Summer is already far behind us. In the evening it is dark early and if you want to cycle home in the dark, or want to do an evening training, good lighting is essential. We recently received two interesting products from the American accessory brand Lezyne, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1100 XL Headlight and the Lezyne Laser Drive Rear Light. In this review we look at the Lezyne Macro Drive Headlight. Next week we take a look the Space-ship alike Rear Light
We tested the product during a MTB nightride in the woods, and during normal commuter bike rides in the dark.
Lezyne Macro Drive 1100 XL Headlight
The Lezyne Macro Drive 1100 XL headlight is a very bright and compact powerhouse thanks to the 1100 lumen lamp and MOR (maximum optical reflection) lens. MOR lenses are optimized to maximize the light output, light beam and lumens. A MOR lens is constructed in such a way that the light rays have a wider beam and wider range. The beams are not projected in a straight radius, but in a fan beam. This guarantees a visibility of 180 degrees. The lamp is quite small with a size of 9,5 cm long, 4 cm wide and 2 cm high, and a total weight of only 150 grams. Especially when you compare it to the performances of the lamp. It gives a lot of light (especially in his fiercest position) and has a total burn time of 1 hour and 20 minutes when used at full power (1100 lumen) against 78 hours (!) when you use it in lowest mode (15 lumen). Charging is fairly easy via an USB cable on the back of the lamp. The USB lock is about 1 cm in the housing of the lamp and is therefore more difficult to connect when you have large / thick fingers. Reason for this is the silicone seal of the USB lock, which is about 1 cm quite thick, but therefore it maken the lamp waterproof.
The lamp is really easy to mount to your handlebar via a silicone strap attached to the silicone mounting base of the lamp. This strap then goes around the bar and hooks into a hard plastic ‘wing’. The first time I mounted it on my steering handlebar it was obviously dark and I did not realize that the lamp could turn on the silicone mounting base. Because of this, I did not get the lamp properly. If you turn the lamp 90 degrees on the foot, as it is suppost to be mounted, it immediately becomes a lot easier. Next time, read the manual first! The silicone mounting base fits on every normal handlebar, from city bike, to MTB and road bike. If you have a slightly thicker handlebar it is not a problem. The silicone mounting foot forms itself to the shape of the handlebars. The mounting strap is a bit on the short side, so you have to use a bit of strength to fasten it.
The lamp and its settings
The lamp has one button that you use to operate it. This silicone button sits on top of the aluminum housing. By pressing once, the lamp turns on, press again, then the lamp becomes less bright. If you then press for 2 seconds, the lamp goes out again. Very easy and user-friendly, because in practice you will probably use the lamp in these two simple positions. But the light has more settings then that. The light has seven settings and two different modes. The first mode allows you access to all seven settings, which are blast (650 lumens), enduro (450lu), economy (150lu), femto (15lu), flash (150lu), pulse (150lu) and overdrive (1100lu). Race mode lets you toggle just between overdrive and economy. Mode memory remembers whether you’re in race mode or standard whenever you next turn the light on, and which setting you were last using – which is useful if you favour one setting in most situations. The light flashes blue when you’re in race mode and green when you’re in standard, and you just hold it down for a few seconds when you turn it on to change between the two. The button changes colour as your charge runs down, eventually going red when you’ve got 10% of power remaining. In 99% of cases, you’ll get home on red.
Cycling with the lamp
During my MTB nightride I had perfect vision so I was cruising the dark night with confidence. I was really surprised by the enormous amount of light that this relatively small lamp produces. Really unprecedented. A huge bundle of light, which makes cycling in the dark very comfortable. I have mainly used the lamp in less strong modes, which was more than fine for my vision, and I only had to recharge the battery after about 9 hours. The brightest position really gives a lot of light. So much so that you can safely ride at higher speed. Problem is, however, that it is so fierce that your oncoming traffic can dazzle with it, and that is less safe. A little careful and most of the times the less bright positions also provides more than enough visibility. While driving you can easily change the strength of the lamp via the only button on top of the lamp. By simply pressing, you walk through all light levels.
As far as I am concerned, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL is a must for cyclists who want really good lighting in the evenings. The small size, the light, the long battery life and the ease of use have surprised me positively. Really the perfect lamp for commuting people who cycle longer distances, or for athletes who want to do some nighttime trainings.