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Lezyne's Classic Drive 700XL front light is a very good option for road rides that might see you getting back in the dark, and commutes on semi-lit roads. The lightweight design means you don't notice it when not in use, and the 'race mode' is excellent for quickly switching from full beam to 'dip'.
The majority of my riding through the week in the winter is split between a short lunch ride if I can find the time, and commuting. Sometimes the lunch ride has to be delayed if work requires, and the commute home is always in the dark now that we're well into winter. The Lezyne Classic Drive 700XL has been ideal for this mix of riding, providing a punchy beam that is just about enough to see by on unlit roads – impressive from a light that is also small and lightweight.
Those weekday rides combine lit and unlit roads, so having a light that I can quickly pop into the brightest setting and then back to a dipped beam is really handy. Thankfully, a few years ago Lezyne added a 'race mode' that is found by holding the power button for five seconds from off. That gives you just two modes to switch between, the 700 lumen and 400 lumen, so you don't have to flick through the settings, past all of the flashing and pulsing modes.
To get back to the flashing modes, you again hold the power button for five seconds from off. When heading out at the weekend, or if I manage to do my lunch loop at lunchtime, I generally go for the day flash mode at 700 lumens.
One point to note is that I found the battery life to be a touch short on what Lezyne claims for the Overdrive 700-lumen setting. Lezyne claims two hours of run-time, but after my hour and 10-minute lunch loop got pushed back until after 17:30, I found that while the light lasted on full blast for the duration of my ride, it had dipped in power when I checked on it 40 minutes later.
I've been testing the light in some reasonably cold weather, so this could account for the drop in the battery's range, and it got reasonably close, but I wouldn't head out expecting to do a two-hour ride with the Overdrive setting on for the entirety.
Mounting the light is very simple, and if you take off the round bar bracket, the light mounts to deep aero bars without issue.
Charging is straightforward thanks to the micro USB port on the rear, and while Lezyne claims a full recharge time of three hours, I simply had it charging overnight or through my working day.
If you take the £60 price tag and put it against the brightness of 700 lumens, you can find cheaper and brighter front lights. The Moon Meteor Vortex 1000, for example, is £54.99, and its 700-lumen mode lasts three hours. But the Lezyne's race mode counts for a lot – if you know you're going to be switching from 'dipped' beam to 'full' beam regularly during your ride, that could outweigh any run-time limits that a brighter light like the Moon might solve. It's also £25 less than Knog's PWR Road 700.
The Lezyne Classic Drive 700XL is easy to mount, easy to operate and it kicks out just enough light to guide you along unlit roads. The run-time on full blast might be a bit short for some, but if you're looking to light a short post-work ride, this is a very good option.
Easy to operate and powerful, though the run-times can be a little short
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Classic Drive 700XL
Size tested: 500 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, 'New to our Year 13 collection, the Classic Drive 700XL brings classic Lezyne styling to our modern lineup of cycling lights. Offering a super bright 700 lumens of output and up to 95 hours of runtime, this light is incredibly versatile day or night. It features eight output modes, including a powerful Daytime Flash mode, and has side cutouts for 180° of visibility. A versatile strap securely mounts to most handlebars, and an included micro-USB cable handles the charging. Available in black or silver.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
MAX LUMENS: 700
MAX RUNTIME: 95 hours
RECHARGE TIME: 3 hours
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. I felt that I could see and be seen on all of my rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The race mode! Being able to flick between a 'full-beam' and a 'dipped' mode is brilliant for a mix of lit and unlit roads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The fact that you can get more power for less money...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's about what you'd expect to be paying. You can save a bit of money on Moon's Meteor Vector 1000 while getting more power; you can also spend £25 more for the same output…
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? I'd have the increased power of the Moon light
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, for shorter rides.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: it packs enough of a punch to light an unlit road at a decent speed and that is very welcome when heading out after work. Yes, you can get more power for less, but it also has that very handy race mode.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!