First Impressions: Exposure’s compact, potent, and rechargeable Blaze Mk1 tail light

Looking for all the world like a miniature fire hydrant, UK lightsmiths Exposure’s latest tail light is a potent little guy.  Designed to address some of the issues raised with with their Flare, the Blaze jumps 5lm to 80 Lumens of red light, allows for onboard charging via the company’s SPT+ port, and most critically points those Lumens rearward (rather than downward).  Three user-selectable modes allow for 12, 24, or 48 hours (!) of flashing operation (or 6/12/24 on constant).  Still CNC machined in the UK by the same folks who make USE components, the Blaze is a slick little package.  Cross the line for more photos and some initial impressions.

The included silicone-banded bracket happily fits 27-35mm seatposts- and holds the 90g light steady against our 27.2 post.  The light snaps into and out of the bracket firmly but easily.  Exposure’s signature switch/battery indicator shows battery life when on and allows easy (high/medium/low) mode selection.

Seeing as the light sits directly in the line of any crud thrown from the rear wheel, the switch and charging port are covered by a silicone “storm cap” that is tethered to the light itself.  Granted, the switch and charging port are all but waterproof on their own, but it’s good to keep sand  in particular out of the port.  When asked why Exposure haven’t gone to a more common USB micro or mini charging port, Exposure responded that they hadn’t found one sealed well enough for their liking.

With its extremely long battery life, Exposure envision the Blaze not only as a night visibility light, but also as a daytime running light of sorts- an excellent idea.    Even the most avid riders would be unlikely to exhaust 12hr worth of flashing in any given week- and every bit of added visibility is appreciated.  The high/low pulsing pattern is also  less aggressive than some lights’- something that may or may not be appreciated by drivers.

While the intent is similar to Light & Motion’s Vis 180, the Blaze puts out 60% more light and runs twice as long on a single charge.  The $165 price tag (from your local shop or US distributors Ibex Sports) is high- but anyone commuting regularly or putting in big training miles should be able to justify the expense and the company’s commitment to first-world manufacture is laudable.  More words after more miles…

marc

ibexsports.com (USA)

www.exposurelights.com (UK, RoW)

 

Comments

Setarkos - 03/17/13 - 4:49pm

How is this an improvement from the Flare?
Still not possible to adjust the angle.
Still not possible to put on seatstays (eg. if seatpost is covered by a saddle bag)
Still a bracket out of hard plastic rather than full silicone, which would be gentler to parts and paint.
And now a non-removable battery.

The only issue that I can see solved is that you no longer have a sensitive plastic thread but if the solution is to make the battery integrated I’ll happily stick to the flare, especially looking at the rate of failure of exposure batteries.

MotoPete - 03/17/13 - 4:52pm

High tech, cutting edge, steam punk technology. All this for only $165.00 Nice styling – BARF…

Brian Sims - 03/17/13 - 6:08pm

Planet Bike Super blinky for win: $30ish, runs forever on 2 AAAs, easily visible in the day time. I clip mine on my helmet. Not sure why one would spend this kind of money on a blinky.

Bob Loblaw - 03/17/13 - 6:09pm

@Setarkos,

Why would you need an adjustable angle if the angle is right? The Light & Motion has an adjustable mount and 80% of riders will never adjust, 18% will get it wrong, and 2% will benefit from the fragile appendage. I see riders all the time with their adjustable lights pointed at the ground: this seems much better.

Marc - 03/17/13 - 6:32pm

Brian,

The Superflash is an awesome light for $30. It’s also a 12 Lumen light (about 1/7th the Blaze’s output)- in an altogether different league. While the Superflash is better than no light at all, it disappears quickly in daylight. As someone who does a pre-dawn inward and a daytime outward daily commute on a 50mph road (which is 60 in New Mexican), and seeing what everyone else is running, there’s a huge visibility advantage to the higher-powered rechargeable lights.

marc

James - 03/17/13 - 6:37pm

@setarkos The hard wired type lithium ion batteries used in Exposure lights (including the new Blaze) with the exception of the flare are all top shelf battery cells from the highest quality manufacturers in the world. Our North American customers have had practically faultless experience with our batteries for over 5 years.

While still sourced from top suppliers, the type of battery used in the Flare are readily available, even at grocery stores, but as with all brands of the inexpensive removable batteries they are not a match for the long term durability of the top notch cells in our premium lights. As always, we and Exposure offer reliable after sales service so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any related question, comments or concerns: info@exposurelights.com

Eyal - 03/17/13 - 9:11pm

Dying to order their Strada, but this is a bit much. I had cars comment on how intense Cygolite Hotshot 2-Watt which costs $30 and is USB chargeable.

Velo - 03/17/13 - 11:01pm

The best bargain there is in tail lights is the MetroFlash Danger Zone Tail Light for $12 from Amazon.com. Eligible for Free SuperSaver Shipping.

Stay away from lithium ion batteries. They all go bad in a few short years, no matter how high quality they are.

Geoff - 03/18/13 - 7:17am

I have one of these and it’s fantastic. I have a Vis180 also and the mounting clip for that is crap. It’s too fragile to stop the Vis180 from rattling and making noise. I also have the NR Solas and, while nice and bright, its mounting clip is crap too. With the supplied bolt with a twist knob and no screw head on it, I find it impossible to get it snug enough to stop it flopping around over bumps.

The Blaze is brighter and the mounting mechanism is first rate. I have found my ultimate tail light.

Tom - 03/19/13 - 2:49pm

I’ve been using my Exposure Blaze since december and its been faultless, it is angled a little higher than the previous redeye. The ability to have a pulsing setting like the flare is a big step forward and is very noticeable, so bright that angle adjustment isn’t necessary! I have commuted through one of the worst winters we have had in the UK and even in -6 degrees C, the battery life has been as advertised!
I have also used exposure lights for 5 years now, I also work in a shop that sells exposure and other brands in the UK. we haven’t had any of the sealed rechargeable lights returned with battery faults so far!

Setarkos, what isn’t shown here is the back of the bracket which has four nice soft feet to touch the seat post, so it is totally frame or seat post friendly!!!

Eyal, dont bother with the Strada, I use the Toro its much more versatile and just as usable for commuting with.

I Agree with Geoff its a brilliant rear light!!

Setarkos - 03/20/13 - 5:40pm

@Bob Loblaw
Not every bikes seat angle is the same. Adjustable angle would be additionally useful if the light could be mounted eg. on the seatstays, too.

@James
I used to sell your lights and there have been a number of faulty batteries with the flash & flare. I admit that your service is top notch but it can be annoying nevertheless.
A replaceable battery also has the advantage of being able to use a spare battery. Given the runtime that will only be an issue to few but if you think of touring, you would have to use a different light.
I do like your lights (using Flash/Flare and Strada) but I also think there is room for improvement (see above).

Setarkos - 03/20/13 - 5:44pm

@Tom
The bracket is then indeed an improvement over the flare. Good to see that this has been addressed.
I would love to see a plastic bracket, that takes to different silicon inserts; one for seatpost and one for seatstays.

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