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Lezyne Mega Drive Light (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Very Good)
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Lezyne Mega Drive Light
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Tested: Lezyne Mega Drive

Rating: Vital Review

by Monica McCosh

Going into its eighth year as an engineering design house, Lezyne releases its most powerful LED light to-date, the 1400-lumen Mega Drive for 2015. The Mega Drive is a slick CNC-sculpted aluminum body featuring 3 LEDs for constant lumen output, and replaceable USB-rechargeable batteries for extended night riding on the fly – no cables attached. Eager to extend our winter riding hours we powered up the Mega Drive and headed out to see if it would turn night into day.

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Lezyne Mega Drive Highlights

  • High Performance LED Light for Trail or Road Use
  • Max Lumens: 1400
  • CNC-Sculpted Aluminum Body
  • Water Resistant
  • Constant Lumens Power Management Drives Three LEDs at 1400 Lumens
  • Overdrive Race Mode Allows Quick Switching Between Overdrive and Economy
  • Easy Battery Replacement
  • Recharged with either a 2 Amp Compatible Wall Adaptor or via a Micro USB Cable
  • Intelligent Power Indicator button allows the user to check the power level any time
  • Mounts for 31.8mm and 25.4mm handlebars
  • Recharge Time: 12hrs (1A) / 6hrs (2A)
  • Battery: LIR18650 2 Cell
  • Colors: grey/black
  • Weight: 265g
  • MSRP: $199.99 USD
  • Also available as a Loaded Box Package, including:
  • Aluminum Handlebar Mounts (31.8mm and 25.4mm)
  • Spare Battery Pack
  • Micro USB Charging Cable
  • MSRP (Loaded Package): $249.99 USD

Initial Impressions

We received our Mega Drive as part of the optional Loaded Box kit. This means the inclusion of aluminum bar mounts, a spare battery, and a micro USB charging cable to allow you to recharge your light off any USB port. The Loaded kit is delivered in a rugged sleek black box with foam cutouts neatly contouring the device and accessories.

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The Mega Drive appears lighter in weight (device: 265 grams) than its cable-sporting competitors, yet the unit sank in my hand enough for me to second-guess the practicality of the helmet-mount. And yes, the helmet mount works great and pivots around; and yes, the extra weight turned out to be enough to throw my head around more than I’d like.

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I am a convert to the 35-mm handlebar clamp diameter so I was a little bummed – but not surprised – that the two handlebar mounts provided were for a road handlebar (25.4-mm) or the conventional 31.8-mmmountain bike handlebar diameter. This will be something Lezyne may have to look into in 1-2 years when 35-mm is the majority.

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The light/duration chart is handy but confusing when compared to the actual sequence of light modes. Once powered on, the device appears to only have 5 different settings and the second setting seems brighter than the first. Since this is a little confusing and for the type of night mountain bike riding I prefer, I prefered the simplification of the various modes with the Overdrive mode. Hold down the power button for 5 seconds and the device switches to a 2-mode setting: Overdrive or Economy. Or in my case: “Dense rainforest descent” or “Fire road climb” modes.

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Note that we highly recommend opting for the Loaded Kit with the spare battery, as 1 hour and 15 minutes is too short for safe planning and it takes 10-12 hours to charge a battery (4-6 with High Efficiency Charging from a wall socket). Maybe even buy 2 spares if you’re planning a weekend epic with no way to re-charge for a few days.

On the Trail

No strings attached. I don’t like the idea of battery packs tied to my bike, or stuffed into my bag or pocket, so the fully contained design of the Mega Drive is perfect for me. The stealthy sleek form factor of this light makes it ideal for the after-work ripper or the weekend marathon that extends into the murky haze of dusk’s approach. On the topic of murk, here's a shot that illustrates the beam shape and reach of the Mega Drive. The subject is standing at 25-feet, 50-feet, and 100-feet respectively:

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I found the colorful battery status indicator (also the main button) to be the best help in determining how much time you have left to get down the mountain. I was out on a post-Christmas ride on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state; we had made our first ascent of Turtleback Mountain to Morning Ridge Trail at 6:15am. The battery indicator flashed green and I had charged it the night before, but not the full 10-12 hours required (I had neglected to read the Owners Manual). I had been running what I assume is Economy mode the ride up, when I could have been using the alternating flash mode between bright/dull (is this Blast? I still can’t figure out the chart). As we caught our breath, took in the view of twinkling harbor lights below, and set off down the trail for our descent I switched to Overdrive mode (1400 lumens). The battery light turned to yellow about half-way down, indicating 50% battery life left.

