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Exposure TraceR rear light review

Does Exposure’s smallest rear light still deliver when it comes to extra day and night safety?

Exposure TraceR rear light
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Exposure’s TraceR is brilliant if you want massive rear-focused visibility in a tiny, tough, top-quality fast-charging unit. It’s not as widely visible as some options though and it’s an investment rather than an immediate bargain

For

  • - Serious rear focused power
  • - Tough all-alloy build
  • - UK factory and event support
  • - Simple 3x2 mode menu
  • - Secure, sturdy mount

Against

  • - Limited side visibility
  • - Can pause before switching on
  • - Stiff power button
  • - Short life at full power
  • - Needs extra adaptors for non-round posts

The tiny Exposure TraceR is the smallest rear light in the Exposure range but it still packs a serious punch when it comes to vivid rearward focused visibility boosting night or day. The neat design should calm the most ardent clutter haters too. 

However, the off-centre visibility is much less bright and the button can be awkward to operate with fat gloves or cold fingers, so with that in mind, how does the Exposure TraceR fare in a test against the best bike lights on the market? 

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Exposure TraceR rear light

The smallest of the self-contained lights from Exposure, the TraceR will easily fit into the palm of your hand (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Exposure TraceR rear light

The rubber band around the outside hides the Micro-USB charge port (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Exposure TraceR rear light

That rubber wrap also houses an easy-find raised section above the button (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Exposure TraceR rear light

The mount holds it sturdily in place... (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Exposure TraceR rear light

...but you'll need to buy extras if you use an aero shaped seatpost (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Exposure TraceR rear light

Most of the light's power is projected in a straight line, meaning side-angle visibility is lacking (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design, specifications and performance

TraceR is the smallest version of Exposure’s self-contained format but you still get a UK-machined, red anodised and laser-etched body containing the 700mAh lithium-ion battery and simple switchgear. A rubber band covers the mini-USB charge port on one side and adds a small raised bump over the switch which makes it easier to find. It’s stiff enough that you’ll need to squeeze the TraceR top and bottom to double click it and there’s sometimes enough of a delay before it fires up to make you think it hasn’t worked. It’s still a lot better than the ‘screw the lens in and out’ switch they used on the first lights of this type though and sealing has certainly improved as we’ve heard of very few issues from long term users. 

Don't go staring straight at it to check it’s definitely working though as while the red XPE-R LED sits behind a ‘fly eye’ diffuser lens, the conical backing optic delivers a properly painful punch. It’s focused enough to mean that the maximum DayBright flash setting seems much higher than even the 75 lumens that Exposure claims. The brand's ‘visible from over a kilometre away’ claim seems conservative to us too as we’ve picked it up from further out when chasing onto our riding group. Because the beam is pretty focused, that dramatic level of power does drop off quickly to either side of straight behind. It still generates a noticeable halo right round to the front 3/4 on dark roads and the staggered pulse modes help it stand out in busy urban light environments. 

The run times range from three hours to 24 depending on your choice of three constant or three flash modes from the ‘OMS’ switch selected menu. There’s no separate low battery warning though so you’ll need to keep up with your amp arithmetic if you’re running higher power constant settings on long rides. If you want ‘smart safety’ then you can get the TraceR Mk2 which has an accelerometer triggered ‘ReAKt’ braking modes with a 120-lumen output. Its ‘Peloton’ function also dims automatically if it senses other lights close behind so you won’t blind other riders in a group. Those extra smarts do add £20 to the price though.

Back to the standard TraceR, recharging is really quick at 1hr 30mins from a 500mAh USB. While the angle-adjusted clip-in seatpost cradle doesn’t work with aero blade type posts as supplied, you can get either Kamm/D shape or blade post inserts and straps and they only cost around £5.00 / $5.00. GoPro style, saddle rail, bar and helmet mounts are also available aftermarket. 

Direct UK factory and on-site support at most big after dark events also adds value long term, but it’s not a crippling price for a premium light anyway. 

Verdict

It’s been around for a while but Exposure’s TraceR is still a really good choice if you’re normally out on the open road where projecting a warning beacon a long way is more important than maximum visibility from all angles. 

Its tough construction and compact size also fit with likely high mileage/hard training priorities and we know of Exposure TraceR lights that have been right round the world and are still working several years later. If you’re in the UK, direct factory and event support really boosts its value long term too. Just make sure you order the relevant mount adaptors with the light if you’ve not got a round seatpost, and keep a mental note of battery life so you don’t get left in the dark. 

Tech Specs: Exposure TraceR rear light

  • Price: £45.00 / $60.00 / €55.00 / AU$80.00
  • Weight: 49g (37g light + 12g bracket)
  • Power: 75 lumens 
  • Battery: 700mAh 
  • Colours: Red anodized 
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