I bought this all in one LED head light back in September in anticipation of the dark nights to come. For years I’ve run an original Exposure MaXx-D on my handlebars but it is now starting to show it’s age. Added to which, it is very much MTB specific which means road commutes on my Specialized Secteur risk the wrath of oncoming drivers or forces such a downward tilt of the lamp that it becomes ineffective.
The Lezyne Super Drive ticks the boxes I am most interested in – cost (nicely discounted to about £90), no separate battery and a quick release mount to enable switching between bikes and commuting, as well as facilitating pub stops (cough!). The light is USB chargeable, so it can easily be recharged – albeit slowly – from a PC or better still from a higher powered USB plug which also helps make commuting a viable option.
There are other features which I value such as the top of the light being hooded to avoid dazzle to the rider while the side of the lens allows light out, helping side visibility. Operating the light via a large and hard to miss glowing button on the top of the unit is convenient, while remaining charge is also indicated via the glow colour of the button.
Another positive feature is that the light can be twisted on its mount to the side or pointed to the verge, which is my preference on road to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. On the flipside, even if a busy handlebar pushes the light to one side it can still be angled forward.
In terms of the ownership experience, I am less impressed than I hoped although this doesn’t make it a bad light by any means.
Where I find fault is actually the mount which tends to slip round the bars on my road bike no matter how much I tighten the strap. This means that it remains easy for me to be lighting the ground in front of me rather than the road ahead. Similarly, on the mountain bike I find this becomes an issue which is not what you want when heading down a fast descent.
I have a theory that the solution is to wrap a piece of bar tape around the handlebar under the lamp mount, adding friction to a slightly thicker circumference – I’ll give it a try and let you know. Fundamentally, the problem is the weight of the unit is just a bit too much for the mounting method, which is a rubber band that wraps the bars.
The Super Drive is certainly bright and sports reasonable run-times of anything between 1 hour 50 minutes on full power, 9 hours plus on the lowest, steady Economy mode and up to 35 hours in Pulse (flash) mode.
Here lies another frustration – the light modes cycle sequentially through Blast (950 lumens), Enduro (650 lumens), Economy (250 lumens), then two flashing modes. This is a pain most of the time, so on the road I tend to put it in Enduro which is good for 3 hours 45 minutes, but I’d really like to switch between this and a flashing mode for lit/unlit roads. The flashing modes are at least two button presses away which drives me nuts, plus the flashing modes are too slow to be truly effective as ‘see me I’m here’ lights in urban areas.
More effective is switching to Overdrive (giving the maximum 1250 lumens) and Economy mode off road, which works rather better – one press between each setting for up and downhill. Clearly though this programme selection is an area where Lezyne could and should do better to eke the best out of the light.
Beam patterns are pretty good, off-road it’s a powerful beam and on the road the hooded top prevents dazzle to me and oncoming drivers.
On the whole, I’m happy with this light but feel it’s a couple of points off being great – the mount and the beam programme are holding back a decent product.
Edit: I actually wrote this review before my latest accident which ended with a broken collarbone. All the points I make here, in hindsight, help explain the accident – the slow flash modes being ineffective to really make the rider visible in urban areas (and thus not used), the slipping bar mount etc. I’m not entirely saying they contributed to the accident, but I do keep wondering how, despite using a bright bike light and a helmet light, I wasn’t more visible to other road users. Like any accident, it was probably a combination of factors.