The Lezyne Lite Drive 800 XL is a decent package for the type of rider who wants to get out for a couple of hours in the dark and wants the flexibility to use it during the day too. With decent run-times for its size and reasonably quick charging it's the ideal light to keep on the bike full time.
Pros: Good build quality, easy to use, impressive price
Cons: Having to scroll through all of the modes to get back to the start
This Lezyne kind of fills that gap between being-seen lights and the bigger more powerful models that give you a lot of illumination for long run-times intended for a week of commuting or epic night rides.
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It has eight modes which I find a little bit overkill, but it'll cover a whole host of eventualities. At its brightest it'll pump out 800 lumen, although you'd already guessed that hadn't you? This is called Overdrive mode, which gives you 1hr 20mins of burn time. To be honest, you only really need it when on the darkest of country lanes, as for main road use the 400-lumen Blast mode is absolutely fine and you get to play for 3hrs with that one.
The beam pattern, as you can see above, has quite a bright spot section with the light fading out towards the edges.
It works well in reality, lighting up the road from right in front of your wheel to far enough up the road to see where you are going, at speed, picking out obstacles as you go.
If you angle it down to get the most benefit from the light spread, the light isn't obtrusive to oncoming traffic either. I certainly never had any issues when riding on main roads.
I'm not usually a fan of rubber band mounts for front lights that are used to see by, especially at speed, preferring a metal bracket that is clamped around the bar. A lot of rubber bands let the light move on the bar from vibration and you have to keep adjusting it. The Lezyne's is so tight, though, that it barely moves at all.
The other solid modes are Enduro (250 lumen/5hrs 15mins), Economy (150 lumen/9hrs), Femto (15 lumen/76hrs).
A lot of manufacturers are starting to add bright daytime modes to their lights and Lezyne is no different. Here you get a Day Flash mode of 800 lumens which uses a double flash and certainly stands out against all of the daytime running lights found on the latest cars. It gets you noticed when filtering too.
You also get Flash and Pulse modes, which both dish out 150 lumens with long burn times. These are more suited to urban riding in the dark as they aren't so bright as to be irritating while still highlighting your presence against the clutter of street lighting.
What is a bit annoying is that to access all of these modes you have to scroll through each one to get back to the start. For instance, if you've been riding along a main ride on the Blast mode and then you take to the back lanes, or you find yourself with a technical descent, you have to scroll through all of the modes including the flashing to get to the brightest Overdrive setting. It's a bit of a faff.
Like rivals Exposure and Hope, Lezyne has grouped a couple of modes together for what it calls Race mode. You press and hold the button for five seconds to turn it on or off, and what you get is the 800-lumen Overdrive and the 150-lumen Economy. It's a better option than all of those others, but I really wished Lezyne had added the 400-lumen Blast to it, as it would give you a much better spread of output to extend battery life while still being able to see. The Economy mode isn't bright enough to see by unless you're really just trundling along.
Battery life and charging
Battery life is displayed via the button on the top, which is used to turn it on and swap modes. Green for 100% down to 50% where it changes to yellow. It turns red when it gets to 10% and then when it flashes red you're in trouble as you only have 5% left – time for that Femto mode to get you home.
Lezyne gives quite a large time range for recharging depending on where you plug it in. The speed that certain PCs charge at varies considerably and the suggestion is it'll take somewhere between 5 and 8.5hrs.
Using the supplied USB cable and my laptop I was looking at around 6hrs from completely flat to full, so it is something you could do during your day at work if you have access to a PC. You know when it is done as the button goes from flashing to a solid state.
I could bring this charge time down to 4.5hrs by using a socket-mounted phone charger.
Build and weatherproofing
When it comes to standing up to the weather the 800XL is rated to IPX7, which means it's protected against heavy splashing and rain.
With a couple of storms rolling through during the test period it certainly got put through its paces, especially with one ride taking place through four hours of heavy rain and loads of road spray from passing cars and lorries.
It passed the power shower test at home as well with no problems whatsoever, the only proviso being that you must make sure the rubber cover for the charging point is closed. It's a good snug fit, so as long as it's pressed in fully it won't pop out while riding.
When it comes to value I couldn't quite believe the price of the Lite Drive. With a machined and anodised alloy housing, the solid feel to it and all-round great build quality, I was easily expecting it to be around the £100 mark rather than a mere £57.
> Buyer's Guide: The best 2018 front lights for cycling
The Knog PWR Road 600 front light costs £84.99, for instance, for its 600 lumen (not that brighter is always better) output. It does use an app, though, where you can program which light modes you want – to avoid the having to scroll through everything issue with the Lezyne.
The 800-lumen Infini Tron 800 will set you back £99.95, which goes to show just what good value the Lezyne is.
Overall, I wouldn't say the Lite Drive 800XL is perfect, but it's pretty close – especially when you take in its overall cost. Sort the mode selection out and it'd be a winner. It even comes in a range of colours – purple, blue, black and silver as well as this red.
A nicely finished light with good power and beam spread at a very good price, but mode selection could do with a tweak
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Make and model: Lezyne Lite Drive 800XL
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, "High-performance multi-purpose LED cycling light. Compact, durable and heat-dissipating machined aluminum body. Ultra high-output LEDs producing up to 800 lumens. Eight mode options, including highly disruptive Daytime Flash mode. Optional Overdrive Race Mode toggles between Overdrive and Economy modes only. Mode Memory function returns to selected mode after turning off. Enhanced MOR (Maximum Optical Reflection) lens with built-in side visibility. High-speed 2 Amp USB charging capabilities (with compatible wall adapter). Versatile strap securely mounts to all standard bar shapes, including aero bars."
It's a light with decent output and burn times especially for the money.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
MAX LUMENS: 800
MAX RUNTIME: 76 hours (in Femto mode)
RECHARGE TIME: 4 hours
COLOURS: Black, Silver, Red, Blue, Purple
MODES: Eight ranging from 800 lumen to 150 lumen
Rate the light for quality of construction:
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
One of the better rubber band mounts.
Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
No issues, just make sure the charging port cover is kept closed.
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
The burn times are in the review and I'm happy to say the light easily got within +/-5% of these, depending on the conditions.
Rate the light for performance:
Rate the light for durability:
Rate the light for weight:
Its 151g weight is pretty good for a light of this build.
Rate the light for value:
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Bright enough for daytime use and offers a decent beam pattern for riding on the darkest of country lanes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Good price for what you are getting.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Having to scroll through all of the modes, and Blast mode needs to be added to the Race setting.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For the quality and output, I'd say the 800XL is priced very competitively against others on the market.
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
There is definitely a lot to like here. It's really well made and puts out plenty of light for riding on the road, and with decent burn times for its small size it'll be an ideal light for a those training rides in the dark.
Age: 40 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
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