Lezyne Zecto Drive rear light   £29.99

8/10

Neat, compact, bright, rechargeable and easy-fitting rear light, for early starts or dull conditions, & fairly priced

Weight 47g   Contact  www.upgradebikes.co.uk

by David Else   January 17, 2014  

Lezyne Zecto Drive

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The Zecto Drive Rear Light from Lezyne is an absolute little gem. It's neat, bright, and clips easily to your bike, helmet or backpack. It's also rechargeable, waterproof and fairly priced.

With three LEDs contained within a red lens 35mm in diameter, and the additional housing a little bigger all round (45x45mm, by 25mm deep), the Zecto Drive Rear Light is very neat and compact. It clips to your bike's seat post via a big rubber band (as do several other types of Lezyne rear light), assuming your seat post is cylindrical. The clip is slightly angled to take account of most seatpost angles, so the beam itself is still pretty much horizontal.

The rubber band means the Zecto Drive light very quick to fit, and easy to swap between bikes. On the downside, this rubber band may have the potential to snap, but it's pretty strong and durable, and as long as you don't over-stretch it (a round a big frame tube, for example) it should be fine.

Another advantage: the rubber band is held in place on one side of the light so you can't accidently lose it. And one slight niggle: the rubber band is not attached to the equivalent position on each side of the light, which has the effect of pulling it slightly to one side, so you need to carefully align it to make sure the beam is pointing straight back towards traffic approaching from behind. It's the work of a moment, but still a slight design oddity that could have been easily avoided.

You can also fix the Zecto Drive to your saddle pack or backpack via the sturdy plastic clip on the back of the light, or even to the belt of your trousers if you're just nipping out to the pub. Ideally, the strip of fabric on your saddle pack needs to be quite thick, otherwise the Zecto's clip will not grip tightly. You can also fit it to your helmet via an additional mount supplied with the light.

The Zecto Drive has six modes, including three different 'flash' patterns (all at 10 lumens, ranging from about three to four hours claimed battery life), constant 'economy' (five lumens, four hours), constant 'blast' (10 lumens, 2:45) and 'daytime' – a very bright double flash (20 lumens, seven hours). In practice, these battery life figures are about right. Towards the end of the charge, the various flash modes switched to constant (although comparatively dull) and kept going for another hour. For those cyclists that use two lights, something with a constant beam plus the Zecto Drive in flash mode would be an ideal combination.

The shape of the beam on the Zecto Drive is fairly narrow and, although the Lezyne website claims 180 degree visibility, in reality the brightness of the light when viewed from the side is pretty minimal – but certainly better than nothing.

Recharging is via a micro USB port and cable which you plug into a USB port on your computer, or into an on-the-wall socket adaptor. It takes a couple of hours via the computer, and there's a set of colourful little indicators to show you when the light is fully charged. The same indicators show you when the light is nearly out of charge as well.

Other features to mention: The on/off/settings button is easy to use, even with gloves on. The aluminium lens ring is available in red, black or silver. The USB port on the light is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, especially as it's additionally protected under the body of the light. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, road spray from the back wheel may eventually penetrate. It may have been more usefully positioned on the side of the light housing.

On price, the recommended retail is a penny under £30, but you can find it discounted by a few quid at your local bike shop and the usual on-line stores.

If you're a commuter or otherwise ride regularly at night in bad weather, there are bigger and brighter rear lights available from Lezyne and other manufacturers, and you can also find rear lights which are either cheaper, physically smaller or have longer battery life. But for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two – perhaps using 'daytime' mode for the bulk of your ride – then one rear light is often enough, and this Zecto Drive is ideal.

Verdict

Neat, compact, bright, rechargeable and easy-fitting rear light, ideal for pre-dawn starts or all-day rides in dull conditions & fairly priced.

The light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Zecto Drive - Rear Light

Size tested: Red - Rear Light

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This is a rear light, designed for general usage and especially useful for weekend rides where the first (or last) hour or two may be in the dark. Commuters or regular night riders may want something bigger and brighter, or combine the Zecto Drive with another light.

The Lezyne website says this about the Zecto Drive Rear: '... delivering a highly visible 20 lumens in Daytime Flash mode ... Intelligent Power Indicator allows the user to check the power level at any time, and provide Side Visibility, allowing 180 degrees of visibility ... Easily attaches via its Clip-On System, providing for versatile strapped or clipped mounting. The dedicated rear design points upward to ensure light is directed straight back.'

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Construction seems very solid. The aluminium lens ring (rather than plastic) gives extra protection should the light be absolutely dropped. The housing is a mix of solid plastic and rubber.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

The light was very easy to use. The single on/off button has to be pressed for a couple of seconds to turn the light on or off, which means it can't be turned on accidentally. The same button then toggles between the modes. It's sealed inside the rubber mounting material, so weather-protected.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

The options of clip (for saddle pack) and rubber band (to go round seat post) are ideal and work well. The only minor downside is the design oddity which means the rubber band is not attached to the equivalent position on each side of the light, which has the effect of pulling it slightly to one side, so you need to carefully align it to make sure the beam is pointing straight back towards traffic.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

The light's on/off/setting button in inside the rubber housing, so protected from the rain. The micro USB port for recharging is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, especially as it's additionally protected under the body of the light. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, road spray from the back wheel may eventually penetrate. It may have been more usefully positioned on the side of the light housing.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

The Zecto Drive has six modes, including three different 'flash' patterns (all at 10 lumens, ranging from about 3 to 4 hours battery life), constant 'economy' (5 lumens, 4 hours), constant 'blast' (10 lumens, 2 h 45mins) and 'daytime' – a very bright double flash (20 lumens, 7 hours). In practice, these battery life figures are about right. Towards the end of the charge, the various flash modes switched to constant (although comparatively dull) and the light kept going for another hour or so in addition to Lezyne's times. Recharging takes a couple of hours via the computer.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

There are lights available from other manufacturers which are either brighter, bigger, smaller, or with longer battery life (depending what you need), but the Zecto Drive strikes an ideal balance and, for what it is, performance is excellent.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

The Zecto Drive weighs 52g (with the rubber band) – making it light and compact for the brightness produced. And still sturdy as well.

Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

The recommended retail is a penny under £30, but you can find it discounted by a few quid at your local bike shop and the usual on-line stores. There are bigger and brighter rear lights available from other manufacturers, ideal for commuters and night-riders. You can also find lights which are either cheaper or more expensive. But for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two, this Zecto Drive is ideal, and good value.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As mentioned above, the Zecto Drive is ideal for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two of darkness, with maybe the light on daytime mode for the bulk of your ride. On this basis, this rear light performed very well for its designed purpose.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Neat, bright, compact, easy to fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

A couple of minor design oddities, but not the end of the world at all

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

The Zecto Drive is great for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just a couple of hours of darkness. Commuters and regular night-riders will also find the Zecto Drive useful when combined with another light (for example, one on flash, the other on constant).

On this basis, the Zecto Drive is an ideal combination of small physical size and bright light, plus tough construction, easy fitting and easy operation, which would give a score of 9. The design oddities (position of recharge port and rubber band retention clips) and the price (which although fair is not an absolute bargain) together knock off a point, giving an overall score of 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 51  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding - aka rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

why are you showing beam patterns for two front lights when this is a review of a rear light?

posted by Paul_C [226 posts]
17th January 2014 - 8:13

13 Likes

Paul_C wrote:
why are you showing beam patterns for two front lights when this is a review of a rear light?

More useful for rear lights would be the same sort of images but showing what the lights look like from the perspective of say a driver some distance behind. Probably not the easiest thing to photograph though.

posted by Jonathan Knight [16 posts]
17th January 2014 - 8:43

13 Likes

I've got the zecto drive front and rear, and they do seem pretty good. I use them for commuting, but admittedly on roads that do also have street lighting.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3396 posts]
17th January 2014 - 9:46

10 Likes

I bought the zecto rear primarily for hanging off a backpack while running (for which it works really well), but I'm also using using it a secondary commute light (backing up an Exposure redeye rear - the exact constant/flash combo the reviewer mentions).

For those roles it's pretty much perfect, it's rugged enough to stand up to the bouncing of running, it attaches securely to post or bag, the battery life is certainly long enough for commuting - and the USB can trickle in sat on my desk during the day.

One useful feature is that a quick press on the button gives you a four light summary of battery level which works when on, off or while charging.

Definitely would recommend this for general use - it's not going to light up your whole world, but it's a useful backup or emergency light to have around.

posted by unsliced [15 posts]
17th January 2014 - 10:23

20 Likes

Jonathan Knight wrote:
Paul_C wrote:
why are you showing beam patterns for two front lights when this is a review of a rear light?

More useful for rear lights would be the same sort of images but showing what the lights look like from the perspective of say a driver some distance behind. Probably not the easiest thing to photograph though.

