Review: Lezyne’s Micro Drive USB Front/Rear Lights
With Lezyne announcing at EB 2013 they’re upping the lumen count of their entire range by 50 lumens per light, it’s time we provided all the details on the Micro Drive set that’s been making its way around the Bikerumor stable.
Sold single or as a pair, out of the box the Micro Drive is targeted to the city commuter or the dawn to dusk roadie. An aluminum body available in silver or black, the front light maxes out at 200 lumens and the rear at 70. With that power, they’re at the top end Lezyne’s “be seen” category right below the Macro Drive. The mounting system features a plastic mount and silicon strap that allows for a snap-on snap-off mounting, and each light gets a few techy features like on demand battery readings and an intuitive USB port design.
More past the break…
The front light is my favorite of the set. It’s become my go-to light for road training and commutes and a backup on night time road rides. Though I don’t have a test lab, the beam pattern is agreeable, and a cutout on both sides of the light allows for some side visibility. With six settings built in, I only use a couple, generally toggling between full blast and the flash settings depending on terrain.
Surprisingly powerful, it puts out between 200 and 50 lumens subject to settings. If you’re conserving energy it’ll last about 5 hours and if you’re looking to light up the road, maxed out it’ll last an hour.
This light has been through well over 50 full charge cycles and the battery life is still predictable. Pressing the power button briefly will display where you’re at. I’ve found this to be a notable feature because you can check the status without ever turning the light on.
Front and rear lights are equal in size and the cylindrical shape lends itself to pocketing. For sizing think big battery. Once the lights are in the pants pocket they feel natural, and in the jersey pocket they’re unnoticeable.
Built into the device, the asymmetrically positioned USB port is hidden under a screw cap. This is a definite plus. The positioning lets you plug up to a laptop without having to elevate the device (Macbook Airs and tiny netbooks as well). Depending on the output of the charging port, it takes 2-4 hours to boost completely for both front and rear lights. A green indicator light at the top will let you know you’re good to go. A split between green and red means half-life. Red means you’re dead.
I’ve run into a couple issues with the rear light. With an output of 70 lumens for 3 hours, I’d trust any car to see it if mounted correctly . However, the mounting system on my test light has proven unpredictable. Any curb hop or big bump in the road causes my test light to dislodge from the mount and into the street. This may be user error, but regardless, this design flaw has caused me to shelf the light (or provide it as a backup for compadres 😉 ). My hypothesis was that the light extends too far from the mount.
That seems to be the case with Lezyne as well. In more recent models, Lezyne has revised this design, and the new mounting system greatly extends the base.
All in all, minus my outdated mounting, it’s a snazzy light that deserves more use. Featuring 7 settings the light will hold anywhere from 70 lumens to 5 lumens and last between 3 and 24 hours depending on output. Because it gets the same USB charger and battery as the head light, the light is predictable. That’s crucial in a rear light because if a rear light extinguishes itself unexpectedly, you’re not only in danger, but also unaware of the danger you’re in.
Pricing for the the set is $89.99, or individually you can pick them up for $49.99.
Official specs are listed and the Micro Drive is available for purchase at Lezyne.com. Or, if you’re in the Raleigh, NC area, Oak City Cycling had some in stock last time I checked, so give ’em a shout.