Lezyne Super Drive Review

Until recently, if you wanted a bike light bright enough for riding at a decent speed on completely dark roads there were limited options. You could spend hundreds of pounds on an expensive branded MTB light, or you could buy a cheap Chinese import (e.g. Magicshine). Most of these lights would come with separate battery packs which for the average commuter are often too much of a faff.

Exposure Lights were one of the first brands to start supplying more compact bright lights with built in batteries. These are excellent lights but cost more than a lot of people are prepared or able to spend. Fortunately, a number of new lights are appearing on the market this year costing around the £100 mark, which have brightness levels at the sweet spot of around 500 lumens, ideal for unlit country road riding.

I have a few of this new breed of lights in for review, all of which all have similar characteristics in terms of brightness, beam pattern, battery life and features.

First up is one of my favourites, the Lezyne Super Drive light. This is the brightest in the new range of Lezyne lights. When I spotted these a couple of months back I thought they looked interesting and was eager to try one out. It took me a while but I finally got hold of one and having used the Super drive for few weeks I’m happy to report I’ve not been disappointed.

Manufacturers Specifications

WEIGHT: 126g
MODES: High—450 lumens, Medium—300 lumens, Low—150 lumens, Flash
COLOURS:  Silver, Black, Gun Metal grey.
RUN TIME: High – 1.5hr, Medium – 2.5hr, Low – 4hr, Flash – 5hr

Lezyne Super Drive Design

The light's rear cap opens easily to reveal the batteryThe light is made of cool aluminium and feels solid and of high quality. The review model is the silver one. The light with battery but without the handlebar clamp weighs 127g. A cap at the rear of the case unscrews to reveal the battery, a standard 18650 rechargeable type which would be easy to replace when and if it eventually reaches the end of its life. It’s a lithium battery cell which offers excellent power to weight ratio.

The light comes supplied with a simple but effective and sturdy handle bar mount with two sizes of clamp to accommodate a wide range of handlebar diameters. It can be fitted without tools – a thumb screw is used to tighten the clamp to the bars. Once fitted, the light can be swivelled to the left or right. A helmet mount is not supplied though I’m told one will be available some time in December as an optional extra.

I’ve not yet taken the light out in any more than a light shower but I have no worries about using it in heavy rain. The sealing on the rear battery cap is good and a rubber plug covers the USB charger socket on the underside.

2 sized clamps are shown and the USB leadThe light is supplied with a USB lead for charging. A mains USB adapter is not supplied so if you don’t have a USB socket handy you’ll need to buy a USB mains adapter. These are widely available and inexpensive so I don’t find its omission from the box a huge issue. Charging the light takes approx 4 hours. The light does not have a charge indicator LED, but instead the main beam LED dimly flashes to show the light is being charged. It seems to flash slower as the charge level increases until it stops flashing altogether when fully charged.

A single button on the top of the unit controls the light . Pressing and holding the button down for a couple of seconds switches the light on. Then each press switches the mode through high, medium, low and flashing. Holding the button down for a couple of seconds switches it off again. There are no problems with operating the light when wearing gloves.

In the battery life test on high power mode I got approx 1 hour 45 minutes before the light triggered the low battery warning which is indicated by the light flashing every 20 seconds or so. At this point the light automatically switches to its lowest power mode. The light lasted around a further 30 minutes before it finally switched off. This is a very good battery life for such a bright light with low weight. Of course use of the lower brightness modes will let you travel further. You also have the option of carrying spare batteries to let you ride all night.

Lithium batteries really don’t like being run down so I would suggest keeping the battery topped up after every use. This will ensure you get maximum life from the battery.

A thermal protection circuit is included so in the unlikely event the light should overheat it automatically switches to its lowest power mode. In normal use the light will be more than sufficiently cooled by air flow while riding the bike.

Beam Pattern

Shown about a foot from a wallThe beam pattern is roughly circular with a sharper top edge and slightly feathered at the bottom. It provides plenty enough oomph for fast confident riding on unlit roads. As can be seen in the road shot below, the shape of the beam provides for fairly even brightness from near to far, and is also wide enough to cover the entire width of the road (and beyond). I was careful to point the beam slightly downwards to ensure oncoming drivers were not dazzled. I found they approached cautiously but I don’t think the brightness was overpowering.

