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Lezyne's new family of lights are very pretty and our Shaun rated the Super Drive when he reviewed it, so how does it's little brother, the Mini Drive, stack up?
The Mini Drive is a compact wee thing with a bright and shiny silver case. It's a pleasing package although the chunky bracket means that it takes up more bar space than you might expect. Inside there's a single led, powered by a LIR123a li-ion battery. The battery is accessed by unscrewing the back of the light and replacements are cheap and easily available. Lezyne make a point of telling you this, which is unusual. Batteries in rechargeable lights are usually either bespoke or hard to get at in a your-warranty-will-go-up-in-flames-if-you-try kind of way. It's a nice touch and with a light that only has a one hour runtime on full power, potentially useful, although having to manage a recharging regime with such a small turnaround isn't my idea of a good time.
The battery supplied is only rated at 600a/h but there should be enough space inside the casing to accomodate a battery with a heftier charge should you want to upgrade, and given the runtime you might.
Lezyne quote 150 lumens for the Mini Drive. That's on the cusp of serious light territory, but the payoff is a distinctly modest runtime.
Being a torch style light the beam is a well defined spot, with a modest amount of side spill. On dark roads and unlit paths the main beam is just powerful enough to get by with but things tend to loom at you out of the darkness and I wouldn't fancy it on a proper back lane or a twisty descent. Lower settings are usable, but only on roads with a good surface or that you know well. Testing the various power levels on an unlit stretch of canal path I actually scared myself a few times as birds and rabbits appeared in front of me as if from nowhere.
This is an odd little light really, neither powerful enough for seriously dark lanes nor practical enough for commuting through the week. There's no side illumination and that runtime would start to vex me, even with the benefit of USB chargeability (with a pitch-black commute of around 30min I'd be charging it up pretty much every day). It might be useful as a supplementary helmet light, Lezyne don't supply it with a suitable mount as standard but there is one available. To be honest though on the road, you'd be better off spending a similar amount of money on a more dedicated commuter light or saving your pennies for a more powerful light with a better runtime.
Stylish, but not all that useful for anything but short commutes
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Make and model: Lezyne Mini Drive LED Front Light
Size tested: Black
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 don't say, but it has two flashing settings, rather than the one that it's bigger brother the Power Drive has, so my guess would be that this is more in commuter lamp territory.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Blurb says - "Compact 150 Lumen light built for night riding. Uniform Power Beam reflector and lens assembly produces a dual purpose beam pattern that illuminates both near and far terrain without sacrificing visibility in either field of vision. 100% CNC-machined aluminum housing. High-capacity Li-ion battery is rechargeable and replaceable. Programmed with three steady modes and two high-visibility blinking modes. Comes with two durable Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (31.8mm, 25.4mm) with thumb screw for easy installation and secure attachment. USB charging cable included."
It's too easy to knock the light out of alignment when switching between settings.
A bigger capacity battery might help, but runtime is poor.
Just about adequate for slow rides on unlit roads, but no concessions to commuter friendliness.
Well made and stylish but tiny size compromises performance.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lezyne are coy about what, exactly, it is for, but it's not powerful enough to be a good light for unlit roads and it's pretty poor as a commuter light.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Small and looks cute. USB chargeable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Runtime, lack of commuter friendly features and/or enough power.
Did you enjoy using the light? Not enough
Would you consider buying the light? Nope
Would you recommend the light to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?
Doesn't quite do anything well enough to earn a regular place on my handlebars.
Age: 42 Height: 5' 8 Weight: er....85kg
I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium
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: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides