Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013 Exposure Lights Diablo Mk.4 & Blaze Taillight Review on

We recently had a nice review on the 2013 Exposure Diablo and Blaze lights from Greg Kopecky over at

Exposure Diablo and Blaze

Written by: Greg Kopecky
Added: Tue Mar 12 2013

This is our review of two lights from UK-based Exposure. They are known for very bright LED bicycle lights. What makes them different from the rest? They’re bright - and they do not have external battery packs. Exposure says that their proprietary LED technology allows them to achieve run times and brightness comparable to the competition’s brightest external battery systems.

At first, I was skeptical. I love the completely self-contained lights, as they’re very convenient to swap between bikes and helmets – but they’ve never lived up to my hopes in terms of brightness or run time. We reviewed the compact and light weight Blackburn Scorch, which is similar in size and weight to the Exposure Diablo. It’s convenient, and fairly bright at 140 lumens, but is limited to only one hour of burn time (at max output). It also does not have a helmet mount option.

Would Exposure live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Diablo Mk4 - $299

The Diablo Mk4 is the top-of-the-heap in helmet lights from Exposure. It weighs only 104 grams, and is 4.5” (11.5cm) long.

It comes in this very nice padded case, and includes a helmet mount and wall charger:

NOTE: The charger you get depends on the country you buy from. If you’re in the USA, buy from a US-based shop (so you get a US wall charger). The US distributor is Ibex sports, who supplies directly to retail bike stores. If you’re in Australia or Germany or the UK, buy from a local shop that got it from their local distributor – so you get the right wall charger.

Exposure quotes a maximum output of 1,100 lumens. No, that is not a typo. Eleven hundred.

Keep in mind that the 1,100 lumen setting is ‘full blast’, and only lasts for one hour. The real beauty of the Diablo is what they call the OMS, or Optimum Mode Selector:

The light has a chart printed on it (also shown in the user manual and on the Exposure website). What does all of that mean?

Each of the rows is a different setting, with 8 options total. Within that setting, there are two or three levels of brightness, and sometimes an additional flashing mode. The numbers listed within each row represent the approximate burn time for each particular setting.

For example, the top row is setting 1. This is the default mode (i.e. if you take the light out of the package and double click to turn it on, it will be in this mode). The first mode is H, and lasts for one hour. If you click the button again, it goes in to M – good for three hours. One more click brings you to L, which is good for 6 hours.

There is only one button to move through all of the settings, located on the back of the light (next to the charger input):

To turn on flash mode, you must have the light already on. Hold the button for about 1 second and release – the light will flash once briefly – and you’re set. To turn the light off, hold the main button for about three seconds – it will flash twice and turn off.

To activate the different modes, you must start with the light off. Hold the main button until the lamp flashes several times. Next, you will see the button begin to flash slowly. Each flash represents a new mode. For example, if you want to select mode 3, hold the button, wait until the button flashes three times, and immediately release the button. You’ve selected mode 3. Then, simply double click the light to turn it on.

When you turn the light off, it remembers your last setting. While that may all seem complicated, I got the hang of it in about a day.

Exposure provided this handy chart, which shows the lumen rating for each setting:

That chart is what you should be concerned with as a triathlete. Want to go on a four hour training ride that might include 20 minutes worth of stops? Select mode 1 in the low setting, and you get 380 lumens of visibility for your entire ride. That’s a LOT of lumens for such a small light and such a long time.

The chart does not show the run times for flash modes, but the Exposure staff explained to me that this would be about 1 hour less than the Low setting (so, five hours for mode 1 flashing). The light remains in low brightness, and flashes to the medium brightness (380 lumens steady, 540 lumens peak at flash – for setting 1 flash).

Must you use the Diablo as a helmet light? What if you want to put it on your handlebars? While the Diablo does come with a very easy-to-use helmet mount (pictured here on my Bell Gage):

…there is also an optional 31.8mm handlebar mount:

In the past, I was rather anti-helmet-light. I always had external-battery systems – and a cord running down my back. I dare say that the Diablo made me in to a helmet-light convert. I don’t have to worry about mounting lights on different bikes because it’s always on the helmet. Once it’s there, I barely notice the ~100 gram weight. There are no wires, no battery packs, and no fuss.

Similar to our review of the Blackburn Scorch, we wanted to show you the approximate real-world brightness of the Diablo. There photos were done in similar conditions to the Scorch – indoors, and in the same location.

