The new Exposure Strada 600 is a tough light that's bright enough for most circumstances on the road, and it offers generous run-times.
I've been using both the Strada 600 and the £289.96 Strada 1200 over the past few weeks in order to compare the two. The beam patterns are almost identical but for the fact that the Strada 600 is less intense across the board – which you might have guessed.
I headed up into the hills with both the Strada 600 and the Strada 1200 mounted to my handlebar, and swapped between them.
The Strada 600 provides easily enough light to see by on unlit roads, illuminating the full width from verge to verge. In the majority of circumstances I felt I could ride normally without making any compromises to the night. The only exception was on fast descents when I sometimes found myself squinting into the darkness or braking to a speed where I felt I could stop comfortably before running into anything unexpected that might loom up in front of me – you know, potholes, vast chasms in the road surface, werewolves, that kind of thing (your mind can do funny things at night).
All other things being equal, I'd rather have the extra oomph of the Exposure Strada 1200 for those fast descents, but you have to pay £90 extra for the privilege (the Strada 900 splits the difference at £244.94).
All of the Stradas have two different lenses: a spot and a wide, flat flood. The LEDs are driven individually on the circuit board so that when you change between the modes the wide flood beam remains, but the spot beam is reduced to avoid dazzling oncoming road users.
I used the middle of the Strada 1200's three modes most of the time, whereas I used the Strada 600's high setting much more often, which probably won't surprise you. That's because I do most of my riding on rural roads. In town, switching to a lower setting not only avoids making enemies of people travelling in the opposite direction, it saves the battery.
Like the Strada 1200, the Strada 600 offers five different lighting programs for you to choose from, allowing you to tailor the function. Exposure calls this its Optimised Mode Selector. Program 1, for instance, gives you approximately three hours of use in high mode, 10 hours in medium mode and 24 hours in low mode.
If you choose Program 3 you forgo the medium setting and get three hours of high mode and 10 hours of low mode (so, the same as the two higher settings of Program 1).
One new feature I need to tell you about is the Day Bright setting, which you get on all the Strada models. This is a flashing mode designed to get you noticed in broad daylight.
You swap between modes either by pressing a raised metal button on the back of the light – which is very easy to locate even in chunky winter gloves – or using Exposure's remote switch that you mount somewhere on your handlebar (you can run the lead under your handlebar tape if you're likely to use the light regularly). This makes things easier if you're frequently dipping your light as traffic approaches.
Switching between programs is easy and the details of each are printed on the light's aluminium casing, which is just as well because if you're anything like me you'll never remember them. To be honest, you'll probably just choose the most suitable program and stick with it.
One really good feature is that the program you're currently using is shown on the back of the light when you turn it on, and then the display shows the mode you're in and the amount of run-time remaining, which I found to be pretty accurate. This saves a lot of worrying about whether there's enough juice left in the battery to see you home, and if you reckon you're going to run out of light you can take evasive action by changing down a mode – unless you're already in low mode, in which case you'd better pedal faster or get on the phone. Run-times in constant modes range all the way from 3 hours right up to 36 hours, so there's really no reason to get caught out.
The Strada 600 charges much more quickly than the Strada 1200: about 4hrs rather than 9hrs. Chances are that you'll get into the habit of recharging it overnight, so that's probably not going to be a huge benefit, but who knows?
The Strada 600 looks a lot like the Strada 1200 and the overall dimensions are similar – 100mm long with a 42mm diameter as opposed to 106mm with a 44mm diameter – although the 600's central section is slimmer and the light is quite a bit lighter: 131g versus 249g. I wouldn't get too bothered by any of that, though. In use, the differences are small going on negligible.
The Strada 600 sits on Exposure's tried and tested bracket that attaches firmly to your handlebar (as long as it's a round section) via a hex key. Fixing the light unit to the bracket takes a second and removing it is equally quick, the only slight niggle being that there's no quick way of adjusting the angle of the beam mid-ride – you have to get out a multi-tool and move the mount, or leave it just loose enough that you can push it.
