review

Lezyne Zecto Drive rear light

8
£29.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Neat, compact, bright, rechargeable and easy-fitting rear light, for early starts or dull conditions, & fairly priced
Weight: 
47g
Contact: 
www.upgradebikes.co.uk

The Zecto Drive Rear Light from Lezyne is an absolute little gem. It's neat, bright, and clips easily to your bike, helmet or backpack. It's also rechargeable, waterproof and fairly priced.

With three LEDs contained within a red lens 35mm in diameter, and the additional housing a little bigger all round (45x45mm, by 25mm deep), the Zecto Drive Rear Light is very neat and compact. It clips to your bike's seat post via a big rubber band (as do several other types of Lezyne rear light), assuming your seat post is cylindrical. The clip is slightly angled to take account of most seatpost angles, so the beam itself is still pretty much horizontal.

The rubber band means the Zecto Drive light very quick to fit, and easy to swap between bikes. On the downside, this rubber band may have the potential to snap, but it's pretty strong and durable, and as long as you don't over-stretch it (a round a big frame tube, for example) it should be fine.

Another advantage: the rubber band is held in place on one side of the light so you can't accidently lose it. And one slight niggle: the rubber band is not attached to the equivalent position on each side of the light, which has the effect of pulling it slightly to one side, so you need to carefully align it to make sure the beam is pointing straight back towards traffic approaching from behind. It's the work of a moment, but still a slight design oddity that could have been easily avoided.

You can also fix the Zecto Drive to your saddle pack or backpack via the sturdy plastic clip on the back of the light, or even to the belt of your trousers if you're just nipping out to the pub. Ideally, the strip of fabric on your saddle pack needs to be quite thick, otherwise the Zecto's clip will not grip tightly. You can also fit it to your helmet via an additional mount supplied with the light.

The Zecto Drive has six modes, including three different 'flash' patterns (all at 10 lumens, ranging from about three to four hours claimed battery life), constant 'economy' (five lumens, four hours), constant 'blast' (10 lumens, 2:45) and 'daytime' – a very bright double flash (20 lumens, seven hours). In practice, these battery life figures are about right. Towards the end of the charge, the various flash modes switched to constant (although comparatively dull) and kept going for another hour. For those cyclists that use two lights, something with a constant beam plus the Zecto Drive in flash mode would be an ideal combination.

The shape of the beam on the Zecto Drive is fairly narrow and, although the Lezyne website claims 180 degree visibility, in reality the brightness of the light when viewed from the side is pretty minimal – but certainly better than nothing.

Recharging is via a micro USB port and cable which you plug into a USB port on your computer, or into an on-the-wall socket adaptor. It takes a couple of hours via the computer, and there's a set of colourful little indicators to show you when the light is fully charged. The same indicators show you when the light is nearly out of charge as well.

Other features to mention: The on/off/settings button is easy to use, even with gloves on. The aluminium lens ring is available in red, black or silver. The USB port on the light is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, especially as it's additionally protected under the body of the light. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, road spray from the back wheel may eventually penetrate. It may have been more usefully positioned on the side of the light housing.

On price, the recommended retail is a penny under £30, but you can find it discounted by a few quid at your local bike shop and the usual on-line stores.

If you're a commuter or otherwise ride regularly at night in bad weather, there are bigger and brighter rear lights available from Lezyne and other manufacturers, and you can also find rear lights which are either cheaper, physically smaller or have longer battery life. But for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two – perhaps using 'daytime' mode for the bulk of your ride – then one rear light is often enough, and this Zecto Drive is ideal.

Verdict

Neat, compact, bright, rechargeable and easy-fitting rear light, ideal for pre-dawn starts or all-day rides in dull conditions & fairly priced.

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Zecto Drive - Rear Light

Size tested: Red - Rear 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?

This is a rear light, designed for general usage and especially useful for weekend rides where the first (or last) hour or two may be in the dark. Commuters or regular night riders may want something bigger and brighter, or combine the Zecto Drive with another light.

The Lezyne website says this about the Zecto Drive Rear: '... delivering a highly visible 20 lumens in Daytime Flash mode ... Intelligent Power Indicator allows the user to check the power level at any time, and provide Side Visibility, allowing 180 degrees of visibility ... Easily attaches via its Clip-On System, providing for versatile strapped or clipped mounting. The dedicated rear design points upward to ensure light is directed straight back.'

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Construction seems very solid. The aluminium lens ring (rather than plastic) gives extra protection should the light be absolutely dropped. The housing is a mix of solid plastic and rubber.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

The light was very easy to use. The single on/off button has to be pressed for a couple of seconds to turn the light on or off, which means it can't be turned on accidentally. The same button then toggles between the modes. It's sealed inside the rubber mounting material, so weather-protected.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

The options of clip (for saddle pack) and rubber band (to go round seat post) are ideal and work well. The only minor downside is the design oddity which means the rubber band is not attached to the equivalent position on each side of the light, which has the effect of pulling it slightly to one side, so you need to carefully align it to make sure the beam is pointing straight back towards traffic.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

The light's on/off/setting button in inside the rubber housing, so protected from the rain. The micro USB port for recharging is protected by a rubber flap which is certainly enough to keep out the rain, especially as it's additionally protected under the body of the light. If you're riding without mudguards in the rain, road spray from the back wheel may eventually penetrate. It may have been more usefully positioned on the side of the light housing.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
9/10

The Zecto Drive has six modes, including three different 'flash' patterns (all at 10 lumens, ranging from about 3 to 4 hours battery life), constant 'economy' (5 lumens, 4 hours), constant 'blast' (10 lumens, 2 h 45mins) and 'daytime' – a very bright double flash (20 lumens, 7 hours). In practice, these battery life figures are about right. Towards the end of the charge, the various flash modes switched to constant (although comparatively dull) and the light kept going for another hour or so in addition to Lezyne's times. Recharging takes a couple of hours via the computer.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10

There are lights available from other manufacturers which are either brighter, bigger, smaller, or with longer battery life (depending what you need), but the Zecto Drive strikes an ideal balance and, for what it is, performance is excellent.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

The Zecto Drive weighs 52g (with the rubber band) – making it light and compact for the brightness produced. And still sturdy as well.

Rate the light for value:
 
8/10

The recommended retail is a penny under £30, but you can find it discounted by a few quid at your local bike shop and the usual on-line stores. There are bigger and brighter rear lights available from other manufacturers, ideal for commuters and night-riders. You can also find lights which are either cheaper or more expensive. But for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two, this Zecto Drive is ideal, and good value.

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

As mentioned above, the Zecto Drive is ideal for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just an hour or two of darkness, with maybe the light on daytime mode for the bulk of your ride. On this basis, this rear light performed very well for its designed purpose.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Neat, bright, compact, easy to fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

A couple of minor design oddities, but not the end of the world at all

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

The Zecto Drive is great for general weekend cycling where you're making the occasional early start (or a late finish) and need lights for just a couple of hours of darkness. Commuters and regular night-riders will also find the Zecto Drive useful when combined with another light (for example, one on flash, the other on constant).

On this basis, the Zecto Drive is an ideal combination of small physical size and bright light, plus tough construction, easy fitting and easy operation, which would give a score of 9. The design oddities (position of recharge port and rubber band retention clips) and the price (which although fair is not an absolute bargain) together knock off a point, giving an overall score of 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 51  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding - aka rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

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