First up, we have the Scorch on the left and the Diablo on the right:

As you can see, they are similar size.

In the following photo, the Blackburn Scorch (140 lumens) is on the left, and the Diablo is on the right – in setting 1 Low (180 lumens):

The two beams are very comparable. The 180 lumen setting on the Diablo was simply the option closest to the Blackburn. The key difference is run time (and price) – the $70 Blackburn runs for 1 hour; the $300 Exposure runs for 6 hours.

Next, I put the Diablo up against my very bright and very heavy Light and Motion Arc:

The Light and Motion claims 675 lumens of maximum output, and I measured the run time at about 2.5 hours.

Compared to the Diablo in setting 1 Medium (540 lumens for three hours), the brightness looked very similar. Both the center beam and overall spread were quite even between the two.

Just for kicks, I put the Diablo up to full blast (1,100 lumens) against the Light and Motion:

The photo doesn’t do it justice. For such a small light, it is astoundingly bright. I’ve found myself using the light around the house as a flashlight – but I almost never use it in the highest setting. It’s simply too bright. As a mechanic’s note, it is a great light for fishing cables through internally routed frames.

Blaze - $159

The Blaze is the newest rear light option from Exposure.

The Blaze comes with a wall charger and seatpost mount (shown above). The mount itself is VERY simple and effective – clip the light in to the black mount, and wrap the rubber strap around your seatpost. If you have an aero seatpost, you can make a simple PVC adapter – the instructions for which are linked at the bottom of this page.

Exposure quotes a maximum output of 80 lumens. Similar to the Diablo, the light has a chart with all of the different OMS settings:

I almost always use the Blaze in setting 1 – flash. With 12 hours of burn time and a peak 80 lumens, it serves my needs for almost any ride.

The top of the Blaze has a simple clear cover for the on/off button and the charger port:

The only question I had about the Blaze was simple – is it bright enough? Are 80 lumens sufficient? My other two tail lights that I use regularly are the DiNotte 140R (140 lumens), and their self-contained 300R (300 lumens).

In this photo, I compare the DiNotte 300R (on ‘high’) with the Blaze. Comparing rear lights is generally more difficult than fronts, as the beam spread tends to be much wider (we want to ‘be seen’ from the rear, rather than see a specific path on the road):

That probably looks like a whole bunch of red, so I’ll give you my subjective take. The Blaze appeared to be about as bright as the 300R – but with a smaller beam focus. While the 300R spreads a ton of light in all directions, the Blaze focuses more in a ‘straight back’ direction. For all intents and purposes, I think this maximizes the 80 lumens it has, but probably is less visible from odd angles and long distances. In all fairness, the Blaze is still head and shoulders above any off-the-shelf blinky tail light powered by two AA batteries.

My favorite attributes of the Blaze are the size, simplicity, and mounting system. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the most important thing about any light is that you use it. If you’re in a hurry to get out the door, the Blaze takes no time to grab and install. It has become my go-to for any race or business trip that involves cycling.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2013 Diablo Mk.4 Review from KDAY Racing

Thanks to KDAY RACING for the review - This copied from his blog post.

the diablo mk4

Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 6:42:24 PM

For the past few seasons I’ve been fortunate to work with the folk at Exposure Lights USA, testing and demoing new products. The first time I strapped on the Diablo MK2, I was completely blown away. I had no idea how such a little light could be so bright. It was essentually all I needed for the trail riding here on the Wasatch Front. With this little light, I could rip the trails for over an hour on high beam. 900 lumens! And I could hardly tell it was mounted on my helmet. Add a single or triple cell battery and you’re looking at over three hours of high beam action.

Since that first ride, I’ve used a number Exposures lights and am always impressed with how dependable, durable and easy to use they are. My favorite combo is the Diablo mounted on my helmet with the MaxXd mounted on the bars. It’s pretty much lumen overkill, and blinding to those oncoming riders and hikers on the trail, but well worth it.

For 2013, Exposure launched a number of new innovative lights with smart technology that raises the bar and continues to lead & light the way. The perfect Go-To light, The Diablo, got a small and extremely bright upgrade and it’s all kept in the same, sleek package. From 900 lumens to 1,100 lumens, the Diablo MK4 is simply the best light, wrapped in the best package.

From the moment we hit the trail head, everyone was talking about the little light on my helmet that was making their, bulky, 800–1,000 lumen lights look dim and outdated. It quickly proved its worth and shined well above the rest.


During the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow mountain bike race, in Southern Utah, a few athletes from the Kuhl Rockymountain Cycling team, ran laps with lights from Exposure. One of the pro riders, Chris Holley, was heard saying: “There seems to be a big difference in the 1,100 lumens from the Diablo, compared to my other set of lights. That Diablo is so much brighter and the beam is much wider.”

Have you ever been night riding before and always wondered what’s beyond the trail? What’s learking in the bushes and trees? Well, if you’re using the Diablo MK4, you’ll have no doubt that, that sound you heard, was in fact a sasquach. And, there’s no need to worry, because the 1,100 lumens will probably spook it off before it even thinks to come after you.

Ryan Blaney, another Kuhl Rockymountain athlete that participated in the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow had this to say about the Diablo MK4: “Pound for pound the best light on the market. I recently confirmed this at the annual 25 hrs of frog hollow in southern Utah. The course had tight high speed single track that was tough to track properly in the light let alone the dark. having the diablo mounted on my helmet was the ultimate advantage in finding these turns in the dark. It was practically weightless and the on the fly adjustment is the icing on the cake. The size and brightness of this light make it unbeatable. Many of the competitors make 1k lumen lights, but it seems 1k lumens is a relative rating because they just aren’t as bright. The others also come with baggage like batteries and cords, which often prove to be an issue. There is nothing the same size that is even in its league.”

The all new Diablo MK4 features, as I mentioned before, 1,100 lumens, it weights only 108g and is fully self contained, CNC machined aerospace quality aluminum body (AKA: It’s tough as nails and water resistent) and comes with three different light settings that can burn for up to 24 hours depending on the OMS setting.

To top it off, Exposure packages it up in a clean, sturdy case to keep it organized and together which makes for easy packing in nearly any bike or gear bag.

This is by far, pound for pound, the best light in the tightest package, I’ve ever used. The Diablo MK4 gets my vote as the highest quality and most versital light on the market.

2013 Diablo MK4 Specks:

Diablo Mk4 Technical Information

Weight: 108g

Output: 1100 lumens

Power: 3100mAh Lithium Ion battery

Burn time: 1 — 24hrs (depending on OMS selection)

Emitter: 3 Cree XPG R5 LEDs.

Cable Free Design (CFD): A primary feature unique to Exposure Lights removes the hassle of cables and straps.

Utilising the critically acclaimed Exposure Lights Helmet Mount.

Function button: 3 colour Mode and Fuel Gauge indicator that doubles as the OMS display.

Intelligent Thermal Management (ITM): Patented technology that combats the loss in efficiency of LEDs at
elevated temperatures, maintaining optimum output keeping you shining ‘Brighter for Longer’.

Smart Port Technology Plus (SPT+): Patented technology that enables a wide range of accessories to be used; Additional rear lights, back-up power supplies, remote switches and even charging other USB devices direct from your light.

Collimated Lens Technology: Exposure Lights use these high-tech resin lenses which have been extensively researched. These lenses are specifically designed to maximise light collection from the LEDs and efficiently produce an optimum beam pattern for cycling ensuring no light is wasted.

Weatherproof Body: CNC machined aerospace grade aluminium body with efficient heat transfer design. Fully manufactured in the UK.

Gold plated charge port: The charge port is gold plated for corrosion resistance, more efficient conductivity and it is sealed to a greater level adding protection to you light.

Storm Cap: The Smart Port in protected by a silicone cover to stop muddy gloves pushing dirt into the port.

Includes: Helmet mount, Lanyard and Smart Charger

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Join us this weekend at NEMBA's Wicked Ride of the East. Come check out the 2013 Exposure Lights. This is a favorite of ours, looking forward to the Chili and riding. See you there!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Exposure Lights - 12 Hours of Millstone, VT

Exposure Lights USA will be at the upcoming 12 Hours of Millstone, July 28th in Websterville, VT. We will have a limited number of rental lights available for anyone who is in need or interested in trying them out. We will have Diablo and Maxx D lights available.

Please email us to reserve your light or for more information.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Exposure Lights - Twenty Four Hours of Pat's Peak

Heads up New England 24 Hour Racers!

