Tested: Exposure Diablo Light

  • By Zach White
  • Published Dec. 1, 2010
  • Updated Dec. 7, 2012 at 3:21 PM EDT

Claimed run times are 1 hour at the brightest setting, 3 hours for the middle setting, 10 hours for the lowest continuous beam, and flash mode is said to literally last for days. Photo by Brad Kaminski

Exposure’s latest version of the wireless Diablo is a pretty impressive little package.

Boasting 900 lumen in the highest of three continuous settings (and a fourth flash-mode setting), the CNC-machined body measures a mere 4.5-inches and weighs a scant 125-grams, everything included.

Claimed run times are 1 hour at the brightest setting, 3 hours for the middle setting, 10 hours for the lowest continuous beam, and flash mode is said to literally last for days.

When battery life drops to approximately 20 percent, the Fuel Gauge indicator light starts flashing red, which essentially gives a rider a bailout option by switching over to the lowest setting with enough time to “finish up the ride.” per Expousre’s marketing honch James Penfold (no official remaining run time was available). This is a bit different than the rest of the Exposure line as the other lights in their lineup automatically downgrade to the lowest setting. So it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a production change on the Diablo down the road.

The Diablo comes in its own padded carrying case with a charger, helmet mount and a bar mount. Our version uses the older generation charger with a Smart Port plug connected to an AC wall outlet, but reportedly the latest production run will feature USB-compatible charging.

The little light also includes a removable lanyard with a quick-release clip, designed to wrap around either the handlebar or through a helmet vent as a safety feature in the event of the light getting ejected from either mount.

For the size, the Diablo puts out a fantastic beam of light. The beam itself is a nice flood of solid coverage with no halos, dim spots or shadows inside its range, and shines both wide and far enough to be used on faster trail, and will get you through medium-level tech sections.

MSRP: $300
Weight: 125-grams with mount
Output: 900 lumen
Battery: Lithium Ion
Warranty: Lifetime on LEDs, 2 years on light

The handlebar mount is an interesting mix of an aluminum bar clamp and a plastic cradle mounted via a quick-release pin, yet after literally and figuratively slapping the light around a few times, the provided lanyard seems to be an overkill safety feature. Over washboard and rougher hits the Diablo held strong, showing no signs of vibration or movement in the beam.

Though claimed run time is only an hour on high, the shortest life I got out of it was 1hr 23mins, and usually ended up squeezing out about an 1.5 hours at full blast. If the lower settings were used at all during a ride, total life of the battery easily jumped up to 2-plus hours, and with a bit of effort at dropping to the medium setting when possible, run time hit 3 hours.

That middle setting definitely isn’t as bright as the high beam, but for mellow trail sections, or riding the road to/from the trailhead, it’s more than adequate. As for the low beam, think of it as more of a car’s tiny spare tire than a true third option for riding trail at fun speeds.

Providing a nice, padded carrying case with plenty of room for the light and all included accessories is greatly appreciated. Yes, everything actually easily fits back inside after use, verses some cases that only hold shrink-wrapped and vacuum-packed parts.

A bit off its intended use, but the Diablo holds just like a normal flashlight when not mounted to a helmet or handlebar,and I ended up using it quite a bit on a camping trip, as well as for a few random things around the house.

With so many different handlebar sweeps, rises and tapers, it’d be nice to see a bit of lateral adjustment available in the handlebar mount. It’s not a huge issue as the 900 lumen floods out rather well, but I did find myself wanting to change the angle just a touch.

The helmet mount works well and offers good aim adjustability, but it seems a bit flimsy, especially when compared to the bar mount. Using an all-plastic design, including a nylon screw as the backbone, my guess is that they were trying to both keep weight to a minimum, and allow a bit of malleability to better abut to a helmet. Regardless, it’s a bit unsettling to bomb down a trail at night with your sole visual lifeline being held on by one nylon screw.

We didn’t have a chance to ride in anything other than a slight fog, so we can neither confirm or deny Exposure’s claim of the Diablo being “fully sealed against the elements.” We did hold the lens under the sink for a bit with no issue, and short of spraying water straight into the exposed Smart Port on the back (which we didn’t see the point of trying), it looks like there shouldn’t be an issue in slop or poor weather.

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