The Exposure Strada MK10 SB provides a brighter beam than many other lights which claim to have a similar output – allowing you to ride at similar speeds to what you would in daylight. Although it is very expensive, with the longevity we’ve come to expect from Exposure lights, it could end up paying for itself – and as a performance light for winter training and ultra-distance events, it works exceptionally well. You can also use it for commuting, but depending on your requirements, there are cheaper lights arguably better suited.
Super bright with a helpful beam pattern
Wide range of easy to use modes
Mount is very fiddly to attach
DC charging cable not as universal as USB
By Stefan Abram
Exposure is a British brand that has earned a reputation for producing some of the best bike lights on the market, with the Sussex brand's product durability widely believed to be second to none. As a result, Exposure lights are among the most expensive on the market, with the Strada MK10 SB coming in at a hefty £300 / $411.
The Strada achieved a shared win with the Lezyne, it's an excellent product, but the price is hard to ignore.
Starting with the all-important number – the lumen output. The Strada MK10 SB is claimed to be able to put out a maximum of 1500 lumens. However, it’s worth noting that this refers to ‘measured’ lumens rather than ‘calculated’ – the latter of which provides a theoretical value which may not be indicative of a light's actual performance.
With a machined aluminium body, there's a reassuring heft to the light, which bodes well for the longevity but means that this is perhaps not one for the weight weenies. Although, tipping my scales at 228g, it actually comes in a little under the claimed weight of 230g, which isn’t something you often see.
The light attaches to the bars by a delightfully engineered clamp which feels very sturdy, but does make swapping the light between bikes a bit of a faff (more on that later). But you can at least buy additional mounts for multiple bikes, but those will cost you around £22 / $30.13.
Charging is by an AC/DC adapter, so whilst not tying you in to a propriety system, it's still not as common as micro USB or USB-C – if you happen to have forgotten your cable, you're unlikely to be able to borrow one off a friend.
Like many of Exposure’s lights, the Strada MK10 SB features the Optimised Mode Selector (OMS) function. The optimum number of light settings is always a bit of a balance – whilst it’s nice to have a range of choices, if there are too many it can make switching between them quite a pain.
Exposure’s solution to this is to have a variety of “programs”, each with only a handful of settings in. This way there are over 20 settings in total, but the most you’ll ever have to cycle through is three.
Heading out with the Strada MK10 SB, it instantly impressed. Not only is the light very bright – easily bright enough for me to ride as if it was day time – but the areas where the light is directed felt a good balance. There was enough of a spot beam to comfortably see what’s coming up, but this was balanced by a wide flat beam which lit up the periphery, preventing a disorienting kind of tunnel vision.
Operating the light isn’t the most intuitive but once you’re used to the system, it’s very quick and easy to select the program and flick through the modes.
I quite liked program one, with the option of High, Medium, and Low – programs two and three have the same sequence, but each with the power lowered a little to preserve battery life. Programs four, five and six follow the same pattern, but with just the High and Medium light settings.
It was really great to not have to scroll through a flashing setting when flicking between the beam intensities – no being unexpectedly plunged into darkness when just trying to get the best out of the battery life.
Thanks to the display on the back of the light, maximising runtime is exceptionally easy – you get a countdown to the minute of exactly how much runtime you have left in the current setting.
Although both the clamp and the light feel very sturdy, passing a verdict on just how durable a light is from the time we have it on test is always going to be tricky. But with that said, I know a number of people who've had Exposure lights for around a decade and they're still going as strong as when they were brand new.
That may not speak directly to the durability of this light, but I would have a lot of confidence in getting a similar performance.
But great as the light is, there are some downsides – most of which centre around the clamp. Although the executions feel super high quality, the split clamp design does make it easy for the two halves to come apart.
Also, although this light is road specific (there are the Toro and MaXx for off-road) the bar clamp is sized for a 35mm bar. These are increasingly common for mountain bikes, but road bars tend to be 31.8mm. This means that in addition to the two halves of the split clamp, you have two spacers to keep control of as well.
Exposure does sell a smaller clamp designed for 25.4mm to 31.8mm bars, which would be a much better inclusion as it opens up compatibility for older, skinnier handlebars.
Finally, although not a direct criticism, it is worth noting that a rubber strap mounting system is a lot quicker and easier for swapping between multiple bikes. Of course, it's horses for courses and the metal clamp is going to be a lot more durable, but it's worth being aware that even with the premium price tag, there are still some use cases where a cheaper alternative would actually be the better performer.
At £300 / $411, the Exposure Strada MK10 SB was never going to come out as mega value. But with that said, given Exposure's reputation for longevity, over the course of a decade, it could work out even with lights even a third of the price.
Still, it would be a considerable investment for commuting – a cheaper light such as Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XXL still offers a great output for road night riding and features a robust silicone strap which makes swapping between bikes a little easier.
|Light||Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 XXL||Knog PWR Trail 1100||Exposure Strada MK10 SB||Blackburn Dayblazer 1500|
|Weight||226g (claimed 208g)||220g||228g (claimed 230g)||142g (claimed 140g)|
|Battery life (claimed)||2.5hrs||1.7hrs||2hrs||2hrs (lasted 2hrs+)|
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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