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The Super Drive XL is top of the light range offered by Lezyne, and I've been using it as my go-to illumination on my hour+ commute and night rides. It's proven easy-to use and reliable, with lots of useful light and well-designed modes.
As well as looking pretty smart on the design front, the Super Drive XL is an extremely durable bit of kit. It's a compact and smoothly engineered cylinder coming in at 35mm x 110mm long, and weighs a reasonable 136g. Lezyne's classic machined aluminium body has held up well to a hard landings after a couple of nasty drops, and I'm impressed with the coating's scratch resistance and general robustness.
Lezyne have a bit of a history of innovative light patterns, and the Super Drive is no exception: With three different steady modes ranging from Overdrive at 575 lumens (run time of 1hr 30min) to Economy at 175 lumens (and a run time of 5hr 45min). The claimed run times are about right. There's also a flash mode which runs for 12 hours on 150 lumens. Cycling through the modes is straightforward with a press of the silicone button, which is easy enough to use, even with gloves.
Saying that, a particularly good feature is the Overdrive Race Mode, which - after a five-second button press - means only Overdrive and Economy are available. This removes the annoyance of cycling through multiple modes if you'll be moving in and out of urban areas and want to be able easily to conserve run time while having power on hand when it's needed.
The indicator light seems a bit temperamental though. On full charge, the colour changes from green (100% charged) to orange (50% charged) within 15 minutes of turning on at full beam. Despite this, I easily got the claimed 90-minute run time on Overdrive, with the red light (10% charge) giving about 10 minutes' warning.
If you're overnight audaxing or taking the long way home, you'll need a longer burn time from a light: Lezyne have this covered too. 'Infinite Light' is a feature on several of their higher end lights, and essentially allows very easy tool-less battery replacement via the screw-on tailcap. The lithium-ion batteries are compact - about the size of those round cigarette lighters.
The beam has an warm tone to it which is easy on the eye compared to some harsher white lights. The beam is a touch on narrow side compared to other lights I've used, but still fully illuminates the road on dark country lanes or fast descents. Side visibility is enhanced a little by concave machining on the sides of the lens.
Actually attaching the light to the bike can often be an afterthought; a good light can be let down with a badly designed or awkward mount, but in this case, Lezyne have delivered. The handlebar mount is solid but not overly bulky, with minimal parts to break or rust and a rugged plastic form. Firm attachment to the handlebars is ensured with an ergonomic thumbscrew and there are two quality shims in handlebar diameter specific thicknesses. The light cradle has a smooth 15 degrees rotation, giving very useful lateral adjustment.
It takes some careful positioning and a firm shove to ensure the light clicks into place on the bracket, and I have found it takes a bit of attention to get the light in and out of the mount, but it's a trade off for security. Neither the bracket or light has shown signs of wear on the contact points which is testament to its longevity. One other thing I would have really liked is to be able to quickly and easily swap the bracket between bikes, either by using a heavy duty pull and hook silicone loop, or having a cutout to allow the shaft of the tightening bolt to slide out after loosening slightly, rather than having to completely unscrew.
Hooking up to a standard charger with the supplied micro USB cable takes up to six hours to reach full capacity, but halves to only two to three hours that if you get a blue flashing light, rather than the normal green on the lamp. This indicates High Efficiency charging, and many of the new smartphone and iPad chargers or other two-amp capacity ones do the job.
Quality choice across the board for year-round commuting or even extended night rides.
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Make and model: Lezyne Super Drive XL front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
All in all, the Lezyne Super Drive XL offers a quality choice across the board for year-round commuting or even extended night riding, with performance to match its sleek looks.
Sleek looks belie a rugged and durable construction - that's quality machined aluminium. Removable parts can often be a let down, but the tailcap and internal battery housing is also very well designed and manufactured.
Button is easy to use, as is cycling through the various modes, especially in Overdrive Race mode. It's let down slightly as sliding the light into its bracket is not as smooth as it could be. More clear tactile feedback when the light clicks into place would also be helpful.
Excellent construction and handlebar grip, but it's disappointing to not be able to swap between bikes more quickly and easily. The light is held firmly in the cradle, but getting it in and out is more awkward than some other designs I've come across.
Lezyne state the Super Drive XL is Waterproof to FL1 standard. Riding through all weathers over winter, including some long deluges, and I've not noted any water ingress on inspection. The integrated seal on the tailcap seems to do an excellent job of keeping out any moisture, and there has been no condensation on the lens.
Lezyne's quoted run and charge times are about right. The ease of the 'Infinite Light' means you can ride all night, if the minimum 90 min run time on full isn't enough. Ability to use High Efficiency charging and halving charge time is a real bonus too.
Performed very well right across the board.
Both light and bracket have held up very well to heavy use on the bike, as well as some heavy handed transportation in bags and on desks.
Aluminium is by nature heavier than a plastic body, but the additional weight is payoff for durable construction and a quality look.
It's not a bargain, but neither is it overly priced compared to others on the market. There are many lights which offer a higher lumen to £ ratio, but that's not all you're getting in this late. You are paying for quality, and Lezyne lights can usually be found cheaper online.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well across the board.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The warm beam colour and good light modes. General quality feel and solid performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Not being able to swiftly swap between bikes.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
Age: 23 Height: 170cm Weight:
I usually ride: Sabbath September My best bike is: Van Nicholas Mistral for summer
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, audax