Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Kansas Cyclist did an extremely thorough review of Lezyne’s Power Drive. Tip of the cap to ya gents.

I recently purchased a new bicycle headlight, a Lezyne Power Drive. This is a quick look at the device, and some initial impressions on its performance.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

The Power Drive is an LED headlight, and is the middle offering in a three-tier line from Lezyne:

  • Lezyne Super Drive: 450/300/150 lumens, 1.5/2.5/4 hours runtime, 18650 battery, $110 list
  • Lezyne Power Drive: 300/200/100 lumens, 2/3/5.5 hours runtime, 18650 battery, $90 list
  • Lezyne Mini Drive: 150/100/50 lumens, 1/1.5/3 hours runtime, CR123 battery, $70 list

The Power Drive, like the Super Drive and the Mini Drive, is available in black, silver, or gray. I opted for black.

My thinking, in choosing the Power Drive, was that 300 lumens was plenty for riding paved and gravel roads at night, and that 100 would probably be fine as well. I was also wanting to optimize run time, and the 5.5 hours at 100 lumens seemed to be the best in that regard.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

I was a little reluctant to switch to 18650 batteries, since I’ve used mostly AA and AAA batteries in the past. The great thing about the AA/AAAs is that they’re available at any convenience store. The 18650 is a much more specialized battery size (it is not yet available at Wal-Mart, for instance), though it seems to be gaining ground.

However, most of the competing bicycle headlights were using proprietary batteries or battery packs, and I did not want to get locked into a single-source (translation: expensive) solution. Also, some of the competing lights had external battery packs; I appreciate that Lezyne offers a small, self-contained unit.

The 18650 size is very popular in the flashlights field. The 18650 appears to offer a higher voltage and a larger capacity, in a smaller space and lighter weight, compared with two AA’s (and only slightly larger/heavier than 3 AAAs).

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

The big selling points for me with Lezyne lights is that they use standard batteries that are easy to swap out (so it’s relatively easy to carry spares), and that they are optimized for bicycle use (rugged, easy mounting, water resistant, sensible modes). Flashlights might offer more bang-for-the-buck, at least initially, but since they are optimized for handheld use, they often feature strange modes (SOS?) and kludgy handlebar mounting. Worse, they don’t (in my experience) withstand the vibration of bicycle use for long. Most cheap flashlights are not rugged, but many better-quality flashlights cost nearly as much as the bicycle-specific lights.

Here’s how Lyzyne describes the light:

300 Lumen cycling light purpose built for night riding. Uniform Power Beam reflector and lens assembly produces a dual purpose beam pattern that illuminates both near and far terrain without sacrificing visibility in either field of vision. 100% CNC-machined aluminum body and battery cap. High-capacity Li-ion battery is USB rechargeable and replaceable. Programmed with three steady modes and one high-visibility blinking mode. Comes with two durable Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (31.8mm, 25.4mm) with thumb screw for easy installation and secure attachment. USB charging cable included.

Here’s what you get with the product:

Light, battery, instructions, two sizes of handlebar mounts, and a USB cable.

The battery is Lezyne-branded, and is rated at “3.7V 2400 mAH 2 Amp Protected”. According to the instructions, “only Lezyne branded LIR 18650 2 Amp Protected batteries may be used”. However, when I contacted Lezyne, they told me that other brands may be used, but that Lezyne developed their batteries to have “super long life”. The Lezyne battery carries a 6-month warranty (the light itself is warranted for 2 years). Using another brand of battery does not explicitly void the warranty. The list price for the Lezyne battery (LIR 18650) is $19.99.

Lezyne Power Drive Quick Review by Kansas Cyclist

Here’s a look at the bottom of the light and the battery compartment:

The tail of the light twists off, and you insert the battery into the tube, then thread the tail cap back on. It’s good that the battery polarity is marked on the case, and the threads appear to be of good quality.

Here you can also see the rubber gasket over the USB port, and the mounting tab that slides into the handlebar mount.

Here’s a look at the USB cable attachment:

The USB connection is a mini-USB size. To access it, you lift up the little rubber flap (which acts as a gasket when attached to the bike). Inserting the cable took a bit of fumbling, since the rubber kind of gets in the way, but it does go in.

Once attached to a power source, whether a computer or a USB AC adapter, the light begins to flash softly during the charging period. Once it stops flashing, the charge is complete. The battery has internal protection to avoid over-charging, so you can leave it connected overnight without risking damaging the cell.

