The Lezyne Mega XL might be just the ticket for you if you're into long rides and you want to follow a route from your handlebar. You'll not find a GPS computer with mapping that gives you a better run-time than this one, and overall the routing works pretty well. There are some usability issues along the way, and it's not the most attractive unit out there, but it's a well-specced computer for audax and distance riding.
- Pros: Massive battery life, offline mapping and routing, easy to configure from the app
- Cons: Slow activity uploads, desktop route creation is poor, not as intuitive as some competitors
The unit: well made, solid mount
The Mega XL is a fairly chunky GPS. The monochrome LCD screen is quite big, with a 240x400 resolution, and the unit is also fairly deep, to house the big battery that it contains. It doesn't feel over-large, though, and it's happy enough sitting on your stem on the supplied mount without getting in the way.
There's an out-front mount too if you prefer that. Lezyne's mount is a one-eighth turn, so you offer up the computer at 45° and twist it into place. You need to apply a fair bit of downward pressure to get it to twist and lock, but the upshot is that it feels very secure once it's in. It's definitely better than the Garmin quarter-turn, which doesn't have anywhere near as positive an action and doesn't feel as secure.
The Mega XL can be mounted portrait or landscape and you can change the settings to display in either orientation. Personally I preferred it in portrait mode, mostly because that means you get a bit more map ahead of you when you're following a route. But it's perfectly functional in both orientations. Design-wise I wouldn't say it was as polished as units from the likes of Garmin and Wahoo; the Lezyne computers have come on quite a lot in design since they launched, but it has a slightly industrial feel to it.
In use: Lots of data, easy to configure on the app
The Mega XL can have up to five pages of data, with up to 10 data fields on each. In the unlikely event that you regularly like to look at 51 different metrics on a ride, I guess you're out of luck, but realistically there's enough space there for anyone. If you've paired your phone to the GPS you can change the displays through the app, which is about a thousand times quicker than trying to do it on the on-screen menus. It has the additional benefit that you can see all the data screens on one page, so it's much easier to remember what you've put on them all.
You can also change the general settings on the device – screen settings, navigation, personal data, and so on – so you rarely need to dive into the menus on the device itself. That's good news, because the Lezyne user interface, although it has certainly improved over the last couple of years, still has quite a functional feel, as though it's been designed by an engineer rather than someone thinking about the user experience. It's usable, but it's not as friendly as some of the alternatives.
The Mega XL pairs to Bluetooth and ANT+ sensors. I successfully paired it with Lezyne's own heart rate strap on Bluetooth, a Wahoo TICKR strap on ANT+, Garmin Vector 2 pedals on ANT+ and a Garmin cadence sensor on ANT+. The connection was reliable, although getting the Bluetooth pairing working was more difficult, possibly because the unit also uses Bluetooth for talking to the smartphone app. Anyway, it's likely that whatever sensors you have will work, and if you get the Loaded bundle (£270) there's a Lezyne HRM strap and speed/cadence sensor included with the GPS, both of which are fine.
Out on the road the Mega XL is easy to use. The location fix from the GPS and GLONLASS networks is nice and quick. The screen is clear in all light conditions, and in riding mode the enter button turns the backlight on and off as and when you need it. The two topmost buttons – which are quite small and can be a fiddle in gloves – toggle through the data screens, and also the mapping and navigation screens if you're following a route. There's a built-in altimetric barometer for good-quality altitude data.
As a general-use computer for recording your rides it's good, but there are plenty of other, cheaper options that will do that sort of thing. If you're looking at the Mega XL you're probably doing so because it'll do mapping and routing, or because it has a long battery life, or both. Let's look at the mapping first.
Downloading mapping: easy on desktop, slow on mobile
To get maps on your Mega XL you need to download and transfer them. You can do this in one of two ways. On the desktop (Lezyne Root) you can use the mapping tool to select an area and download it as a file, then drag it on to the GPS via a USB connection; the Mega XL mounts as a drive in a similar way to a Garmin. On the phone app you can do effectively the same thing, using the Bluetooth connection to transfer the mapping to the device.
Downloading and syncing maps from the phone app works, but it's pretty slow. A decent-sized map tile takes a few minutes to generate on the app, and as much as 10 minutes to transfer to the GPS. It's definitely better to do it on desktop when the Mega XL is plugged in, and the phone app acknowledges as much, suggesting the desktop route as the quicker option in a pop-up alert. But if you're out and about and you need a map you don't have, it's possible to get it provided you've got a data connection.
