Tiny, robust, extremely bright and with long burn times. There really is nothing to fault the Exposure Trace and TraceR lightset. Ideal for everything from commuting to being a backup set for longer trips, this is a set of lights that will provide reliable service for many a year.
The Exposure Trace and TraceR lightset was selected for an Editor's Choice award (opens in new tab) in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
The Trace and TraceR lights are the smallest and most featherweight units Exposure produce and at first glance it's hard to imagine the sort of performance they are capable of. But just like David against Goliath, size isn't everything.
As with all Exposure lights the build quality is second to none. Each light is machined from aluminium and uses durable and high quality materials for the lens. Each part of the build process is done in-house in the UK and the lights carry a two year warranty and the reassurance of Exposure's excellent customer service. If there is any doubt as to which light is which, the rear TraceR is anodised red to avoid mounting mistakes.
The front Trace is capable of pumping out up to 110 lumens of light in both constant and flashing modes, whilst the rear TraceR tops out at 75 lumens. In the war to build the brightest lights this might not sound like a great deal but Exposure has been able to make this output seem far superior than many supposedly brighter units thanks to clever lens technology. Dependent upon which setting each is running you can expect burn time to be anywhere from 3 hours in the brightest constant mode to 24 hours in lowest flashing mode. I didn't test the 24 hour claim but did run the lights at the brightest setting and can attest that Exposure are pretty damn accurate with its claim.
The beam pattern and visibility for both lights is exceptional. The front throws out a good spread of light and in flashing mode easily lights up road signs for a few hundred metres ahead and the rear daybright mode is searingly bright. Both lights also have an extended lens that enables it to throw out a good level of side visibility, extending the safety levels.
Each light has the same OMS (Optimised Mode Selector) programmability that allows you to switch between three output levels to customise your own lighting requirements. Switching between modes is simply done by holding the on button, which will flash up to three times, then letting the button go after each flash to choose between the programmes – each program has one constant and one pulse mode and accompanying run times. Operating the lights is simple even with gloves on with two presses turning the light on, holding the button down turns the light off. A really neat touch with the Exposure Trace and traceR is the way remaining battery level is indicated by a green, amber or red LED when the light is turned off.
The tiny units use simple but effective clips and rubber o-rings to mount them to the handlebar and seatpost. The seatpost mount will easily accommodate an aero post but the one thing to be aware of is it can spin off line when used with angled or square seat posts. Additional silicon straps and brackets are available from Exposure if the strap doesn't suit your requirements.
Charging is simple and it takes just 1.5 hours to charge each from empty. A USB charging port is located under the rubber band that encircles the light. It can be a bit fiddly to pull it out of the way but you soon get used to the process. I'm yet to have any water ingress so despite its flimsy appearance it works really well.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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