The 960 lumens brightness is not the only thing that the MaXx-D can boast about. In addition to its brightness, it also has a host of features which makes it a desirable light for many occasion.
First thing you will notice about the MaXx-D is its simplicity. Being a cable free design, this light is as easy to use as the common touch light. The lithium-ion batteries and LEDs are all mounted in the same casing, eliminating the hassle of cables and battery packs. This also gives the MaXx-D protection against the elements. On the flip side, as with all stuffs with too many integration, it can be a headache when one portion of it decides to call it quit.
At the rear of the light, all you can catch a glimpse on is one port and a button. The port is what Exposure dubbed as the Smart Port. It is called the Smart Port because it will recognize the different the attachment and interface with it automatically. Apart from charging the main batteries, some of the attachments available to be use with the MaXx-D include, piggyback batteries, remote switch or Exposure’s new RedEye rear light. But having only one port also means this is a limitation, and you cannot run two attachments concurrently. As for the button, other than allowing user to switch on/off the light and change between modes, it also doubles up as a fuel gauge for the battery.
In addition to the main unit, the MaXx-D also comes with good quality forged alloy handlebar mount with quick release feature. Fixing up the light was a straight forward affair. It also has a quick release feature which is appreciated. But many a times, the function gives rise to flimsy contact points which can be an ass to deal with. Not so in this case. Exposure has designed the quick release with a solid feel and there is not a single rattle coming from it throughout my use. The mount is also extremely light and is built to fit both 25.4mm and 31.8mm handlebars. The only whine I have about the mount is the lack of angle adjustment. Any adjustment has to be done via a 4mm Allen key.
In the front, 4 Seoul P4 LED emitters reside behind individual decollimators integrated into a single lens. This produces a broad and even beam with no distinct hot spot. The colour of the light is also relatively warm and easy for the sight. For bar mount lights, the preference would be a light source that cast broadly in front of you. This would serve to give you an overview of what is in front. In this aspect, the MaXx-D has done well.
Knowing that it will be a good 4 hours ride, I started off easy with the light, running it at low output. After 30 mins, it dawn upon me that the low beam was sufficient for me to transverse at about 25km/h confidently, knowing full well what is ahead of me up to 10-15m. When going faster down the slopes, I would switch to medium output and was blasting thorough the trails confidently. Throughout the ride, there is really no situation where I need anything more than the medium output. My take would be that it will only be reserve for the darkest nights, with dense canopy blocking out all moonlight, or when you are going down the ugliest down slope. Switching to high in a Jemboree situation is also not really an option as it is highly likely that MaXx-D will over power the rider’s light in front and cast his own shadow in his path. This is a sure way of getting curse if that is your intent. At the end of 4 hours, the battery indicator is still showing a healthy green grow.
A special note on the strobe mode found on the MaXx-D. Most manufacturers have their strobe mode programmed such that the light burst at regular interval, and between each burst, the light is totally off, much like the turning indication lights found on cars. For Exposure, they have done it slightly different. Between each burst, the unit continues to emit light, albeit in lower intensity. I find this extremely for other road users. The problem with the former strobe mode is that it tends to temporary blind others when the surrounding is dark and the strobe beam too strong. In Exposure’s case, road users are less likely to be blinded.
Weighing at 320g the light is relatively light considering the candlepower it provides. Throughout the ride, the light stayed firmly secured to the handlebar mount and there is not a single hint of looseness coming from it. Being light also means that it never gets in the way of your steering.
Given its huge electrons capacity, charging the unit does take a while. It takes 12 hours to get the light to 90% of its capacity and another 4 hours to full charge. On this note, riders who do endurance events have to think ahead. Although Exposure does offer piggyback batteries, these external batteries actually charge the main batteries instead of powering the lights. Therefore, it will not be possible to exhaust the external batteries and charge them between laps. You will need at least two sets of piggyback batteries for extended use, under race conditions.
A separate remote unit is available if you do not like the idea of getting your hands off the bar, especially when confronting a technical section. The remote unit can be mounted next to your shifter pods and a small wire goes into the Smart port behind the MaXx-D. To switch between the modes, simple click on the button the remote switch. The same switch can be used on all Exposure lights, but the length of the wire limits that to only bar mounted units.
With the MaXx-D casting a broad beam in the path ahead, the Diablo compliment it with a narrower beam, illuminating the direction that I am looking at. In addition, a helmet light also provides depth perception for potholes on the ground. With two light source by shining from different height, the shadows from the potholes will give riders a sense of the depth.
At 700 lumens, this little helmet light actually surpasses the brightness of many bar mount units. Weighing in at only 102g, this featherweight poses little discomfort on the head and neck muscles. A lightweight two-piece screw and clamp helmet mount comes with the light. Plastic screw is supplied in this case to prevent over tightening and damage to the helmet. Once secured, the mount stays securely in place and is non-intrusive. The mount does allow for a couple of degrees of adjustment in all directions. Useful for aligning the light beam after you have mounted your helment. For best fit, I would recommend that a helmet with vents in the middle to be used with the Diablo for obvious reasons. In addition to the standard mount, Exposure also provide a leash to secure the Diablo to the helmet in case it got hit by a low hanging branch or in a fall whereby the impact might pop it out of the helmet mount.
Even as a standalone, in its medium setting, it provided enough lumens for me to feel comfortable navigating in the dark. Identical to the MaXx-D, the Diablo shares the same 4 modes. The only drawback on this little powerhouse is its short run time. It can only run for 1 hour at maximum power. You will be able to squeeze 3 hours or 10 hours from it if you switch to medium and low power respectively.
Other Exposure Lights
Though we did not have enough time to try all the Exposure lights, we still went through the whole demo kit and there are a few accessories we would like to highlight.
In addition to the standard light units, Exposure also came up with an additional attachment dubbed the WhiteEye. This little housing houses a Seoul P4 LED capable of emitting 240 lumens. The WhiteEye can be attached to any Exposure lights to give them additional punch. This is a low cost, low weight, solution for anyone looking for extra lumens only occasionally.
Another interesting accessory is the RedEye Micro. It looks like a small LED pin which are be plugged into the Smart Port directly. It gives a tiny bright glow indicating your location to others behind you. It is bright enough for its duty, but not as irritating as normal blinkers would in dark conditions.
In all, there is no doubt that Exposure has done a great job in packaging the MaXx-D and Diablo for their intention application. I like the clean look without the hassle of dealing with dangling wires connecting the light unit to the battery pack. When I am not using them on thee bikes, they are also easy to carry around and use as touch lights in car, during BBQ or at home.
They are not cheap, but they are some of the better lights you can buy in the market today. They have one of the best weight-to-lumens ratio, good protection against mother nature and made from dependable components that lasts. With Exposure complete range of lights, it is also easy to mix and match the lights that suits your needs best. The availability of supplementary units, like the WhiteEye, gives further options without breaking the bank.
The only downside we foresee here is the durability and cost of replacement in the long run. As with everything that is integrated, the worry is that replacement cost would be high, since you cannot replace the single component that is damaged. But judging from the feedbacks we got from other users, it would be a while before we have to worry about that.