The map segments themselves aren't particularly big files, so you can get plenty of area covered. The biggest map file I've generated is only about 4Mb and covers a square about 50 miles to one side, so with around 60Mb of free space on the Mega XL you should be able to cover somewhere in the region of 40,000 square miles. There's no easy way to see what is and isn't mapped, although that will be coming on the next update of the smartphone app.
Route generation a mixed bag; good on the app
It's fair to say that Lezyne's desktop offering lags behind most of its competitors in terms of usability, and that's being kind. You have to add all your waypoints, and then calculate a route. If you don't get the route you want you can move the waypoints, or you can add more and play around with their order by clicking buttons to make them go up and down in a big list. It feels very convoluted compared with, say, Strava, where you can just drag the route about until you like it. It's not that it doesn't create good routes – it does, generally – just that the interface doesn't make it easy.
The routing algorithm favours smaller roads over bigger ones a lot of the time, to the extent that sometimes it'll have you heading off down something like this:
That doesn't happen very often, to be fair. But if you want to head into town on a fairly major road it can be hard to make the route snap to it, and because you can't drag it around in the editor you're stuck with adding new waypoints, changing their order and recalculating the route. It's a faff. Or you can just ignore the route at that point, of course.
If you really want to create a route in the Lezyne environment, because you really want the turn-by-turn directions, then the best place to do it is the Lezyne Ally app on your phone. Instead of adding all the points and calculating the route, you do it point by point. The app calculates the route, and even gives you a couple of options to choose between points. You can drag the individual points about, too, and the route will be recalculated. It's altogether a much better experience, albeit on a smaller screen. It does beg the question: why doesn't the desktop routing work in the same way? Please make it better, Lezyne.
I don't generally use turn-by-turn notifications, so most of the time I was happy enough importing routes from Strava. If you want turn-by-turn, and you want a better UI than the Lezyne GPS Root one, you can create routes at RideWithGPS and export a .tcx file, which when imported into Lezyne GPS Root should give you the directions you want.
If you've created a route on desktop then it'll automatically sync with your phone app, and if you've created it on the phone it's there already. Then it's just a case of pairing with the GPS, selecting the route and hitting go. If you're not at the start of the route then it'll ask if you want directions there, and once you reach the route you'll get a series of chevrons to follow on the map and turn-by-turn directions with audio notifications at 100m, 50m and 25m, if you've created the route in Lezyne's ecosystem. You'll see them on the map and navigation screens and you can set the unit to pop them up on the data screens too.
Once you've started the navigation you can turn Bluetooth off on your phone to save battery if you like; the routing doesn't need the phone although if you go off-route it won't redirect you without a paired phone and a data connection. I tended to turn the rerouting off anyway. If you've imported a route from another platform you generally just get the line, and not the directions.
I found the routing easy to use and easy to follow. The map display is basic, but there's enough detail that I was never really in any doubt where I was going. There are three levels of zoom available with a long press on the enter key. Most of the time I was happiest just following the line, having created a route on Strava where I found it easier; I don't generally feel I need turn-by-turn instructions though the Lezyne ones worked pretty well.
One thing you can't do with the mapping on the Lezyne is move it around: you're centred on the map and it moves around you. That's fine most of the time, but can be an issue if you find a problem with your route (a closed road, or a muddy byway you don't fancy on your road bike) and you need to work your way around it. The Mega XL could do with either the capability to move the map around, or a zoomed-out screen where you can see your position in relation to the route you're following.
Battery life: prodigious
Once you've started your ride it's likely your legs will give out before the battery does. Lezyne claims a battery life of up to 48 hours for this unit. In real life, when you're pairing to your phone and sensors, and using the backlight, you're not going to get too near that. But even so, this GPS runs for a long, long time before it needs recharging. I've had about 30 hours out of it in a mixed use scenario: sometimes with sensors paired, sometimes with the phone paired, sometimes using the backlight.
