Lezyne's Mini Drive 400XL is a compact, bright and easy-to-charge LED light for commuting and backup duties.
- Pros: Compact, easy to use
- Cons: Limited run-time in 400-lumen mode
This is a light to be seen by rather than to see where you're going, but if you do find yourself on an unlit road it casts a usable beam with enough brightness from its 400-lumen highest mode that you can usefully make out the way ahead.
The Lezyne is perfect for daily commuting through towns and suburban environments with a few unlit roads. I wouldn't rely on it as the main beam for countryside commuting, but it makes a very good backup in such circumstances.
The lens encasing the twin LEDs has a useful amount of side visibility, but it could easily be expanded to further increase attention-grabbing of other road users.
Battery life, indicated by the LED in the main power button from green through to flashing red, is generally very good. You can get up to 20 hours' run-time if you use the 15-lumen mode, 5hrs on 75 lumens and 2hrs 30mins on 150 lumens, but just 1hr in the 400-lumen mode. These are the claimed times, but in testing run-time is pretty honest; run on max power it lasted just over an hour before a small red warning light in the on/off button started flashing. At this point it powered down to the eco mode, with flash modes still available. That's preferable to the light going completely flat during a ride.
An optional Overdrive Race mode lets you alternate between the 400-lumen Blast and 75-lumen Evo modes only. That's useful on dark unlit roads – brighter for seeing where you're going and dimming for oncoming cars or if you find yourself on less dark roads. It also helps you eke out the battery life of the most powerful mode; it's a shame the battery doesn't deliver more run-time on the full fat 400-lumen mode.
Alternating between the different modes or using one of the flash settings will get you comfortably through a week of regular riding or commuting. I managed five days of riding without having to top up the battery.
We're seeing lights being used during the daytime much more, especially when it's overcast and rainy. For this scenario, the Mini Drive 400XL packs a Daytime Flash mode using the full 400 lumens, with 7hrs of run-time.
A single button operates the Mini Drive 400XL, turning it on and off and cycling through the eight modes. One neat feature is the memory that means the light turns back on in the same mode you were last using, which saves a lot of time and button pressing.
Charging the Mini Drive 400XL couldn't be easier: no scrabbling for the correct cable, instead it plugs directly into a USB port. A watertight rubber cap easily pops off to reveal the USB connection. There are some reports of this rubber end cap easily falling off, but I didn't find that to be the case.
Charge time is 2hrs 30mins to full, but you can get a reasonable amount of run-time with less charging time.
A large rubber band hooks the Lezyne onto the handlebar easily. It's nice and stable in use and doesn't bounce around over rough roads. The mount is integrated into the base of the light so when you remove it, you leave the handlebar free of vacant mounts.
Construction is very good, and easily up to Lezyne's usual standards. The main unit is CNC machined aluminium with durable rubber and plastic components contributing to a light and rugged design. I've dropped it a few times and it's all good.
It's reasonably priced and packs a decent punch. If you just want a compact, bright and easy to use light for daily commuting in urban settings, it's easy to recommend.
I'd say it's good value too. You can get a bit more oomph for unlit commuting – the Ravemen LR500S costs £34 and packs 500 lumens, plus it runs for a more useful 1hr 54mins – but it isn't as compact or simple to charge.
It's also cheaper than a few 300-lumen lights, such as Infini's Tron 300, which is nicely compact with some similar features, but costs £34.
Sticking with Lezyne, if you want more brightness you could have a look at the Lite Drive 800XL for £57.
Reasonably priced, compact, easy to use – ideal for daily commuting
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL
Size tested: 400 lumens
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?
Lezyne says: "Compact cycling light with a machined aluminium body. A bright, single LED system provides up to 400 lumens and a Daytime Flash mode. Battery runtime has increased by 2.5 hours for up to 20 hours of runtime. It features eight output modes and cut-outs for side visibility. Charging is simple with an integrated cable-free USB stick. It's available in Black & Silver and securely straps to a variety of handle bar shapes and sizes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Max Lumens: 400 lumens.
Max Runtime: 20 hours.
Recharge Time: 2.5 hours.
Colours: Black, Silver.
Super-easy to use.
A complete breeze to set up and get running.
No issues during heavy downpours or the hose-pipe test.
It doesn't last all that long on the brightest mode, but the lower brightness and flash modes eke out the battery to a useful range.
Against other rivals at this price – and slightly higher – it's good value when you take into account the smart design, compact shape and ease of use.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfect for daily commuting, and a good one to use in the daytime and as backup to a brighter main light.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Easy to fit and remove, and the integrated USB stick.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The 400-lumen mode run-time isn't longer.
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
It scores well across the board; it's only the slightly limited run-time in the brightest mode that holds it back.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.