A great road-specific beam with multiple tuning and mounting options, as well as quality UK build and backup. However the cost is high, and it would be better with a wireless remote.
- - Plenty of power and run time
- - Great road/gravel beam
- - Clear indication of remaining battery life
- - Practical preset modes
- - Multiple mount choices
- - Top build quality
- - Can be used as a power bank
- - Powerpack add ons
- - Remote switch
- - Excellent aftersale support
- - Oversized bar mount can be a faff
- - Wired remote
- - No custom tuning options
Exposure pretty much pioneered properly powerful self-contained lights and while it isn’t innovating at quite the pace it was a few years back, the brand is still at the top of the high tech bike lights game.
The Strada MK10 SB isn’t the most expensive, or smartest road light to come from Exposure, but it delivers a great beam and extensive custom run and configuration options for those who can afford the premium price.
We put it to the test in an array of weather and lighting conditions to see how well it holds up against the best bike lights on the market.
Design and specification
The 10th generation Strada keeps the same cylindrical ‘can’ design as the rest of the Exposure family, but the nose of the light has been rounded to give a slight nod to roadie aerodynamics. The ribs cut into the CNC-machined body help with cooling, and the tough gunmetal anodized finish gets laser-etched logos that work both ways up if you’re slinging it under rather than over the bars. The two LEDs are mounted one above the other with a spot lens optic at the top, and a sort of ‘egg timer’ shaped three-segment optic at the bottom. Meanwhile, there are side cut-outs on the front edge for peripheral visibility too.
The back of the light is made from clear plastic so you can see the base circuit board and the OLED display that shows mode, run time and recharge information. The stainless steel control button sits proud of the plastic with the rubber plug-protected ‘Smart Port’ for accessories or recharging sitting above it.
A wedge-shaped key is bolted onto the base of the light to slide into the quick release shoe on the two-piece alloy interlocking bar clamp. This neatly machined mount works on round bars in 31.8 or 35mm (hard spacers and a rubber grip wrap are included) but various stem extensions and GoPro mount shoe options mean it’s compatible with most cockpit setups.
You can also get supplementary power packs or power bank-enabling cables that plug into the Smart Port, although that does mean you won’t be able to use the wired remote switch that comes with the light.
The light is supplied with both a fast mains charger and a USB cable, though the latter obviously takes longer to refill the onboard 7,800mAh battery.
There are a lot of much cheaper ‘1500-Lumen’ lights out there, but the Strada SB is definitely one of the brightest we’ve tested. That’s mostly down to the punchy spot beam that removes any doubt about what might happen next even on totally unlit back roads, and we had no trouble going full throttle even on rough gravel roads.
The complex lower optic gives a really good spread of broad distortion- and shadow-free light from the front wheel out to where it blends smoothly with the spot too. That gives plenty of roadside context and ‘corner look around’ if things get twisty. The lowest power setting in each mode only uses the lower LED to prevent the spot from potentially dazzling drivers, too. Alternatively, the Strada MK10 Aktiv has a light sensor that automatically dims the light as soon as it senses oncoming traffic.
While we’d definitely recommend reading the instructions to crack the code, once you’re down with it, setting the mode you want from a seven setting menu is easy, especially as the OLED screen will guide you through it. We like the fact that the menus are really simple as well, with three Hi/Med/Low options of varying power, three Hi/Med options and then an extended run / SOS flash seventh. This makes a very welcome change from menus where you have to try and scroll past flash or strobe modes to get back to full power in an emergency and the plug-in remote button simplifies operation too.
Considering the healthy output, run times are more than ample for hard and fast rides of a decent length, or even overnight epics if you toggle the power back a bit. Juggling light and length is made much easier by the fact that the OLED screen gives the remaining run-time to the minute. Given this screen can be awkward to see when riding compared to a top-mounted display, Exposure has also fitted small LEDs that indicate power level when you switch, or the remaining charge, using a simple traffic light colour code system. The OLED also communicates charge percentage when the light is switched off — very useful for quick checking before a ride, as a full refuel takes around six hours with the wall plug charger.
While the core performance and programming of the light are really good, there are some potential flaws to be aware of. While the two-piece clamp comes with a 3Nm torque setting etched on it, we had to go tighter to be sure of security on rougher rides. Make sure there’s absolutely no taper on the section of bar you choose to mount it on either, or it’ll gradually slide down the thinner section and come loose. Also — and we appreciate this is really nit-picking, but it is a £300 light — the black light wedge and bar mount don’t match the gunmetal anodizing and there’s no need for 35mm bar compatibility on a road/gravel light, especially as that means an extra spacer to juggle. The Smart Port plug can sometimes be awkward to refit securely, and with several competing brands now offering wireless remotes and smart phone/GPS head unit functionality, the analogue Strada is behind the curve in terms of connectivity. While overall reliability across a broad range of Exposure test lights and those owned by friends is good, they’re not without their glitches. Aftersale support at events and direct from Exposure is definitely an area where the brand excels though, and we know of plenty of their lights that are still soldiering on and doing a decent job after over a decade of use.
A powerful light with a great beam, the lengthy run times are the core of the Strada’s impressive night-fighting performance. Practical menus, clear communication, plus power bank, power pack and multi-mount features all increase its user-friendliness, and while no lights are totally reliable, Exposure's factory backup is awesome, especially in the UK. The bar mount can be a faff though, and for the high price, we’d like a wireless rather than wired remote.
Tech Specs: Exposure Strada MK10 SB
- Price: £300.00 / $372.00
- Weight: 273g ((248g light + 25g bracket)
- Power: 1,500 lumens max
- Battery: 7,800mAh Lithium Ion
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