My daily commute includes MTB, gravel and Enduro trails through Glentress Forest in the Tweed Valley and I ride every day whatever the weather so the lights get coated in muck, hosed down (while on the bike still normally!), recharged, then used again and again so I can review these lights pretty well. To caveat, I was given these light to test but I just write honestly what I’ve found. The 4 below are my recommended pick for riders like me doing a regular 1-2hr off road or on road night ride.
This light has proved to be my go to winter option. It’s simply awesome, I have used it most days this winter for night riding and off road forest trails commuting as it gives you rear visibility on the MTB for short road sections. Mounted to my helmet this means whichever of my bikes I choose to ride I always have a front and rear light. Easy.
Why so good? It is bright enough to use off road on gravel on its own. I’m not sure how long it lasts exactly in the real world, because it has so many variable modes which I skip between meaning it’s hard to define. I can say that it hasn’t run out on me, despite infrequent charging so assume it meets the claimed run times and I certainly use it on 2.5hr rides. The rear flash is so bright it means you can use it on gloomy day road rides too. It charges by USB that is accessed by unscrewing the rear end – giving a totally waterproof seal. 5/5 stars but they’re not too easy to find anymore online it seems.
This is a great MTB helmet light option – it’s super small, bright and lightweight becasue the battery goes down in a backpack. The 1000 lumens is plenty for a helmet light for off road use including super techy terrain. The build quality is really nice and was used in all weathers last winter without issue. Because the charging port is on the battery this means the light is completely sealed and the USB charge port is behind a very solid rubber seal on the battery pack.
Usfeully the pack can be used as a power bank for charging up your phone if needed (not while using it as a light obviously!), not sure Lezyne market this use but it does work and helpful when traveling or bikepacking in case of GPS/phone dead battery. Battery life seems good, it’s never run out on my normal 2hour night ride and that’s without me really thinking about saving it. Overall a nice lightweight, strong and reliable light and £140 RRP but cheaper here. You can also buy second spare battery packs here;
3. Strip Drive Pro 300L Rear Light
This is a seriously bright rear light, intended as a daylight flash, it works great as a safety light whatever time of day or night. The design has gone back to a micro USB charge port rather than the direct USB stick design which is more practitcal. The light has 11 modes – all I know is it has a lot! Easy to fit on the seat post with rubber strap. I tend to mount it on the seat post at the seat clamp and this angles the light nicely to give great visibility to cars. This picture shows this;
The only issue I have is that I tend to stick to the brightest setting whatever the time of day and as you might expect this means the battery dies quicker and probably annoys drivers in the dark but I am less concerned about that as it means they have seen me! The RRP is £50 but again cheaper here
4. Macro Drive 1600 XXL 1600 lumens
The final review is what to use on the bars, combined with either the Duo or Multi Drive helment lights above. I use this big light on my MTB using the super clever direct stem light/GPS mount. On the bars with just the rubber strap the 1600xxl is too heavy and moves on bumpy trails. This is why I often find myself just sticking with the smaller 1000 lumen version. The 1000 light is a lot less than the 1600 lumen but it is still plenty of light with the helmet light too and it is easier to swap between bikes. However the trump card (for want of a better phrase these days) is that the 1600xxl (and 1800xxl) can accept the external battery pack to add run time- Lezyne call it the Infinite light I think, although at 2 more hours technically this isn’t infinity. However the extra batteries have been super useful for long rides and racing. The latest 1600 model has smart phone connection and auto day night sensor but I’ve not used these.
The battery lasts well and I tend to use the ‘race’ mode, switching just between a low uphill light and full DH light. Again a micro USB is easy to charge and well sealed. I find being all in one unit makes it nice and compact and less of a faff to use without all the wires of a separate battery pack on the frame that most poweful lights use. The RRP is £120 but again can be found cheaper Below is the clever direct stem mount from Lezyne for light and GPS, made from aluminium it is super sturdy.