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I've been combining Lezyne Super Drive with other high-powered and helmet lighting for regular nocturnal blasting. It's another of the super-commuter plus lamps with plenty of presence and reasonable round town economy but don't just save it for suburbia-liberate those 450 lumens for some serious open road training.
On paper, the Super Drive is good enough for scorching along the singletrack at close to thirty mph but in practice, this calls for backup from a helmet mounted flood beam. Run times are pretty good relative to its power and the 3.7V Li-on cell coupled with the intelligent system automatically drops to the lowest, flashing mode to conserve energy when the battery reaches a certain point as it runs down. Back in civilisation, you can pop it on charge with either a USB or wall adaptor and be ready to go again in four hours, although a fully charged spare battery slips effortlessly into a jersey pocket for extended playtimes.
CNC machined aluminium casings offer better durability and heat dispersion than their resin counterparts while the Super Drive incorporates a shroud to shield the riders' eyes from the retina burning glare. A super bright CRE Led and sophisticated parabolic reflector are the driving forces behind this. Parabolic reflectors have been used in car headlamps for some time since they eliminate the risk of aberrations-imperfections that distort the beam's quality, thus giving a distorted view of conditions. 450, 300 and 150 lumens (High, medium and low respectively) are particularly impressive from a system measuring 11cm long with its power source stowed inside the body. The composite brackets offered in standard and oversized are a little dull by comparison, albeit perfectly serviceable and allow the beam to be swivelled on the fly.
Irrespective of setting, the Super Drive certainly lives up to its name, burning through the darkness, allowing those deliciously deserted rural roads to be navigated as fast as you want to go. Depending on the positioning it will give a clear account of every road imperfection, so you can avoid potholes, glass, road kill and similar hazards. Speaking of which, a young rabbit and I weaved an interesting tango on a sweeping descent but mercifully he found a bolthole and I remained upright. Even the most myopic of main-beam motorists dipped their lights at three to four hundred yards.
I also tried Cobbling together a makeshift helmet mount but that proved too powerful, dazzling oncoming traffic, that said Lezyne will be introducing a helmet mount to fit all three of their lights in December with a SRP of £16.99 and it would certainly be a useful addition to your lighting options particularly if you want to go off road. I found the 150 lumens just right for built up areas, capturing people's attention without inducing a trance like state, being lost in the hustle and bustle or denting economy. Medium seems optimum for steady training runs and speeds to around 24 mph remain very realistic thanks to pin-sharp projection and user-friendly switch.
Anything to count against it as a commuter light? Well, peripheral illumination in the sense of side windows doesn't really exist and although the shroud's design allows some to bleed out I'd be inclined to back it up with a blinky just to be sure and to be technically street legal. It is a puzzle why so few manufacturers of this sort of high powered light don't include side illumination fair enough it might not be a legal requirement in other countries but surely cyclists in other parts of the word are still at risk from being hit from the side. That said this is a fantastic commuter light that will serve as very much more than that too.
Blistering output relative to its size and the perfect companion for short to medium haul road duties...I'm almost tempted to buy two and enjoy the lanes at 900 lumens!
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Make and model: Lezyne Super Drive LED Front Light
Size tested: Silver
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?
"Super-bright 450 Lumen cycling light, designed for on and off-road use".
Blistering output but best supported by a helmet mount for more spirited singletrack riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Uniform Power Beam reflector and lens assembly produces a dual purpose beam pattern that illuminates both near and far terrain without sacrificing visibility in either field of vision. 100% CNC-machined aluminum body and battery cap. Lens hood directs light away from the rider's eyes. High-capacity Li-ion battery is USB rechargeable and replaceable. Programmed with three steady modes and one high-visibility blinking mode. Comes with two durable Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (31.8mm, 25.4mm) with thumb screw for easy installation and secure attachment. USB cable included
Middling depending upon the setting but arguably best in medium or low for generc riding. However, I'd be inclined to buy a spare cell and tuck it away in the jersey for extending playtimes. Run times are broadly accurate 1hr 15, 2hr 23 and 3hrs 47 (as distinct fom from a claimed 1hr 30, 2hr 30 and 3hrs- high, med, low respectively)
Sturdy, highly weather resistant construction.
149g inc bracket.
Can get quite warm given an hour or so.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Super drive is a genuinely remarkable light that shows how far technology has advanced since the days of cumbersome lead acid designs. Should satisfy most moderate to short-haul winter commuting/training duties but singletrack calls for secondary support.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Phenomenal output relative to size and weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing, although the composite bracket were worthy rather than womderful.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes, two!
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)