Bike accessory manufacturer Lezyne has been producing some great lights for a while, and the Macro Drive 600XL is no exception.
The Macro Drive is clearly designed for those who, along with the obvious need to be seen at night by other road users, need enough light to blaze their own trail through the night. At the moment I fall squarely into this category, riding to and from work along an unlit bike path in the pitch black. Without a bright and dependable light, I'm in trouble.
The Macro Drive has a wide range of seven different lighting modes that use anywhere between 600 and 15 lumens, giving you claimed corresponding battery run times of between 1.5 and 63 hours. I spent nearly all my time using the light at full power mode, and I can say that the 1.5-hour estimate is pretty accurate.
Accessing any of the lighting modes up to 400 lumens is easy enough, with the single rubber button on the top of the light serving as an on/off switch as well as the button for cycling through the modes.
It gets slightly more confusing when you want to access the top end 600-lumen setting. For this, Lezyne has a separate "Overdrive" mode, enabled by holding the button down for five seconds. Once in Overdrive, you can then only switch between two modes – the 600 lumen one, and a 150-lumen 'economy' setting. I found this ideal for bike path riding, as it is very similar to driving a car down a dark road and switching between dip and full-beam. The full power setting was definitely bright enough to dazzle other riders coming in the opposite direction, so being able to dip the beam was great.
The button also acts as a battery indicator, with different colour LEDs lighting up to show when the battery is at 100% (green), 50% (orange), 10% (red) and 5% (flashing red).
The lens throws a nice flood of light in front of the bike, and you can mount the light underneath the handlebar and still get the same pattern as you would from above. It looks cleaner if you mount it like this too...
Lezyne supplies two handlebar mounts – a simple rubber strap and a more solid plastic quick-release clip that involves unscrewing the rubber strap and attaching a plastic cleat to the base of the light. I was constantly switching the light between a couple of bikes and so used the rubber strap. It was more than secure enough to hold the light, even on very rough surfaces. However, if I were only ever using the light on one bike I would probably switch to the plastic mount, just so the light is always in the same place.
If handlebar lights aren't your thing, Lezyne also supplies a composite helmet mount for the Macro Drive.
The Macro Drive is rated to IPX7, which means it can withstand immersion in one metre of water for up to 30 minutes. I didn't perform this exact test, but it survived any downpours I got caught in without issue.
Recharging is via a micro USB port in the back of the light. Claimed recharge time is 6 hours on a 1 amp supply, or 4 hours on 2 amps, but I tended to charge the light overnight or during a full day at the office. However there were a couple of occasions when I forgot to put the light on charge until later in the afternoon – all in the name of testing, naturally... On these days I always made the hour-long ride home again without the light ever indicating that it was down to its last 5%. The light comes with a charging cable, but if you're using a non-specific one the port can be a touch awkward to reach, as it is recessed into quite a tight space.
Price is another area where this light delivers. When I picked up the light for testing from road.cc towers, in its fancy box, I thought it would be well over 100 quid. This perception continued during testing, with its feel and performance comparing well with lights twice its price or more.
Overall, this is an excellent light. Really, really good. Accessing all the lighting modes is a little bewildering – enough for me to think there were only two settings for quite a while – and the micro USB port can be annoying to access if you're not using the Lezyne cable. Otherwise, it's pretty much spot on. It even looks good in both its colourways, if a bike light can ever be described as 'good-looking'.
Fantastic, a great value light with a myriad of modes for seeing and being seen
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Macro Drive 600XL
Size tested: n/a
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?
High-performance multi-purpose LED cycling light. Compact, durable and heat-dissipating extruded and machined aluminum body. Ultrahigh-output LEDs delivering up to 600 lumens. Optional Overdrive Race Mode toggles between Overdrive and Economy modes only. Mode Memory function returns to selected mode after turning off. Enhanced MOR (Maximum Optical Reflection) lens with built-in side visibility. High-speed 2 Amp USB charging capabilities (with compatible wall adapter). Advanced Li-Ion battery for superior run time.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
From Lezyne's site:
MAX LUMENS: 600
WEIGHT: 142g (without strap mount)
RECHARGE TIME: 6hrs (1A) / 4hrs (2A)
COLORS: black, silver
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly – that pun had to get in somewhere.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Price, looks, lighting modes, battery life, mounting options...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Accessing the lighting modes was a little confusing, and accessing the charging port with a non-Lezyne cable could be a little annoying.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Absolutely
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Definitely
Use this box to explain your score
It's an excellent compact and powerful front light for £60, capable of lighting up dark roads and paths well enough for riding at a good pace.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: The first steel bike I made
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking