Initial Review: Lezyne’s compact Super Drive LED headlight

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.

The 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?)

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.

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…

marc

www.lezyne.com

Comments

ShopMechanic - 02/07/12 - 3:20pm

This is a cool little light. My buddies all have them and love them. I’m thinking about getting one myself.

MasterTechBen - 02/10/12 - 10:38am

I just bought one and love it! The simple handlebar mount is a great touch. It offers just enough adjustability without complication or excessive movement. The only thing that could make this light better for commuters or MTBers is a helmet mount. I’m excited to hear Lezyne will be releasing one soon.

A couple of nitpicks do stand out. First, the 1.5 hour burn time seems really short. However, when you think of the size and weight of the light and the fact you can swap small Li-Ion batteries, it doesn’t really make it an issue. My biggest gripe is the position of the charging port. It is really more inconvenient than this article makes it out to be. Granted, you can just pull the light off your bike to charge, but it seems like an easily corrected issue that just detracts from a mostly perfect light.

Johan - 06/12/12 - 6:47am

I really love this light.
I’ve swopped my 1200 lumen light with its bulky battery for this little thing, and the way the beam is focused has actually improved my ride.
I only need to use the 300 lumen setting on my commute ( totally dark still) and so the battery runtime is a reasonable 2.5 hrs.
So far so good, very happy with it!!

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.