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Overdrive mode was overkill on an exposed hillside overlooking the ocean with singletrack flowing alongside short moss rather than through dense forest flora. In this situation I found 700 lumens could suffice, illuminating well-known tight-winding trails.

One disadvantage to using a handlebar-only light is that it doesn't fully light up undulating trail due to the shallow angle of illumination (compared to a helmet-mounted light which obviously sits higher up). Another disadvantage to the bar-mounted light is that if you’re slashing berms or corners, your head looks through the corner into blackness as your handlebar light is still not pointed towards the exit at that time. If you ride challenging trails, you'll probably want to run a helmet light, and as previously pointed out, we found the mass of the Mega Drive to be just a bit too much to be comfortable up there on the dome.

Things That Could Be Improved

There will always be room for improvement with any make or model of light: less recharge time, longer battery life, more lumens, and lighter weight. But that somewhat unreasonable wishlist is not unique to the Mega Drive specifically. More on point with this model would be offering a separate 35mm clamp mount, as well as clarifying the mode-setting information. At this point I am still unsure as to which mode corresponds to the required lumen power for the job at hand, and am therefore also unable to properly estimate the available run time.

Long Term Durability

The CNC aluminum casing is durable and the device has so far withstood the Pacific Northwest mud slop, rainy rides, and wintry temperatures that are par for the course and the season here. It is still too early to deliver a verdict on how long the LED lights will last before needing replacement, as well as how the battery will hold a charge over time, but at this point, we have no reason to doubt that we'll get many happy rides out of the Mega Drive.

What’s The Bottom Line?

No cables, spare battery switch-outs on the fly, and a fool-proof Overdrive mode that switches easily between the highest available power and a good cruiser setting make the Mega Drive an excellent handlebar mounted option. For properly challenging night riding, you’ll probably want a head-mounted light and the Mega Drive might be on the bulky side for this application for some riders. If it's maximum trail illumination in a cable-less package you seek, the Mega Drive is definitely a great addition to the bike.

For more information, head on over to: www.lezyne.com.


About the Reviewer

Monica McCosh has been riding bikes in British Columbia for over 5 years through the dusty desert interior, the gnarly roots of the North Shore, and the flow and jump lines of Whistler Bike Park. Not quite a competitive racer, but most definitely a freeride enthusiast, Monica attends various bike events and organizes guided bike excursions throughout BC. She is a Marketing professional in the mountain bike industry having worked at Ryders Eyewear and now Easton Cycling.

Specifications

Product Lezyne Mega Drive Light
Light Type
Lumens
Features
Miscellaneous High Performance LED Light for Trail or Road Use // CNC-Sculpted Aluminum Body // Water Resistant // Constant Lumens Power Management Drives Three LEDs at 1400 Lumens // Overdrive Race Mode Allows Quick Switching Between Overdrive and Economy // Infinite Light Design Allows for On-Demand Battery Replacement // Recharged with Either a 2 Amp Compatible Wall Adaptor or Via a Micro USB Cable // Intelligent Power Indicator Button Allows the User to Check the Power Level Any Time // Mega Drive's CM Hard Mounts Secure the Light to 31.8mm and 25.4mm Handlebars // Also Available as a Fully Loaded Package with Aluminum Handlebar Mounts (31.8mm and 25.4mm), a Spare Battery Pack, a Micro USB Charging Cable, and CM Storage Case for $250 // Max Lumens: 1400 // Weight: 265g // Recharge Time: 12hrs (1A) / 6hrs (2A) // Battery: LIR18650 2 Cell (Included)
Price $200
More Info

Lezyne Website

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