I have some other lights in test rated from 500 to 600 lumens. The Super drive is rated at 450 lumens but I would suggest ignoring the numbers when choosing between lights of similar ratings – I find it difficult to distinguish between this and those other lights rated at up to 600 lumens.

A video showing the light in action is shown below. Some parts are in town and others in the countryside. Note that these are challenging conditions for a video camera and it doesn’t really do the bike light justice.

Conclusion

Lezyne have hit the ground running with a very appealing set of bike lights. They combine luxury build quality and sensible feature set with great light output, reasonable battery life, low weight, and all for a very competitive price. They’ve quite rightly taken the top spot in the mid-priced category on our best lights page.

The Lezyne Super Drive is unsurprisingly selling like hot cakes and they do seem to sell out quickly as soon as anywhere gets them in stock. At the time of writing they are available at this online store, or this one.

Manufacturers Web Page

Here is the official web page for the Lezyne Super Drive.

20 Replies to “Lezyne Super Drive Review”

  1. Thanks for the review of this light, I have been very interested in it.

    Could you comment on the flash mode? I have a Magicshine-type light that has an annoying flash frequency – I am hoping that the Lezyne S.D. is more eye friendly. I use these lights mainly for daytime conspicuity (I’m not trying to be a hazard to all in the dark.)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the review useful. Regarding the Lezyne flash mode, it’s fairly innocuous. It flashes at a rate of about twice per second. When I get a chance I’ll post a video showing it on my YouTube channel.

  2. Firstly a great review. I am after a light with an integrated battery, I ride mainly on the road but it needs to be good enough for some off-roading. Judging by your comment this is better than the MiNewt 600 as my main problems with my current light are with the mounting bracket not the light. Which has the best lighting though of the Lezyne or MiNewt, I am aware it’s not all about lumens!!

    1. Thanks for your comment. Both the Lezyne and the MiNewt are excellent lights but the mounting bracket of the Lezyne is much much better than that of the Niterider MiNewt which can get frustrating as it can slip. Regarding light output, I would say that the NiteRider is very slightly brighter at the centre of the beam but doesn’t have quite as wide a beam pattern. This can be seen in the country road photos which I take with my camera in manual exposure mode using identical camera settings so they can be directly compared. Hope that helps!

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for such good reviews of these self contained lights. It was thanks to this website that I bought a Lezyne Superdrive and its transformed my winter commutes. The night shots are particularly handy, as you can save them to your desktop, open them in Windows Picture Viewer and then rapidly click through them to get a really good idea of just how the beam patterns differ from light to light. It’s true that brighter is not always better.

  4. Thanks for the great review. I read a lot of these before buying deciding on and buying a Light and Motion Urban 500. Sadly I made the wrong choice. My first was faulty and left me 5 miles from home without a light (should of had a spare I know!) and then the replacement I was sent developed the same fault days later where the light just dies completely as if the battery was flat even after an 8 hour charge. I have since ordered a Lezyne Superdrive, hopefully it will be as good as your review suggests!

    Thanks again!

  5. Great review. Need a small, self contained/usb chargeable light for bike touring. Considering the diablo or even the Lezyne but one that interests me is the Cygolite 500. The main concern I have is the less powerful models seem to have a very tight/small beam. Any review coming on this model?

    1. Thanks for your comments Gary, Steve & Carl. I’m glad you’re finding the reviews useful.

      Carl, as far as I’m aware, Cygolite lights are not available in the UK so I’m unlikely to get one for review any time soon. If there is a UK distibutor reading however, please do get in touch as I’d love to try one out!
      For touring I would think the Lezyne would be more appropriate than the Diablo as you could fill your pockets with spare batteries to give you longer run time. I’ve found both have a plenty wide enough beam.

  6. Good morning, can you tell me roughly what the effective range(?) of this light is please. It certainly looks bright enough but how far does the beam carry?

    I live in Australia and usually bicycle to and from work in the dark along a cycle path where snakes are a common sight; I’m looking for a light that will allow me to see what is on the path well before I get to it – running over a large snake in the dark isn’t a pleasant experience! I have had a couple of less expensive led lights and while they are fairly bright, the beam doesn’t seem to carry as far as the old bulb ones used to.

    I am thinking about giving the helmet mount a try too, it is a twenty five dollar accessory but I’m thinking that having the light up a bit higher will extend the range a bit and because I take my helmet into work with me it will save me having to separately remove the light from my bike each morning [so that nobody steals it]. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Bryan.

    P.S. Lezyne also do a 300 lumen version of this light (the Power Drive), would there be a noticeable difference between the light output of the two models?

    1. Thanks for your comment Bryan,
      I never really think in terms of range when talking about bike lights as it’s difficult to interpret any meaning from it that would be useful to you. For example, most of the lights I’ve reviewed will light up a reflective sign from hundreds of yards away but I don’t think that helps you to know whether you’ll see a snake from a reasonable distance! The most reliable measurement is lumens but even there some manufacturers quote higher than others. I think you will see quite a difference between the super drive and power drive lights. I hope the videos and photos on my site help you get an idea of how lumens translates into what you can see. One thing I can say is that the best LED lights today offer a lot more for your money than they did even a couple of years ago or so.
      If you do try one out please post back to let us know how you get on.

  7. Good build quality and good spread of light. Good for traveling at 30mph on unlit roads. The only thing spoiling the light is the position of the chargeing port. The rubber seal gets In the way and could make you accidentally damage the pins when chargeing the unit. Other than that a brill light. Please amend this fault and I wil definitely buy another one for my other bike.

  8. The lezyne macrolight is a superb light suitable for dark SMOOTH unlit roads at night. The first time I used it however, it jumped out of its handlebar cradle clip on the n’th pot hole. Some design fault! Fortunately it didnt break. The cateye mount are much more reliable,any make even.

    1. Hi Ian,
      Thanks for the comment. I haven’t tried the macrolight yet but would be very interested to if Lezyne would care to send me a sample to test! (Actually I’m keen to try any of the latest models). It looks like it has a different mount to that used on the Superdrive model I tested. I certainly had no issues with that one.
      Paul

  9. I see there is a Super Drive XL available. Is this the latest version and as good?
    Website has been VERY helpful, thanks. JG

    1. Thanks for your comment Jonathan,

      It looks like the XL range are effectively superseding last years range and have a slightly more compact design, slightly improved brightness and an indicator light to show remaining power. I have no doubt they will be every bit as good or better than last years models. I’ve not managed to get hold of one yet, though I’m very keen to do so!

  10. Just bought the Super Drive XL package Saturday. Decision was between the Lezyne and the Moon X-500 but the decider was that for virtually the same price you got two batteries.
    First outing this morning and it was somewhat chilly!
    Only on flash but after 30 minutes the indicator went on to red. It has just taken 4 – 5 hours to recharge. Return commute will tell – mix of lit and unlit roads / cycle track.
    Hope that use will “exercise” the batteries.
    However, cannot fault build quality.
    So far so good.

  11. Great site. It was very helpful in making my decision.

    The Super Drive was my preferred choice for a while, but I eventually plumped for a Hope Vision 1.

    Although the battery in the Super Drive is technically replaceable, a quick internet search has revealed that the battery can only be obtained from specialist suppliers. Also, apparently you can only charge the battery when it is in the light, so you can’t charge one up whilst using the other.

    So I plumped for a Hope Vision 1 with the intelligent charger recommended elsewhere on this site. This combination gives the greatest flexibility for me. I noticed that there is a new version of this light available, but the old model is currently selling at a discount at Evans Cycles so I bought that one!

  12. Hi Paul could you do a review on the Niterider 650 Lumina Light 2013 as it better and is alot smaller light 173 grams!.This would help people to make a decision.

    The beauty of this light, despite the full 650 beam which only has 1.30 mins battery life.,it has 400 lumen’s on medium setting and will last up to 3 hours of your ride time which in turn is more than enough for most serous road race trainers on the road.

    Look forward to hear from you Paul with the review.

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