a Cross Country Rider
from South East UK
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2010
Strengths: Compact all in one design. Good bar QR and helmet mount. Light weight.
Weaknesses: Lack of adjustability. Not bright enough. Unreliable switch. Non upgradable or maintenance friendly.
Firstly these are not bad lights, I just dont think they are as good as everyone makes out. Depending on what you want it for it may be suitable, but it is worth being honest with what type of riding you will be using it for predominantly.
I think for the commuter, or for road riders who are riding early in the morning or at dusk, this light is very good. Its light weight, integrated and cable free design and good bar bracket make it very well suited to commuting. I used to run it underneath my bars for an uncluttered appearance, but was always slightly worried about the strength of the clip so used to tie it on with a small lanyard as well. It never actually needed it though so top marks there. The other thing that makes it good for commuting is the strobe mode. It is one of the most visible and eye catching flash modes Ive come across.
Where it starts to get out of its depth however is when used by itself on road at night, or off road as part of a pair of lights. For road riding it simply isnt bright enough by itself to see potholes etc in time. It doesnt give much confidence to descend at speed. Ive used it off road too mounted to my helmet along with a Lupine Wilma on the bars. Like this it is next to useless. Even with the Wilma on the 5W mode and the joystick on max, the wilma is so much brighter that the joystick makes no difference at all, unless you are looking over your shoulder backwards! The lack of cables and low weight are nice, but the lack of any real punch sealed it for me and I opted for something else (a Tesla). The last thing I didnt like, and which also put me off the larger Exposure lights is the bracket. It is very good, but it is not easily adjustable on the fly. While the basic o ring design of the lupine may seen crude in comparison, in use it is far superior as it allows very easy and accurate adjustments to be made on the fly very quickly, and without distraction whilst riding. The Exposure clamp cannot do that.
In terms of output, it has a very similar beam pattern and colour to my Surefire L2 on full, except the joystick is a touch brighter.
What I dont like is the fact that the battery cannot be replaced when it ages (which it will). And if you want to extend runtime you must carry round extra satelite batteries which suddenly make the whole setup very messy.
In short the simplicity for me does not make up for the increased real world usability and output of some other systems.
BTW I paid £130 not $130, but didnt have the option to put that.
Strengths: Super lightweight, no cables, clever attachment system, good beam of light, good battery life
I've used a variety of head-mounted lights in the past and the Joystick is by far the best. It's light enough that you barely notice that it's there and bright enough to really be able to look ahead. Not having to fiddle with cables if you need to take your helmet off is an added bonus.
I used it at an all-night race and was able to run it on the High setting for the technical parts and still have enough battery life to get me to dawn on lower settings.
Similar Products Used: Niterider MiNewt, Niterider TriNewt
Bike Setup: Waltworks 29er
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 2, 2009
Strengths: Bright. Yes. Throws a light beam very far to ride at speed 35 km/p/h in complete darkness on a new trail. Rechargeble.
Weaknesses: Reflector window collects dust very quickly. So have to wipe it quite often. Its just very annoying for me. But It doesnt not affect the performance.
I give this light 5 stars. For 3 month that i use it, i already recharged it so many times, that i saved a lot of $$
Also you can boost it to 480 lumens by getting the exposure white eye light.
I reccomend this light to everybody.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 19, 2008
Strengths: No wires!! Lite weight, rechargeable with no memory effect,
built strong, small. Bright enough light than a comparable Surefire military/police led flash light.
Weaknesses: Need a plug in the Smart port so dirt, water don't get in.
Have to make your own or use tape.
If you gotta have a light, this is the one to get. No wires, I love it. Also I use it as a normal flash light that I carry around with me. I was searching for a light to get and bought this along with a Race Maxx after reading all the reviews on MTBR and in the UK magazines.
Bike Setup: Joystick on Giro helmet, Race Maxx under handle bars.
a Cross Country Rider
from Kent, CT 06777
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2008
Strengths: Very bright, even beam pattern, no Cables, very lightweight, good burn time, reliable.
Weaknesses: I have had no issues.
When I first put this light on I was blown away by the brightness and quality of the light such as the color and usable beam pattern. I have found in other systems that the beam pattern isn't optimized for trail riding so you either get a narrow beam or a ton of light with a hot spot that is really distracting.
The cable free feature is sweet as I always got a tired neck half way through the ride from the general chafing of the cable that pulls on the unit. I never thought I would appreciate riding without the cable this much. I also like being able to simply grab the unit from the mount when I need to rummage around in my pack or read a trail map. It's nice to do this rather than blinding riding partners you are talking to.
Other than the lightweight and adjustability that about sums it up. I've been using it for a year now and the battery is still performing as if it were new.
This is a great light for all forms of cycling - I also run it as a commuter on my road bike and use it as a flashlight.
Strengths: Small. Bright. Light. Secure mounting system for helmet or bar. No wires.
This is the real gem in the world of lighting. I've used it in 24h races as a helmet light, on night mtb rides as a bar light, and where its strongest - as daily as my commuting light.
The pulse/flash setting is amazing for urban riding at dusk and gives the impression that I'm a moto. Cars take notice.
With it set up as an under-the-bar mounted light, its hidden and out of the way for commuting, easily aim-able to keep it out of other cyclists' eyes when on paths, but adjustable to project further when in open areas. It's more than bright enough to commute by mtb and take single track trails home with it as my only light source.
Folks tend to think its a Maglite at first and are skeptical of it until we're riding...at which point they're blown away.
So was I. If you commute, or ride at night in general, make this the foundation of your lighting system. I'd give it 10 Chilis if possible.
from Los Angeles, CA
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2008
Strengths: Brightness to weight/size ratio, durability, quality design/construction, ease of use
Weaknesses: Bar mount cradle could be slightly better
I have been using the Exposure Joystick for about 1 year and it has become an absolute staple of my riding and training gear arsenal. My primary use has been on the bar mount, as my only light for night riding and training, emergency back-up on long epic rides, and during a few key races that start before sunrise.
The absolute best feature of the light is its small size and hyper-lightweight, for a light that is amazingly bright. The light itself weighs in at about 75-80 grams, and the bar cradle adds another 15-20 grams, for a total weight of about 100g. So, for less than the weight of 1 tube, or about a Power Bar, you can basically pack a full-flegded lighting system with you on rides.
As far as size, the body is narrower than a US quarter coin. Lengthwise, its smaller than the palm of my hand. Yet, as far as brightness, it is truly a legitimate light source for real riding. Unlike some small lights that are designed to let cars see you, but do not actually light up the path, this actually provides lots of usable light for riding at full speed, real world conditions.
Its pops into it helmet or bar cradle in 1 second, no adjustments, no screws or bolts, just snap it in.
Because it is so lightweight and small, I basically keep it in my CamelBak at all times. You never know when that epic ride can take a turn and you end up out after sundown. I also use it for night-time training rides. If I head out the door at 6pm, I throw it on the bar. When the sun goes down, I pop it on. I can stretch evening rides out to 10pm or 11pm, instead of having to quit at 8pm. It is bright enough with a long-enough throw, that I have been able to descend paved canyon road descents at 35mph plus, and ride trails and fireroads at near full daylight speeds.
As far as racing, I have not yet used it in a 24 hour race, but if I did, I would likely use it on my helmet as supplement, and use the larger Exposure Enduro on my bars. I have used it in a few key epic races that begin at 4 or 5am, before sunrise. In these races, everyone always freaks out because they don't want to have to carry the extra weight of a full-size light system, for use only for the first 1 hour of the race. So, many make the dangerous and foolhearty choice to not use a light and just try to gut it out by moonlight or by poaching from someone else (like mine) light. The Joystick is perfect for this. Its so light, its a non-issue, and with a full-blown light, I have been able to just sprint away from those without a light and leave them in the dust at the start. When the sun comes up, I pop the light into my jersey pocket and just go.
The design is impeccable. If you have ever had a really nicely engineered Mag light, or military grade flashlight, this is identical to that in quality. It is self-contained, meaning there are no external batteries or cables or wires. The entire thing, light plus batteries are internal, just like a small mag light. The machined body is clean and crisp. It has setting and burn-times laser etched right into the body. The button is on the backside and is a precise control, no question about it or misfires.
Another great feature for adventure racers or unsupported epic riders, is that it just snaps in and out of its mount super easy, so if you need to illuminate a trail map, trail sign, a part on your bike, etc, you basically just pop it out and use it like a standard flashlight in your hand, aiming where you need. I know more than 1 racer who have carried this as their only light on the GDR (Great Divide Race) which is unsupported MTB from Canada to Mexico on the Continental Divide. It was invaluable for reading trail maps, studying trail turns, etc.
The charger is small, like a cell phone charger and it has clear indicator lights. It charges rather rapidly. Battery life on full is pretty much right on to their rating of 3 hours, and I have not experienced fading battery life with usage over time. On the lower setting, I have not pushed it to its claimed 10 hours, but needless to say, I have never run out of light on any ride.
My most similar comparison is with the NiteRider MiNewt 2007. I liked that product quite well, until I tried the Joystick. I found that product had lower battery life, and was 2 to 3 times the weight, plus had an external battery pack with cable that of course needs a place to go and can get tangled. As far as brightness, on high, they were about equal, with a slight edge to the Joystick and a better beam pattern. I liked the MiNewt while I had it, but once I had the Joystick, it was no contest and the MiNewt went on eBay.
Bottom line, this is an amazing product. If you are a serious MTB rider who does epic rides or someone who ever likes to ride at night, this product is a must have.
I have virtually no criticisms of the product. My only comments would be that I wish the bar mount cradle was slightly more robust and better thought out. It is small and light and the light clips in and out no problem. But the cradle affixes to the bar with a cable tie that is basically a small re-usable zip tie with an open close clasp. I have found it a bit hard to take the cradle on and off the bike as the zip tie wears. If Exposure could come up with something that had a small adjustable quick-release cam design, without adding much weight, it would be preferable. Second point would be with regard to 24 hour racing. If you have done one of these races, you know well that when you come through the start/finish area and the timing area, the volunteers scream at you to turn off your lights so that they are not blinded and can take down your race number. Because the light body is small and the on/off button is small and slightly recessed, it could be hard to quickly turn the light off, while riding, with one hand, as you come into the start finish area. This is a necessary evil of having such a compact design. I can't see anything Exposure could do about it. But just be aware that in that situation, you'll have to sort of think ahead and make sure to get that light off in advance.
a Cross Country Rider
from Seattle, WA, USA
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2008
Strengths: Bright, light, convenient recharge, all-in-one, convenient on/off handlebar mount, secure handlebar mount, ibex sports has great service
Weaknesses: Cannot be steered (handlebar), not as bright as claimed, run time not as long as claimed, bar mount slips, black body is hard to find in low light, round beam is too narrow and too tall -- make it wider and flatter
This is by far my favorite light, but I had a couple sizable disappointments. First, it is nowhere near as bright as I would expect from the lumens rating. As example, I made a homebrew light of a Fenix flashlight and for the same nominal lumens the Fenix is way brighter. Or, I put a high-efficiency LED in a L&M Vega and it for the same nominal lumens, it outshines the Joystick MaXx. Second, the run time is not as good as advertised even fresh out of the box, and after 6+ months of daily use it is about 2/3 of rated. Other comments: My L&M Vega can be steered on the handlebars which is great for corners, the Joystick mount is light but not steerable. The bar mount uses a removable zip tie which is light but both slips and is hard to remove. I changed mine to a plastic hose clamp, big win. Body is black which is hard to find and easy to lose, how about something bright colored!? Beam is not wide enough but is too tall for handlebar use. Ibex Sports has great customer service and exchanged no questions until I got a unit with close to the rated run time. The light is practically weightless so you bring with you because you are planning to be back before dark, but hey it's less than 100g for peace of mind (and I've used it). This is the best light I have used by only 3 chilis because it has so far to go.
Similar Products Used: Light & Motion Vega, home-brew all-in-one, various cheapo h'bar lights and various battery+head from Night Sun, NiteRider
Bike Setup: To ride street and trails, mostly use light for street and easy trails
a Cross Country Rider
from Rancho Mirage CA
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2008
Strengths: Lightweight no cords
Weaknesses: Helmet mount not compatiable with my helmet
This light puts out a good amount of light, it is brighter than the X2 on the highest setting of three. I mount the X2 on the handle bar and the Joystick on my helment (cord free). I ride about 5 hours a week during darkness and do 24 hr races and this is the setup, light weight and plenty bright. I mounted it with some velcro adhesive and a velcro strap as the helmet mount did not work with my helmet because it has to bolt through a center air vent which my helmet does not have. When I bought it I figured I would have to modify the mount so that was not an issue. It is an excellent light.
Similar Products Used: Cateye, niterider Minewt X2
Bike Setup: Turner Flux, SRAM XO-XTR
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2007
Strengths: Very Small, lightweight, uncomplicated, very bright, robust and good price.
Weaknesses: The setting selection button takes me a few goes to get working in flash mode. The lens looks to have some shavings/debris on the inside and there is a lump of something on the lens. But this doesn't appear to affect performance.
Both lamp and helmet mount have a minimalist design and are very well engineered. Charging is a doddle. There was a bit of a wait from Wiggle as demand for this lamp has rocketed due to excellent reviews in MTB mags. This tiny lamp throws out an amazing amount of light, I couldn't believe how bright this lamp is. This is all you need!
I know there are much better, brighter lights out there, but I have narrowed it down to these lights for my new helmet light. I night ride off-road only about 1x/wk at local singletrack trails in dark forest on way home from work in Portland, Oregon. Trail system is short, so usually do a few loop ... Read More »