Lezyne's Connect Drive Pair matches a Connect Drive 800XL front light with Connect Rear 150 to form a pretty attractive and competent package. Add in a bijou wireless controller for the handlebar, and there's almost everything you need for a total cycle lighting solution. Of course, you might want a helmet torch or more rear lights, but as a reliable base, this is a great – and well priced – combo.
- Pros: Good performance from both lights, well made, easy to set up
- Cons: Am I an old fuddy duddy to ask: do you really need a wireless controller?
I tested Lezyne's Micro Drive 500XL a few weeks back and, when it comes to the Connect Drive 800XL front light's build quality, this is very much more of the same. The body is made from CNC'ed aluminium and feels substantial. I haven't tested its durability to any extremes, but there's a sense it's going to stand up to daily life and the occasional mishap fairly resolutely.
Like the Micro Drive, the Connect Drive's handlebar bracket is bolted to the body of the light, which is fine, although you have to make use of the light's swivelling function to attach it to the bar. On the top of the light's body there's a simple rubberised on/off/cycle-through-functions button.
There is one improvement over that Micro Drive sibling: it's good to see the bung that protects the Connect Drive's mini-USB port is attached and swivels out of the way rather than being totally removable and losable. The downside is that the front light needs a USB lead to recharge it, but most homes or workplaces have plenty of those kicking about.
The Connect Rear is made from 'Composite Matrix' or what we might call 'plasticky stuff', and feels a little less sturdy than its frontal partner but solid enough. There's a rubberised button at the top for power and cycling through functions, it has a channel in the back to sit cosily against a seatpost, and it is held in place with an entirely separate silicone rubber retention strap. Again, I'm not a big fan of vital yet removable bits of kit. Ditto for the rear light's USB cover, which is entirely losable.
Finally, there's the third ingredient in this setup: a little two-button wireless control. This is made from, I suspect, more 'Composite Matrix', runs off a coin cell/watch battery and attaches to the handlebar with the supplied rubber O-rings. It's the least sturdy part of the package, but then it doesn't really need to be particularly tough because once it's in place, you don't need to muck about with it (other than to replace the battery, which will be some time).
First of all, let's talk about syncing the two lights with the wireless control. In truth, it couldn't be much simpler. You switch the front light on. Then you hold the forwardmost button of the wireless controller until the front light goes off. And that's it: job done. Repeat for the rear light using the rearmost button on the wireless control, and you're all paired up. The front button then replicates exactly the same functions as the power button on top of the front light's body, and the rear button replicates all the functions of the rear light's button.
It works very well and without much fuss. Hop aboard, realise you've forgotten to switch on your rear light, no problem: just press the wireless control. Find yourself riding in complete gloom where there's no street lighting, no problem: cycle through the different functions on the front light 'til you find the setting you require.
Front light performance
The lights themselves, independent of their wireless talents, are very competent bits of kit. The Connect Drive front light goes up to 800 lumens in Overdrive mode, which admittedly will only last 1 hour 20 minutes, but you'll only need it in extreme circumstances.
In pitch blackness and selecting the useful Blast setting (400 lumens, 3 hours run-time), there's just about enough light to pick out potential dangers 100ft/30m up the road. Overdrive mode extends this but the difference between the top two modes isn't actually as great as I expected – Blast probably marks the Connect Drive's brightness/run-time sweet spot. For fast riding, it's a little short on brightness, but it's good enough for cruising and casual commuting, either in town or further afield.
Enduro (250 lumens/5 hours 15mins) is good enough for most commuting duties too. Then there are Economy (150 lumens/9 hours) and Femto (15 lumens/76 hours).
In terms of non-constant modes there is Flash (150 lumens/16 hours), Pulse (150 lumens/14 hours 30 mins) and everybody's new favourite, Day Flash (the full 800 lumens/8 hours 45 mins). You can also use your wireless button (or light body button) to switch the light to Race Mode, which will cycle between just Overdrive and Economy modes.
As I discovered with the Micro Drive, I find Lezyne's beam pattern rather pleasing, with a nice even spread of light and a fairly wide beam. Set it up on your handlebar exactly as you want and you should have no issues. Recharging time can take up to 8.5 hours, although in my experience it was more like 7 hours.