If you were prudent with your connections and your lighting needs you'd probably make it up to around 36 hours, which means it might get you to the end of a 600km audax on one charge, or a week of fairly extensive riding on a cycling holiday. That's untouchable (I think) from a unit with mapping right now, so if long battery life is top of your list, so should this be. Most people who ride long distances have a charging strategy that'll involve a battery pack or a dynamo or both; the Mega XL is happy to charge from Micro USB as it's being used, and you can get a fair amount of charge into it at a cafe stop too if you prefer to do that. But you won't need to spend as much time worrying about it, and it's not going to suck up as much of your backup battery, leaving more for your phone.
Bottom line is: it's the class leader here. Bigger trekking-orientated units that take AA cells, such as Garmin's eTrex, will last a full day from one set of batteries, but even they won't go as long as the Mega XL.
The firmware seems to be pretty robust, too. I've recorded some long rides on the Mega XL and deliberately kept it running over the course of a day, and I've never had it freeze on me or corrupt my data. So if you are planning a long ride you can expect the Lezyne to log it properly.
Notifications: if you want them, there they are
Once you've paired your Mega XL to your phone you can allow it to send notifications to the GPS. So if you're expecting a super-important email then you could have the notification pop up on the screen so you can address it. Mostly I just found it annoying, and turned it off. But it's there if you want it, and I'm sure some people will find it useful.
Lezyne Track: useful for peace of mind
Lezyne offers free tracking functionality, so you can share your location with friends or family. It's not a gimmick: Trek-Segafredo directeur sportif Steven de Jonghe quite possibly owes his life to the Strava equivalent after an accident left him unconscious in a ravine on a training ride.
Lezyne's tracking works well: you can turn it on and off, and add contacts who can see you. It works from the phone app rather than specifically from the GPS; when you start a ride your contacts will automatically be emailed to give them a tracking link. You get a lot more data than you do just by sharing your location on Google Maps, for example, so it's easier to see if someone's actually moving and how their ride is progressing. It relies on a cellular data connection, so it won't work all the time if you're heading out into wildest Wales, say, but that's a shortcoming of everything short of a satellite tracker.
Finishing a ride: BTLE makes for slow uploads
When you've finished a ride you can use the phone app to sync your ride with Strava, TrainingPeaks and Today's Plan. I use Strava and I can confirm that the sync works, but it's very slow at times. Uploading a long ride (say, over 100km) takes a good few minutes. It's sufficiently lethargic that I have on occasion found it quicker just to plug the GPS into the laptop when I've got home and manually upload the file. Certainly if your ride is 200km or more, that's pretty much the default workflow if you don't want to be waiting around for ages.
It's not like it doesn't work, but a Bluetooth sync from my Garmin Edge 520 is more or less instantaneous, and even the Xplova X3 I tested recently, which isn't exactly quick to sync, is finished long before the Lezyne. The main reason for this appears to be that the phone pairing is done over BTLE (Bluteooth Low Energy) rather than full-fat Bluetooth, meaning that the data transfer rate is much slower. The payoff for this is longer battery run-times, and as I've noted above, the Mega XL is really in a class of its own there. So if the run-time is the USP for you, you'll probably be able to live with the slow uploads.
Things I didn't try: workouts, Strava Live segments
I'm not on Strava Summit so Live segments aren't something I use (they weren't anyway, even when I was), but the Mega XL supports them. You can sync your starred segments in Strava, and then you get some live information when you ride them: the GPS will tell you if one is coming up, and you'll get a distance to go and a timer on the segment.
You can import workouts from TrainingPeaks or Today's Plan and follow them on the head unit. I can't imagine that it's going to be a major selling point for the Mega XL, but the functionality is there if you want to try it. I'm busy Zwifting on a big screen when I'm indoors, so it didn't really appeal.
Value - about what you'd expect to pay
At £180 it's in the ballpark of computers such as the Garmin Edge 130 and Mio Cyclo 210 – it does some things better and others not as well, but the features are comparable, even if the battery life is not.
Overall: not without some issues, but a solid offering
There's nothing that the Mega XL has issues with – poor desktop route creation, slow activity uploading, the slightly industrial feel to the unit itself and the user interface – that would prevent me from recommending it if you're looking for a computer that will let you follow a route for a long, long time. You might not get the claimed 48 hours out of it, but the Mega XL will still be beeping at you long after everything else has died.
The routing on the device is simple but effective, and the smartphone app gives you plenty of control without having to dive into the complicated menus.
Realistically, this GPS is going to appeal most if your rides extend beyond the battery life of the core of the market. Beyond about 12 hours your options are limited, and past 24 they more or less dry up completely. The Mega XL isn't perfect, but it's very good as a long distance companion.
