Is it just our ageing bones, or is winter colder than it used to be?! Shame on us, we haven’t braved the chilly evening air very often this past few months, and we’ve not done nearly enough night riding.
But on the infrequent night rides we have done, we find ourselves remembering just how much fun it is, and noting just how far light technology has come. No piece of kit reminds us of these advancements more than this awesome light from UK company Exposure.
Just like the petite Exposure Diablo we reviewed a few weeks back, the Toro is a magnificently built piece of kit, using the same all-in-one cordless design principles that free your riding experience up from failing, snagging cords. To be honest, we’re going to struggle to go back to using a light with an external battery, it’s just so simple and easy with this all-in-one design… No strapping battery packs to your bike, no stuffing things in backpacks or jersey pockets. Pop a bottle in the cage, some spares in your jersey pockets and hit the night trails unencumbered.
While it’s not really a heavy unit at 235g (really quite light considering this includes the battery too), the Toro’s size means it a handlebar only item. We paired it up with the Diablo on our helmet. The actual mounting bracket itself is a highlight; it’s CNC machined, with a hinged clamp design and the quick-release interface between the bracket and light is completely wobble/rattle free, and it’s small enough to leave on the bike between rides if you wish.
There are almost too many features to talk about. The unit has several pre-configured lighting programs which will give you a choice of two or three output levels with various burn times for each. Alternatively you can run the light in one of the…(wait for it)… automatic modes! Yes, in the quest for MORE FEATURES Exposure have equipped the Toro with Reflex Technology. Essentially this is a bunch of accelerometers that automatically determine what output mode is best for whatever the hell it is you’re doing at any given moment. Smooth climb? It’ll lower the output. Rough, twisty descent? Engage max brightness! All without lifting a finger from the bar.
Look, this level of tech wizardry isn’t necessarily a must-have in our book, but it is fairly absurd that we’re now reaching that level of advancement in a light. For our purposes, we were happy to leave the light in Program 7, which has just two output levels and more than enough burn time for our normal night ride loop.
Speaking of burn time, the Toro has the best ‘battery gauge’ system we’ve encountered on a light, with a real-time countdown of remaining run time displayed on the back of the light. When the light is plugged into the charger, this same display clearly tells you what percentage of charge has been obtained so far too. It also communicates which program you’re in upon start up or when you’re changing the program mode, which makes navigating the system a lot easier than we found it with the Diablo light which has no display.
Rather than a traditional on/off/mode button, the Toro uses Capacitive Switching, which is a touch sensitive panel on the rear of the light. While this system is apparently less susceptible to damage or malfunction than a normal button, we missed the tactile ‘click’ of pushing a nice big button, and found the touch panel a bit vague.
Combined with the Diablo up top pointed further down the trail, we’d run out of skill well before we’d run out of ligh
We’ve spent plenty of time waffling about the features, which is really a reflection of just how jammed to the gills this light is with high tech gizmoisms, and we’ve not even yet mentioned how well it actually works for the purpose of lighting up the trail. Rest assured, it does that very well too. Rated at 1800 lumens, the beam is a nice natural colour (not blue-ish) and has a great beam spread for handlebar use too. Combined with the Diablo up top pointed further down the trail, we’d run out of skill well before we’d run out of light.
The Toro and Diablo combo is the best night riding setup we’ve used to date, for our purposes. Yes, this cord-free set up might have some compromises when it comes to overall output and run times, but we love it all the same. Our new Flow favourite!