Paul and Jonathan - this is the world famous road.cc Light Comparator Megatron 5000 - it is shown on all light reviews and you just need to select whichever light you're looking at from the drop down list (e.g. Lezyne Zecto Drive (REAR)) and it will show you info + what it looks like facing backwards, which I guess is what you're after...

posted by jellysticks [84 posts]
17th January 2014 - 10:45

19 Likes

jellysticks wrote:
Paul and Jonathan - this is the world famous road.cc Light Comparator Megatron 5000 - it is shown on all light reviews and you just need to select whichever light you're looking at from the drop down list (e.g. Lezyne Zecto Drive (REAR)) and it will show you info + what it looks like facing backwards, which I guess is what you're after...

yeah, although we're working on the rear lights for next year because the way we shot them doesn't really do some of them justice. the zecto comes out okay though

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7467 posts]
17th January 2014 - 10:59

9 Likes

Quote:
On the downside, this rubber band may have the potential to snap

It's worth noting that the rubber band is available as a spare. About £2.99 I think.

posted by BigDummy [297 posts]
17th January 2014 - 12:03

13 Likes

It's a great light, but unfortunately the clip on it's own isn't secure enough for a saddle bag ... mine disappeared mid-ride the other night and I never heard it hit the road. RIP Lezyne Zecto. Crying

posted by dee4life2005 [4 posts]
17th January 2014 - 12:42

23 Likes

Had one of these for about a month now. Bright enough for my morning commutes in to London and my longer night rides out but the battery life is a bit disappointing - I recently had it cut out whilst lapping regents park. I'll be more disciplined about charging it from now on, but the uncertainty factor (charge remaining lights aside) means I'll be adding a backup battery powered light from now on. I wonder if a AAA battery powered version would've been a better design choice.

posted by mcvittees73 [14 posts]
17th January 2014 - 13:15

11 Likes

dee4life2005 wrote:
It's a great light, but unfortunately the clip on it's own isn't secure enough for a saddle bag ... mine disappeared mid-ride the other night and I never heard it hit the road. RIP Lezyne Zecto. Crying

I think a lot also depends on the thickness of the fabric tab on the back of your saddle pack. In my experience, some packs have relatively wide (20cm) strip of thick webbing which provides a firm and secure point of contact for clip-on lights. Other packs have a flimsy loop of ribbon which is almost useless. The thick webbing has the additional advantage of holding clip-on lights upright, so the beam points back at approaching traffic. On bags with flimsy ribbon (such as this: http://road.cc/content/review/80897-lezyne-m-caddy-quick-release) I've found grip can be improved slightly if I pad out the ribbon with a bit of rubber cut from an old inner-tube before clipping on the light, but it still doesn't hold the light vertical, and is far from ideal.

David Else

posted by David Else [288 posts]
19th January 2014 - 22:39

9 Likes

Excellent written review for the Zecto rear! I've made a review of the Front version of these if anyone's interested. Might make a couple more reviews once I get some more gear. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBMRCHIdstk

posted by manoktot [1 posts]
21st January 2014 - 7:18

10 Likes

Fab little light. Extremely rugged, and interesting flash patterns, especially the 'twinkling' of the three LEDS, which makes it easier on the eyes of anyone riding behind, whilst also being more attention grabbing for drivers than a constant light. Daytime flash is also amazing.

Well worth every penny (and easily buyable for £24 from http://www.charleysbikeaccessories.co.uk/products/lezyne-zecto-drive-led...).

The cult of the Zecto has spread swiftly among those I ride with.

@oddbydefault

oddbydefault's picture

posted by oddbydefault [98 posts]
23rd January 2014 - 10:53

7 Likes

Cr*p light in my opinion. Had one for a couple of months before it packed up and died on me. Battery charge was awful in any event and a couple of rainy days commuting and it now refuses to charge.
Design wise, for a light which requires regular (too regular) recharging, the rubber band connection is fiddly and cumbersome (especially wearing gloves). In addition it's design and material doesn't hold the seatpost particularly well either.
If you want a decent rechargeable rear light nicely designed and robust, aim for the Knog Blinder

posted by SPAM Naval [141 posts]
24th January 2014 - 10:02

6 Likes

Got to say, I'm with SPAM Naval on this one. Mine lasted 2 months max - in the process of returning it - and I wasn't overly enamoured with it whilst it worked.
Maybe I got a duff one, but mine didn't hold it's charge so had to be charged the night before riding and there is no way the battery lasted the claimed 7hrs whilst in the flash mode. Can't help but feel I should have spent the extra cash and gone for an Exposure TraceR.
The Lezyne seemed too good for the price and, unsurpisingly, that turned out to be the case.
It's the first duff Lezyne product I've bought though; generally a good brand.

posted by Al'76 [126 posts]
25th January 2014 - 17:57

8 Likes

I thought the charging design was poor, because although designed for USB charging anything but the one supplied doesn't fit properly. The socket is too far recessed into the rubber housing.

And I agree with those above, the battery life is too short, although this may be because of the fair brightness.

Overall I'm okay with it, but wouldn't recommend it to others, the knog blinder is more reliable thanks t the 2 x AA batteries, although it too has faults (fragile plastic battery housing)

posted by GREGJONES [131 posts]
27th January 2014 - 20:59

9 Likes

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