A great example of solid, simple, universal design with an excellent performance-for-price ratio
- - Universal bar/bike fit
- - More powerful than the numbers suggest
- - Great price
- - Simple operation
- - Multiple modes
- - Optional remote switch
- - Useful scroll shortcut
- - Rear light bundle bargains
- - Gappy battery feedback
- - Wobbles on rough rides
- - Minimal tuning option
- - Plastic packaging
Lezyne’s ‘Drive’ range has expanded its power span from 1800 to 200 lumens but the 1000 XL is one of the originals and this evolved version is still a sweet spot of better-than-expected power, compact convenience and simple functional versatility at a great value price.
But how does it stack up against the best bike lights on the market? Read on to find out.
Design and aesthetics
The extruded alloy sleeve is scooped at the front to give upper and lower lips to stop glare whichever way up you mount the light, and curved sides to allow some sideways recognition from the curved, refracting edge of the lens. Otherwise the clear ‘Maximum Optical Reflection’ (MOR) optics put all the power from the two LEDs straight down the road.
The translucent rubber power button is easily-found even with fatter gloves and gets a traffic light-style indicator for basic charge and remaining run time display. You can get a plug-in remote button for £13 / $15.49 if you want to keep your hands on the bars too.
It needs a two-second hold to turn on, which stops accidental ignition, too. While the recharge port is still old school micro USB it’s covered by a rubber plug that fits with a satisfying vacuum to help give the light an impressive IPX7 waterproof rating. The 1000 XL has had a recent battery life boost, too.
The thick rubber strap threads through a curved rubber mounting block for round bars but without that it’ll fit onto flatter aero bars or even fork legs if you’re running a bar bag. The light also swivels 360-degrees on the mount, so it can cope with back swept bars or even mount on a stem.
I normally run multiple lights on my bars at once when testing so I can toggle between them for a very clear comparison of power and beam spread. Whenever I did this with the 1000XL it significantly outshone any other lights with a similar theoretical rating and often compared favourably to 12-1300 lumen listed lights. It’s not just a restricted spotlight either, there’s enough spread to give useful context of the surrounding environment such as frost on grass, gaps in walls in crosswind conditions, and incoming swerves and curves. The twin LED beam has no distracting edges or halo effects to mess with your perception either, so you can pick out vital ‘trust or tread carefully’ surface details without squinting or straining.
Unsurprisingly this translates well onto gravel-style trails too, but on rougher ground the rubber strap mount can start to wobble and waggle, which does get distracting. Thankfully Lezyne does a fixed mount for rock solid stability and this is also the answer if you don’t want to have to faff with the strap every time you need to take the light off to recharge it.
That’s likely to be fairly often if you like riding full speed on unlit roads, as while there’s still some light coming out of the 1000 XL past the hour and a half mark that Lezyne pegs as the ‘Overdrive’ run time, the power drops significantly 10 to 15 minutes before that, when the last gasp alert starts flashing on the power button. The 500 lumen ‘Blast’ is enough for cruising, climbing and group riding though, and that’ll get you three hours. Therefore a two-hour mixed pace ride is a reasonable expectation. With a big gap in the battery indicator between the 50 per cent alert and the 10%per cent power fade you’ll need to keep a ready reckoner on remaining life.
There are flash and pulse modes as well as a brutally bright 1,000 lumen Day Flash mode for keeping you visible to oncoming drivers even on the nastiest low sun days. Riders who don’t want to have to scroll through all the options to get back to full power will potentially appreciate the ‘Race’ mode which sets the light up to only give ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Economy’ modes. That’s the extent of possible tuning though, which is frustrating as being able to set Race to ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Blast’ or even the 250 lumen ‘Enduro’ setting would be a lot more useful. Cardboard/recycled packaging would be appreciated by the planet, too.
Having had several Drive series lights running long term since they came out a few years ago, dependable reliability is definitely a strength and the price is great value considering the surprisingly powerful output. This gets even better if you get one of the ‘bundled with a rear light’ options Lezyne offers.
Lezyne’s Lite Drive 1000XL is more powerful than you’d expect, with a decent range of modes to stretch run times for ‘proper’ rides. It’ll also mount on any bike, it’s tough and it’s a great price. Battery life feedback is limited though, and it needs the solid mount for recharging convenience or rougher rides.
Tech Specs: Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL
- Price: £75 / $79.99
- Weight: 152g (including mount and strap)
- Power: 1,000 lumens
- Run times: 1hr 20 mins. (Constant ‘Overdrive’ setting averaged over 3 runs)
- Colours: Black, Silver or Neo Metallic (£85 / $89.99)
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