A great helmet mounted light, once you have tried it you are unlikely yo want to use anything else
Jan 7 2018
Lights - front
Top quality and durable construction
Myriad of intuitive features
Crystal clear 1500 lumen output
It's hard to fault the Diablo
You want a light of the highest quality that's not only packed with intuitive features, but one that’ll undoubtedly become an integral part of your kit list for years to come
The USE Exposure Diablo front light is to night riding like Heinz is to ketchup there are cheaper options but once you’ve tried it, you’re unlikely to want to use any alternatives. With even more intuitive features added, including TAP technology the MK9 offers yet more bang for your buck to make the dark hours closer to their paradoxical sibling of daytime!
The Exposure Diablo, albeit one of the early editions, was what enabled my very first foray into the world of night riding. Nearly 10 years ago there weren’t so many options of cheaper chinese lights to burn your house down with and occasionally light up the trail ahead, so I bought what was and still is arguably the best helmet light money can buy. Jokes aside, that original Diablo is still going strong. Yes, I have looked after it and always ensured the battery was charged, even through the summer months when it’s sat dormant and unused. It’s seen several trips abroad, been used on many a backcountry mission in various countries to light up the tent or hut for cooking and allowed me find my way to the bushes for a convenient midnight leak without falling off the edge of a cliff. If that’s not a testament to the quality of the Diablo, I’m not sure what is!
So, the MK9 has arrived and features all the things we’ve come to accept as standard with Exposure products, plus more. It now offers a whopping 1500 lumens of maximum output through a fairly direct beam pattern and via 3 high quality Cree LED’s. Exposure’s USP, apart from the UK made quality construction, is that they’re all entirely cable free and as such the Diablo offers anything from 1 - 24 hrs of burntime depending on your preference. You can customise power outputs of all 3 modes (low, med and high) using the engraved table as a guide and pushing the rear button in a certain order (easily interpretable instructions online).
The Diablo comes with its recognised smart port technology too meaning a booster battery can be connected to extend burn time, a rear red light can also be plugged in offering a bright red spotlight (for helmet use) and it is the connection used for charging. All from one neat little port under a weather and muck proof rubber cover.
From the myriad of features included in the MK9, the one that stands out most prominently, is the addition of Exposure’s ‘TAP’ technology. What this enables, once your burn time preferences have been selected, is to switch between said modes by simply tapping the light itself. Yup, that’s right, tap the light and it’ll cycle through its output modes with no fuss at all. It's so intuitive you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Even more impressive is that it only ever changes when you tap it with your hand, in hours and hours of testing, it has never changed mode from fumbling with the button on the rear (I still forget and cycle it using the button occasionally) or from harsh trails rattling my head or handlebars. Absolute genius!
I tend to run the ‘high’ mode at a lower output level enabling a slightly longer burn time of 3hrs. This is because the max 1500 lumen output is only limited to an hour, enough if you’re out blasting the local for a quick lap but not quite adequate for most 2 - 3 hr nocturnal explorations. It's not too much of a negative point, the trade-off is a very lightweight (119g) item for mounting to your lid and having tested many a heavier alternative with either cables or a bigger battery, I’ll take that compromise every single time. Should you wish to mount it to the bars you can, both head and bar mounts are included in the box, but for me the Diablo is a helmet light only. The depth of crystal clear penetration from the direct beam pattern is utterly sublime and far outguns lights of higher outputs and as a result is perfectly suited to point of view lighting. I’ve used it in some truly horrendous conditions, stuffed it into many a tree branch and rumbled it through a bush head first and it has not even got a scuff on it’s hard anodised casing.
I really have struggled to find any negatives to the Diablo, even the price of £209.95 isn’t a deterrent. Especially so if you consider it’ll likely last like my own personal Diablo has and still be working well in a decade, that’s approx £20 a year for one of the best on the market. For me, the Diablo is more than a helmet light for winter riding, its a companion for many an after-hours adventure, and one that’ll undoubtedly be a part of many more to come.
A self confessed bike geek, Adam has been riding bikes for over two decades and breaking things for nearly as long. With more facial hair than on his head, his appearance is one of a hard paper round! He's friendly, approachable, critical and fair - loves a good stoppie and a turnbar tuesday, real ale and long bikes.