Huge battery life and usable routing make the Mega XL a very good choice if you're going long
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Mega XL GPS computer
Size tested: 57.5mm (W) x 78.3mm (L) x 26.6mm (H)
Tell us what the product 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, "Designed and engineered in-house utilizing the ultimate in cycling GPS technology, this is a must have device for serious riders. It has a large, 2.7-inch 240x400 high-resolution screen with the option of vertical or horizontal viewing. It can simultaneously pair with Bluetooth Smart or ANT+™ enabled power meters, heart rate monitors and speed/cadence sensors, in addition to compatible electronic drivetrains. When paired with an iOS or Android handheld through the free Lezyne Ally V2 app, the device provides turn-by-turn navigation and phone notifications (incoming calls, texts and message app notifications). It has on-screen preloaded maps, provides turn-by-turn navigation, off-line navigation and can be instantly customized. Live tracking (Lezyne Track) can be activated in the app to let friends and family follow rides in real-time. Furthermore, the device is equipped with GPS/GLONASS, a barometer and an accelerometer. Combined, these greatly improve accuracy and data recording. It also has best-in-class battery runtime of up to 48 hours. All this and a whole lot more."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Durable, composite construction
Super accurate, advanced data recording system combines GPS plus Glonass satellites
Simultaneous ANT+ and Bluetooth® Smart connectivity
Multiple real-time features when paired to the Lezyne Ally app
Barometer and accelerometer
Simple setup through Lezyne Ally phone app
Import .tcx and gpx. Files
Multiple bike profiles
Custom route building
Intuitive four button operation
Lithium polymer battery provides up to 48 hours of runtime
Micro USB rechargeable
Stores up to 800 hours of ride data
Customizable fields and page count (up to 10 fields)
On screen preloaded maps
Custom alerts and auto presets
Extremely weather resistant
Includes X-Lock Standard Mount
RUNTIME: 48 hours
MEMORY: 800 hours max
Computer 57.5mm (W) x 78.3mm (L) x 26.6mm (H)
Screen: 35.3mm (W) x 58.8mm (L)
Receive text, email, phone call and message app notifications when paired to smartphone
Sync rides via Bluetooth Smart to the Lezyne Ally phone app
Instant download of ride files (.fit) via plug-and-play flash drive technology (Windows/Mac) and upload directly to GPS Root website for ride analysis
Auto-sync ride data to Strava, TrainingPeaks and Today's Plan
Pairs with Bluetooth Smart or ANT+ enabled heart rate monitors, cadence/speed sensors and power meters
Connects with compatible electronic drivetrains
Off-line maps and rerouting
Follow structured workouts from Today's Plan and TrainingPeaks
Live Tracking icon
Strava Live Segments
Heart Rate*: Current, Average, Max.
Cadence*: Current, Average
Power* (6 data display options)
Training Specific Fields: TSS®, NP®, IF®
Electronic drivetrain data
Speed: Current, Average, Max./li>
Distance: Current, Trip Total, Trip 2, Odometer
Time: Ride Time, Clock
Laps and lap averages
Elevation: Ascent, Descent, Current
GPS signal strength
Battery life indicator for device and paired devices
Connected devices icons
Bread crumb trail page
Heart Rate Flow Sensor
Cadence Speed Flow Sensor
Direct X-Lock Standard Mount
Micro USB Charging Cable
Nicely made, the mount design is especially good.
Overall, with everything (app and desktop) considered: good.
Chunky, feels built to take a few knocks.
Not the lightest but it's only 81g.
About what you'd expect to pay given the features.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall it's good, and if you're interested in routing and long rides – and you probably would be if you're looking at the Mega XL – then it's very good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Battery life, clear screen, routing on the app and unit works well, mount is excellent, well built.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Industrial feel to the design and UI, desktop route planning is poor, upload of activities is very slow.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Did you enjoy using the product? A bit fiddly at times but overall yes.
Would you consider buying the product? If I was planning a Super Randonneur series, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they liked long rides, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Probably overall, taking everyone's use cases into account, it'd be more like a 7. But the Mega XL is really defined by its battery life and routing/mapping, which narrows its appeal. For people looking for a computer for that sort of riding – following longer routes – it performs very well, even with its foibles.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.