If real estate is at a premium you can turn the bracket upside down and fit the Strada 600 underneath the bar, in which case the display still reads the right way up thanks to an accelerometer which detects the position and flips it. That's a cool little feature.
My only real reservation about the Strada 600 is the price. It's £90 cheaper than the Strada 1200 but it's still more expensive than all the non-Exposure lights tested in our beam engine this year. There are a lot of other very good lights out there at cheaper prices, such as the Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 (£99.95) that I'm also reviewing, which offers plenty of power, albeit with shorter run-times. The Strada 600 is a classy piece of work – well made, durable, and easy to use. You might feel that the high quality and the fact that Exposure makes its lights in Britain justifies the price. You are buying a really good product here, but you're also paying a lot for it.
All in all, the Exposure Strada 600 is a neat light that puts in a great performance. The only significant difference between this and the Strada 1200 is the amount of light it's capable of dishing out. If you like tearing around unlit roads at night and you don't want to make any concessions to the fact that it's dark, the 1200 is the one for you, but for everyone else the Strada 600 is more than likely sufficient.
Bright enough to show the way as well as get you seen, with a flashing daytime mode and good run-times
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Exposure Strada 600
Size tested: Max Lumens 600
Tell us what the light is for
This is a road-specific light that's easily powerful enough for riding on unlit roads at night.
Exposure says, "New for 2018, the Strada 600 is the perfect partner for road cyclist who wants to keep the ethos of super lightweight without compromising on performance. Like it's larger siblings you get the widespread flat road specific beam pattern optimised for the road with a generous 600 lumen output, but at 135g you also get to keep your lightweight setup. Ease of use is assured with a remote switch to keep concentration on the road ahead."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
All of the Strada lights now offer Exposure's Day Bright feature, meaning that they have a flash mode to help get you seen in daylight.
Exposure lists these features:
*Road Specific beam
*OLED Status Display (the panel gives program and mode information before switching to a burntime countdown)
*Smart Port + (it automatically recognises accessories allowing you to power additional front and rear lights, use the Remote Switch and charge USB devices on the move)
*Cable Free Design
*Intelligent Thermal Management (patented technology in the circuitry of Exposure Lights stop the light from heating up to a point where the light loses power due to the elevated temperature)
*Optimum Mode Selector (allows you to easily select from a concise number of programs to provide the optimum lighting for your ride)
*Fuel Gauge (accurately displays battery power and burntime information so you can see how long you have left to ride)
* 2 Year Warranty
*Made in the UK
* Battery: Li Ion 3,400mAh
The tough aluminium shell provides good protection.
It's simple to find the program you want and to switch between modes. It could hardly be easier.
It's solid, although I'd like the ability to adjust the angle of the light without resorting to a hex key.
Constant modes go right up to 36 hours and there's a countdown on the back of the light telling you how much more time the light is going to last, so there's no reason to find yourself out of power. It recharges in just four hours.
It's not as bright as the Strada 1200, obviously, but it's lighter and cheaper.
The aluminium shell will scratch if you drop it, but it's very protective.
It's a very good light but it's also more expensive than any of the lights included in our beam engine testing this year, aside from other models from Exposure.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It provides good illumination and a variety of different programs/modes so you can tailor it to your needs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
I like the fact that you can switch easily between programs and modes, and the display that tells you how much run-time remains is useful.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
It's not cheap.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Possibly
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a really neat light with loads of capability, and it's £90 cheaper than Exposure's Strada 1200. My only real reservation is that there are a lot of other good lights out there at cheaper prices, such as the Cygolite Metro Pro 1100 (£99.95) that I'm also reviewing. You might feel that the high quality and the fact that Exposure makes its lights in Britain justifies the price. I'd say that price, build quality, ease of function and the overall performance balance out to an overall score of 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.