Review: Lezyne’s Micro Drive USB Front/Rear Lights

Lezyne microdrive front rear

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…


Lezyne Microdrive front light

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.

Lezyne microdrive headlight

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.

Lezyne microdrive usb

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.

Lezyne microdrive rear
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.

Lezyne microdrive mounted

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.

Lezyne microdrive closeup

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.

 

Comments

ken - 12/15/13 - 11:26am

I retailed these lights and the mounts are the problem

rob - 12/15/13 - 12:36pm

-ken – I had exactly the same problem. even had a customer return one because the bracket (rubber band part) is not secure enough. also it does not allow for pivoting the light on handlebars. Excellent light. bad bracket.

Ben - 12/15/13 - 2:15pm

My last Niterider MiNewt had a very similar mount, the straps break.

jim - 12/15/13 - 4:46pm

Cold weather tends to run these down quicker than some competitors’ products.

ChrisW - 12/15/13 - 5:56pm

Bunyip – you’d be amused by my wife’s bike because it has “assymetric chain stays” written on the frame! No-one else has pointed out the error yet. It’s made by Kinesis (Taiwan) and branded by Kinesis UK.

Steve - 12/15/13 - 5:57pm

I’ve been using these lights for around 6 months on a daily basis.
The rear light mount has two “clicks” when you push it in. Try pushing it in a little harder and listen for the “click” then it will not pop out.

Patrick Mckay - 12/15/13 - 7:23pm

BikeRumor and readers,

The Micro drive pair that you are reviewing is from an early 2013 production run. We realized shortly after these hit the shelves that under certain circumstances, the rear light could eject from the mount as you experienced. As a result, Lezyne made a mid-season running change to the rear mount which is much more robust and eliminated the chance of ejection during riding.

These updated mounts are available on some 2013 Micro Drive Rear lights produced later in the year and all 2014 Micro Drive LED lights, which are in production and shipping now.

You can see these updated mounts on our website here:
http://www.lezyne.com/en/products/led-lights/sport#!micro-drive-rear

Cheers,

Patrick Ribera-McKay
Marketing Manager
Lezyne

padrote - 12/15/13 - 8:35pm

I have the version with the updated mount, it works much better than the other one.

The light works well but the long cylindrical “flashlight” type design causes it rotate laterally off center. The mount also needs a rubber pad where it meets the seatpost (I added one myself)

Steven - 12/15/13 - 9:08pm

Presumably “silicone strap” not “silicon.”

Aber - 12/15/13 - 9:34pm

Based on my own experience, I won’t buy another Lezyme light. I wonder if something is wrong or erratic about how they manage charge or charge batteries. Or maybe I had a defective unit/

I had a very similar Lezyme rechargeable lights with mini-USB charge ports. Both seemed good at first, but after less than 10 charge/discharge cycles, battery life was only a few minutes. I’d never left them to sit with dead batteries or anything of that sort which I’d expect to damage the batteries.

My Light & Motion light & its battery are going strong after three years and a lot of use.

Eyal - 12/16/13 - 12:01am

@Patrick Mckay Another irresponsible move, like SRAM “We realized shortly after these hit the shelves that under certain circumstances blah blah.

When are these companies are going to start testing their products under various conditions!

M.E - 12/16/13 - 11:59am

@Patrick Mckay

Well that’s very nice, but unfortunately mine has already fallen of and been crushed by a bus…

(Also the head of my lezyne floor pump is fiddly as hell to keep in place. Obviously you guys are all about form over function, and I won’t be buying your products again in a hurry…)

Daily Commuter - 12/16/13 - 6:52pm

I have to say that I have been using a set of these lights for over a year and a half. Half the year they are on going to and coming from work, the other half they are only on in the morning. I have a 45 minute commute. No problems with battery life or charging. I purchased a second set and have them on my mountain bike. I have ridden pump tracks and sent several drops with the rear light on my all mountain bike and they have not ejected yet.

Just wanted to say that not everyone has had a bad experience with these lights!

Brightest taillight I have found! All my coworkers like to talk about how they can see me miles up the road!

Bruce Robinson - 05/12/14 - 1:02am

I have two Lezyne Micro rear lights which worked well for quite a while. Now the battery life is dropping substantially, and they no longer last for my full 4-5 hour ride. There seems no information about battery longevity, nor how to replace the battery. There is one useful description of how to remove the light from the outer casing, but this is not from Lezyne. Selling rechargable lights which fail relatively quickly is bit sus, Lezyne.

Dave Nottage - 05/22/14 - 8:32pm

I have had very little use from my lights (purchased Dec 2012, longest ride in the dark of around 40 mins, used them at most about 20 times), and the tail light will now not recharge.

I don’t have the instructions that came with them, so I’m not sure whether I was meant to run them down completely before recharging.

Otherwise, they’re good in that they’re easy to put on/take off; I haven’t had any issues with them falling out other than when I failed to clip them in properly.

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