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Verdict: 
Quality choice across the board for year-round commuting or even extended night rides
Weight: 
185g
Lezyne Super Drive XL front light
8 10

The Super Drive XL is top of the light range offered by Lezyne, and I've been using it as my go-to illumination on my hour+ commute and night rides. It's proven easy-to use and reliable, with lots of useful light and well-designed modes.

As well as looking pretty smart on the design front, the Super Drive XL is an extremely durable bit of kit. It's a compact and smoothly engineered cylinder coming in at 35mm x 110mm long, and weighs a reasonable 136g. Lezyne's classic machined aluminium body has held up well to a hard landings after a couple of nasty drops, and I'm impressed with the coating's scratch resistance and general robustness.

Light Patterns and Beam

Lezyne have a bit of a history of innovative light patterns, and the Super Drive is no exception: With three different steady modes ranging from Overdrive at 575 lumens (run time of 1hr 30min) to Economy at 175 lumens (and a run time of 5hr 45min). The claimed run times are about right. There's also a flash mode which runs for 12 hours on 150 lumens. Cycling through the modes is straightforward with a press of the silicone button, which is easy enough to use, even with gloves.

Saying that, a particularly good feature is the Overdrive Race Mode, which - after a five-second button press - means only Overdrive and Economy are available. This removes the annoyance of cycling through multiple modes if you'll be moving in and out of urban areas and want to be able easily to conserve run time while having power on hand when it's needed.

The indicator light seems a bit temperamental though. On full charge, the colour changes from green (100% charged) to orange (50% charged) within 15 minutes of turning on at full beam. Despite this, I easily got the claimed 90-minute run time on Overdrive, with the red light (10% charge) giving about 10 minutes' warning.

If you're overnight audaxing or taking the long way home, you'll need a longer burn time from a light: Lezyne have this covered too. 'Infinite Light' is a feature on several of their higher end lights, and essentially allows very easy tool-less battery replacement via the screw-on tailcap. The lithium-ion batteries are compact - about the size of those round cigarette lighters.

The beam has an warm tone to it which is easy on the eye compared to some harsher white lights. The beam is a touch on narrow side compared to other lights I've used, but still fully illuminates the road on dark country lanes or fast descents. Side visibility is enhanced a little by concave machining on the sides of the lens.

Attachment

Actually attaching the light to the bike can often be an afterthought; a good light can be let down with a badly designed or awkward mount, but in this case, Lezyne have delivered. The handlebar mount is solid but not overly bulky, with minimal parts to break or rust and a rugged plastic form. Firm attachment to the handlebars is ensured with an ergonomic thumbscrew and there are two quality shims in handlebar diameter specific thicknesses. The light cradle has a smooth 15 degrees rotation, giving very useful lateral adjustment.

It takes some careful positioning and a firm shove to ensure the light clicks into place on the bracket, and I have found it takes a bit of attention to get the light in and out of the mount, but it's a trade off for security. Neither the bracket or light has shown signs of wear on the contact points which is testament to its longevity. One other thing I would have really liked is to be able to quickly and easily swap the bracket between bikes, either by using a heavy duty pull and hook silicone loop, or having a cutout to allow the shaft of the tightening bolt to slide out after loosening slightly, rather than having to completely unscrew.

Charging

Hooking up to a standard charger with the supplied micro USB cable takes up to six hours to reach full capacity, but halves to only two to three hours that if you get a blue flashing light, rather than the normal green on the lamp. This indicates High Efficiency charging, and many of the new smartphone and iPad chargers or other two-amp capacity ones do the job.

Verdict

Quality choice across the board for year-round commuting or even extended night rides.

The light comparator

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Super Drive XL front light

Size tested: n/a

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

All in all, the Lezyne Super Drive XL offers a quality choice across the board for year-round commuting or even extended night riding, with performance to match its sleek looks.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Sleek looks belie a rugged and durable construction - that's quality machined aluminium. Removable parts can often be a let down, but the tailcap and internal battery housing is also very well designed and manufactured.

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

Button is easy to use, as is cycling through the various modes, especially in Overdrive Race mode. It's let down slightly as sliding the light into its bracket is not as smooth as it could be. More clear tactile feedback when the light clicks into place would also be helpful.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

Excellent construction and handlebar grip, but it's disappointing to not be able to swap between bikes more quickly and easily. The light is held firmly in the cradle, but getting it in and out is more awkward than some other designs I've come across.

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

Lezyne state the Super Drive XL is Waterproof to FL1 standard. Riding through all weathers over winter, including some long deluges, and I've not noted any water ingress on inspection. The integrated seal on the tailcap seems to do an excellent job of keeping out any moisture, and there has been no condensation on the lens.

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

Lezyne's quoted run and charge times are about right. The ease of the 'Infinite Light' means you can ride all night, if the minimum 90 min run time on full isn't enough. Ability to use High Efficiency charging and halving charge time is a real bonus too.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

Performed very well right across the board.

Rate the light for durability:
 
10/10

Both light and bracket have held up very well to heavy use on the bike, as well as some heavy handed transportation in bags and on desks.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Aluminium is by nature heavier than a plastic body, but the additional weight is payoff for durable construction and a quality look.

Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

It's not a bargain, but neither is it overly priced compared to others on the market. There are many lights which offer a higher lumen to £ ratio, but that's not all you're getting in this late. You are paying for quality, and Lezyne lights can usually be found cheaper online.

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

Very well across the board.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The warm beam colour and good light modes. General quality feel and solid performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Not being able to swiftly swap between bikes.

