Exposure Joystick (Mark 2) Front Light

I bought this at the end of 2008. It was a bit of an extravagance, I don't do that much night riding but Winstanleys Bikes had it at a particularly good price and I just couldn't resist it! The current model, the Mark 5, is even brighter but otherwise much the same. I use it for riding home along unlit lanes at least once a week. So, was it worth the money?

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For such a small light it comes in a surprisingly large box with a mains charger and the mount of your choice. I opted for the helmet mounted version but it is also available with a handlebar bracket, with no mount at all or with both helmet and handlebar mountings.

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The light pivots on a ball joint on the helmet mount. This is very stiff (obviously it needs to be to stop the light flopping about) and cannot be moved by hand without the light attached to provide leverage. Unfortunately this realisation only dawned a few minutes after I'd sent the helmet mount back believing it to be faulty as I was unable to move it! It was returned a few days later with a note informing me that there was nothing wrong with it. How embarassing! I later bought a handlebar bracket as well (again when I found it cheap in a sale) but have never used it as I find the helmet mount serves my purposes admirably. Having a light that is always pointing where you are looking is great. If you were unfortunate enough to get a puncture you could fix it without needing to hold a light in your teeth. Using the helmet mount means that I can have an additional light on my bars as back up and also I assume the law requires a light to be actually mounted on the bike and not just the rider. I find having lights at different heights like this puzzles motorists who (on narrow lanes) pull in for me at night long before they would during the day. I think they are worried that I might be a large vehicle with only one side of its lights working. Sometimes the look on their face when I pass clearly says 'Oh God, its just a bloody bike'!

Another advantage of the helmet mount is there is no risk of the light being stolen if you leave the bike unattended for a moment. The main advantage for me though is that it enables me to use the RedEye Micro plug in rear light which is tiny but surprisingly bright, and at head height, highly visible. The main light has a 'smart port' which can run additional lights or allow a battery pack to be connected to supply additional power. I have toyed with the idea of buying the 'WhiteEye' plug in which doubles the light output but halves the battery life but obviously you can only run one accessory at a time and I like the little RedEye. A larger RedEye plug in is also available but if I wanted an additional rear light I would go for the 'Flare' battery light.

IMG_1261 Handlebar mount and RedEye Micro plug in

When I first bought the light I left the mount permanently attached to my helmet. Unfortunately this is just a gift to Micky takers so after too many comments on the lines of 'Can you get channel 5 on that?' or 'Is that so you can contact the mother ship?' I now remove it when I'm not using it. It only takes a few seconds to fit. The light weighs only 76g. The helmet feels slightly different with it on but it certainly doesn't weigh you down.

IMG_1260 The Redeye leaks a tiny amount of light even when not switched on but has no impact on battery life.

The light has 3 settings and a tiny light at the back to tell you which setting you are on. The button is easy to operate while riding in gloves. On Max setting the quoted battery life is 3 hours. I use this on dark lanes and it lights the way beautifully. In traffic the medium setting is still very bright and gives 10 hours of battery life. The battery will last for 24 hours on low power and if the battery is getting low it will automatically switch to low setting to conserve power. In flashing mode the battery life is several days! I rarely use it for more than one and a half hours and always charge it up again when I get home so have had no issues with battery life. The light is well made and very sturdy looking. The RedEye micro does look a bit delicate, I'm not sure how well it would survive if the light was dropped but this has not happened yet.

I really can't find anything to criticise in this light other than the price. It is expensive, though not excessively so. It could probably be cheaper if it was made in the Far East but it is a quality British product. Does exactly what it says on the tin. I can't fault it – and it even has nice blue trim to match my bike!

4 comments on “Exposure Joystick (Mark 2) Front Light”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, a quality product made in the UK. So is my Hope front light. USE (there's an article about them in the new issue of Cycle) and Hope both seem to be doing well. Is there a resurgence in British manufacturing? Director Magazine says the British bicycle business is thriving. It would be nice if this were true. We aren't yet mass producing bicycles again but in quality accessories and clothing there are several established UK brands who actually manufacture here and export too. I've got no figures – it's just an optimistic hunch.

    I bought my Hope at Winstanley's Bikes because they were the cheapest, but they're not any more the cheapest for the Exposure Joystick light. It looks good Hilary but I've already purchased this winter's front light! I do need a better rear light though. The Flare seems neat.

  2. Chris wrote:

    Crikey, these lights are expensive kit. But I suppose it's difficult to put a price on piece of mind when you're cycling on a completely unlit road out in the sticks somewhere. I could have done with a powerful helmet light last winter when I cycled between Ugthorpe and Lythe late one night. I must have ridden in to a pothole and nearly dropped on to my handlebars with the force of the impact. Ouch.

    I do have a Cat Eye rear light on the back of my helmet. That looks a bit daft, too. Especially when I didn't realise until later that I still had it switched on in blinking mode when I spent 10 minutes browsing in a local bike shop and no one said anything 😳

  3. Kern wrote:

    Good lights are hard to find. I don't think I have seen the "perfect" one yet. I like to keep lots of little LEDs flashing front, rear, and on all sides, preferably out of phase so motorists are really distracted by them. However none of my lights will illuminate a dark road.

    No need for embarrassment, Chris – you were merely establishing your hard core credentials!

  4. Jon Chapman wrote:

    "The Redeye leaks a tiny amount of light even when not switched on but has no impact on battery life."

    It must have some impact. I do worry that the connector will wear prematurely ifI keep having to unplug the thing when it's not being used, ut would be interested to know just how much power it uses when the main light is switched off.

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