Exposure doesn’t stand still and updates its bike lights on an annual basis, hence the double-digit tag on most of the models. We were extremely impressed with the powerful Six Pack Mk12 when we reviewed it last year. Now the Six Pack SYNC Mk5 (which is the SYNC app-compatible version of the updated Exposure Six Pack Mk13) comes with a slightly wider beam and more lumens at the top end. The price has gone up too, but the craftsmanship and quality is superb – these lights are built to last.
Design and specifications
Although the Six Pack SYNC Mk5 is a handlebar light and the controls are right in front of you, you can operate this light via a new sleeker bar-mounted remote. This is configured using Exposure’s SYNC app, which is available for iOS and Android.
If you look closely, you’ll see the Six Pack SYNC Mk5 has pre-select modes etched onto the back of the light. To access these, you press and hold the on/off switch causing the light to cycle through the options until you get to the one you want and then you stop. It’s a simple system but if you want to make regular changes it is a bit convoluted, and in the dark it’s quite easy to miscount and select the wrong setting. However, with the SYNC app, you don’t have to bother counting, you can just go into the app and select the settings you want. You can custom-tune the output for the individual settings, bind in a second light to illuminate at the same time and configure the remote switch in the way it operates. You can also access the Reflex+ mode, which is Exposure’s terrain-specific technology – when you ride fast the light gets brighter, and when you go slow it dims down, saving battery life.
The Six Pack SYNC Mk5 still has a 6063-series aluminum body with an array of cooling fins, an integrated display, a sealed charging port and a recessed on/off switch. Everything is self-contained but at 400g you can feel the weight dropping in and out of tight turns and it also sits pretty high on the handlebar, so you can occasionally knock it with a knee.
Maximum lumen is a claimed 3,900 but this will top out at 5,450 in Reflex mode. Exposure has also altered the LED profile this year – there are still six white XPL2 (W3) dichroic LEDs but they’re in a slightly wider arc, resulting in a broader beam pattern.
The Six Pack is powered by a Li-Ion battery and it lasts under two hours on high beam. Exposure uses a charger with a custom DC jack rather than the USB systems used elsewhere and, while charge time isn’t the quickest, it’s not unexpected for a light with this much output.
Despite all the programmability, you can just turn this light on and ride – it’s ready to play out of the box. The SYNC app does allow full custom-tuning but we found it a little clunky. To alter the amount of lumen in, say, the high beam, you need to change the runtime in 30-minute chunks using a scroll wheel, which is a bit of a roundabout way of doing things.
Once you become familiar with the system, you can dial in the light for the conditions – for example, the light requirements when riding in the dark woods compared to the open or even with a group compared to solo.
Regardless of the output, the Six Pack SYNC Mk5 produces a clean white light that offers excellent clarity. It has a wide even beam pattern, there are no hot spots or dark areas, it’s just smooth and consistent.
The Six Pack SYNC Mk5 is also incredibly well made, even down to the mounting hardware. The simple quick-release clamp doesn’t quite position the light centrally over the stem but it’s so narrow you can get it pretty close. There’s a bolt on the hinged part for security and this is now offset, so you can get a hex wrench in there more easily. And what’s nice about the Exposure all-in-one system is there are no cable connectors or Velcro straps to worry about – nothing to scratch the frame and you can remove the unit in seconds for charging.
Exposure’s compact design is a double-edged sword – on the one hand, it’s convenient and cable-free, but it is a lump on the handlebar that you can feel while riding. The SYNC app is also a little rough but once you’ve configured this light it’s pretty much fit and forget. Charging the Six Pack SYNC Mk5 when it’s fully depleted does take a bit of time but it’s a solid and reliable light and so well made that it will easily last longer than your current bike.
Tech specs: Exposure Six Pack SYNC Mk5
- Price: $567 / £560
- Weight: Lamp/battery 389g
- Modes: 11 modes
- Lumens: 550, 3,900
- Battery: 17,000 mAh Li-ion
- Run time: 2, 3, 6, 8hrs
- Charger: DC with mains plug
- More info: exposure-use.com