Lezyne's KTV2 Drive Pair – two compact safety lights – represent surprisingly good value and are a much better option than their KTV Drive Pro siblings, reviewed back in March.
Undeniably lower rent than shiny CNC machined aluminium casings, nonetheless the 'Composite Matrix' shells are compliant with FL1 for weather and shock resistance. The latter translates as a drop onto hard surfaces from a metre. I've accidentally dropped ours a few times but with no ill effect or cosmetic scarring.
Before I go into specifics, both feature the integrated stick-style USB plug in. On the plus side, this means you'll never leave that familiar little lead at home, but can prove awkward when trying to charge from laptops, PCs and similar devices with USB ports in close proximity. On a couple of occasions, I resorted to using another light's adaptor, or the standard wall-point plug.
We've come to expect charge times of approximately 2 hours for models of similar output. On the face of it, 3 hours seems a little pedestrian but it's tempered by relatively sensible run-times.
Both employ the familiar ladder bracket. Simply rotate the front lamp and tether the clamp around the bar. The rear is simpler still: position the light and wrap the ladder strap tight. Fitment and removal is pretty straightforward in all but the thickest winter weight gloves.
The straps seem perfectly happy with standard and oval bars, regardless of diameter, and, to my surprise, pencil thin seatstays. However, even with full length mudguards, the 'foot' quickly cultivates a silty, grimy, livery-scratching patina.
This one features two tiny diodes amplified through a clever collimator lens that optimises their output. There are five modes between 30 and 70 lumens. Giving the positive centre-mounted switch a two-minute press induces the standard 30-lumen 'economy' setting.
This is a surprisingly pure beam, good enough for being seen pre-dusk and/or as a dynamo companion. However, it's less frugal than you might think – 2hrs 30mins quoted, I've averaged 2:22, although the switch's integral battery life indicator gives a sporting chance of you getting home before it shuts down.
Next up unleashes the full 70 lumens, which is potent enough on its own for blasting through built-up areas at 15-17mph plus, and I seemed to register on other road users' radars from around the 100m mark. The cutaway sides allow a reasonable amount of peripheral bleed, which was welcome when entering traffic flow or at roundabouts. Unfortunately, it will literally manage the 90 minutes quoted and the battery life indicator has occasionally kicked into red after only 30, which was a little unnerving, although I've learned to trust it.
Flashing modes have been my default, and at 30 lumens apiece, they sit just the right side of assertive. There is a case for just two modes – steady and flashing – but I like the option of various patterns and intensities, depending on where I'm riding and the light required.
I've tended to run pulsing with my dynamo, or high power systems on the open road, whereas flash 2 and 3 have been more appropriate for overcast afternoons, which don't call for lighting up proper, or round town, where a faster tempo is more captivating. These snare attention at around 180m on a clear night, 80-100 through town, allowing for competing neon. On the flip-side, they're not anti-social at close quarters, say when creeping along in slow-moving traffic.
This is a marked improvement over the KTV Pro. A much larger lens, closer in size to Cateye's Rapid Micro Rear, casts a vastly superior are of light and the diodes are packing an extra two lumens: 9 instead of 7.
The narrow top-mounted switch is a little fiddly to operate wearing winter weight gloves, but positive enough that it hasn't accidentally powered up in a pocket or when bouncing around in a pannier. The full 9 lumens translates as a very warm glow that is still easy on the eye.
Steady has the edge for group rides, so long as you're not out for longer than a couple of hours; 2hrs 30mins is the official run time and I've managed 2:26, which is pretty close.
Pulsing comes a close second. Though it's only 7 lumens, other riders reckoned they could pick me out at 125m on a clear night, 70 or so through suburban stretches, with no stealth moments when turning thanks to the lens. It's not a patch on higher power models perhaps, but certainly up to the job. The pulse is a little slow for around town, but for rides that take in rural sections too I wouldn't worry about clicking into the more economical flash 2 (my choice for town-only) or flash 3 modes.
Pulsing's 5:29 hero to zero run-time is pretty good going too, although if you needed longer I've found flash 3 extrovert enough for most contexts from semi-rural to suburban.
I've been happy enough to pair the light with a dynamo or more powerful blinkies on long, rural all-nighters too.
Ultimately, the KTV2s are a useful pairing. However, while the rear is good, I'd suggest models such as Cateye's Rapid Micro Rear or, if you can tolerate only two modes, Topeak's Redlight Aero are better solo choices for regular night riding.
Surprisingly useful secondary/contingency pairing, but the rear is good rather than great
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne KTV2 Drive Pair
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the light set 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?
"Compact, high visibility safety light with two ultra bright LEDs. Durable, waterproof construction. Super lightweight. Provides up to 70 lumens and six output/flash modes. Side Visibility cutouts for 180 degrees of visibility. Versatile 2-in-1 Clip-On System straps to bars or clips to loops. Integrated USB stick for convenient cable-free recharging."
"Compact, high visibility safety light with two ultra bright LEDs. Durable, waterproof construction. Super lightweight. Provides up to nine lumens and three output/flash modes. Side Visibility cutouts for 180 degrees of visibility. Unique aero and round post compatible design Integrated USB stick for convenient cable-free recharging"
I'd describe the KTV2 Drive pair as a decent set of safety/contingency lights with reasonable output and sensible run-times.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
MAX LUMENS: 70
RECHARGE TIME: 3:00
MAX LUMENS: 7
RECHARGE TIME: 3:00
Solid enough by resin composite standards.
Both are very intuitive, although the rear's small switch could prove tricky to locate in stodgy full-finger winter gloves.
Simple and effective system that works well across the zodiac of handlebar and post diameters.
On par with most at this end of the market.
Integral stick charger is undeniably neat and convenient on some levels but can be tricky with some USB ports, especially if you are attempting to charge both in close proximity. I've often resorted to an extension cable to overcome this.
Front has more bite, although rear is brighter than numbers would suggest. Its also a notable improvement on the KTV Pro.
So long as the ruberised protector is in situ, I can't foresee any obvious weak spots here.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
Overall, the KTV2 Drives are competent contingency/secondary lights that have more presence than their numbers suggest. Admittedly the front has less bite than its Pro sibling but by contrast the rear is a marked improvement, with greater surface area and more punch. While they make a useful set of backup lights for pared-to-the-essentials best bikes, something like Cateye's Rapid Micro Rear is a better bet for darker nights.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
Compact, convenient and with a reasonably good balance of power and run-times.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Plug-in USB stick was a double edged sword sometimes, and the rear's switch can be tricky to locate in thickly padded winter gloves.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Possibly
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes, worth closer scrutiny for a best bike or contingency light.
Use this box to explain your score
Reasonable pairing and more practical than their KTV Drive Pro counterparts. However, competition gets fiercer every season and something like Cateye's Rapid Micro Rear gives the tail-light a good run for its money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)