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Exposure's MK13 version of its Joystick is as good as last year's MK12... in fact it's as-near-as-makes-no-difference exactly the same unit, aside from a slight weight increase that indicates a focus on improving build quality this time around.
Exposure is pretty good at this incremental improvement game; any light that's had 12 editions come before it demonstrates the brand's preferred method of developing its products. And so it is with the MK13 Joystick – in terms of features and functionality, it's ostensibly precisely the same unit as the MK12 that Mike reviewed almost this time last year.
It seems pointless giving you a blow-by-blow account of the MK13 when a perfectly valid review – from the 1,000lm maximum output to the up-to-36 hour battery and its function modes – are all exactly as Mike described. I've read that review thoroughly and have tested the MK13 for both its handlebar and helmet-mounted fitments, and I agree with his assessment of the light.
It's certainly a light that prioritises the focus of its beam over a wide peripheral vision, but that's okay, especially when you have the light installed on your helmet so that it points where you point your head. Understandably, its target user isn't only a roadie, but a gravel and even mountain bike rider looking for focused vision out on the fire road or trail.
That 1,000lm is more than enough output for anyone (albeit with the limitation of a narrow focused beam), while it doubles as a compact and handy torch too. The 3,100mAh capacity battery yields an impressive battery burn-time as Mike discovered last year, with the 15% incremental LED life indicators.
I still question why a near-industry standard USB-C connection is rejected in favour of a circular jack that is far rarer – perhaps the power transfer is higher so that charge times are reduced to the three hour mark using the plug – but I wouldn't mind being able to use any of the 20-odd USB-C cables I have lying around rather than having to specifically worry about having this one with me, and sacrificing some time charging.
The fact is, though, on paper at least, the MK13 is an identical twin of the MK12, so MK12 users needn't be thinking about upgrading. In fact, if you can get hold of a MK12 (which were also available in some snazzy colours at one point last year) at a cheaper price, I'd be urging you to do so and not worry about the fact that you don't have the latest one – it's not like you can tell.
The one difference that you might notice is the weight – it's gained 9g over the MK12. Okay, actually, you probably wouldn't notice even with it on your helmet, but that extra bulk has gone into shoring up the light's build quality and resilience to drops and the like, and although that was hardly an issue with the old one, it's nice that Exposure is thinking about constantly improving its units... even if you could arguably ask the question, 'why?'
The MK13 has gained a few grams as it shores up its build quality, and that's about it. It is great though!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Exposure Joystick MK13 Black
Size tested: Lumens: Max 1,000
Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Exposure says it is a light with an "intense and narrow beam to punch through the flood of a main handlebar light to focus on the line ahead, be it roots and off camber or fire road cruising."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
- LED Configuration: 1 x White XPL2 Cree LED
- Lumens: Max 1,000
- Battery: 3,100 mAh Lithium-Ion
- Runtime: 1.5hrs - 24hrs
- Rechargeable: Mains and USB
- Charge Time: 3hrs
- Weight: 93g
- Anodised 6063 Aluminium
- Water Resistance IPX6
Head Diameter: 30mm
- Optimised Mode Selector
- Cable Free Design
- Smart Port + [charge and power other units on the go]
- Intelligent Thermal Management
- Fuel Gauge
The only point to change since the MK12 review last year - it has gained 9g, after all.
Still a great front light, but the cost does limit the value score of course.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's still one of the best.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Like Mike with the MK12, the fact that it was bright, had a focused beam, multiple modes, sensible features, and many accessories.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's certainly very expensive compared with similar style lights – and you can get similar outputs from Light & Motion for £40 less. But this is a lovely product.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? I'd think about it.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, especially if they wanted a helmet-mounted light.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It hasn't changed much, so MK12 users need not worry, but the MK13 is a top, top light and still worthy of a 9/10 score.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding