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Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL

9
£120.00

VERDICT:

9
10
High quality and good value illumination powerhouse
Run-times
Bright
Quality
Smart Connect solves mode selection issues of previous Lezyne lights
Still using micro-USB
Slow charging unless you have a 2A charger
Weight: 
236g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL packs some impressive illumination power into a high-quality package that can be switched easily between bikes. That's useful as this is more than bright enough for travelling at high speed on unlit lanes or even venturing off-road. The Smart Connect feature allows for pairing with compatible Lezyne rear lights, and custom mode choices go some way to overcoming mode selection issues that could be irritating with some Lezyne lights. Lezyne hasn't forgotten the basics either: run-times and beam patterns are good, and considering the power it's not a bad price either.

Back in 2017 Dave tested the Super Drive 1500XXL, rating it highly. This 1600XXL seems the natural successor, adding 100 lumens to the max power, reducing the weight by nearly 30g and improving run-times.

> Find your nearest dealer here

However, my main grudge with Lezyne lights has always been the awkward mode selection. I've never found the Race Mode (where you switch between two settings, 'main' beam and 'dip' that's generally too low) to cut the mustard, which means you're left scrolling through all the modes (including flashing) trying to find the one you want. This new 1600XXL has exactly the same problem out the box, but unlike previous options is easily remedied with Lezyne's new 'Smart Connect' feature.

Smart Connect enables the light to be paired to an Apple or android smartphone. The process is simple – just turn on the light and download the LED Ally app. Once paired, the app allows custom programming of up to four modes, so you can choose which brightness/modes you want the top button to scroll through depending on personal preference and discipline.

Out of the box the 1600XXL comes with the following seven modes:

  • Blast: 1000 lumen/2.5 hours
  • Enduro: 600 lumen/3.75 hours
  • Economy: 250 lumen/10 hours
  • Femto: 15 lumen/148 hours
  • Flash: 150 lumen/33 hours
  • Pulse: 150 lumen/38 hours
  • Overdrive: 1600 lumen/1.75 hours

After a few rides I decided to cut these down using the app to just the Blast, Enduro, Pulse and Overdrive modes. For riding in full darkness I usually like around 800 lumens for travelling at any meaningful speed comfortably. True to this, I found the 600-lumen Enduro enough for 90 per cent of my time, with a few dark lanes and descents requiring the brighter 1,000-lumen Blast.

Realistically, for road riding I found the 1,600-lumen a bit excessive, and only found myself requiring it a couple of times over the last month. That said, it is a luxury on fast descents, and I did a few mountain bike rides where the extra light was more than welcome.

2020 Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL 2.jpg

Throughout the testing period I found the claimed run-times to not only be extremely competitive but also accurate. I could easily manage a three-hour solo ride in complete darkness without even beginning to compromise on power. They're longer than the 1,600-lumen Ravemen that Stu tested last year, for example.

One small aspect that I'm disappointed hasn't been updated is the micro-USB. Although this is still by far the most common connection to use, some lights have the newer and more powerful USB-C connection which helps to reduce charge times.

2020 Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL 4.jpg

That said, the charge times aren't horrific for such a large light thanks to it supporting 2A charging. At this ampage it takes 4.5 hours to charge from flat, with the light flashing blue while charging. This time increases to 9 hours (and a green flash) for an older 1A wall charger or USB 3.0 port. I got bored waiting for it to charge from an older USB 2.0 – safe to say that it would take an age.

Build quality

As I've found with all my Lezyne lights, the overall quality is very high. The machined aluminium body feels premium and clearly does a good job of dissipating heat as I never noticed any severe throttling of output to prevent overheating. The light has an IPX7 rating, meaning water shouldn't pose it any issues, and it has indeed continued to perform through some horrific weather.

The button on top has a raised profile which makes it easy to use even in gloves or with numb fingers, and this button also doubles up as the battery indicator. It uses a classic traffic light system: green for 100%, yellow for under 50%, red for under 10% and a bonus flashing red light for under 5%.

2020 Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL 3.jpg

The three LEDs use what Lezyne calls Tri-Focus optics to create an 'ideal beam pattern for high speed'. Out on the road, I felt plenty comfortable enough at high speed and the light pattern is sort of squared off at the top to help prevent blinding oncoming drivers. The beam still isn't quite as road-focused as some other lights I've used, such as the Exposure Strada SL, but I never felt it was out of place and it does mean the light is versatile for multi-disciplinary riders.

There are also side cutouts to allow some light spillage to aid side visibility, which will be particularly useful to those riding in urban areas.

Mount

Compared to many lights, the simple rubber strap is pretty simple. However, it's functional and I found it held the light securely even on the roughest of roads. A removable rubber insert means the light will also fit on to aero profile bars. Installing and removing is aided by the light twisting on the bracket to provide more access.

Other mounts and accessories are available if you would rather leave a mount on the bike. This would usually be my preference, but as it goes on and off so easily I found it perfectly easy to live with as is.

Value

At £120 the Super Drive 1600XXL isn't exactly a cheap light, but compared to others of this quality and power it fares very well. The Ravemen PR1600 is £10 more and the run-times aren't as long, and the Blackburn Countdown 1600 is even more expensive at £139.99.

It doesn't compare quite so well with the Giant Recon HL1600, which is cheaper at £99.99 and performed very well in our test last year, though is more plasticky than the Lezyne, and Ashley didn't get on with the button too well. And you can get more lumens for the same money: the Giant Recon HL1800 is the same price as the Lezyne, bar a penny. We have a full review of that one to come, but you can compare outputs using our beam comparison engine.

> Buyer’s Guide: The best 2020 front lights for cycling

Overall, the 1600XXL is an extremely competent light, high quality, easy to use and live with, and the Smart Connect remedies the mode selection annoyances that we've marked Lezyne lights down for in the past. Using the app, Lezyne is able to provide software updates, with an auto day/night feature coming soon. At £120 it's easy to recommend, although if you always stick to the roads then you might ask yourself if you actually need a light this powerful.

Verdict

High quality and good value illumination powerhouse

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Lezyne Super Drive 1600XXL

Size tested: 1600 lumens max

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, "This high-powered bike light features three high output LEDs for up to 1600 lumens of output. It has seven modes and our Tri-Focus Optics optimizes light output - this creates an ideal beam pattern for high speed."

Over the month of testing I agree with Lezyne, the 1600XXL is ideal for travelling fast even on the darkest of lanes. It's easy to use and ideal for anyone who wants to do long rides in the dark. Not all road riders will require this much light and the Super Drive is more than powerful enough for some off-road riding as well.

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

From Lezyne:

MAX LUMENS: 1600

WEIGHT: 227g

MAX RUNTIME: 148 hours (in Femto mode)

RECHARGE TIME: (2A): 4.5 hours , (1A): 9 hours

Smart Connect feature

IPX7

Blast: 1000 lumen/2.5 hours

Enduro: 600 lumen/3.75 hours

Economy: 250 lumen/10 hours

Femto: 15 lumen/148 hours

Flash: 150 lumen/33 hours

Pulse: 150 lumen/38 hours

Overdrive: 1600 lumen/1.75 hours

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
8/10

Simple and effective rubber clamp but more heavy-duty options can be purchased.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

IPX7 rating and secure port cover, no issues during testing.

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

Battery life is good, but unless you have a 2A plug charging takes a long time. If you buy this light then definitely buy yourself a 2A wall charger as well.

Rate the light for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10

It's no lightweight but some grams have been shaved off the older 1500XXL despite more power and longer burn times.

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Lots of lumens for less money than some, if not all; nice aluminium body and IPX7 rating means it should last for ages.

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

Very well: run-times are good enough for long night rides; it's more than bright enough for road riding and also performed well when used off road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

It's very bright! It's also easy to switch between bikes which is nice.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Still using micro-USB...

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As mentioned in the review, it stacks up very well. Lights of this power and quality are normally more expensive and the few cheaper options aren't made from materials as premium.

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

A really strong showing from Lezyne. I've always liked Lezyne lights but the mode selection has often let them down. Its 'Smart Connect' tech means this 1600XXL doesn't have those issues. It's also very good value for a 1,600-lumen light and burn-times are impressive. A USB-C port to speed up charging would be good though.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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