the Strada has a letter box shape rather than the usual circular beam. This means a decent amount of light is sent to the sides where it is needed for best visibility (both for seeing and being seen) rather than wasting light by sending it skywards. It also means the light doesn’t dazzle oncoming road users. In the high power mode, the rectangular beam is augmented with a bright circular spot which, like a car headlight, spreads the light up and forwards (The photo shows the beam pattern in high mode). Overall brightness is very good. In both modes the light can be used when cycling down dark country lanes though high power mode is obviously better for riding at speed. For riding in town on lit roads, the dipped mode provides plenty of light. (Note that beam shots and video below are of the Mk2 model. The latest Mk3 has a similar beam pattern but is approx 8% brighter)
Exposure Strada On the Road
The video below gives you an idea of how the light performs on the road though bear in mind that recording video in low light is a real challenge for most video cameras. In actual use you can see a little better than is apparent on the video. In a couple of places on the video you can see the use of the dipped beam for approaching cars.
Exposure Strada Mk3 Updates
The latest version (Mk3) includes a number of updates as outlined in the Exposure Lights 2012 news post.
The Exposure Strada is another winner from USE. It has an intelligent set of features and is perfect for commuting both in town and out in the country. We feel it offers just the right balance between low weight, high brightness and long battery life. The light would be bright enough to dabble with night time mountain biking though the brighter Exposure lights would be better if you take the sport seriously. The Exposure Strada Mk3 is an easy choice for the high end Commuter light category on our best bike lights page.
Where to buy
Manufacturer Web Page
The official manufacturers website page for the Strada Mk3 is here.