Darkness reigns, at least until the clocks spring forward at the end of March.
Until then, lights will continue to form part of our test agenda, and here’s the first of January’s batch: Exposure’s Diablo.
A light that has quickly become the standard for helmet-mounted units among the mountain bike community, it’s increasingly finding popularity with roadies seeking a light, bright, bar-mounted unit.
We’re testing the model year 2013 incarnation of the Diablo – the MK4.
The first thing to note is the integrated design: there are no ugly wires, or clumsy battery packs. Instead, a 3100mAh Li-ion battery is housed within the elegant CNC-machined body.
Up front, there are three LEDs from American manufacture, CREE, encased behind a resin lens, designed, say USE, to harvest all light produced.
The rear of the body contains the MK4’s most immediately obvious development: a gold plated port (more of which below) with storm cap, and a function button that cycles through the various modes on offer and glows green, orange, or red.
The modes refer to combinations of power outputs and respective burn times (neatly printed on one side of the body). Mode one, for example, will give you an hour at the highest output, or three hours at medium. If you’re riding entirely in well-lit urban areas, you might opt for six hours at low.
There are eight Optimised Mode Settings in total, and we’re looking forward to getting to know them better. While 1100 lumens far exceeds the requirement for riding in town, we’re keen to test it on the unlit country roads that make up some of our winter training loops.
The aforesaid port (a USE patent they call a Smart Port) facilitates charging of the light, but also allows you to connect a rear light (they would doubtless edge you towards their Red Eye), and further power supplies in case back up is required. It even allows the rider to charge other USB devices from the Diablo’s 3100mAh Li-ion battery.
The Diablo tips our scales at 110 grams, not too far north of the 108 claimed by Exposure, making this a light light.
Our one concern at this early stage is the absence of a supplied handlebar mount. An aluminium unit with a push button release will set you back a further £24.95. It’s a nicely made, forged alloy unit, but this additional expense will doubtless disappoint those who have already parted with £200 for the light. A cheaper, acetal plastic mount that attches via zip ties is available for around £7.95.
Other accessories sold separately include a ‘beacon diffuser’ – a clear plastic shield that mounts over the lens, and turns it into a torch, which might be a boon to those performing emergency roadside maintenance.
Earlier incarnations of the Diablo have found favour with riding colleagues, who have pointed to its performance and simplicity, so we’re looking forward to getting out with the MK4.
Check back soon for a full review.