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The Lezyne Classic Drive 500 is a lightweight, compact front light with a maximum 500 lumens output and eight modes, including a daytime flash. Its swivel mount and good run-times make it a very good choice.
The Classic Drive 500 has a neat, minimalist look – a compact 8cm-long aluminium cylinder, with a swivel mount, and a single hook and strap to fit to handlebars, helmets and also fork legs.
It's straightforward to use, with a single rubber button to turn the light on and off, which also displays the battery level and charging status. Hold the button down for two seconds to turn it on, press the button once to cycle through each of the eight modes, and hold it down for two seconds to turn it off. It's nice to see a memory function feature, which turns the light back on in the last used mode.
The button is little bit too squidgy for my liking, so pressing to turn it on or off or changing modes isn't quite as easy as I would like it to be with winter gloves on. For example, reaching up to the top of your helmet to switch modes or turn it up can result in a bit of fumbling around to make sure it has been pressed. A button with a more obvious click would be an improvement for future versions.
The button changes colour as the battery runs down, with green meaning you are good to go, green and yellow meaning you've hit 50%, and when it lights up red there is less than 10% power left.
The Classic Drive 500 is IPX7 rated, meaning it should stand up to being submerged in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. Lezyne doesn't recommend doing this, in the instructions, but after several rides out in the rain and sticking it under a running tap for a few minutes I can confirm no problems with water ingress, so it should survive the worst of the British weather. With the alloy casing it should also withstand plenty of knocks.
There is a Micro USB socket at the back of the light, covered by a small rubber bung that's held in place behind two tabs on the alloy case. The tabs are a nice touch and prevent the bung popping open.
However, Micro USB is starting to look dated now as most new phones and devices now come USB-C enabled, although thankfully a small Micro USB lead is included if you need one. Charging takes approximately 3 hours from flat.
The battery is non-replaceable, but that's quite common in lights this size.
The light is held in place well with a single hook and rubber 'ladder strap'. Although it has five 'rungs' on the strap, I only ever used the last two for most handlebars and helmets. Lezyne sell replacement straps for a fiver should it wear out, and it can be easily changed with an Allen key.
The strap can cope with slightly ovalised handlebars but it's too short for full aero flat ones. It can even be attached to a front fork leg, if you are running out of bar space.
It holds the light in place tightly and I had no issues with it slipping. Because the strap is all in one, connected to the light itself, it's quick to swap between bikes or to move from the handlebar to being helmet mounted.
The swivel design works really well, with just the right amount of stiffness to stay put where it's pointed. It's not going to accidentally flop around. It's also useful when cycling with others, as you can just point it away from their faces while having a conversation.
I found the battery life and various modes very good. Using the full-whack 500-lumen Blast mode gives a bright white, circular spotlight. I found this good for rolling along at about 16-17mph when using it as the sole source of illumination. This did flatten the battery in just over the 1 hour 30 minutes claimed run-time, but considering the small size of the Classic Drive 500, I thought that was pretty decent.
The Day Flash mode gives a "disruptor style flash" that should certainly get you noticed by other road users; despite using the full 500 lumens in this mode, it can keep going for 11 hours. Impressive.
For general road riding, and using it as a secondary light, I used a mix of the other modes. My preferred two were the 50-lumen Flash 1 and 100-lumen Economy. Flash 1 has a quoted 28-hour run-time, with Economy lasting 8 hours, so using a mixture of the two I didn't get the 'red to recharge' light showing during a week of commuting.
There are some low-powered battery-sipping modes as well, which work very well on cyclepaths as a secondary light, helmet mounted. The 15-lumen Femto mode (a faint glow) and 50-lumen Pulse were great for this, giving other cyclepath users the ability to spot me, without me blinding them.
Being only 98g, it really doesn't add much weight so is ideal for helmet mounting; I thought it worked really well this way.
With an RRP of £40 (less if you shop around), the Lezyne is on a par with the competition, though it's lighter than some and has longer run-times than others, which adds value.
Shaun really liked the Ravemen LR500S, which is also helmet mountable and has a similar compact and high quality construction, although not quite such a range of modes as the Lezyne. It's just a penny less than the Lezyne at rrp (less if you do some bargain hunting), but at 117g is a little heavier.
The Vel 500, also £40, comes in lighter than the Lezyne at 62g and has a similar compact design, and rotating mount. However, Jamie did find the battery run-times fell a tad short of those advertised.
To sum up, the Classic Drive 500 is a very versatile light that works well on both helmets and handlebars. It has useful modes, good battery life and a very usable swivel mount. All in all, it's a very good light for the money.
