Among the expensive products that I’ve used that seem to be worth their weight in gold for extending the riding season, lights are first, and Winter boots are second. Ride time doesn’t always coincide with daytime, and a good set of lights can make the difference between a great ride and sitting on the couch. Like many cyclists who have been riding for awhile, I started out with 5 or 10w halogen systems where the battery weighed as much as a small child. Lezyne’s newest crop of lights couldn’t be farther apart than what I started with and offers trail blazing performance that cuts the cord.
One of the best features of the Lezyne headlights is that when your light burns out, you’re still not done. See what we mean after the jump.
As Lezyne puts it, just a few years ago there were no Lezyne lights. Now, they’re practically an electronics company. The Super Drive XL, Mega Drive, and Zecto Drive Pro offer just a small glimpse into their line up from the 160 lumen Zecto Pro to the blinding 1200 lumen Mega Drive. Most of the headlights feature a fully CNC machined body and a self contained design – no battery packs and wires required. Thanks to the advances in LED and Lithium ion battery technology performance found in massive light systems just a few years prior is now available in one compact unit.
Each light has a built in fuel gauge letting you know how much charge you have remaining. For the two headlights, the gauge is built into the on/off button and lights up green (100%), yellow (50%), Red (10%), and flashing red (5%). On the Zecto Pro, there is a slick gauge on the side of the light bezel with blue (100%), green (75%), orange (50%), red (10%), and flashing red (5%) LEDs. The battery gauges double a charging indicators flashing until each light is fully charged.
In addition to the 160 lumen head light, the Zecto Pro has a neat trick up its sleeve – hold the power button down for 5 seconds and it turns into a rear flasher. Two of the light’s LEDs are white, while the remaining LED is red. Each mode has a number of settings including multiple flashes, economy, blast, and day time which each have their own lumen settings. Run time varies from 3hr 10min to 6hr 30 min.
As one of the most versatile flashers I’ve tried, I like the Zecto Pro for a number of reasons. I’ve mentioned before that I like things with multiple purposes, and the Zecto Pro is just that. Done riding for the night, but need to walk the dog? Slip the Zecto Pro’s clip on your belt loop and use the front flasher so cars see you. Ride too late with just the rear flasher on, and need some light to see the front tire? Flip it around and use it on the front. The compact design and clip or rubber band mounting makes for many possibilities. The only downside to the light is that when strapped to a seat post, there is no adjusting the tilt of the light. Fortunately the design of the lens makes it visible regardless of angle. When mounted to the handlebar that isn’t an issue, since the strap is perpendicular to the ground.
On the headlights, there is a little more to the package. Both the Mega Drive and Super Drive XL were shipped to us in the “Fully Loaded” box. The Super Drive XL is a beefed up version of the 450 lumen Super Drive, while the Mega Drive is their new powerhouse at a whopping 1200 lumens self contained. A million times better than a Loaded Box from Taco Bell, the Loaded boxes include a number of mounts for handle bars, helmets, charging cables, and extra batteries.
Extra batteries? I thought they were rechargeable? Yes, and yes. Rechargeable batteries have their obvious advantages, but run out of light on the trail and you’re SOL. Well, you would be if you weren’t carrying a spare battery for your Super Drive XL or Mega Drive. Even at full power, the 1200 lumen Mega Drive and 575 lumen Super Drive XL offer decent battery life at about an hour and a half. Drop down to Enduro mode and the lumens are halved and the time doubled. But if you do run out of light, you can simply pop in the spare battery that is included with the Full Loaded kit and keep on riding.
Super Drive XL:
Mega Drive XL:
The Super Drive XL houses the battery in a threaded barrel with a battery spring, while the Mega Drive uses a hinged clip to keep the battery compartments water tight. The Super Drive XL also includes a battery case to store the spare inside, apparently the larger battery for the Mega Drive is ok on its own.
When it comes to charging the batteries, the secret (at least for the Mega Drive) is to find a USB port capable of High Efficiency charging which will cause the battery indicator to light up blue instead of green. I was only able to find one outlet that was capable of this – the charging block from my iPad. All others that I tried, computer, cameras, phone, and GPS USB chargers were only able to charge the light in green (normal) normal mode, which takes 4-6 or 6-10 hours depending on the light. The high efficiency charge cuts recharge time in half. Interestingly, even though it is listed in the user manual as a feature, the same outlet that would charge the Mega Drive in HE mode would not charge the Super Drive XL in HE.
The ability to obtain the same amount and quality of light as my current setup without external batteries and cables was a big part of why I was so excited to test out these lights. No more wires wrapped around the frame, batteries on your seat post, or your helmet being tethered to your hydration pack. So far, Lezyne’s small but mighty lights have proven to be up to the challenge. I’ll admit that charging is much slower than that of my Light and Motion lights, but with the extra batteries it becomes a much smaller issue. The ability to run the Super Drive XL as both a helmet and bar mounted light is great, though the helmet mount could use a little improvement – the ball socket provides the ability to truly point it wherever you want, but the small lock ring makes it very difficult to tighten it sufficiently.
Using the Super Drive XL as a helmet light and the Mega Drive as a bar mounted light, the combo is more than enough for serious mountain biking, while the Super Drive XL alone would be a great bar mounted light for road riding. Use the Zecto Drive Pro as a rear light to get you to the trail and you’re set. These CNC machined beauties pack a lot of value into some excellent lights for $49.99 (Zecto Drive Pro), $119.99 ($154.99 as tested, Super Drive XL), and $199.99 ($249.99 as tested, Mega Drive). I doubt the final result will be much different, but we’ll keep you posted.