Lezyne claims a 4-hour charge time. My initial charge time was about 1.5 hours. After using the light on a 2.5-hour ride (mostly on “low”), the recarge time was again about 1.5 hours. I have not yet run the battery to exhaustion and measured the full charge time.

Weight of the light, battery, and mount is 139 grams (4.9 ounces). Pretty impressive.

Mounting the light to the handlebar is easy enough, though I had to add a rubber shim to get it to fit on the handlebar of my Puch (though not needed on my Long Haul Trucker. Once mounted, the slight bit of side-to-side adjustment proved useful in fine-tuning beam placement, and of course for up-and-down adjustment, you just rotate the mount on the bar.

Frankly, I’d have preferred the simplicity of a rubber band mount, so that it could fit practically any bar size, but this system does work, and feels secure enough. Though putting the light onto the mount, and taking it back off, requires two hands, and is a bit of a futzy maneuver.

I’ve done one ride with the Lezyne Power Drive so far, and was suitably impressed. I found that low mode (100 lumens) was adequate for most conditions. The 200 and 300 lumen levels were brighter, but not enough to justify the shorter runtimes, at least in this limited test.

Throw was moderate, though not nearly as long as my Rayovac Indestructible, but compared to that cheap $15 light, the beam on the Power Drive was much more pleasing to the eye (white instead of yellowish), and with a nice even spread throughout the main beam focus. Beyond the main beam, the Power Drive’s spread was adequate to see the road and objects to the sides.

The “flash mode” on the Power Drive seems like it might be useful, operating at perhaps 5 flashes per second — fast enough to call attention during low-light conditions, but not seizure-inducingly-fast like some lights I’ve seen.

There is no “low battery” warning, which might be a little unnerving if you think you might be cutting it close, but I guess peace of mind is what spare batteries are for.The user interface on the Power Drive is pretty simple: Hold the button down for 2 seconds, and it’ll turn on at maximum brightness. Press again for medium, again for low, and again for flash. Subsequent button presses will simple cycle through the modes again. Press and hold for 2 seconds to shut it off.

So for now, I’m feeling positive about the light. The only two problems I have with it are the fiddly rubber gasket and the awkward mount-unmount procedure. Both are minor points compared to the excellence of the light itself.

The question comes to mind: At $90 list, is the Power Drive six times as good as the $15 headlight I shared a few months back? There’s no doubt that it’s a better bike light. It definitely puts out much more light than the $15 torch, the beam pattern is much better, it has more secure mounting, and the flash mode has potential safety benefits. And since the cheaper light is almost twice as heavy and twice the size, the Power Driver will be much easier to carry in a pocket. So yes, I think it’s worth it.

Anyway, I plan to keep riding with this light, and hopefully provide a longer-term follow-up review in the future.

At this point, highly recommended!

Lezyne Signs Remy Absalon for 2012

Remy Absalon

Superhero Enduro rider Remy Absalon signs with Lezyne for the 2012 season. We cannot wait to see where he goes and what he accomplishes this coming year.

Remy Absalon

Remy Absalon is a member of Commencal’s SUPERTEAM and has recently joined up with Lezyne. He is an extremely talented and well-versed enduro racer. He has a staggering list of accomplishments and is without a doubt a top contender in every enduro race that he enters, mixing it up with the likes of Nico Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Jerome Clementz, Mark Weir, Ross Schnell, and Rene Wildhaber Lezyne couldn’t be happier to work with Remy in 2012 as he will, without a doubt, be putting up some really great numbers and pushing the envelope of what is possibly on and off the bike. The “enduro” race format is gathering so much momentum, especially over in Europe, that Lezyne is proud to be a part of the forward push. We are really excited to see where the sport goes in the future because this style of racing is so inviting to both riders and spectators.

Remy Absalon

Remy Absalon

Lezyne’s Power Drive gets Editors Award at Triathalon Magazine

editors choice union star

Lezyne’s Power Drive gets Editors Award at Triathalon Magazine

91 POINTS! We’re scoring better than a lot of pricey bottles of wine, so go ahead and do yourself the favor: skip those bottles of wine and buy yourself some sweet LUMEN LOVE! It’s a Valentine’s Day FIESTA!

Lezyne snags the “Editor’s Choice” award at Triathalon Magazine. This is exciting stuff…our LED’s are finally getting the recognition deserved, if I might be so blunt.

Lezyne Power Drive Tri Magazine

“Knocks out a lot of power….despite its small size.”

“Well-made and sealed CNC case so operation, even with gloves on, is really easy.”

