The Lezyne Mini drive XL is the big daddy in the brand's chic rechargeable commuter family - capable of belting out 200 lumens-nice for whistling home, while three lower settings (enduro, economy & flash) conserve power for when it's really needed.
Beautifully finished CNC machined, barrel shaped aluminium bodies in a choice of black or silver are trademark Lezyne and certainly won't cramp your style. A threaded end cap compete with O-ring seal provides easy access to its LR123A li-on cell, protecting internals from slush n' slurry. However, I'd still be inclined toward a slither of silicone grease for peace of mind.
Charge ports tend to be vulnerable but Lezyne have secreted this behind a rubberised plug integral to its handlebar bracket. This is available in two sizes, 25.4 for mtb/ old school drops and 30.8 with rubberised shims. These sort of lamps work really well as secondary systems, so imagine my delight having discovered there's a comprehensive kit including spare battery and helmet mount.
The super positive switch rules out accidental engagement but requires a very heavy thumb, and toggling through modes is an acquired art, especially on the fly. Thankfully there's an inbuilt kick down to conserve power and the integral charge indicator provides useful commentary. Up and running, economy and flashing are best for hossing along the high street.
Darker streets can be tackled to around 18mph on higher power, and the cowling allows plenty of sideways bleed through when emerging from junctions.
While there's no doubt you'll be seen to around three hundred metres, on unlit roads the otherwise pure, halo free beam lacks sufficient bite, making for a less relaxing speed fest, given that stray deer, potholes and banjo playing hillbillies are that bit harder to spot.
Beautifully executed light, although slightly underpowered for out in the sticks.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Mini Drive XL front light
Size tested: black
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?
"The Lezyne Mini Drive XL has been designed with the new XL CNC machined aluminum body, MOR Optics delivering a bright 200 lumens. The Infinite Light design allows the user to replace the Li-ion battery on demand. The Side Visibility Cuts increase user visibility from the side. The Intelligent Power Indicator button allows the user to check the power level any time. The Mini Drive XL comes with Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (25.4mm and 31.8mm) and 2 rubber shims. It is also available as part of a Fully Loaded package with a Composite Matrix helmet mount and spare battery". Another well conceived commuter plus lamp best suited to sub/urban commuting/training.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
MAX LUMENS : 200
ENDURO : 100 lumens | 3 hr
BLAST : 200 lumens | 1.5 hr
ECONOMY : 50 lumens | | 6 hr
FLASH : 100 lumens | 6 hr
WEIGHT : 85g
RECHARGE TIME : 5 hr
Very nicely made.
Sturdy and easy to live with.
Seems pretty good by USB standards.
Run and charge times aren't particularly impressive but ability to carry spare cells extend its potential for longer training/club outings.
Good in a suburban context, fair when street lighting becomes less frequent.
Has survived the inevitable everyday carelessness without so much as a scratch.
Aluminium shell displaces heat efficiently, spelling an end to singed digits, although the positive switch proved tricky to master mid ride.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lezyne's Micro Drive XL is basically a sub/urban commuter lamp on steroids and to this end works very well. Unleashing the full two hundred does nasty things to run times but spare batteries are readily available and easily slipped into jersey pockets should unlit semi rural sections form a regular part of your training runs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Functional yet beautfully formed, Lezyne's Micro drive XL offers decent balance between economy and output in the suburbs, or as a secondary system. Replaceable batteries mean extended playtimes and greater longevity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Nothing given the design brief but 200 lumens drains the battery quickly and feels underpowered when used as primary lighting in a rural context.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Would need something more powerful in my neck of the woods.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, for commuting and contingencies.
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)