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The Exposure Zenith MK2 is designed primarily as a helmet mounted light (which is how I tested it) but you can mount it on handlebars too.
- Brand: Exposure
- Product: Zenith MK2
- From: Exposure Lights
- Price: £265.00
- Tested: by Ross for 3 months
This latest MK2 version of the Zenith offers a maximum output of 2,100 lumens from three white XPL2 W3 LEDs. It uses an internal 5,000 mAh Li-Ion battery to deliver between 1to 18 hours of burn time depending on the setting. More on burn times below.
As with most Exposure Lights, its body is made from anodised 6063 aluminium and it features a translucent back panel (you can see some circuitry, if you like that sort of thing). Also on the rear is a single round metal button and Smart Port+. The Smart Port+ is both a charging input and powering output (for certain rear LED helmet lights from Exposure).
Rather than the digital display panel found on Exposure’s bigger models, the Zenith uses a simple LED traffic light system (green, orange, red) to monitor run-time and to show which mode the light is in.
The Zenith uses ITM technology to keep an eye on operating temperature. This means the system automatically dims the light if it’s getting too hot (and restores it once things have cooled down to optimum temperature).
The Exposure Zenith’s trump card is arguably inclusion of Tap Technology. When in a ‘Tap’ setting, you can change the mode (high, medium or low) by tapping the light rather than having to use the button on the back, making things easier when on the move (especially with gloved hands), and the Tap mode itself also has three tap sensitivity settings.
My night riding tends to consist of lapping the local off-piste steep tracks with the odd foray onto the moor for a bit of singletrack when the conditions are good.
The Zenith isn’t as powerful as a modern bar-mounted light but as a headlight it does a great job of acting as an additional light for proper riding. The 2,100 lumens on offer a strong and consistent beam for looking further down the trail and spotting round corners.
The beam pattern works well and gives a bright centre but with good illumination towards the edges so it’s not too focused in one position. Unsurprisingly, the tone is similar to other lights from Exposure so the Zenith plays well with bar-mounted Exposure models to enhance the trail and offer a day-into-night experience for riding properly steep tech trails at night, as you would in the day.
As I’ve had the Zenith as a secondary light, to be used for descending, I’ve only really run it in the highest setting and have tended to turn it off if I’m on any extended pedals, or dropped it to its lower setting if for example I was on a flat section of moorland. It’s lasted the claimed 1 hour when on high, and through managing the output, and mainly using it when descending I’ve not had it run out. If your rides last longer than 90 minutes you’ll definitely benefit from using thr Tap on-the-fly adjustment.
The Tap technology does what it needs to do. It comes with three different sensitivity levels so you can tailor how hard it needs to be tapped but it works best when tapped towards the rear of the light. For the style of riding that I tend to use the light for though, I pretty much just ran it in the highest standard setting (2,100 lumens) and used the big button on the back for changing the mode. I never really change it on the move so the button works well.
The supplied mount fits well enough to different shape helmet vents and holds the light quite tight and stable. It also has a reasonable amount of movement,through a ball and socket style joint, for getting the beam direction just. The light sits quite close to the helmet compared to some other mounts as well so doesn’t feel like it’s adding weight high up.
Combined with a good bar-mounted light (such as the Exposure Six Pack), the Zenith is pretty hard to beat for a proper trail night riding set up. The set-up offer amazings night performance in a beautifully engineered package. Navigating the settings takes a little bit of getting used to initially but once you’re familiar with the process it’s fine. In any round-up of the best mountain bike lights, Exposure are always there or thereabouts. Yep, they do come at a price premium but you get top end performance, amazing engineering and Exposure’s first class warranty and support.
|by Ross for 3 months