Tough, high value, universal fit light with good urban visibility and adequate power for shorter rural rides
- - Universal bar fit
- - Bright enough for back roads (just)
- - Great price for power
- - Good beam pattern
- - Useful day flash modes
- - Easy-to-find button
- - Tough metal construction
- - Lens ‘visor’ and sideways visibility
- - Remote switch option
- - Increased run time
- - Fast recharge
- - Wobbles when rough
- - Needs refitting each ride
- - Still relatively short battery life
- - Get the 1000Xl for back road adventures
- - Warning light comes on late
Lezyne’s Micro Drive Pro 800XL is the bottom rung of its ‘Performance’ range (less powerful lights are in the ‘Sport’ range) and a good beam pattern means it’s just about bright enough for back road riding. Multiple modes, tough construction and fast, universal bar fitting make it most useful for mixed urban/suburban use as well, so how does it fare against the best bike lights in the segment?
Design and aesthetics
The ‘Drive’ family has been around for a while, and the extruded alloy body with ribbed cooling fins is tough and smart enough to sit well on any kind of bike. The rubber strap mount comes with a saddle block for round bars, but if you remove that the bare strap can stretch round aero flats too. It’s attached on a swivel, so swept back or otherwise wonky cockpits are no issue either.
As it’s not a separate mount you’ll have to refit every ride though, and the light does wobble noticeably on rough roads and trails if you’re gravel/towpath-minded. You can get a fixed mount for round (and round-ish) bars that solves both those issues, but that’s sold separately.
The twin LED output gives a good balance of width and reach for road use (it’s a bit narrow for off-road) and it compares very well with a lot of theoretically more powerful lights I’ve used. The 800 lumen, max power ‘Overdrive’ setting is adequate for unlit back-road riding at a reasonable speed, too. ‘Visor’ lips above and below the lens stop glare when you’re over the bars out of the saddle and that still applies if you’ve mounted the lamp under the bars. Side lens cut outs also give peripheral awareness and 180-degree visibility.
While run times have been increased in the latest version, the low battery warning light will still start flashing not long after an hour and a half at full power, and the jump from 50-10 per cent battery life before it comes on doesn’t leave you much time to get home either. The secondary power setting is definitely dim for rural work too, the 150 lumen ‘Economy’ mode is only really useful as a limp home option, and the 15 lumen ‘Femto’ is best used as a repair torch glimmer.
The 150 lumen flash and pulse modes are great for round town visibility, and the 800 lumen Day Flash is bright enough to (hopefully) stop head-on overtakes even with a low sun backdrop. While that sounds like a potentially irritating amount of modes to scroll through in an emergency, holding the power button down for five seconds engages ‘Race mode’ with only ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Economy’ available. The ‘hold down’ switch on prevents accidental illumination and the rubber button is easy to find even in fat gloves. There’s an optional plug in remote switch available as well. While Lezyne doesn't list any waterproof rating, the micro USB recharge port is buried deep behind a secure rubber plug and I’ve been using ‘Drive’ family lights for season after season without any flooding or other failures. Pricing is reasonable, considering how robust it is and you can also get it bundled with the Strip Drive rear light for £97 / $99.99 which saves you £7 / $10.
If you want enough power to feel confident on twisty back roads the Lite Drive 1000XL adds 200 lumens into the same casing for a noticeably more pokey beam, but you’ll be lucky to get an hour and a half at full blast in cold conditions. Thankfully the bigger Macro Drive 1300, Mega Drive 1500 and Super Drive 1800 push battery life well past the two hour mark for ‘proper’ rides if you’re going long.
Lezyne’s tough, metal-bodied Micro Drive Pro 800XL will fit any bar I can think of and has a ton of modes for urban and commuting use. While it’s not brilliant for back road riding it’s still significantly better than most lights at this price. You’ll need to keep an eye on battery life though, and you’ll also want the fixed bar mount to stop wobble on rougher surfaces.
Tech Specs: Lezyne Micro Drive Pro 800XL
- Price: £64.99 / $69.99
- Weight: 152g (including strap and rubber shoe)
- Power: 800 lumens (max)
- Run time: 1hr 50mins (averaged over 3 full power runs)
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