Exposure Lights will be at the upcoming Pat's Peak 12/24 Hour Mountain Bike Festival, June 9 & 10 in Henniker, NH. We will have a limited number of rental lights available for anyone who is in need or interested in trying them out. We will also provide charging through the night for all rentals and current Exposure Lights riders. We will have Diablo, Toro and Maxx D lights available.

Please email us to reserve your light or for more information.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Tour de Breakfast 2012

Now this was fun, we're just back from the 2012 version of the Tour de Breakfast. What is the TdB, you ask? Well it takes place on National Bike to Work day and the idea is to ride on a bike to as many commuter breakfasts being held for riders/walker in the great seacoast NH area between the scheduled hours of 7-10 AM. It's a rigorous agenda, but with a quick bite ("chew and screw" says the ride leader, Arlon) or sip of coffee at each stop, it can make for a super fun training ride. That's pretty much why we went, but also for the fun factor and the good peeps in the bunch. With about 12 riders, we had some great local representation too. There was of course, the star of the show, Arlon Chaffee from Loco Cycling who was hammering the front most of the ride, adding to the engine, there were a couple of NorEast racers, Scott from Riverside Cycles, a couple of DG Cycles riders, and also some local citizen riders along for the fun. 

The ride started at the new location for Independent Fabrications (IF Bikes) located in a lovely old reconditioned mill building in Newmarket, NH. Gary from IF pulled out all the stops with fresh coffee, hand rolled steaming hot crepes, fresh fruit & juice, as well as pro bars for the ride ahead. 

The Crepe lady, it's blurry because I was full of coffee and having the shakes!

So yes, technically the starting location, but also the first stop for us since we rode over from a somewhat nearby park and ride lot, we then headed to our second stop at the Exeter, NH Bandstand in the center of town. There we found more breakfast type goodies, coffee and well known local cycling advocates from SABR and the one and only Susanne Delaney who organizes the Portsmouth Criterium.

Arlon (in shorts) signs the group in at the Exeter Bandstand.

Riding away from Exeter, our next stop was at the USA HQ for Timberland in Stratham, NH. It's only about a six or seven mile ride and we hammered that out in quick order and arrived to a self serve spread of scrambled eggs, potatoes, all kinds of muffins, danishes, coffee, juice, fresh was loaded with goodies! I had eggs and potatoes in a cup and a chocolate chip muffin. YUM!

 Smuttynose Beer rider, Bill, loads up on eggs and potatoes.

From Timberland, we headed to a local bike shop that's legendary in our area, Gus' Bike shop in North Hampton, NH. Jeff the owner greeted us as we pulled in the lot. Yet again, an awesome spread of food for the commuters. Mmmm more coffee? Okay, sure!

Gus' Bike!
We had a nice chat among the group through the little town of Rye and stayed single file as best as we could arriving to the Rye public library in a flash. I wasn't very hungry, but they too had a delicious mix of food for commuters, along with a mechanic from Gus' bike for any needed repairs. 

Noreast Rider, Peter Corriveau (in red) is pondering eating another muffin I think...Rye SINGLE FILE!

From Rye, we were off to our last official stop in Portsmouth, NH at Market Square, sponsored by Popovers. Along the way, I was calculating my exertion level and feeling really good, so I decided to go for a Strava segment and actually pulled off a PR on the climb! Good miles and food in me I guess? With the sprint bunch arriving just ahead of the main field, we were greeted by Seacoast Area Bike Routes (SABR) President and local shop Manager for Papa Wheelies, Josh Pierce. He took a few photos, we hung out chatting for a bit and then from here a few folks drifted off to work and the main group split. About seven of us hammered one of the local commute routes through Pease Tradeport and then from there I split off with one other rider on a cross bike named Ben, when he said "Do you want to hammer back"? I knew it would be a fast ride back to my car. Thanks to his long hard pull I got my second Strava PR for the day, so good work and thanks, Ben! We worked hard together the rest of the way to my car and went our separate ways from there.

Fourty Seven miles all said and done. It was a great way to celebrate the end of Bike to Work Week. With all the commuting back and forth to work and the TdB, personally I got in over 150 miles, and it was a super welcome addition to the seasons training. Thanks to Arlon Chaffee for organizing and having us along for the ride.

Steve from Exposure Lights USA / U.S.E. chatting about bikes and stuff with Susanne and Peter.

Finishing up with our ride link for the TdB from our Strava club.

Thanks for reading