The subject of this review is the Exposure Joystick Mk12 front light, a stylish, lightweight, high output light aimed at the MTB and road market.
Exposure Lights is a division of Ultimate Sports Engineering (USE), a brand you may be aware of for the production of lightweight components such as the USE Alien Seatpost.
They're a UK based company that also manufacture here, which is always nice to hear and know.
As an all weather commuter who leaves at 06:30 a decent front light is a must, not only for illuminating my way but making other road users aware of my presence.
My previous front light, a Lezyne Macro Drive 400 unfortunately succumbed to being repeatedly removed from its mount and dropped on the floor courtesy of an energetic three year old. The Lezyne was an 'OK' light, 400 lumen output and 3 different modes but I never felt 100% confident in the amount of light it produced on those dark winter mornings. So it was time to conduct some research and buy a new one.
With so many options on the market it's quite a daunting prospect at first glance, especially when you're looking at a budget of up to £100.
I poured over a few sites drawing comparisons between many different options; Lezyne Light Drive, Cateye Volt, Moon Meteor etc but moved on to looking at Exposure, firstly the Sirius then the Joystick.
The Sirius boasts a good spec; 575 lumens, 36hrs max run time (2hrs on max output), CNC aluminium body, day-bright flash, battery indicator etc.
At an RRP of £99.95 it was at the top end of the budget though and needed some more pondering.
Whilst weighing the Sirius up I stumbled across the Joystick Mk12 on sale at £109.95 against an RRP of £159.95.
When I compared the specs (below), my mind was made up and an order placed.
Output - 1000 lumens
Weight - 93 grams
Burntime - Min 1.5 hrs Max 36 hrs
Battery Capacity - 3100 mAh Li ion
Charge time - 3 hrs (mains) 6 hrs USB
When it arrived I was really impressed with the packaging, a lovely hard case with internal compartments for each component. In the box you get; the light, a bar mount, a helmet mount, mains charger, USB charger, lanyard and instructions.
Other notable features of the light are the lightweight CNC body, it's really well made and finished. The on/off switch has been changed from previous versions to a stainless steel version now which is nice and tactile. The charging port is weather proofed with a rubber cover that is secured to the main body, there is also an LED indicator on the back that firstly shows the light mode at switch on then battery life, moving through Green, Amber and Red.
I'm not going to lie here, at first it was quite confusing as to how you actually operate the light and select the different modes! A double tap of the on/off button turns the light on to either the default setting at first switch on or the last known mode if used previously. To change this you have to hold the button down until it flashes then hold in until the light flashes the requisite number of times to reflect the mode you want it in. It does become second nature after a few attempts though!
Handily all the modes and burn time (runtime which is directly proportional to lumen output) of the light are laser etched onto the body of the light as a quick reference guide, they're also in the instructions.
Once the light is on you can press and hold the on/off button again until it flashes to operate the day bright flash mode, a useful feature that keeps the light on constantly but also pulses for extra presence.
The bar mount works well, the rubber securing clip is tight enough to stop the mount slipping and has a handy extended tab on one end to make securing and releasing from your bars nice and easy.
I've been using the Exposure Joystick Mk12 since the start of winter and have been extremely pleased with how it has performed. On max setting the 1000 lumens lights up the road very well indeed, the beam is focused and installs confidence when riding, I didn't feel like I was straining to pick out road furniture, pot holes etc. all were clearly visible.
After experimenting with a few different modes I settled on running the light over winter on mode 2, so 500 lumens with a runtime of 3hrs, a good compromise of output versus battery life.
After 5 months of regular use in all weathers I've experienced no issues with the light, battery life has remained true to the guide and light output has remained constant.
The high price may put some people off, but I believe this is more than made up for through the quality of it and therefore it gets the RRR seal of approval.