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Verdict: 
Good output and battery life from a small light, but an annoying clamp and mode selection
Weight: 
257g
Lezyne Super Drive 1250XXL
6 10

Lezyne's Super Drive 1250XXL sits second tier in its Performance range of front lights, and for the price of £104.99 it offers a lot of bang for its buck. The actual light that is; the clamp is a bit of a pig.

The main body is a CNC machined lump of alloy, which always provides a quality starting point in terms of aesthetics and all-round durability, with it being a pretty much sealed unit to keep water and dirt out.

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At the rear you'll find a tight fitting rubber cap, which covers the charge port, and it works well with no signs of water ingress when riding in heavy downpours for a few hours. The rubber cap is quite bulky though, which can make inserting the supplied USB cable a bit of a pain as it sits a good half an inch inside the light body.

Performance is good, with the maximum output being selectable when in the Overdrive setting – a claimed 1250 lumens. This lights the road up for a fair distance, although I'd say it is a little too bright for oncoming cars, especially as our beam comparison engine shows the light pattern as being quite round with a bit of a peak at the top, mimicking its LED layout. Personally I'd prefer a wider, flatter beam for road use, like that of the similarly sized and shaped Hope R2i tested back in 2015.

Losing that bit of extra width means the 1250XXL doesn't have the spread to pick up both verges on a country lane descent clearly enough, affecting perception.

Going back to Overdrive mode, once selected by pushing the main button for five seconds, you have two modes available to you. The 1250 lumen (1hr 50m burn time) and 250 lumen Economy (9:15) which is a bit of an odd choice. I'd like to have seen the 625-lumen (3:45) Enduro mode from the Race setting used instead, as the 250 lumen isn't bright enough to use on unlit roads. Using a 1250/625 combo would give you good output for general use, with the Overdrive being available for high speed technical sections – a main beam/dipped beam setup like you would use on your car.

For the majority of my riding, then, I was using the Race setting where you get a choice of five modes: 950 lumen (2:40) Blast, 625 lumen (3:45) Enduro, 250 lumen (9:15) Economy, and two 'be seen by' 150-lumen offerings, Flash (30:00) and Pulse (35:00). Both of these last two are bright enough to be seen during daylight hours without being too high powered for riding in urban traffic at night. I never found it ideal filling a driver's rear view mirrors with a strobing sun at rush hour.

Again I've got some niggles here. I'm not a fan of having to scroll through a flash mode to get from low beam back to high again. For instance, I might want the brightest setting because I've just turned onto an unlit road from a lit one, so at the darkest point of my ride I have to go through a flash and a pulse before being able to see again. I'd prefer to see them on a separate setting of their own.

Saying that, though, the three solid modes are perfect for flicking between on the road for various conditions and help to really prolong the battery life. You can easily do a three-hour-plus ride without worrying about running out of juice.

The main power button is lit and shows various colours for differing battery life: green for full, red for 50%, before flashing red when you have just 5% left. Burn times were very close to those quoted once the battery had run a few cycles, as it is normally after three charges that they settle down.

Charge times can take up to eight hours from flat, or six if you use high efficiency charging from some USB ports.

> Read our guide to the best front lights

The clamp is a curved piece of rubber attached to the base of the light, with a ladder style rubber band looping around the handlebar and over the clip of the bracket to keep things tight. To make fitting easier, you can twist the light body by 90 degrees to attach the rubber band.

The trouble is, the light not only slips around the bar (a 257g light is quite a lump for such a small clamp to hold firm), but on rough roads it can easily twist left and right rather than pointing straight. I felt that I was constantly tweaking the light to get things right. There is the option of purchasing an alloy thumbscrew clamp for £11.99, which I think would make a good investment.

As far as value is concerned, I think the 1250XXL is pretty reasonably priced against similar others I've tested. It feels just as well made and durable as the Hope R2i I mentioned earlier, and even if you consider adding the alloy clamp the Lezyne comes in at around 70 quid cheaper. They are practically the same weight with similar power outputs too, although as I have already said the R2i has a much better beam pattern and is just so much better to live with on a daily basis. So it's a toss-up of how much extra you'd pay to avoid the frustrations of the 1250XXL.

The recently tested Tumble & Fall sounds like it suffers from a lot of the same issues as the Lezyne, and although brighter for the same money, it is much heavier.

In conclusion, there's a lot to like about the Lezyne; it's a solid feeling light with some decent modes and burn times, but there are too many niggles for me to be able to live with it on a daily basis, for commuting, for instance.

Verdict

Good output and battery life from a small light, but an annoying clamp and mode selection

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Super Drive 1250XXL

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?

Lezyne says: "Super high-performance LED cycling light with excellent night riding capabilities. Compact, durable and heat-dissipating CNC machined aluminum construction. Three market-leading, ultrahigh-output LEDs delivering up to 1,250 lumens. Optimized Constant Lumens system maintains steady lumen output throughout battery cycle. 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). Ultra rugged and pliable strap securely mounts to all standard bar shapes. Advanced Li-Ion battery for superior run time."

On the whole I think the Super Drive is decent light with a good selection of modes but it's let down by the clamp.

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

CNC machined aluminium body

Overdrive - 1250 lumen

Blast - 950 lumen

Enduro - 625 lumen

Economy - 250 lumen

Flash - 150 lumen

Pulse - 150 lumen

Max burn time - 35hrs

Min burn time - 1hr 50

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
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
 
5/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10
Rate the light for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the light for value:
 
6/10

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

The light itself performs well enough and it is very well made.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Durability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The clamp not remaining centred.

Did you enjoy using the light? Light yeah, clamp no.

Would you consider buying the light? No

Would you recommend the light to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your score

The Super Drive on its own is a pretty good light, it's very well made and comes with a decent output against battery life, but that clamp is just infuriating. The modes can be frustrating too, as I'm not a fan of having to scroll through flash and strobe to get back to full beam. A lot to like but needs some refining.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

3 comments

Avatar
cdamian [139 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I don't know why they replaced the clamp. I bought the Deca Drive 1500XXL a year ago and it came with a proper clamp that is very stable.
You can still order them as accessories, there is a plastic and aluminium version. http://www.lezyne.com/product-led-acc-cmhandlebrmt.php#.WH_YFb3TXqA

I think the boxed version with accessories also contains these plus the helmet mount.

I quite like the full blast/economy mode, it works well for my commute which is a mix between city and dark country roads.

Avatar
asdfqwerty [14 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Agree on Lezyne's overdrive mode selection - I have the 600XL and it switches between 600 and 150 lumens; the 150 lumen mode is fine for saving the battery on sections of road I know extremely well, but something a bit brighter would've been more functional.

Avatar
MoutonDeMontagne [57 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

A bit suprised by the compaints about the clamp. I've been using mine for around 6 months now both daily for commuting and some night cross and found it to be very secure with no wobble or movement what so ever. It takes a bit of muscle to pull the band tight, but once its on its quite tight. 

The overdrive mode is a bit of a faff and agree that the 'dipped' could be better. I quite often ride with it on full if off road on a fast bit then 'dip' it when riding more slowly up hill on a fire track where brightness is less of an issue and to maintain battery life. But it'd be nice to have more of a range in overdrive. But in standard mode rarely find the need for full mode when riding even on unlit roads. 

They're also quite often on offter with >25% off which to my mind makes them a bargain compared to the expousre/hope et al. Helmet mount would be nice, but its quite weighty for your noggin'!