The Exposure TraceR is a superb rear light: compact, USB rechargeable and, most importantly, incredibly bright and with excellent side illumination.
It’s tool-free mount is a doddle to use, too, and there are three modes to choose from. As a result it’s become our go-to choice for commuting and more adventurous night rides under cover of darkness.
The TraceR has a claimed maximum output of 75 Lumens, which is very bright for a rear light. It’s a confidence-inspiring companion.
That 75 Lumen output is on the most powerful of the three settings. Exposure’s ‘Optimised Mode Selector’ allows you to choose the mode most suitable for your ride before you hit the road. Exposure don’t list lumen output for the three modes but claimed battery life decreases from three/six hours on constant/flashing on mode one (the brightest setting), six/12 hours on mode two and 12/24 hours on mode three. Flashing is better described as pulsing, with the light staying on throughout, thereby giving constant illumination, but the LED pulsing in addition.
To choose the mode, press and hold the power button when the light is off. The light will flash slowly, then release the button after the number of flashes appropriate to the mode you want (i.e. two flashes for mode two). It’s easy in practice. Exposure list the three modes and their respective run times on the light itself if you need a reminder without referring to the manual.
Having chosen your mode double click the power button to turn the light on. The button is part of the black silicone band wrapped around the unit and is fairly small so it can be a little fiddly to use when wearing thick winter gloves.
The light itself is very compact and weighs little at 39g. It’s made from from CNC-machined aluminium and has the high quality build quality we’ve come to expect from Exposure. That’s partly reflected in the price – £49.95 is at the top end of what you’d expect to pay for a rear light – but it’s a worthwhile safety investment if you will spend a lot of time on the road this winter. The plastic lens also has a durable, quality feel to it and its depth means the TraceR is among the best we’ve seen in terms of side illumination.
The TraceR comes with a tool-free mount which straps to your seatpost using a silicone band. It’s quick, easy and can be moved between bikes in a flash (excuse the pun!). More importantly, however, it provides secure fitment. Long term durability of the silicone strap is to be seen but we haven’t encountered any problems during the course of our test.
The light then clips into the plastic mount which, again, provides a tight fit. As a result, the aluminium body has become a little scratched by having to snap the light into the plastic mount but, given the security of the mount, and the fact it is very unlikely to fall off on bumpy roads, we’ll take this. All that’s left to mention, as far of the mount is concerned, is that it’s angled to ensure the light stays horizontal and points down the road towards an oncoming car, rather than directly on to your wheel.
The TraceR is essentially an updated version of the Flare and the two lights offer the same 75 lumen output. The key difference is that the TraceR is USB rechargeable and is easier to use (the Flare requires the user to twist the lens to turn the light on/off and switch between modes), though the Flare offers improved run times.
USB rechargeable lights are all the rage and it means you can plug it in to your computer at a whim. That said, while most lights use a standard USB cable, the TraceR uses a micro USB. That might not be a problem for many people (some smart phones charge via micro USB), and it’s not a huge one for me, it just means I have to be a little more tactical about charging the light as while I have standard USB cables coming out of my ears (owing to their widespread use with lights, cameras and GPS cycle computers), I only have the micro USB cable provide with the TraceR. They are, however, available to buy for very little if you want a spare cable to leave at work, for example.
The TraceR’s recharging port is hidden under the black band which runs around the light. It’s on the opposite side to the power button, and this side peels back to reveal the port. The silicone tab is fairly tight and so securely plugs the port when not in use but once charging is complete double check the tab is replaced correctly to ensure no water gets in.
There’s little excuse for letting the light run out of battery as our experience to date suggests Exposure’s claimed run times are fairly accurate and the TraceR has a battery life indicator. When you turn the light off (by holding the power button) the lens will indicate the battery level by briefly turning green, amber, red or red flashing to represent 100-50 per cent, 50-25 per cent, 25-5 per cent and less than 5 per cent battery life respectively.
All in all, the Exposure TraceR is a serious rear light which ticks all the boxes. It’s compact, and sits unobtrusively on your bike but packs a mean punch which, combined with side illumination which is second-to-none and three modes to choose from, makes it an excellent choice.
Website: Exposure Lights