USE exposure lights – Trace and TraceR

I have the flash and flare set (well actually 2 sets) which I love but this update seems even better …

road.cc Exposure Lights’ Trace and TraceR light set is a pricy but solidly made and extremely handy pair of LED lights.

Up front, The Trace pumps out a claimed 110 lumens. It’s more than enough to be seen with and at a pinch it puts out enough light to see on unlit paths, as long as you don’t try and take any Strava segment records on the way.

The lens is clear all the way round, so there’s plenty of light coming from the sides for visibility at junctions. In properly dark conditions, that’s a bit annoying as it puts a bright light at the bottom of your vision. Easily fixed with a bit of tape, but you feel like you shouldn’t have to.

On full power I got over four hours light from the Trace.

Out back, the TraceR is like a USB-rechargeable version of Exposure’s classic Flare rear light and puts out bucketloads of light. It’s a light for the back-marker on an evening group ride because following a rider with a TraceR (or a Flare) is almost painful. I gave up trying to find out the maximum distance it’s visible from when I couldn’t find a straight road long enough and they wouldn’t let me on the local airport runway.

In throbbing mode I got eight hours use from the TraceR. I have to say I am a huge fan of throbbing mode and not just because it gives me an excuse to write ‘throbbing’. Driving on unlit roads I find it tricky to judge closing speed and location when I’m behind a standard on/off blinker. It’s much easier with a throbber because the light never goes off and vanishes from view.

Both lights come with quick-release mounts, held on your seatpost or handlebar with silicone rubber bands. They’re very convenient to pop on and off the bars or seatpost so you really only need to take the lights out of the mounts to charge them.

That convenience has made them the whole family’s go-to lights for those moments when you realise it’s going to be dark when you get home, or the morning fog means you need a bit more visibility on the school run.

Both Trace and TraceR charge via micro-USB ports covered by tight rubber seals. From flat to full takes under 2.5 hours from a standard USB charger, so you can charge them from your office desktop if you get to work and realise they’re flat. The package includes a USB cable, but no charger. Exposure presumably reasons we’re all up to our ankles in USB chargers and if my charger collection is typical, they’re not wrong.

In theory there are lower-power settings for the Trace and TraceR, but I didn’t bother to use them. When a light is this powerful and this convenient, with a run-time long enough for a week’s commuting, why bother emasculating it?

Both Trace and TraceR have machined aluminium housings and have shrugged off being dropped and otherwise mishandled. As with other Exposure lights a double click turns them on and a long press turns them off.

I’ve used the TraceR for an application that’s well outside Exposure’s intentions. It turns out the mount fits securely on Flash the husky’s harness, so the TraceR has been helping me keep track of him during mountain bike night rides. It’s withstood being shaken vigorously, dunked in a stream and scraped against undergrowth. It’s stayed put and carried on working.

£95 is a lot of money for a pair of USB-rechargeable lights. The quality, convenience, brightness and toughness of the Trace and TraceR just about justifies the price, but they’re definitely at the luxury end of the price range.

Verdict

Superb front and rear light set but undeniably not cheap.

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