This U.K.-made light includes two modes and three brightness settings
Why You Want: You ride your bike in lowlight situations, you don't want to get hit by a car or other moving vehicle, and you want a light you can recharge.
Pros: Where to begin? I love this light. The U.K.-made Exposure Blaze is durable. It's bright (80 lumens). It's easy to attach to a seatpost. It has two modes (constant and flash) and three brightness settings. And hey, it looks pretty good, too. But perhaps best of all - no batteries are required. When your charge gets low, simply plug the included USB charging cable into the light, plug the other end into a USB port on your laptop or computer, and then relish the fact that you don't have to go to the grocery store to buy a replacement battery.
Cons: The lone knock, and it will be a big one for some people, is cost. Quality like this costs money - in this case about $150. Weight weenies may also be turned off by the Blaze's 80-gram heft. But since most people will use this light for commuting, it's hard to imagine that being much of a problem.
RoadBikeReview Take: This is a top flight rear tail light that has the associated premium price. Charge time is claimed to be about three hours, though we've yet to bleed it all the way down, so it's always been much less than that. Light functionality is extremely simple: two clicks to turn it on, one click to toggle between modes, hold the function button to turn it off. There are also three program modes, which effect brightness and associated burn time. The brightest modes lasts 6 hours in constant mode and 12 hours in flash mode. Those times go to 12/24 and 24/48 as you step down brightness.
The rubber mountain strap easily wraps around a seatpost
The Blaze also features a CNC'd aerospace grade aluminum body that houses the 80 Lumen Cree XRE LED and 1400mAh battery. This ensures durability and weather resistance. And to top it off, the Blaze is equipped with what Exposure calls Smart Port Technology Plus, which means besides being able to plug it in and charge it, you can plug other accessories into the Blaze and charge them, or power additional LED taillights, back-up batteries, or even a remote switch. Whichever you choose, the Blaze automatically recognizes each particular accessory and configures the system to take a charge or power the accessory. We didn't actually try this, but it's a pretty cool concept if nothing else.
Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Blaze's burlier big brother headlight, the Exposure Maxx-D. We've primarily used this light for night time mountain biking (and it works great). But it's massive 1600-lumen output, ease of mounting, and simplicity of use make it a viable (albeit expensive) commuting headlight option, especially if seeing exactly what's in front of you is as important as being seen by those around you.
If you happen to flat, the Maxx-D makes a nifty flashlight
The handlebar mounted Exposure Maxx-D skips the usual light-cord-and-battery set-up, and instead houses everything inside a rugged CNC'd aluminum body that's about the size of a mini-can of Coke. It looks sort of like a small police flashlight. Other features include a simple-to-read five-step fuel-gauge display, and it can be programmed with up to eight different burn time/brightness settings and operation modes.
The Maxx-D's handlebar bracket can be left on your bike when the light is not in use. And just like the Blaze, the Maxx-D comes with a USB cable that allows the light to be charged off a computer or power other USB devices. The kit also includes a standard plug-into-the-wall charger, so you don't have to tie up your USB ports. The main knock, just like with the blaze, is price. The Maxx-D has a $450 MSRP, though we recently found it on-line for $420. Bottom line, if you're in the market for a mountain bike night light that can do double duty as a commuter light, the Maxx-D is worth checking out.
Price: Blaze $150; Maxx-D $450
More Info: www.exposurelights.com