By Colin Dennis
Weight: 302g (331g with handlebar bracket)
Run time: H-2hrs L-36hrs
Lumens: 2250 (2600 with Reflex Boost)
Charge time: 9hrs
Contact: Ultimate Sports Engineering
Beautifully handcrafted, cable-free, and British! The MK 8 version of Exposure’s Maxx D perennial lighting system just keeps on burning bright.
One of the fundamental factors to riding fast while off-road at night is how far and how well you can read the terrain ahead of you. Simply put, this is determined by how bright your front light is, and how you have angled the beam: aim it too far ahead and you lose all the detail close to your front wheel, angle it too far down and all you get is tunnel vision a few metres ahead.
Both of these factors will determine just how fast, or slow, you are able to ride – and we all want to go fast on our favourite flowing singletrack, don’t we?
Well, clamp one of Exposure Light’s Maxx D lamps onto your handlebars, and unless you have it pointing up at the International Space Station, you can’t really go wrong - such is the flooding of light created by the Maxx D.
Aside from the football stadium-esque lighting that's busily turning night into day, the Maxx D boasts a whole load of clever technology that thankfully does away with having to think too much and allows you to get on with the job in hand.
One of the coolest techy items is the Maxx D’s ability to read the terrain as you suddenly drop off the edge of the world. As you quickly head downwards the Maxx D automatically, and almost instantly, switches to its full illumination of 2600 Lumens – just so you can see what you’re falling into, that is. It’s a clever and helpful upgrade, like I said, the Maxx D almost thinks for you.
Another big factor to night riding is that it’s normally done during the winter months when the temperature drops. Notwithstanding the warmest December on record, gloves have still been a necessity when playing out past bedtime.
This leads me on to using the Maxx D when wearing winter gloves. Long gone is the requirement to go searching for piddlely little buttons, on the Maxx D the rear cap uses Exposures’ proprietary Capacitive Switching, grand name it may be, but it works as simply as if you were wearing fingerless gloves. No need to press hard to change mode, gentle is the word and sharp is the action.
Beaming back at you on the rear cap of the Maxx D is the OLED Status Display. Here you get a constant and reassuringly green glow on how much juice is left in the charge and which programme you are dialled into. Again, it's the Maxx D thats' doing all the thinking while you keep your eyes wide open on the trail less travelled.
There’s no doubting the ability of Exposure to produce some of the finest lighting systems available in what is already an area flooded with good and bad lights. The facts remain though, that Exposure Lights and its parent company Ultimate Sports Engineering (USE) have created over the last decade or so a truly unique following and offer a superb level of support to everyday and pro-level riders alike.
Exposure like to get out and get dirty in the dark just like you do. I guess that’s how you find out what works and what doesn’t. When you are out supporting riders at events in the cold and wet, people remember who was there. Instant feedback and gratitude often promote fast-track development.
Moving away from platitudes and back to the performance of the Maxx D, run times certainly are generous enough and ring true to the times stated in the instructions or the Exposure website. Saying that, we couldn’t get a pass to stay out and ride for thirty six hours with the Maxx D on low power so we’ll take it for granted that all those marathon MTB riders are happy with the run times stated.
While out on a more reasonable and realistic two hour ride on full-whack, the Maxx D had power enough left so as not to run completely down. Switching to low power would be sensible, but in the name of research we wanted to see for ourselves if two hours really mean what it says. The answer is yes, it does; we got two full hours and a little more on high power. This of course might change if the night time temperatures stopped being so balmy and dropped to where they’re supposed to be.
For the ultimate experience when thumping around our favourite singletrack we teamed up the Maxx D with the ubiquitous Exposure Diablo. First choice helmet mounted lamp for just about any rider worth his or her salt, the Diablo is now in its seventh version and just like the Maxx D development has been organic and changed only for the better and when new technology makes development worthwhile.
Kicking out 1300 Lumens when its most angry, the sleek and lightweight Diablo complements the Maxx D like David and Goliath (ok, bad analogy, but we hope we get the message across) The use of a helmet mounted light like the Diablo certainly comes into its own when changing a tube at night; bit difficult holding a Maxx D between your dentures!
In summary: the Maxx D from Exposure Lights has all the attributes that any discerning night rider could wish for. Life is made incredibly easy by the inclusion of some very well thought out and developed technology that only people who ride regularly at night would think of. British to boot and generally riding and offering support at the same events as you in the cold and wet, Exposure Lights deserve all the exposure they get.
Do I need a new set of front lights? It would be nice, but pointless. My five year old Exposure Toro lamp is still burning bright. Point made?