Lezyne Mega Drive front light  £164.99

9/10

Well-designed, well-built, kicks out loads of usable light and best of all, doesn't cost the earth

Weight 165g   Contact  www.upgradebikes.co.uk

by Iwein Dekoninck   February 8, 2014  

Lezyne Mega Drive

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The Mega Drive is Lezyne's top-of-the-line performance LED light. It's self-contained, and kicks out loads of light in a well-designed beam pattern. I like it a lot.

The Mega Drive, as with other Lezyne products, is a beautifully manufactured aluminium unit. It not only looks good, it's very strong as well. I know, because it dislodged itself from my handlebars mid-descent. Before I could recover it, a car had driven over it. It continues to work perfectly. The lesson in this, of course, is to make sure the light is mounted on the bracket properly. Doh!

When it is mounted on the bracket properly, the light is held securely. The light allows for horizontal angle adjustment without untightening the bracket, which is useful. The bracket is mounted on the handlebar with a thumbscrew; the box contains a small and large band to accommodate most handlebar sizes. While the bracket holds the light securely, there is a little play. Not so much as to rattle, but it can move around a little. It didn't bother me.

The best thing about the Mega Drive, without a doubt, is the beam pattern. Lezyne have got the mix of light intensity, throw and beam shape spot on through the use of some clever optics. In this respect it punches well above its weight; much better than the LUU Turbo Torch that we reviewed recently for example.

The Mega Drive kicks out a claimed 1,200 lumens in overdrive mode; 1,000 lumens in blast mode, 600 lumens in enduro mode and 300 in economy. There's also a flash option which is good for 200 lumens. The quoted burn times are an hour and 20 minutes, 1:40, 2:30, 5:00 and 15 hours respectively.

I found enduro mode to be plenty on dark lanes, switching to blast for fast, dark descents. Flash and economy mode are the slightly less antisocial options handy in traffic. Using the mixture of modes, the battery held out just fine with a bit to spare on my two-hour round-trip commute.

If you're riding in the dark for a bit longer, then that's where Lezyne's 'infinite light' comes in. All that means is that the battery is user-accessible. You can just buy another one, and swap it over.

That sounds good in theory, but the practicalities of charging multiple batteries (for which you need the light), and transporting spare batteries without shorting them are left to be resolved by the end-user. Having said that, I like the fact you can replace the battery when it stops holding its charge.

Charging then, is by way of a micro-USB cable. I personally don't mind the trade-off between easy cable and charge point availability versus slower charge times. With a normal 1 Amp charger, it will take around 10-12 hours. If you use a 2 Amp charger, it's much quicker, more like 4-6 hours.

Charging and battery replacement are through a little hinged door on the back of the light that closes with a clasp.

Feedback on charging and battery levels is given through button illumination. A green button should mean full charge, going down through orange at 50%, red at 10% and 5% at flashing red.

While the light is charging, it should flash green or blue (if using 2 Amp charger), and should switch to constant illumination when charged.

Should, because in use, I found the light went to orange after about 10 mins, and to red soon after, though it would keep working on red perfectly for another 1:30h on blast mode. Similarly, there were some issues with the charging feedback. Sometimes the light would still blink after 48 hours of charging, while others it would turn to solid green after 10 mins.

Lezyne confirmed that there has been a batch of circuit boards that are not registering correctly on the charge indicator. If the battery is fully discharged then from a USB port the light seems only to charge to about 75% of the battery. If the cable is disconnected and then re-connected it will continue to charge to full. That still won't show on the button, but a full run time can be achieved. Lezyne added that they have not had this feedback from users, because they reckon lights rarely get run down. Lezyne assured us they are working through this and have made an amend on further production. They have also assured us that the warranty will cover this issue.

For our test light, Lezyne sent us a 2 Amp charger, which has fixed the issue.

In terms of weatherproofing, our light has stood up to the recent moisture in the air fine, though I have noticed a bit of damp on the inside of the lens after a particularly wet ride.

The Mega Drive can be bought as the 'loaded' option, which includes an upgraded, aluminium bracket and an extra battery.

Verdict

For general commuting in traffic, the Mega Drive is a bit too bright really. If you're venturing into unlit areas however, the Lezyne Mega Drive will not hold you back. It's well-designed, well-built, kicks out loads of usable light and best of all, doesn't cost the earth.

The light comparator

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Mega Drive - Front Light

Size tested: Black, Front 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?

With a CNC-sculpted aluminum body in a compact, self-contained configuration, the Lezyne Mega Drive is the ultimate high performance LED light built for trail or road use. It features Constant Lumens power management that drives two LEDs at a bright 1,200 lm. Overdrive Race Mode allows quick switching between Overdrive and Economy, and its Infinite Light design allows for on-demand battery replacement for a blinding light that never quits. Users can choose between fast, high efficiency, 2 Amp recharging with a compatible wall adaptor, or via a Micro USB cable for ultimate convenience. The Intelligent Power Indicator button allows the user to check the power level any time. The Mega Drive's CM hard mounts secure the light to 31.8 mm and 25.4 mm handlebars. It is available in the Fully Loaded package with aluminum handlebar mounts (31.8mm and 25.4mm), a spare battery pack, a Micro USB charging cable, and CM storage case.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

MAX LUMENS : 1200

WEIGHT : 265g

RECHARGE TIME : 10.5hrs (1A) / 5.5hrs (2A)

1200 lumens 1:20 overdrive

600 lumens 2:30 enduro

1000 lumens 1:40 blast

300 lumens 5:00 economy

200 lumens 15:00 flash

Aluminum construction: Aluminum is a strong and lightweight material is an excellent thermal conductor and is used in the construction of Lezyne lights.

Composite Matrix: Composite Matrix is a high strength fiber-reinforced material used to make durable components.

CNC machined: CNC Machining creates parts that are durable and precise.

Constant lumens: Unique electronics that allow Lezyne lights to emit light at a constant lumen level, resulting in higher overall lumen output for longer periods of time.

Infinite light: Lezyne lights use high capacity LIR batteries. Infinite Light allows the user to open the light body and replace the batteries on demand, extending the run time indefinitely.

MOR optics: MOR (Maximum Optical Reflection) lenses are one piece optics that produce an improved Uniform Power Beam that is wider, smoother and brighter resulting in more optimal light ahead of the user.

Intelligent power indicator: Red, green, and blue LEDs inside the button show the battery power levels during use and recharging.

USB Rechargeable: Included Micro USB cables or integrated USB sticks can be plugged into a computer or wall outlet adaptor for convenient and fast recharging of LED lights.

Water Resistant: Lezyne lights are precision engineered and manufactured with quality to deliver extreme weather and water resistance.

Overdrive race mode: An alternate output mode set that switches between an ultra-bright Overdrive mode and Economy mode with a single push of the power button.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Faultless construction from Lezyne. Beautifully machined and finished.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

There's a little bit of play, but not annoyingly so. Inspires with enough confidence to hammer around the trails.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

The light is well sealed and coped fine with any rain or mud thrown at it, though I did notice a little bit of damp inside the lens after particularly wet rides.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

The light lasts a good hour and a half on 1000 lumens, though I found myself switching to enduro when not riding downhill and so made the light last a bit longer.

There are some niggles with the charge indicator whilst charging, which the distributor assures have now been resolved in production models.

Rate the light for performance:
 
10/10

It really is a very impressive light with a very useful beam pattern for road use. It puts some of its more expensive, higher lumen siblings to shame.

Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10

Very sturdy construction, should last a long time. The battery is user serviceable as well, so you don't have to bin the light when the battery's dead.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

Not a lightweight, but on a par with other lights in the same bracket.

Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
9/10

At around £135 online if you shop around, this light really is excellent value for money.

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

The Lezyne is really well made and throws out a lot of usable light.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

It really punches above its weight when it comes to light output and beam shape.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The charging niggles if I had to name something, however these should be resolved now.

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?

If you need a light for unlit lanes, the Lezyne Mega Drive should be very near the top of your list. It's a extremely well designed and built light packing a lot of lighting punch at a price that won't break the bank.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 36  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

How on earth can you give this £165 light a 41/2 out of 5 rating in view of all the charge / discharge problems you encountered? It's all very well Lezyne claiming its all going to be fixed, but my similar experience with a similarly priced light from Light & Motion a few years ago does not bear this out.

This charge / discharge flaw is so fundamental in a "quality" light such as this that you should have given it a 3/5 at best, until the manufacturer provides you with an amended product for further testing. If the problem has been fixed then by all means go ahead and upgrade the rating at a later date.

Gasman Jim's picture

posted by Gasman Jim [53 posts]
8th February 2014 - 10:46

13 Likes

If it helps, mines fine.

posted by bendertherobot [285 posts]
8th February 2014 - 11:46

10 Likes

"Lezyne confirmed that there has been a batch of circuit boards that are not registering correctly on the charge indicator. "

Then why haven't they recalled that batch of lights? If I had purchased one of this dodgy batch, it would certainly put me off the brand. Thinking

TDL

tourdelound's picture

posted by tourdelound [86 posts]
8th February 2014 - 11:56

13 Likes

As the review implies, it's down to the charger AND board issue. It's not great, as stated.

But, to be frank, I'd not really want to charge this from a PC. I do mine with a wall USB (Original iPad charger). It's flawless.

Kudos as well to upgrade bikes, the UK importer. I dropped mine on a dark path and the tiny metal clamp bit fell off. Rang up, explained, new one in post. In fact they sent a spare as well.

posted by bendertherobot [285 posts]
8th February 2014 - 13:05

26 Likes

' Flash.....the slightly less antisocial options handy in traffic.'

Mind boggling.

posted by andyp [898 posts]
8th February 2014 - 13:10

15 Likes

This is fine at either 250 or 500 lumens in traffic

posted by bendertherobot [285 posts]
8th February 2014 - 14:04

21 Likes

"£165...and best of all, doesn't cost the earth"

We have very differing views on pricing.

0/5 for this very poor review. Did the editor not check this before publishing? Or does a lot your sponsorship / advertising revenue come from Lezyne?

Oh, and just to add balance to my post. I have a Lezyne Mini Drive XL on my bike and I was happy to recommend it to others.

MikeOnABike's picture

posted by MikeOnABike [26 posts]
8th February 2014 - 14:44

14 Likes

It's for the loaded pack mind. Normal one easily found for 100 notes or so

posted by bendertherobot [285 posts]
8th February 2014 - 15:21

5 Likes

This light is a weird package. A Philips Saferide 80 can be had for less than 90 GBP, packs a little less punch but doesn't illuminate the sky as much, works with normal AA rechargeable batteries and has better battery life.

It's also made from aluminium, the charging mechanism works, and it's StVZO approved.

Granted, it doesn't flash annoyingly (how I hate this antisocial "feature"), but it looks like the Lezyne is considerably worse in every aspect.

How can this get 4 1/2 stars?

posted by wesen [2 posts]
8th February 2014 - 15:42

32 Likes

Through a combination of luck and Father Christmas I possess no fewer than three Lezyne lights, two front and one rear. They are all extremely well made, completely waterproof and tough. And they look good too.

But they are not perfect. My Super Drive, just like this Mega Drive, is recharged through a micro-USB socket and if there is a more unsuitable connection I have yet to find it. By their very nature USBs are fragile and the tiny metal connecting strips are flimsy, especially in the shivering hands of a cold, wet rider. In my haste to plug in before locking the bike in the garage one windy evening I snapped off a piece of the plastic socket housing. Everything still works OK but it's only going to get worse. Give me a robust co-axial socket every time.

And although the light behaved impeccably throughout its guarantee period, soon afterwards the recharging indicator began to flash intermittently or not at all. Once again, charging takes place successfully but now I have to watch the clock rather than rely on the lamp.

Overall I am satisfied with the lights and still think they are from the top end of the market, but they demonstrate beautifully that nothing is perfect. Not even a £100 bike light.

Mike

mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [132 posts]
8th February 2014 - 17:08

4 Likes

One of the main reasons I bought one of the first Lezyne Super Drive lights a couple of winters ago was the fact that I could replace the battery. Extra batteries, as well as chargers and cases for them, are cheap and easy to find on the web. I think it's sad that replaceable batteries have become sufficiently unusual that they now market this as some amazing "infinite light" feature, but having a spare along has allowed me to do several rides I otherwise wouldn't have been able to.

However, it hasn't been quite the perfect light I was hoping for, for two reasons. Firstly, the switch started playing up in (not particularly) cold weather; it sometimes wouldn't register a click, which meant that the light was often stuck in a certain mode, or I had to try for several minutes just to get it to switch on when I headed out. A few times I had to resort to taking the battery out when I got home because it just wouldn't switch off.

Most annoying to me, however, is the bar clamp, which I believe is the same one used on all their "(something) Drive" lights. I'd wanted to use the light on my cyclocross bike, which has auxiliary brake levers on the top of the handlebars. The whole of the clamp's closing mechanism (bolt, bracket, everything) is positioned so that it'll be right in front of the handlebars, and there simply isn't enough distance between my brake levers and the stem for the brake cables to get that far out of the way. So I can only mount the light pointing either at the ground or the sky, neither of which are useful, or radically reposition or remove my brake levers, which I'm not willing to do. No other light or computer clamp I've ever come across has caused this problem. I've seen some very bulky locking mechanisms, but these have been at the back of the clamp where there's never been anything for them to interfere with. I'm disappointed that a company that prides itself on product design clearly didn't test that use case; I'm sure they could design a new clamp that would solve that problem and still work with their existing lights. (Incidentally, I witnessed someone in an LBS decide against a Lezyne light simply because he thought the clamp looked simultaneously flimsy and clunky, without even thinking about the issue I have a problem with.)

TL;DR version: Clamp design means this light could be incompatible with bikes with cross-top levers.

posted by CapriciousZephyr [28 posts]
8th February 2014 - 20:36

14 Likes

Hace you considered replacing the knurled knob with the appropriate sized allan screw?

posted by bendertherobot [285 posts]
9th February 2014 - 10:39

10 Likes

@andyp Flash, as in emitting 250 lumens is slightly less antisocial in traffic than on full on 600 or 1,000 lumens. In my humble opinion.

@MikeOnABike For a light as good as the Mega Drive, which is bright enough to ride full blast on a dark descent, I think £165 is not a lot of money. Compared to say, Exposure Strada or the Luu Turbo Torch 1500 I tested which costs a lot more and is nowhere near as good.

@wesen Just to categorically say that charging DOES work on the Mega Drive.

@CapriciousZephyr If the switch is playing up, I would contact Upgrade Bikes, I have found the distributor to be very helpful in the past.

Iwein Dekoninck's picture

posted by Iwein Dekoninck [113 posts]
9th February 2014 - 16:46

13 Likes

I got one of these for riding on unlit lanes during the dark winter months this year and it has vastly increased the quality of my winter training. 40mph descents on pitch black roads are really no issue with this thing.

I would however still recommend a bright helmet light like the Exposure Joystick to compliment for unlit country roads, as ultimately a bar light only illuminates where the bike points, and you tend to look into a bend before you turn the bike. I say this as someone who absolutely abhors helmet lights for in town use as the most antisocial and needless thing ever, but on unlit Scottish roads the combo cannot be beaten.

posted by giobox [284 posts]
11th February 2014 - 18:43

2 Likes

Stunning light, the best

10 p bracket, the worst.

posted by mylesrants [14 posts]
24th February 2014 - 16:22

3 Likes

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