Lezyne Zecto Drive front light  £29.99

9/10

Compact, rechargeable light that's bright, waterproof & easy to fit

Weight 45g   Contact  www.upgradebikes.co.uk

by David Else   February 14, 2014  

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The Zecto Drive Front Light from Lezyne is a excellent piece of kit. It's designed to alert drivers of your presence, rather than to help you see the way on unlit roads, although it's good at that as well. It clips easily to your bike, helmet or backpack, and is neat and sturdy. It's also rechargeable, waterproof and fairly priced.

Previously on road.cc we reviewed the Lezyne Zecto Drive Rear Light. Needless to say, the front version shares many of the same characteristics, including the three LEDs contained within a lens 35mm in diameter, with the unit itself measuring 45x45mm, by 25mm deep, making it very neat and compact overall.

The Zecto Drive Front Light clips to your handlebars using a big rubber band (as do several other models of Lezyne light) in a matter of seconds, making it very easy to swap between bikes.

The only downside with this fitting method might be the position of your brake and/or gear cables as they exit from under the bar tape – assuming you want to fit the light as near to central as possible. If the cables exit from under the bar tape fairly close to the stem, there might not be room to fit the light onto the bars. Of course, you could fit the light over the bars a bit further away from the stem, but then it might get in the way of your hands when riding on the tops. In addition, if you run your cables under the tape at the front of the bars, rather than below or at the back, the light won't stay in position. All this isn't a criticism of the light, but it's worth keeping in mind before you buy. Of course, if you have cables that are not under the bar tape (or one of those extensions for handlebar-fitting gadgetry) then all this is academic.

You can also fix the Zecto Drive Front to the shoulder strap of a backpack or messenger bag via the sturdy plastic clip on the back of the light. Another option is fitting it to your helmet via an additional clip supplied with the light.

The Zecto Drive Front has six lighting modes, including constant 'economy' (20 lumens, 5 hours), constant 'blast' (40 lumens, 3 hours), and three flash modes (all at 40 lumens, ranging from 3 to 5 hours, depending on how the individual LEDs are employed).

There's also a flashing 'daytime' mode (80 lumens, 6h 45mins); although the light is brighter, it doesn't flash as often, thus extending battery run-time.

To toggle between these modes, or to turn the light on or off, the single button is easy to use, even with gloves on. In practice, the claimed battery run-time figures are about right. Towards the end of the charge, the various flash modes switch to economy constant.

It's important to realise that the Zecto Drive Front is a front light designed for alerting drivers of your presence, rather than seeing your way. Having said that, although this light won't be bright enough for any night-time singletrack expeditions, or for pounding unlit urban cyclepaths, it's absolutely fine for tootling along country lanes after dark.

The Lezyne website claims the Zecto Drive Front has 180 degree visibility, but in reality the brightness of the light when viewed from the side is pretty minimal compared to some commuter-specific lights available from Lezyne and other brands.

Recharging is via a mini-USB port and cable which you plug into a normal USB socket on your computer, or into an on-the-wall socket adapter. 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.

The mini-USB recharging port on the light is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, assuming you position the light with the switch on top and the port underneath. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, or follow a lot of back wheels, road spray may eventually penetrate.

On cost, the Zecto Drive Front's recommended retail price 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. Some places bundle the Zecto Drive front and rear together for extra savings.

If you're a commuter, other lights are available, from Lezyne and other manufacturers, which may be better for alerting car drivers to your presence. Similarly, if you ride regularly at night on dark roads in bad weather, and need to see clearly where you're going at all times, there's a huge range of lights that are bigger and brighter – although they tend to cost more money. On the other hand, you can also find front lights which are either cheaper or physically smaller, but they tend to be not so bright. With this in mind, the price of the Zecto Drive Front is very good for what you get – a light that's an ideal combination of neat, compact, sturdy and bright.

For general winter club-run or training duties 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 – the Zecto Drive Front is highly recommended.

Verdict

Compact rechargeable front light. Bright, waterproof and easy to fit, ideal for pre-dawn starts or all-day rides in dull conditions. Fair price too.

The light comparator

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Zecto 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?

This is a front light, designed for general usage and especially useful for club-runs or training 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: 'The Lezyne Zecto Drive Front is a compact safety light with three LEDs designed with a lightweight and sturdy Composite Matrix and CNC-machined aluminum body. It delivers a highly visible 80 lm in Daytime Flash Mode. The Intelligent Power Indicator allows the user to check the power level at any time, and provides Side Visibility, allowing 180 degrees of visibility and increases user safety. It can recharge any time with a Micro USB cable for ultimate convenience. The light easily attaches via its Clip-On System, providing for versatile strapped or clipped mounting.'

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

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

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

The Zecto Drive front light is well-designed and 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 bag) and rubber band (to go round handlebars) both work well. The only downside might be handlebar fitting fouled by the position of your brake cables, but that's not a criticism of the light itself.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

The mini-USB recharging port on the light is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, assuming you position the light with the switch on top and the port underneath. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, or follow a lot of back wheels, road spray may eventually penetrate. This recharge port may have been more usefully positioned on the side of the light.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

The Zecto Drive Front has six modes, including constant 'economy' (20 lumens, 5 hours), constant 'blast' (40 lumens, 3 hrs), and three flash modes (all at 40 lumens, ranging from 3 to 5 hours, depending on how the individual LEDs are employed). There's also a flashing 'daytime' mode (80 lumens, 6h 45mins). The light was tested in the economy and flashing daytime mode, and these battery run-times were correct. Recharging takes a couple of hours via USB cable into a desktop computer, and there's a set of colourful little indicators to show you when the light is fully charged.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

There are front 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 very good.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10
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.

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

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.

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?

In conclusion, the Zecto Drive Front 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. 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. In addition, the price is fair; although there are cheaper lights out there, very few are as bright or as sturdy. Put all this in the pot, and the Zecto Drive Front earns an overall score of 9.

Overall rating: 9/10

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 and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

This and the back light are both brilliant in every way, apart from side visibility which is practically none.

Still having a very good time with mine though.

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [167 posts]
14th February 2014 - 9:35

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Agreed, the front/rear pair do seem very good.

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

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
14th February 2014 - 12:30

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I wouldn't drop £40 on a strobe, I spent all of £6 quid on a cheapy Rolson LED torch with a strobe function and bar mounted it. It's brighter than 40 lumens and I won't be heart broken when it gets pinched.

posted by MKultra [212 posts]
14th February 2014 - 12:42

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this appears to be very dim compared to other Lezyne units... are those figures correct?

posted by Paul_C [176 posts]
14th February 2014 - 14:40

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I was given them for Xmas, brilliant piece of kit. The lumen output is deceiving, as in use the reflector and lens are simply brilliant, I use them front and rear, mainly during day time as the daylight mode is superb, tend to use ebay special and exposure flare at night.

As lights to have in your pocket if you decide to extend your ride they are perfect.

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

― George Carlin

Cyclist's picture

posted by Cyclist [146 posts]
14th February 2014 - 20:14

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The flap over the USB port might as well not be there when it rains - I've gone through two of these (first one was replaced) in a couple months, as water has got in and destroyed the electronics.

I'm not bothering to get the second one replaced...

posted by Tilesey [9 posts]
14th February 2014 - 23:39

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excellent light have been using mine for about 3 weeks now use it for comuting quite bright and defiantly gets you seen. also have been using the rear which is equally as good. previously i have been using battery powered lights and would never go back to them as they usually don't last that and gets annoying changing the battery's every other week.

bought from the link bellow for £22 and free postage. cheapest i could find online.

http://www.charleysbikeaccessories.co.uk/collections/bike-lights/product...

posted by markwill [20 posts]
17th February 2014 - 14:51

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