Out of the Box: Lezyne Mega Drive LED Light- by Grannygear
Ok, we announced the little torch here in the On Test, so let’s take a closer look, shall we? To back up a bit first, remember that this is round 2 of Lezyne’s stab at getting a part of the fast growing LED bike light market. We reviewed two of the first generation Lezyne lights and they were well made and well priced for the light output they offered. All the lights Lezyne makes are self contained types, meaning they have no external battery packs or cords to mess with. Charging is done by a supplied USB cable and the battery packs can be purchased from Lezyne to have spares on hand.
The Mega Drive is the Big Kahuna of lumens for the Lezyne lights. Rated at 200Lm/500Lm/1000Lm (lumens) and with a flashing mode, the run times are estimated to be 1.5 hours on the Blast/1000lm setting, 3 hours on the Enduro/500Lm setting, and 7 hours on the Economy/200Lm setting. There are two packages available for the Mega Drive…Fully Loaded and Standard. The Standard package which we received has the light body, one 3.7V Lithium Ion battery (2P configuration for a claimed 5200mAh), two resin handle bar clamps in a 25.4mm and 31.8mm diameter, some rubber gaskets to fit to the bars if need be, and a USB charging cable. That retails for $199.99. Opt for the Fully Loaded version and you get a nice storage box with foam cut-outs for all the parts, an extra 3.7V battery, and a nice machined aluminum clamp rather than the resin one. Checking that box at order time will ding you for another 50 bucks for a $249.99 total.
This is a two LED light and I was not told but I would suspect the emitters are Cree XMLs as that is the hottest thing right now for this application. There are optics in the light for the beam pattern, not reflectors. I weighed it at 266g with the battery but with no clamp attached. Holding it in your hand you come to realize that it is a substantial piece of hardware, too heavy for a helmet light. It feels like a tool, not a toy. The extrusion and machining of the all aluminum case are top notch. Even the tiny little bail and latch that holds the rear cover closed are nearly art in a world of “toss it when it breaks” plastic. That case is not just for show, but also is there to dissipate heat from the LEDs.
It looks to be sealed from the weather pretty well. Not waterproof and they make no such claims, but the average rain shower should not bother the Mega Drive. The battery is a proprietary one and is the only one that Lezyne recommends for use in the light. The clamp is the same design that was used in the first gen lights, so if you have one of those, the Mega Drive will attach just fine.
On top of the light and recessed in the housing is the master switch, the Intelligent Power Indicator button. Besides telling you of battery charge, turning the unit on and off, and switching between power settings, it also moves you between the Race and Standard modes. One of my issues with the first gen Lezyne lights was that you had to cycle through all the modes to wrap around to High. So if you left High, you would go to a lower power setting or two, then a couple of flash modes, then back to High. That might be Ok for a casual or commuter light, but it is unacceptable in a serious night riding torch for off road. If I am on a lower setting and things get serious, I want to get to High like right now, not three pushes of a button later as I ride off the cliff in the flashy mode like some B slasher movie effect. Race mode allows you to toggle the Mega Drive between Economy/Blast (or Low/High) and locks out the Med setting and the flash mode. Very smart. I put the light into race mode right away. See the owners manual for all those details, but it is easy to figure all this out.
Being able to check the battery status and the mode you are in with a push of the button when the light is off is convenient. A quick press and release and you get a colored LED indicator of battery charge. Red means stop and grab the charger! Press and hold for a second or so and the light is on…each quick press toggles the drive level…press and hold powers off the light. As well, when you are riding, if the battery voltage begins to drop to where it is nearing the point where it cannot continue to provide full power, the illuminated button will change from green to half red, then red, then flashing red as things proceed towards total darkness! As well, the Mega Drive is thermally protected and will self protect from over heating the driver by reducing the light output until temps drop. All high powered LED lights are expected to have a cooling effect by air moving over the case as an important part of temperature regulation. Note that using the Mega Drive as a hand held flashlight on the high setting could be a cause of over heating as well as leaving the light on high when you stop and chat at the top of the hill on a summer’s night.
It looks like a nice package and 1000Lm is enough to go out and ride aggressively off road with. But just as, if not more important, is the quality of the light beam. Will the Mega Drive be mega good in the dark when things get fast and twisty? Hang on as we light up the night and find out.
Note: Lezyne sent the Mega Drive for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed, nor paid to do this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.