Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review: Exposure Lights Joystick Maxx

When I learned that my commute was going to be 50% unpaved, I realized that my Lumotec/Shimano generator hub combination wasn't going to cut it. Unfortunately, the cheap LED solutions such as the Cateye 301s weren't going to cut it, so I asked Pardo what he used, since he had a fancy, tiny flash-light looking thingy mounted on his bike. His answer was the Exposure Joystick Maxx.

This is a tiny light (18mm diameter), and it's light --- 80 grams! The mount is a simple U-shape mount that the light snaps into, and it claims a 3 hour run time at a 240 Lumen rating, with other modes lasting as long as 24 hours in the lowest beam, and a near infinite lifespan in flashing mode. It also comes with a helmet mount that I didn't bother to test (why mount your light further away from the ground?).

In head to head with the Lumotec light, there's no question. At maximum beam, the Joystick kicks its ass, even though it's mounted higher. At low beam, it's only as bright as the Lumotec. The beam pattern is clearly not as good, but with the overwhelming amount of light provided, it doesn't have to be to provide sufficient light off road for riding.

I then took the light on the Tour Across France. We didn't use the lights much, but it was a test as to whether the self-discharge rate of the battery was low enough that it would last 3 weeks of intermittent use. It went through the tour with flying colors, with the battery indicator indicating that there was plenty of charge left at the end of the tour.

My one big criticism of this unit is that the built-in battery is not user-replaceable. Of course, I hate that, but on the other hand, not having a separate battery pack makes this unit lighter and more compact, and that's why I bought it, so that's really not a valid criticism. It is also expensive --- $240. Then again, Dinotte charges almost as much for a light that's not as compact or as light. Recommended with the above caveats.
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