“A nicely priced and sturdy number that packs a lumen punch.”

91 POINTS! We’re scoring better than a lot of pricey bottles of wine, so go ahead and do yourself the favor: skip those bottles of wine and buy yourself some sweet LUMEN LOVE! It’s a Valentine’s Day FIESTA!

Cedric Gracia gets 3rd at Santos Urban DH Race in Copacabana, Brazil

CG on top of the podium at the start of the year. Good things to come. Some people may think he’s “getting old”, but we at Lezyne very much disagree and this is why.

Here’s what Cedric had to say about his race in Copacabana, Brazil:

“Last Sunday was the 10th anniversary of Santos DH urban race, Marcelo and Juliana invite me to take part one more time to this event who is for me the first race of the season. This year a lot of international riders was there and record of TV audience for Globo TV with 50 million people watching the event in all over Latin America!

The race went well for the Brigade, Saturday qualification went to Marcelo and on Sunday a 3th place for me in the final.

It was the first time I was racing with two new partners Fox racing shox and Shimano. Thanks to you guys for the trust and the support who made that podium possible!

Special thanks to the Shimano Brazil team for the warm welcome and your help.

Next stop Chili, Valparaiso!”

Thanks everyone for the support and following on Facebook.

The Sergeant

CG

Cedric Gracia

Initial Review: Lezyne’s Compact Super Drive Headlight

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Initial Review: Lezyne’s Compact Super Drive Headlight

Thanks to all great folks over at BikeRumor.com, enlightening the world about all of the great and not so great products in the industry. In all honesty, I didn’t expect to like Lezyne’s Super Drive.  As a commuter who regularly starts and finishes his morning commute in the dark, I’ve been spoiled by trail-ready 900+ Lumen lighting systems and the vision -and visibility- that they guarantee.  Coming from substantially more powerful lighting systems, I wasn’t sure what a 450 Lumen light with a mere 90 minute runtime could offer- especially at $110.  After about eight weeks of near-daily use, I now know- and have taken quite the shine to the little light.  Click through to find out more…

With its replaceable internal rechargeable battery, the Super Drive is a slick little package.  Slightly smaller than an Exposure Joystick, the Superdrive is similarly built almost entirely from aluminum, making for a sturdy light.  Tool-free 31.8mm and 25.4mm Composite Matrix (plastic) bar mounts are included in the package, as is a Mini USB charging cable.  Though there is no battery gauge on the light itself, the LED itself flashes while charging.  Though it’s tempting to use the Super Drive as a flashlight, Lezyne warn users not to- without cycling’s air flow, the light can’t evacuate the heat generated by the LED emitter and the body can in my exterience get quite hot.

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Lezyne’s Uniform Power Beam reflector makes the most of the light’s moderate 450 Lumen claimed output (on high- medium and low put out 300 and 150 Lumen, respectively).  Though not as pencil-thin as the Joystick’s, the Super Drive’s beam is among the more focused I’ve seen on the bike and the concentrated center makes it seem a whole lot brighter than it should be.  The beam almost creates a tunnel of light for riding in- not really broad enough for bar-mounted mountain biking, but plenty wide for road and commuter biking.  Aimed properly, I haven’t found myself wanting for more than the Super Drive’s high output while commuting, even at 30mph.  The hooded is a nice touch and does a good job at preventing accidental self-blinding when standing for climbs. (Why doesn’t everyone do this?)

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Though it’s reasonably stable once fitted, the combination of the charging port seal and aggressive tab on the hot shoe-style bar mount makes mounting the Super Drive a 2-handed affair.  Despite tightening the thumb screw as much as I could, it remains easy to aim the light from side (and so also to knock it off center). The location of the charging port and its chunky rubber cover make it difficult to charge the light while it’s mounted- not a big deal unless you have an outlet near your bicycle parking spot.

About the diameter of a roll of quarters and the length of a smartphone, the Super Drive is easy to remove from the bike when locking up for the day.  The 90 minute runtime requires regular topping off- thankfully the USB charging port makes at-work charging easy.

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

As good as it is, with its relatively focused beam and light 125g weight, the Super Drive is really screaming for a helmet mount.  This would make the most of the beam, allow the rider to catch the eye of drivers merging from side streets, and enable off-road use. Happily, one is in the pipeline and should be reaching distributors by the middle of February.  For the next generation, a bit of clipping at the top of the beam might be nice as well.  Aiming the center spot fairly far out makes the most of it’s punch- a rotated “D” shape might make a bit more of the light’s output while sparing oncoming traffic.  But these would be a minor change and do little to take the shine off the little Lezyne.

