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Verdict: 
Ideal for commuters and evening riders at a great price, but fewer modes and/or different groupings would make it even better
Weight: 
153g

The Lezyne Micro Drive Pro 800XL is a great front light for the keen cyclist who commutes and enjoys extending their route home via the lanes. It has decent run-times, recharges fairly quickly and is easy to switch from bike to bike.

  • Pros: Quality build; easy-to-operate switch; not overpriced; hassle-free mounting
  • Cons: Perhaps too many modes that have to be scrolled through; modes not grouped in the most practical way

The Micro Drive Pro 800XL offers be-seen modes as well as a powerful beam that's sufficient for dark night outings on unlit lanes. It will suit most commuters and many keen roadies, a realistic option that will help you avoid the super-powerful, eye-blinding, wallet-emptying elite light category...

> Find your nearest dealer here

Modes, beam and selection

In terms of the beam pattern, it doesn't differ much from its predecessor, the Lite Drive 800XL: a decent central spot with fading edges. On the road, I had absolutely no issue seeing what was coming up, obstacles, potholes and gutter dwelling objects. The lateral cutouts really help here.

Like Stu with the Lite Drive last year, I think eight modes is a bit much, but there's sure to be something to meet your needs and cope with every circumstance on the road.

The modes are split into two groups: Race Mode, where only Overdrive and Economy outputs are selectable, and a normal mode set that contains everything else. To move between the two, you have to switch the light off and then hold the button for five seconds.

Lezyne Micro Drive Pro 800XL - top.jpg

Although I like the idea of having two separate cycles available, I'm not sure the combination of modes is right. I'll explain...

Overdrive is the Micro Drive Pro 800XL operating at its full capacity, 800 lumens (who'd have guessed); this will burn for 1 hour 45 minutes, a whopping 30 per cent increase on its predecessor's run-time in the same mode. I've made use of this for the darkest of lanes but rarely had it on for the duration of a ride. I prefer the 400-lumen Blast mode, which is enough on familiar roads (plus, knowing I have four hours to play with is more comforting).

Overdrive is perfectly sufficient for speeds around 20-22mph; anything slower and I was happy with Blast's 400 lumens. Annoyingly, though, Blast sits between six others in the normal cycle of modes rather than in the Race Mode. Economy, which offers 150 lumens for 19 hours, partners Overdrive in Race Mode. It does offer 10 hours more than 2018's Lite Drive model, but it's just not powerful enough to facilitate riding at higher speeds.

The other solid modes are Enduro (250 lumens/5hrs 30mins) and Femto (15 lumens/87hrs).

The Day Flash mode puts out 800 lumens and is top notch for riding in daytime traffic; EVERYONE notices you! It's followed in the cycle of modes by Flash and Pulse; these two are much better for evening riding in urban areas – they don't send your eyes funny but still make others aware of you.

As I said, cycling through all these modes is a little annoying, but thankfully the button is probably the most user-friendly one I have ever used, which eases the pain. Even with gloved hands it operates efficiently and without hesitation.

Lezyne's Smart Technology works in conjunction with an app on your smartphone to avoid all this faff, but it's only available with the more expensive, powerful models.

The light is compatible with a remote switch but I didn't test this. Personally, I found the operating switch easily accessible and the addition of a cable to operate it doesn't strike me as a huge advantage.

Battery life and charging

The button used to switch the light on and off also displays the battery life. Green for above 50%, amber for 10-50%, red for below 10% and eventually red flashing for less than 5%. It's an idiot-proof system that works for the recharging too.

I've been charging it in a little over 4 hours at home, directly in a wall socket. At work it took 5 hours on my PC. That's about standard for a light of this spec, easily possible to recharge during a working day.

Lezyne Micro Drive Pro 800XL - USB port.jpg

The housing unit itself feels and looks solid and has enjoyed and survived the recent barrage of showers. I still took it into the shower with me to test, and it continues to function without fault. The USB port cover is pretty hefty and needs a firm push to ensure that the seal is engaged. It clearly does its job well.

Mounting

I often find that what you gain in ease of mounting with a rubber bracket, you lose in stability. However, Lezyne has this one sorted. There is absolutely no wobble, even on rough roads. The strap is easy to use and has a ridiculously simple adaptor that means you can mount it on a range of bar widths and shapes without compromising on the fit. Just be sure not to lose the adaptor – it could easily slip into a 'spares' tub or sink to the bottom of a toolbox, never to be seen again.

