Nowadays, the term ‘built to last’ feels like a phrase from a bygone era. But there are still brands out there that want to ensure ‘built to last’ is a term we use well into the future. One of those brands is Exposure Lights. Each light is machined from aluminum and uses durable, high-quality materials for the lens. Each part of the build process is done in-house, in the UK, and all lights carry a two-year warranty. There’s not much in the bike world that’s manufactured in the UK or Europe these days, so that’s saying something!
I tested the Exposure MaXx D MK13 light which offers 2500 lumens when using the clever Reflex technology and some great battery life to boot. It’s a small package but it packs plenty of punch. The 2500 lumens in the MaXx D makes for a reliable night riding pal. It throws out plenty of light, is simple to use and features Reflex++ technology that optimises light brightness depending on your speed and actions on the bike. The lumens are increased to 4000 when Reflex ++ is used. To better manage battery life, the MaXx D has three Reflex Plus modes. The very clever Reflex mode changes the light’s output depending on the trail conditions, by using in-built 3D accelerometers to measure speed and bumps. If the light senses the trail is particularly rough, it boosts output to 4000 lumens and then dims it back down once it becomes smoother again. There are large cooling fins that draw away heat from the light, and a quick-release bracket with a sprung pin that holds it in place. The clamp can fit both 31.8mm and 35mm, thanks to the shim that’s included.
Riding on dark trails, the MaXx D’s light power is impressive. I find those twilight hours, when dusk moves into darkness, such a special time to ride. It feels surreal to be out on the trails, but when you have a decent light you want to do it more. The power is constant and Reflex mode is bloody good, although it’s a little hard to differentiate when it switches between the constant and increased lumens. This is probably due to the fact that the auto change to the bright setting is ultra-swift, making it hard for the eye to register. The beam spread across the trail is nothing short of exceptional. There’s a ton of light thrown in front of the trail, however, some of that light could have been used at closer range. But, with that said, there’s very good, gradual side-to-side cut off that stretches out wide enough to give great trail context. It’s super easy to spot obstacles on the path ahead and, when I upped the ante, the Reflex mode came into its own. I think this feature is great for saving battery life and means you don’t need to keep tinkering with the light whilst out on the trail.
The rear of the light displays the lights status. The OLED display provides a simple and easy-to-read information even when you’re riding. Coloured battery life and mode indicators further ease the information consumption. I had to jump onto their website to watch a few videos to get my head around how it works but, once you’ve got it mastered, it becomes more logical and intuitive. The mount didn’t bounce around or wobble about when on the most technical trails and is super easy to use with its quick-release system. I think the mount is just as important as the light because if it doesn’t work properly, you won’t use it. Exposure have once again delivered with a thoughtful and tough design.
Overall, the Exposure MaXx D is powerful, robust, and well thought out, which is what has impressed me most about the brand. The performance is second-to-none and it lights up the trails incredibly well. If you’re doing some super gnarly trails, you may want to consider another helmet light but, for most riders, this light is very sufficient. The price is high, but the quality is outstanding. Personally, I’d rather buy the best one once than buy multiple lights, multiple times which in the end costs more money and causes frustration. This light throws out a ton of light, is tough and ‘built to last’.
Distributed by FE Sports
Reviewed by Liam Friary