Compact, with good battery life, useful choice of modes and handy swivel mount
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Classic Drive 500
Size tested: 500 lumens max
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: 'The Classic Drive is a new model with classic Lezyne styling. Its machined aluminum cylindrical construction is sleek, compact and lightweight. It features a single LED with up to 500 lumens and disruptive Daytime Flash mode. It has eight output modes and boasts up to 40 hours of runtime. Cutouts for side visibility increase safety, and its versatile strap mounts securely to most handlebars on the market. It comes in two colors (Black, Silver) and is micro-USB rechargeable.'
I was curious to see how powerful the Lezyne Classic Drive 500 would be, given its relatively small form factor and light weight, as it is only 8cm long. I wondered how useful the swivel mount would be and was looking forward to trying it on various handlebars and helmets.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Max Lumens: 500 lumens.
Max Runtime: 40 hours.
Recharge Time: 3 hours.
Colours: Matte Black/Gloss Silver.
IPX7 waterproof rating - meaning able to submerge for 30 minutes in water at a depth of one metre (although Lezyne recommends not doing this)
Blast - 500 lumens, 1 hour, 30 mins
Enduro - 200 lumens, 3 hours, ,45 mins
Economy - 100 lumens, 8 hours
Femto - 15 lumens, 40 hours
Flash 1 - 50 lumens, 28 hours, 30 mins
Flash 2 - 50 lumens, 28 hours, 30 mins
Pulse - 50 lumens, 31 hours
Dayflash - 500 lumens, 11 hours
The Classic Drive 500 is a straightforward aluminium cylindrical design, with a single rubber button to turn the light on and off, which also shows the battery level and charging status.
There is a Micro USB socket at the back of the light, covered by a small rubber bung, which is held in place behind two tabs on the alloy case. The tabs are a nice touch, and prevent the bung popping open.
The battery is non-replaceable.
The Classic 500 is straightforward to use: hold the single button down for two seconds to turn on, press the button once to cycle through each of the eight modes, and hold down for two seconds to turn off. It's nice to see a memory function feature, so the light turns on in the mode last used.
The single hook and strap fits to either handlebars or helmets and holds the light in place well. Although there are five "rungs" on the strap, I only ever used the last two for most handlebars and helmets.
The swivel mount works really well. It has just the right amount of stiffness and stays put where it's pointed; it's not going to accidentally flop around and point where you don't want it.
The Classic Drive 500 is IPX7 rated, meaning it should stand up to being submerged in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes (which Lezyne specifically doesn't recommend doing). A few rides out in the rain and sticking it under a running tap, I had no problems. Lezyne is quite specific about making sure the charging port is definitely in place during use to prevent water ingress.
I found the battery life very good on all modes. Using the full-fat 500-lumen Blast mode would flatten the battery in just over the 1 hour 30 minutes quoted time. For general road riding I used a mix of the other modes, my preferred ones being Flash 1 and Economy.
Flash 1 has a quoted 28 hour run-time, with Economy lasting 8 hours, so using a mixture of the two I didn't bring the "red to recharge" light on during a week of riding. Charging time is approximately 3 hours from flat.
I felt the Classic Drive 500 worked particularly well as a helmet-mounted secondary light, using the flashing modes, as it gives a great mix of visibility, along with battery life. There is also a super-bright Day Flash, which still goes for 11 hours, although I would be a bit worried about dazzling other road users. There are some low power battery-sipping modes as well, which work well on cyclepaths; the Femto and Pulse modes were good for this.
I really liked the swivel mount; it's also good when cycling with others, when having chat riding side by side you can point it away from their faces while having a conversation.
With the alloy casing, it can withstand plenty of knocks. The rubber strap does always use the last two rungs, but Lezyne sells replacement straps for a fiver should it wear out, and it can be changed easily with an Allen key.
At 98g it's fine for mounting on a helmet, and on a handlebar it's not noticeable.
Around the same price as similar lights of similar output, which can be bar or helmet mounted, but its weight and run-times add value.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Given its size, its quite impressive levels of brightness, and its ability to fit helmets, bars and fork legs, plus very good run-times, it performs well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
The compact size; that it's multi-purpose and works well on helmets and handlebars; battery life on most of the modes is very good; and the swivel mount works really well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
The 'squidgy' on/off button is a bit hard to press with gloves on – a more tactile feeling button would be an improvement. The Micro USB connection is looking a bit old hat these days.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Shaun really liked the Ravemen LR500S, which is also helmet mountable and has a similar compact and high quality construction, although not quite such a range of modes as the Lezyne, and at 117g, is a fair bit heavier. It's now £39.99.
The Vel 500, also £40, comes in lighter than the Lezyne at 62g, and has a similar compact design, and rotating mount. Jamie did find the battery run-times fell a tad short of those advertised, though.
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
A compact and lightweight light that works well on helmets, bars and even fork legs, with useful modes, good run-times and a swivel mount. The squidgy feeling button takes some of the shine off, but overall it's a very good light.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting