Lezyne Femto Drive LED front light  £12.99

7/10

Nicely executed bobby dodger with more punch than 15 lumens would suggest

Weight 32g   Contact  shop.upgradebikes.co.uk

by Shaun Audane   March 26, 2014  

Lezyne Femto Drive front

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Lezyne's Femto Drive front LED is another diminutive bobby dodger that can be left adorning the best or TT bike's bars in case of emergencies without adding unsightly clutter or used as an unobtrusive sidekick to dynamo/main systems. However, while mightier than its 15 lumens would suggest, it's hardly the stuff of standalone commuter service.

Your £10.99 buys a beautifully CNC machined aluminium body available in a choice of seven similarly alluring anodised colours. Combining lens and switch also optimises available space while being delightfully simple to navigate in stodgy winter weight gloves. There's no particular wizardry employed in the lens, which is a clear rubberised and seemingly scratch resistant polymer.

Now, I've a soft spot for plug-in rechargeable lighting but it's not the panacea some would suggest. Lezyne has gone the CR2032 route, which are plentiful, relatively economical and cheap when bought in batches. They've also got the balance between enclosure and accessibility bang on courtesy of a clever little 'composite' matrix screw cap that doubles as clothing clip or hook when mounted on the bar via the sturdy silicone strap. Sculpted profiles and smooth textures ensure leech-like tenure to the full zodiac of handlebar diameters, while showing compassion to dun and similar finishes.

Versatility aside, screwed down designs employing O-ring seals offer superior defence against Mother Nature and I wasn't surprised to find the Femto Drive passed my hosepipe torture test with flying colours. That said a few licks of polymer grease around the threads don't hurt.

Powering up is simply a matter of depressing the lens for two seconds and toggling to the desired steady or flashing settings. This is no trickier than anyone else's, prevents unwanted, wasteful engagements and gives a sporting chance of returning 60 hours light from two cells. Experience suggests this depends on cell quality but we've managed 56 hours 15 minutes when alternating between the flashing modes and 27 hours 33 minutes from a fresh set run exclusively in steady.

Round town, this Jack Russell of blinkies has barked our presence to around 200 metres, fast flash proving most captivating when used as an early evening contingency, though its slower, pulsing settings cut asharper swathe through congested neon or as an old school, pre stand light dynamo companion. Uber lumen main systems can sometimes induce unpredictable driver behaviours but strangely enough, the Femto Drive's pulsing modes seemed to temper the retina ticklers and in turn, induce more courteous road craft.

Verdict

Nicely executed bobby dodger with more punch than 15 lumens would suggest.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Femto Drive LED - Front Light

Size tested: Silver, 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?

"The Lezyne Femto Drive Front is a bright, ultra-compact, 15 lm safety light. It features an integrated lens switch made of high-grade optical material, which serves as an activation button that cycles through four Flash modes and one Solid mode. The CNC –machined aluminum body is lightweight, durable, and extremely weather-resistant. The Composite Matrix back cap features the Clip-On System for versatile strapped or clipped mounting.

The multi-position silicon rubber strap attaches directly to the back plate to secure the light to a wide range of handle bar diameters. The Side Visilbility lens extends beyond the body providing 180 degrees visibility, and increasing user safety. The back cap can easily be unscrewed to replace the two CR2032 disposable batteries. The Femto Drive Front is available as a single front LED, or as a front/rear pair (Femto Drive Front and Rear). Replacement CR2032 batteries are also available in packs of 2 and 8."

Broadly concur and when used as a secondary/contingency system.

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

Water resistant, CNC machined aluminium body, choice of seven anodized colours, 15 lumens in either flashing/steady settings. Quoted run times between 30 and 60hours.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Surprisingly high for this end of the market.

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

Simple yet innovative design.

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

Real world figures in fairly close alignment with Lezyne's but will obviously depend on cell quality, extremes of temperature and similar variances.

Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10

More potent than I was expecting given diminutive size and output.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the light for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

Overall, the Femto Drive packs a mighty punch given its dimensions and consumes nominal handlebar space, thus an obvious choice for clutter-free summer builds. However, distinctive beam patterns and battery sipping frugality complement other systems handsomely.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Build quality, clean aesthetic, good design and readily available fuel source.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Nothing given its design brief.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

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

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

regarding the waterproofness, I have one on my commuter (next to a Cateye Nanoshot +) and over the winter it suffered from moisture ingress to the extent where it wouldn't turn on. I had to dry it out at home before it would start up again.

No big deal for me as I had other lights to ride with, but something to bear in mind if you're using it as a fit & forget light and ride in the wet a lot.

posted by ridemybike [8 posts]
26th March 2014 - 16:27

20 Likes

It certainly looks like a nice bit of kit & I would consider buying one however, playing Devil's Advocate, is it strictly legal? It won't have British Standards approval because it has flash and steady modes. Does it have an acceptable EC approval? Confused

posted by Graymee2 [2 posts]
26th March 2014 - 16:35

18 Likes

Really love the article, really love the lights, but one thing I dont like is deciphering the hell out of a overly complicated wordplay. It is appreciated in small doses, however.

posted by mudrush [11 posts]
26th March 2014 - 18:39

19 Likes

I've one of these for a rear light, mainly bought as a back up but its bright enough for country lanes on its own. My only gripe with it is you can easily over-tighten the battery cover, such that it won't turn on (as I assume the connections are compressed/damaged slighty by doing this). So, I've untightened it a bit and this has the opposite effect, in that any pothole/bump can turn the thing off. Its a bit annoying having to look down to check its still on all the time..! Recently I think I've got the tightness about right as its not switched itself off for a while but I'd like to see them address this annoyance.

I agree on the clever wordplay of the article too - good in small doses but not across the entire page.

Zermattjohn's picture

posted by Zermattjohn [72 posts]
28th March 2014 - 12:11

16 Likes

A bobby dazzler of a review and great little lights. I have front and rear and they are perfect for early morning rides in low light as they weigh next to nothing, are easy to swap from bike to bike and are pretty bright - at least when the batteries are new. Cheap too. I got my set for about £12 or so.

...

posted by AlexStriplight [69 posts]
28th March 2014 - 20:51

17 Likes

The Lezyne femto light is a bitch, and I spanked it.

Dab of oppo, anyone? Applause

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
28th March 2014 - 21:48

15 Likes

I have front rear of these. The front one is OK but the rear one does not turn on. If I do manage to turn it on then it does not turn off. The lens doubling as a switch would be a clever idea - if it worked.

posted by earth [104 posts]
31st March 2014 - 11:04

19 Likes

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