Stylish commuting light. Review given by RCUK. The Brits are a critical group, but all the better.
Lezyne’s first foray into the light market sees the arrival of three typically stylish lights. The Mini Drive sits at the bottom of the company’s debut range, priced at £49.99 and with a maximum output of 150 Lumens.
Out of the box
Pull the light out of the box and first thing you notice is how light it is, just 73g without the bracket. The light is housed in a 100 per cent CNC-machined aluminium unit with laser etched graphics. Less is more when it comes to Lezyne products and the Mini Drive is very small, sitting inconspicuously on the handlebars, unlike some of the obtrusive commuting torches we’ve seen.
Attaching the light is quick and easy thanks to Lezyne’s tool-free bracket, with a thumb screw to attach the mount to the ‘bars. An indication of Lezyne’s attention to detail comes from the fact that they supply two brackets; one suitable to a diameter of 25.4mm and the other to 31.8mm. In the past we’ve found other brackets just about squeeze onto chunkier handlebars or need adapting, so we were pleased to see this.
The weatherproof unit slots into the mount without any problems and is held securely is place, regardless of the quality of road surface. We also like the fact that the part of the mount to which the light attaches provides a little flexibility in the direction the torch is facing.
The light has four settings; high (150 Lumens), medium (100 Lumens), low (50 Lumens), and flashing. You’re best using high, medium or flashing to ensure maximum visibility, but the LED produces a strong beam thanks to an effective lens reflector.
Charging is by USB, so handy for when you get to work. Just plug it into your PC and you’re away, with the light flashing (only with a very dim output) while charging. A wall plug adapter is available as an accessory. Out on the road, the light switches to flashing when low on battery.
So the Mini Drive is a great torch for commuting, but how does it fair for occasional training at night? If you stick to reasonably well lit roads, high power is strong enough to light up a small section of the Tarmac in front of you, and, if riding at a steady pace, capable of picking out potholes and other hazards – as long as you don’t come across them too quickly that is, and it’s best backed up with a flashing safety light.
Trouble is, battery life is stated as one hour (in reality, a touch less) on full power, so if you’re planning considerable miles after darkness, it’s best to look further up the range, and certainly if you’re riding on unlit roads. The Power Drive (£79.99) puts out 300 Lumens, while the Super Drive (£99.99) boasts 450 Lumens, with the lowest setting equivalent to the Mini Drive maximum of 150 Lumens. Both lights will be reviewed on RCUK.
But, to be fair, the Mini Drive is designed largely for commuting, and it’s an impressive package in that regard, with the capability to throw in a few extra training miles if you, and your legs, fancy it.
MTBR has posted an extremely thorough review on our new Super Drive LED.
Ahh Lezyne…they’re a fairly new company that quickly revolutionized tools and pumps. Early this spring, they held a press camp to announce their entry into the lights arena. At first, I didn’t give it a second look as it seemed like small commuter lights. But the more I looked at them and now that I’m using them, the more I find their products very compelling.
The Super Drive is a self-contained light that claims 450 lumens. It uses a Cree XML emitter that is housed in an all aluminum case for heat dissipation. The battery is a standard lithium cell that can be replaced on the trail. The rear of the light unscrews easily much like a traditional flashlight and the battery can be replaced with a fresh one for longer run time.
Although this is Lezyne’s first effort in lights, they have invested significant time and money to research the competition and their own lights. They’ve purchased their own integrating sphere to measure actual lumens output. With advanced tools, they’re able to control and publish how their lights behave over the whole battery cycle. They’re also able to analyze losses in lens and reflector designs.
The Super Drive is the top of the line of a family of three lights from Lezyne. It retails for $110 and puts out a claimed 450 lumens. The other lights in the family are:
Power Drive – $90 at 300 lumens claimed output
Mini Drive – $70 at 150 lumens claimed output.
These lights are charged via USB and there is no USB charger included. It is assumed that you have a charger or computer somewhere in the household. If you need one, a separate charger is available for $20.
Something interesting about the Super Drive and other Lezyne lights is there is no tiny indicator lamp for charging status or light switch illumination. It uses the actual LED as an indicator by flashing it very faintly to indicate that the light is charging. This shows Lezyne’s focus on keeping the light as simple as possible and hitting the $110 retail price point.
The light head itself has a lip on the top rim and that’s actually useful to keep the bright light away from the rider’s eyes during out of the saddle efforts. We love light’s with wide beam patterns but a downside is when you climb out of the saddle, you get way up front and the light can shine on your eyes a bit. The lip found on this light blocks some of that light spill at the top.
Quirky Light Switch:
The light switch is a bit quirky and non-intuitive. We all know how to turn a flashlight on and off. Some companies have deviced in protection for accidental turn-ons for self-contained lights (in the bike bag) by implementing a double-click on or 2-second button press to turn on. Lezyne has gone further by putting more light logic feedback on it. When you press the button, it will turn low instantly. After one second of button press, it will turn to medium indicating it’s ready to be released. When you release the button, it turns to high. When turning off, a similar logic is applied. It doesn’t make sense to the newbie until someone explains it to them. After that, it’s easy enough to do but it does our brains process what’s going on every time we turned the light on and off. We believe that’s overkill and non-intuitive. But, it’s a pretty minor complaint as the switch action and quality is excellent. At the end of the day, one has to hold the light switch for two seconds to turn on and off.
Claimed Lumens: 450 Lumens
Light Head Weight: 128 grams
Installed Weight: 128 grams
Run Time: 1.5 hours
Measured MTBR Lux: 44 Lux
Measured Lumens: 421 Lumens
The mount is pretty simple hoop style with a plastic tightening knob for tool less mounting on to the handlebar. The light can be aimed left to right with indexed positions on the mount positions.
Helmet mounting is not available at this point but with any helmet mount from other manufacturers that simulates a handlebar pipe on to the helmet, the Lezyne mount will work for helmet use.
MTBR Actual Lumens and Lumen Hours Measurements:
This light measured 44 lux ont the MTBR Lux setup. In a laboratory environment with an integrating sphere, it measured at 421 actual lumens.
This is the most exciting field in lights today as 500 lumen self-contained lights have become very affordable. For comparison, the competition is at:
Excellent materials and construction with aluminum body
Good reflector and lens quality provides a clear and artifact-free beam pattern
Field replaceable battery is a great feature for additional run time
USB charging plug is well protected against water and the elements
The shaping, heatsinking, anodizing of the case is impressive
Non-intuitive switch action for turning on and off
No helmet mount available at this time
This is a ground breaking new light from a new light company. They could sell a few of these lights at $250 so we suspect they will sell a lot at the $110 price.
The question most people will want answered is ‘Is it bright enough for trail riding? 450 lumens does not sound like a lot’. The answer is yes. It is a great beam pattern that accomplishes a flood and a decent spot at the same time. Also, it is bright enough as you can see in the photos. And although it only claims 450 lumens, it actually measures the same at 44 Mtbr lux as the first Magicshine MJ-808 that we got last year that claimed 900 lumens.
And the real bonus is if you want it brighter, buy two. If you want more run time, buy more $10 Lezyne batteries.
Value Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: We can give this light 5 stars already but the we’ll put a tiny chink in its armor for lack of optional helmet mount and the quirky light switch logic. 4.90 out of 5 Stars