Though it may not seem like it on paper, the Super Drive is a heck of a package- and especially impressive for a first effort.  The price is reasonable, additional batteries are available if needed, and the output is surprisingly punchy.  The self-contained design has sidelined my more powerful headlight for commuting- and I haven’t missed that light’s higher output.  If the forthcoming helmet mount is half-decent, the convenience and safety of its high position could well make it the commuter light to beat.  Stay tuned for more…

Initial Review: Lezyne's Compact Super Drive Headlight

Lezyne signs Danny Macaskill for 2012

Lezyne signs Danny Macaskill for 2012

Lezyne has been fortunate enough to sign on with the ever-talented bike rider Danny Macaskill. Talent for days…..a match made in heaven.

“Danny Macaskill is a man in demand and has been since he burst on to the international scene a couple of years ago with his first Youtube video. And for good reason for his riding exudes class, style and individualism. Which is precisely why he has recently been signed by Lezyne as their latest sponsored rider. We took the opportunity to catch up with him in his adopted city of Edinburgh where he was recently shooting a promo video for his newest sponsor who have just launched their 2012 range of workshop tools. While the video may not be quite ready to air on Pinkbike, read on for the exclusive interview:

I’d been working on my bikes in my flat for a while with really cheap, nasty multi-tools that my friend had from decathlon or somewhere like that, real nasty things, and after working in a bike shop for a while you get used to using nicer tools. But I had a little Lezyne multi tool, and I’d also seen some of their other stuff on the net, so I thought they’d be a cool company to approach. I liked their brand image and more importantly I knew they made good stuff. So we got in touch and it’s been cool that we’ve managed to work something out. It didn’t take long to sort things out either, they were really easy to talk to and I’m just delighted to have all the products – it’s gone from having the bare essentials to having all the tools to tune the bike up and keep it in good working order. It rounds things off for me – I’d got my bike setup all dialled and now it’s nice to have all the right stuff to maintain them properly too.”

“What are your plans for 2012?”

“I’ve been off the bike for a while, pretty much since Crankworx. I’d been carrying a knee injury for a while before that, but then I tore my meniscus. I’ve had a really weak leg for the past eight months, through the filming of my last video as well. It turned out I’ve actually got a torn disc in my back too so I’ve really been trying to get that sorted out without an operation. I had a steroid injection into one of my discs, but I’ve not really felt the benefits of that so I’m going to go back out to the US to get it sorted. Once that’s fixed I’ve got a really exciting year coming up. I’m hoping to get into a position so I’ll have a good setup to learn new tricks and do some new videos. I hope to be hanging out down in London for a bit which’ll be cool. It’s going to be a really exciting year, I just need my health to catch up.”

“I’d love to do some mountain bike races in amongst all my trials riding. It tends to be quite hard as a lot of my free time between projects is taken up with injuries at the moment. Things are stacking up and then a few projects end up going back to back. But I’d love to do some races, I’d love to go out to the mega this year, it’s been a couple years since I’ve done that. Some friends are also going out to do the Trans-Provence race which is a 7-day enduro. It’s the Enduro stuff that I’m into the most and it’s just a lot of fun, a lot of time on the bike. Other than that I’ll just see what I can do, maybe some local races in Scotland. Are you getting much enduro/all mountain riding in just now? It’s enduro/all mountain riding that I do the most, you just can’t beat playing about in the mud. And I mainly ride my (Orange) Five for that when it’s pouring with rain and blowing a force ten hooley (Translation from Scottish: very windy or an unreasonably strong wind). And it’s been blowing like that all winter here, so when my knee and back are feeling alright I’m trying to get out to cruise about as much as I can, I really can’t get enough of it.”

“It’s just really nice to be able to pedal back up and smash back down them on the same bike. I absolutely love it. I’d say I get more of a buzz out of riding my mountainbike than my trials bike, you know, because you get more adrenaline which you don’t really get in trials because you’re really in control. Whereas I’m completely out of control on my mountainbike, I’m just a passenger. That’s definitely how it is, I ride it way out of my skill level most of the time – feet flailing about the place, as long as I make it down to the bottom with the bike it’s ok. I’d like to get some night riding in this winter too and Lezyne are hooking me up with some of their lights to cut about with so it should be fun, it’s just really good fun. I like that feeling of not quite seeing round the corner, it makes the same trails you ride every day completely different.”