Lezyne's Femto Drive front LED is another diminutive bobby dodger that can be left adorning the best or TT bike's bars in case of emergencies without adding unsightly clutter or used as an unobtrusive sidekick to dynamo/main systems. However, while mightier than its 15 lumens would suggest, it's hardly the stuff of standalone commuter service.
Your £10.99 buys a beautifully CNC machined aluminium body available in a choice of seven similarly alluring anodised colours. Combining lens and switch also optimises available space while being delightfully simple to navigate in stodgy winter weight gloves. There's no particular wizardry employed in the lens, which is a clear rubberised and seemingly scratch resistant polymer.
Now, I've a soft spot for plug-in rechargeable lighting but it's not the panacea some would suggest. Lezyne has gone the CR2032 route, which are plentiful, relatively economical and cheap when bought in batches. They've also got the balance between enclosure and accessibility bang on courtesy of a clever little 'composite' matrix screw cap that doubles as clothing clip or hook when mounted on the bar via the sturdy silicone strap. Sculpted profiles and smooth textures ensure leech-like tenure to the full zodiac of handlebar diameters, while showing compassion to dun and similar finishes.
Versatility aside, screwed down designs employing O-ring seals offer superior defence against Mother Nature and I wasn't surprised to find the Femto Drive passed my hosepipe torture test with flying colours. That said a few licks of polymer grease around the threads don't hurt.
Powering up is simply a matter of depressing the lens for two seconds and toggling to the desired steady or flashing settings. This is no trickier than anyone else's, prevents unwanted, wasteful engagements and gives a sporting chance of returning 60 hours light from two cells. Experience suggests this depends on cell quality but we've managed 56 hours 15 minutes when alternating between the flashing modes and 27 hours 33 minutes from a fresh set run exclusively in steady.
Round town, this Jack Russell of blinkies has barked our presence to around 200 metres, fast flash proving most captivating when used as an early evening contingency, though its slower, pulsing settings cut asharper swathe through congested neon or as an old school, pre stand light dynamo companion. Uber lumen main systems can sometimes induce unpredictable driver behaviours but strangely enough, the Femto Drive's pulsing modes seemed to temper the retina ticklers and in turn, induce more courteous road craft.
Nicely executed bobby dodger with more punch than 15 lumens would suggest.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Femto Drive LED - Front Light
Size tested: Silver, front 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?
"The Lezyne Femto Drive Front is a bright, ultra-compact, 15 lm safety light. It features an integrated lens switch made of high-grade optical material, which serves as an activation button that cycles through four Flash modes and one Solid mode. The CNC –machined aluminum body is lightweight, durable, and extremely weather-resistant. The Composite Matrix back cap features the Clip-On System for versatile strapped or clipped mounting.
The multi-position silicon rubber strap attaches directly to the back plate to secure the light to a wide range of handle bar diameters. The Side Visilbility lens extends beyond the body providing 180 degrees visibility, and increasing user safety. The back cap can easily be unscrewed to replace the two CR2032 disposable batteries. The Femto Drive Front is available as a single front LED, or as a front/rear pair (Femto Drive Front and Rear). Replacement CR2032 batteries are also available in packs of 2 and 8."
Broadly concur and when used as a secondary/contingency system.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Water resistant, CNC machined aluminium body, choice of seven anodized colours, 15 lumens in either flashing/steady settings. Quoted run times between 30 and 60hours.
Surprisingly high for this end of the market.
Simple yet innovative design.
Real world figures in fairly close alignment with Lezyne's but will obviously depend on cell quality, extremes of temperature and similar variances.
More potent than I was expecting given diminutive size and output.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Femto Drive packs a mighty punch given its dimensions and consumes nominal handlebar space, thus an obvious choice for clutter-free summer builds. However, distinctive beam patterns and battery sipping frugality complement other systems handsomely.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Build quality, clean aesthetic, good design and readily available fuel source.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing given its design brief.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)