Currently, we’re only up to the 14th iteration of the Diablo, Exposure’s best-selling helmet light but who knows where it will all stop? The improvements keep coming, so the company keeps adding one to the name.
With the new Diablo, there’s 100 extra Lumens (as well as a £20 increase in cost), but the weight, styling and customisation all remain the same. This is a powerful, lightweight and extremely customisable lid light that offers some serious grunt. It’s also a perennial inclusion in our run-down of the best mountain bike lights on the market.
Design and Specification
Like its previous incarnations, the Diablo MK14 has a machined aluminium body with ergonomic styling. It’s literally like a piece of jewellery but that’s not surprising considering the company’s background. The all-in-one battery and lamp unit usually clips to Exposure’s two-piece plastic helmet mount, which threads through one of your helmet vents. It’s a cool mount because it’s easy to fit, lightweight and low-profile, so keeps the light away from overhanging branches. With the advent of MIPS and similar technology, getting the mount through a well-positioned vent is not always possible, which is why the company also offers several alternatives, including a GoPro compatible option. This is a bit more robust than the original, although included with every Exposure helmet light is a small tether, so even if it gets knocked free you won’t lose it.
The Diablo MK14 is still fully programmable and, like the Six Pack MK13, the modes are laser etched onto the body the light. They’re a bit small, but you can access them by simply clicking the on/off button and letting the light cycle to the desired setting.
There are several base modes with high, medium and low beams, a series of flashing options for daytime road riding, and you can also access the company’s unique Tap technology. This is lets you toggle through the high and low beams by just tapping the side of the light – you don’t have to remove it from the mount. There are three sensitivity settings, but I find you sometimes have to tap the light twice to get it to power down. However, if you fancy staying old-school, the light also comes with a bar-mounted remote, and you can Bluetooth this to the light using the SYNC App. The App also allows you to modify the run time in 30min jumps in all the different modes, which is a roundabout way of powering it down.
As we’ve mentioned, this latest Diablo MK14 puts out a maximum of 2,000 lumens from its three LEDs, but its run time is just over an hour, which really isn’t enough for any serious trail riding. However, if you’re running this with an additional handlebar light, we’d actually recommend extending the Diablo’s run time, because you really don’t need 2,000 Lumens on your head.
Due to its smaller battery size, the Diablo MK14 charges quicker than the Six Pack, but it’s still slow compared to some. There’s a fuel gauge built into the on/off switch, which you can’t see when riding, but it does start flashing when it dips below 10%. You can also open the App to see the run time as a percentage figure.
The Diablo MK14 has a slightly narrower spot beam than the Exposure Zenith we tested a year ago and this really cuts through the glare of a bar light, allowing you to see obstacles on the trails or round corners. The three LEDs offers incredible clarity and produce a clean, white light that is great for picking out detail, even when there is a lot of fog or mist on the trail.
Some seasoned night riders put all their eggs in one basket and run a really powerful light like the Magicshine Monteer 12,000 up top. I find a cable and that much weight on the helmet can be unsettling, and having all the light high-up also creates a bit of ‘white out’ that stops you from seeing surface texture, leading to the potential of reading the trail wrong. The Diablo MK14 is a small light that packs a mighty punch and is the perfect foil to a similar powered bar light. It is also lower profile, and Exposure’s vent mount lets you position it below the crown of the helmet improving clearance.
Although it’s seen a price hike, the Diablo MK14 does run brighter for just about the same amount of time. You’ll need to run this with a bar light for serious off-road night laps, but with the mode options available and custom programmability through the SYNC app, you can slice it any way you want. It’s bright, lightweight, low-profile and, knowing Exposure, will still be going strong in a decade, about the same time we’ll be seeing the Mk24!