It's worth pointing out that the light can be twisted on its mount; it's a very stiff movement, no float whatsoever. It means you can mount it on certain helmets if you wish.

I found this twist useful when adding my Garmin to the cockpit; I could twist the light temporarily to engage my Edge and then turn it back to a central position. The connection here has not loosened in the slightest, despite regular turning.

Value

Lezyne has rounded up the price to £60 from last year's model (£57). A palatable and justified increase considering that many of the modes have increased run-times. It certainly holds its own when lined up with the competition.

The Oxford Ultratorch comes in at the same price point for an extra 50 lumens, but Stu wasn't overly impressed with its beam pattern.

The Knog PWR Road 600 front light costs £84.99 for its 600-lumen output, and doubles as a power bank (plus some other singing/dancing features). It also has the app feature that avoids mode-scrolling, which might be incentive enough for some.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2019/2020 front lights for cycling

Cateye's AMPP 800 is also £84.99 and a good option, though battery life could be better, according to George.

I'd say the light is only let down by the excessive number and grouping of modes. If you're happy to tolerate this, given the simplistic operation, ease of mounting, decent beam pattern, solid build and fair price, it's definitely one to consider.

Verdict

Ideal for commuters and evening riders at a great price, but fewer modes and/or different groupings would make it even better

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Micro Drive Pro 800XL

Size tested: 800 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, "With up to 800 lumens of output and a powerful Daytime Flash mode this cycling LED light is impressive day or night. It features a lightweight, durable machined aluminium body with integrated cooling fins and cut-outs for 180° of front visibility. The micro-USB rechargeable design boasts an impressive 87-hour max runtime (15 hour increase) and eight unique output modes. The Micro Drive Pro 800XL is Remote Switch compatible, available in Black or Silver and comes with a versatile and secure mounting strap for your bike."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

The light is Remote Switch compatible, available in black or white and comes with a versatile and secure mounting strap.

MAX LUMENS:800

WEIGHT:114g

RECHARGE TIME:4 hours

8 MODES:

- BLAST, 400 LUMENS, 4 HOURS

- ENDURO, 250 LUMENS, 5 HOURS 30 MINS

- ECONOMY, 150 LUMENS, 19 HOURS

- FEMTO, 15 LUMENS, 87 HOURS

- FLASH, 150 LUMENS, 19 HOURS

- DAY FLASH, 800 LUMENS, 8 HOURS 30 MINS

- PULSE, 150 LUMENS, 17 HOURS

- OVERDRIVE, 800 LUMENS, 1 HOUR 45 MINS

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Sturdy as you like.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10

Piece of cake to mount. One of the easiest switches I've ever used, even with gloves. Just frustrating to scroll through so many modes and switch from one group to another at times.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

Rated IPX7, so will stand up to the worst of British weather. It successfully came through the shower test too.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

See main review. They are all as claimed with only the charge time being longer if using a PC over a wall socket.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Solid unit. I dropped it onto a concrete floor and the only damage sustained was superficial marks on the lips of the casing that extend over the lens.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10

What you'd expect from a light of this quality really.

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Quality package at a reasonable price. The Oxford Ultratorch 850 is the same price but the beam pattern isn't as good; Knog's PWR Road 600 is £84.99, as is Cateye's AMPP 800.

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

Great for both day and night riding; gets you seen on busy urban roads in the daylight and lets you see on the darkest of lanes.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Versatility – a knockabout be-seen light in the same package as a light bright enough to allow me to extend my evening commute to spin around the local lanes. All this for £60.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

A few too many modes for my liking.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, already have!

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's very good: a well-made, solid light that covers all circumstances on the road. Grouping of modes could be refined to make it more practical.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 173cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Road  My best bike is: Carbon road.

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!

Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 

After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing. 

Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…

1 comments

Avatar
Zermattjohn [351 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I agree with your comments about the number of modes. I have a 600XL and it's pretty distracting constantly flicking through the modes as you ride along. I just stick with the 'Race Mode', which basically has high and low beam, and only use when a smaller light would be inapproproate, eg on quiet unlit lanes/off road. 

It's a good 'see where you're going' light, rather than a 'be seen' one. For that I prefer to use my Exposure Trace front light.