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Verdict: 
A good value light that is ideal for urban commuting, but a disappointing battery life
Weight: 
82g
Lezyne Hecto Drive 400XL
6 10

The Lezyne Hecto Drive 400XL front light is a compact and colourful addition to your bike that ensures you can both see and be seen throughout the winter months.

  • Pros: Compact, range of settings, colour options, good value
  • Cons: Battery life

The light is fairly small, compact and lightweight. It comes in five different colour: silver, black, red, blue, or purple. While it doesn't affect the performance of the light, I do like the fact that it comes in this range of colours to brighten up your bars, something few brands offer with their lights.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The rubber strap makes the light very easy to mount, remove and swap between bikes, while still being very secure. It offers plenty of options to fit different diameters and sat securely on all my bikes, including the more aero profile bar on my race bike. I was especially impressed to find that it also has settings small enough to fit on the aero bars on my time trial bike, something few lights do. The strap is thick and durable and has shown no signs of wear so far.

The light charges directly from an integrated USB stick, meaning there are no cables to misplace or forget. This was particularly convenient if I needed to charge it between commutes during the day. Unfortunately, this was something I had to do fairly regularly when commuting in full darkness since the battery life is quite short. Charging time, however, is also fairly short at just over two hours for a full charge.

On the 400-lumen full beam setting, the battery life is just one hour. On the beam comparison engine above, this appears somewhat dimmer than both the Moon Meteor C3 and Oxford Ultratorch Pro 300 recently tested, despite claiming a higher output. It is bright enough for the occasional unlit street, but I wouldn't hit daytime riding speeds using this on dark lanes.

The limited battery life means that particularly long commutes in the dark or night rides are out of the question too. However, on some of the dimmer or flashing modes the battery lasts upwards of 10 hours and is great for being seen on street-lit roads.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2017/2018 front lights for cycling

In total, the Hecto Drive offers eight different modes, with four full beams from 400 lumens down to 15, three flashing modes and a pulse mode. For a fairly budget light, the wide range of settings is impressive and great for inner city commuting. The mode memory function is also useful, meaning the light turns on in the same mode that was last used.

An LED in the power button changes colour in several stages to indicate just how much battery life remains, which is really useful and helped remind me to charge the light between rides.

According to Lezyne, the light has a water resistance rating of IPX7, effectively meaning that it is safe in the rain but shouldn't be submerged for long periods of time. I have so far had no issues at all when riding in the rain or cleaning the light with a damp cloth. It has also survived being thrown around and dropped several times – all in the name of testing, naturally! – and appears to be fairly hardwearing.

With an RRP of £33, this is one of Lezyne's cheaper offerings. It is very good value and can currently be found online from several sites for under £30. However, the Moon Meteor C3 mentioned earlier is a little cheaper and also reviewed very well, and though it only has a 300lm full beam it's pretty bright according to the road.cc beam comparison engine (and Shaun who tested it), and has a slightly longer run-time on high of 1:30. If you want something more powerful for longer commutes or night rides without spending too much more, Kryptonite's Street F-450 is worth a look, as is the latest Cateye Volt 500XC I've also been testing (review to come).

Verdict

A good value light that is ideal for urban commuting, but a disappointing battery life

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Hecto Drive 400XL

Size tested: 400 lumens

Tell us what the light is for

Lezyne doesn't tell us much except that it is: 'A multi-purpose performance LED cycling light.'

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

Lezyne lists:

Compact, durable and heat-dissipating CNC machined aluminum construction.

Ultra high-output LED delivering up to 400 lumens.

Mode Memory function returns to selected mode after turning off.

Seven combined lumen and flash modes.

Enhanced MOR (Maximum Optical Reflection) lens with built-in side visibility.

Integrated cable-free recharging USB stick.

Versatile strap securely mounts to all standard bar shapes, including aero bars.

Advanced Li-Poly battery for superior run time.

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

Very simple to use and the mode memory function means it turns on in whatever setting was last used.

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

Really easy to switch between bikes and yet also secure once on.

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

So far so good when out in the rain. Has an IPX7 water resistance rating.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
5/10

Disappointing battery life, especially on the full 400-lumen setting, but charging time isn't too bad.

Rate the light for performance:
 
6/10

Range of settings has something for just about every situation, and the full 400 lumens mode is bright and wide enough for the occasional unlit street.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Particularly like the rubber strap design, which seems very sturdy and has shown no signs of wear.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

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

The beam is both wide and bright on the 400-lumen setting and the range of modes is great for both seeing and being seen when commuting, but I wouldn't rely on it for longer rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The integrated USB charger is great.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Battery life.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Generally an impressive little light that's good value but a short battery life.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 21  Height: 164cm  Weight: 56kg

I usually ride: Planet X London Road  My best bike is: Bowman Palace:R

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track

Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross.  Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.

2 comments

Avatar
kompot [20 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I want to back up the review, light is well made, but battery life make it not usable for my 1 hour commute. After 15 minutes at the highest output  battery indicator turns red,and i have to switch to lower brightness and turn down my speed accordingly.  Honestly, I would give 1 star  review max, light without battery is useless. After all I bought second light from cateye, and Lezyne is now just a safety blinker for me. I am dissapointed.

UPD. However, at room tempereature actual run time is 55 min at max power output, but at 0-8 degree celcius running time is significantly shorter. 

Avatar
Simon E [3330 posts] 7 months ago
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Run times are poor. Better to stump up an extra £10 or so for the twin-LED 500XL with claimed run times of 1 hr 45 @ 300 lumens and 3hrs 30 @ 150 lumens.