Rear light performance
The Connect Rear has even more settings, 11 in total. As you'd expect, they range from 150 lumen Day Flash (3 hours 15 mins) to a whopping 30 hours 30 minute run-time for the ultra-economical 3-lumen flash mode. There are also three constant modes, ranging from 45 lumens (run-time 1 hour 30 mins), 15 lumens (4 hours 30 mins) and Economy (18 hours).
Most fun are the flash modes. You could argue that six night-time flash settings are a bit excessive, but they're quite a chuckle and, at this time of year, they put some household Christmas illuminations to shame. Flash mode 2, a sort of dripping, top-to-bottom progression is pure 'garage door icicle' territory. Meanwhile, Flash 5 will have you positioning the light horizontally and thinking of David Hasselhoff because it looks like KITT from Knightrider. Charging time for the rear is 2-3 hours.
On the road, performance is very good – I've been quite happy to use this as my main rear light with just an auxiliary blinker for added road presence. The fact that you can cycle through modes on the go means you can tailor the light's output to conditions as you find them.
That's the theory, at least. The problem is, unless you are a primary school teacher, you don't actually have eyes in the back of your head. So you won't necessarily know what mode the rear light is in. And with so many options to cycle through, I think there's an argument with this particular light for Lezyne to spec a Race Mode style function similar to the front, where riders could use the wireless control to cycle between just two obviously distinct modes – perhaps a middling constant beam and a flash.
While front and rear sets are a dime a dozen, front and rear sets with a wireless function are a little more rare. We tested the Bontrager Transmitr wireless set early last year and I'd say while the Lezyne combo has slightly less functionality, it also offers slightly better value for money and very good build quality.
In fact, even without the wireless function, these are two very decent lights. Quite how much you need the wireless controller is open to question, when the front light button is right there next to it and you can't see what the rear is doing anyway. But that's almost irrelevant. Think of this as a perfect commuting light combo with an added party trick, and you won't be disappointed.
Great front and rear lighting pair that do everything you could want and come with the added convenience of a wireless remote
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Connect Drive Pair
Size tested: 800 lumen front, 150 lumen rear
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?
Light set aimed at commuters or fairly demanding general use. Lezyne says simply, they are: "Two high-performance multi-purpose LED cycling lights with quick-action, two button wireless remote switch."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Front Lite Drive 800XL
- 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.
- 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.
Rear Strip Drive
- Powerful and versatile LED taillight.
- Light and durable co-molded lens/body construction.
- Unique aero and round post compatible design.
- Five ultrahigh-output LEDs delivering up to 150 lumens.
- Eleven unique modes including two highly disruptive Daytime Flash modes.
- Enhanced lens with built-in side visibility.
- Integrated cable-free recharging USB stick.
Well made and sturdy. Rear looks a little less tough than the front, though.
Really easy, and very simple to sync with wireless button.
Both clamps are fine, although you have to twist the front light to be able to access the clamp correctly. The rear light uses a removable silicone rubber clamp strap, which I don't like because it's liable to get lost.
Could be fitted to Aquaman's bike.
Noticeably better run-times than cheaper/smaller Lezyne models. I thought both lights' run and recharging times were pretty fair.
Both lights have more than enough power to cope with most urban or road cycling applications.
Rear light's plastic casing could pose problems. Not sure how long the silicone rubber clamp straps will last.
Front light has a fair bit of weight to it, but it is relatively high performance.
Not bad at all – two good lights at a decent price.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
I thought they performed very well, no great disappointments.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
The wireless button is fun, and the syncing was easy, but probably it's the front light's build and performance that is most noteworthy. (Rear flash modes are fun, too.)
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
Can't quite understand why you need a wireless button – the front light's button is right next to it, and you can't even see if the rear is working!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than the similar Bontrager Transmitr wireless set but equally, not as packed with features.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Pretty straightforward front and rear light combo with the added party trick of a wireless controller. Both lights are effective, only some small points and the overall feeling that this is a utilitarian product rather than something special marks it down.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure