Bright, tough, affordable, user-friendly visibility booster and backup light that’s just enough to help you see on back roads, but not for long
- - Brighter than you'd expect
- - Universal fit
- - Compact
- - Tough
- - Direct fast recharge
- - Colour options
- - Only just bright enough for unlit roads
- - Limited battery life
- - Gappy battery feedback
- - Heavier than same sized plastic lights
The Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL is the super compact ‘fun size’ light in Lezyne’s metal bodied Drive family but still shares all the same universal mount and durability features of it’s bigger siblings. It’s best for riders staying within lit areas though as power and run time are very limited for pedalling in proper darkness.
Its already earned itself a spot in our guide to the best bike lights, but now we've put it through a thorough test against the best, is it worthy of its place?
The Mini Drive uses Lezyne’s familiar rounded rectangular metal body format, but it doesn't get the cooling side ribs of the more recent Hecto Drive 500XL and Micro Drive 600XL. It does get the same protruding central power button with colour change battery life feedback, the same rubber 'ladder strap' swivelling universal bar mount, and the lens side cut-out with visor lips top and bottom.
Rather than a plug in recharging lead, the whole rubber rump of the light pulls off (with a reassuringly sealed 'ploop' noise to reveal the USB charging tongue.
The strap and hook system means it’ll fit on pretty much any bar size and shape, even twisting sideways for tri bar extensions which is great if you’re going aero on a bikepacking bike with bags obscuring your normal bars. The tiny size and weight means there’s none of the wobble issues you get with bigger lights using the same system either. If the bars of your helmet are narrow enough, it’ll sit on your head very happily too and it’ll stretch to some fork legs as well.
The 400-Lumen ‘blast’ rating of the single LED actually matches a lot of claimed 5-600 lumen lights we’ve tested, which makes it just about enough for spotting bigger problems or upcoming corners on unlit roads that you already know, but it’s swamped and shadowed out easily on a group ride.
Even with a fresh light in mild conditions, we were only just reaching Lezyne’s claimed one-hour run time and with no change in battery indicator colour between 50- and 10-per cent life, the get-yourself-home margins are slim if you’re not clock watching separately. At 150 lumens, the ‘enduro’ setting is definitely be-seen mode, meaning you need to tip toe carefully rather than ride comfortably on unlit streets.
Keep the Mini Drive 400XL under overhead lighting or in traffic, and it’s definitely bright enough to get you noticed, especially if you ‘accidentally’ use the strobing 400-Lumen 'day flash' mode.
Its compact size and easy mounting mean it's also a great light to keep in a saddle pack/cargo bottle/back pocket just in case a main light fails or you need a torch for roadside repairs. The side lens cut-outs increase sideways awareness and the top or bottom lips stop upwards glare whichever way up you mount it.
The fast, cable-free recharging is a real user-friendly bonus, and it’s still IPX6 waterproof rated with a very solid reputation among our test team for overall reliability and drop-proof toughness. It comes in up to five different anodised colours, depending on what country you’re buying in, and considering what a tough and comparatively bright light it is, it's really well priced.
Tough, compact, affordable, brighter than you’d think and able to mount somewhere useful on almost any bike, the Mini Drive 400XL is a really useful urban visibility booster for those on a tight budget. While it’s not got the poke or lifespan to handle ‘proper riding’ on unlit roads, it's still useful as an emergency ‘take in case’ torch too.
Tech Specs: Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL light
- Price: £34.95 / $34.95 / AU$TBC / €34.95
- Weight: 85g (including strap)
- Power: 400 lumens
- Run time: 60 mins (averaged over 3 runs)
- Colours: Black, Polished, Blue, Red, Purple
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