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: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 170cm  Weight:

I usually ride: Sabbath September  My best bike is: Van Nicholas Mistral for summer

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, audax

 

12 comments

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cyclingdave70 [33 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I have this light and I think its great, and super bright for a single cell - none lumpy battery job.

One other good thing is that the silicon button also shows the status of the battery during your ride in the form of (fully charged - about to die) fullygreen/partial green/green red/red/partial red.

There is one issue I do have with it and its when I am trying to attach it on to the mount, the rubber cover that covers the USB charging slot, opens back up when being pushed into the mount.
My concern is that dirt could get in to the slot thus stopping it from charging - but hasn't happened yet.

Its fine for my 17/18 mph rides even on lower power mode. (flashing in street lit urban areas)

Charges fine on my Mac!

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 1 year ago
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I got one of these from sport pursuit for an absolute bargain (the loaded version with extra battery and mounts in a hard case) for about £55!

Very good site and worth checking out! - http://www.sportpursuit.com/join/Chris_Brown_8337

Its a brilliant light, used it all winter with no problems. On an unlit cycle path it was more than bright enough to light the way, and also worth noting there was no worry on it being watertight as this was thoroughly tested this winter!

I have had a couple of problems with it, firstly one of the batteries was faulty and wouldn't hold charge, however lezyne replaced it without any problems.

The other problem (and worth watching out for) was that the rubber power button managed to pop out while I was changing modes as I rode along, again lezyne were very quick to send a new one (and a spare) straight away free of charge! The new one was a slightly tighter fit and I've not had the same problem again so it looks like they may have altered the design to address this.

All in all a very good light!

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MKultra [394 posts] 1 year ago
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Sorry but the two problems described are not what I would call minor, I rely on my lights to work in all weathers when commuting and dodgy batteries and rubber buttons popping off would see it returned or binned.

And won't buy Cateye for the same reason.

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jamtartman [55 posts] 1 year ago
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I have 3 of these. Picked up dirt cheap end of last year. Used in all weathers with no problems. A pair mounted on the bars of my winter bike allow full speed down unlit country lanes and give plenty of warning to cars from either direction.

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oddbydefault [82 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
MKultra wrote:

Sorry but the two problems described are not what I would call minor, I rely on my lights to work in all weathers when commuting and dodgy batteries and rubber buttons popping off would see it returned or binned.

And won't buy Cateye for the same reason.

It's worth noting that Lezyne have a 2 year warranty on their lights.

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a.jumper [845 posts] 1 year ago
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Surely that beam shape isn't legal for road use? Looks like it would dazzle oncoming road users. Compare the beam shape plot with road-legal lights like the B&Ms to see just how much too high it is.

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MKultra [394 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
oddbydefault wrote:
MKultra wrote:

Sorry but the two problems described are not what I would call minor, I rely on my lights to work in all weathers when commuting and dodgy batteries and rubber buttons popping off would see it returned or binned.

And won't buy Cateye for the same reason.

It's worth noting that Lezyne have a 2 year warranty on their lights.

It's worth noting that all manufacturers in the UK are in fact obliged under EU law to provide a 2 year warranty, many of them do not advertise this as of yet but you have redress of complaint for 24 months from the date of purchase.

Having said that I don't care if it's got a two year warranty and it can be sent back as that's no use by the road side in the middle of winter, it's a bike light and I need it to be reliable in all weathers every time I mount up. Yes I always carry a backup and a head torch but I would rather my main light did not fail in the first place.

I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling about buying something as simple as a torch from a manufacturer that persistently gets online reviews mentioning poor build quality. What they seem to be selling are cheap Chinese LED lights in a slightly breathed upon housing to make them look more expensive than they are.

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giobox [352 posts] 1 year ago
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The Super Drive XL is top of the light range offered by Lezyne

I'm pretty sure that's not the case. It's quite clearly their mid-range offering

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chrisb87 [70 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The faulty battery was the spare, can easily happen with any battery and the replacement has been fine.

As for the button, yes this was a bit of a let down but as I said the new one they sent me has stayed put without any trouble.

Both problems happened in the first week of using the light (this was last August) and have not happened again since.

My cateye rear light I bought the same week however hasn't held up so well so will be looking for something new this winter.

Guess I was just unlucky, but despite those two issues I'd happily buy another.

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KiwiMike [1074 posts] 1 year ago
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First time use last night on 20-mile club pub run on country lanes with no lighting. The overdrive race mode was very handy. Used it as a hi/low beam, probably half on each. After a few hours of this I still had about 1/3 bty left.

Low is good enough for climbing hills and rolling along at say 15kph, the Hi isn't really much use over 20kph. So don't buy this thinking you'll be able to bomb it - unless you like riding into the dark.

Noting you can mount it upside down perfectly well - Lezyne advised me that's how loads of their staff run theirs. It does improve things if you are running external gear cables, as the backscatter from the light hitting the gear cable does diminish the perceived brightness.

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Batdan [9 posts] 1 year ago
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Not madly impressed with this light.
Output is just about okay but design is frustrating. If you mount the unit the conventional way up make sure to regularly check thumbscrew for tightness as it will work loose, upside down mounting makes this easier but then accessing the button becomes a real pain.
My reserve indicator display bears no relation to the actual state of the battery.
The USB connection is very fiddly and prone to water ingress if you're not careful with the rubber cover.
Too many niggley faults for the money.

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Brawn [2 posts] 2 months ago
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The beam shape is ridiculous. I get high beamed by every second car until I point the light so far down at the ground I worry I am going to ride into something. It is like they put the LED too close to the front and so the light just goes everywhere! I am planning on putting some tape on the top or attaching something to the top to cut down on blinding drivers.