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Night riding has become really popular and having the right light to ride at night is crucial whether it's out on the trails or cruising around town. Read on as our friend Mark tells us about his light setup for night riding.
I was initially attracted to the Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 because the aesthetics are a lot nicer than a comparable light from NiteRider or Cygolite. The thing looks pretty slick and is probably more durable than these other lights with plastic cases because the outside of it is made of actual metal.
It’s not possible to mount this to your helmet. The handlebar mount is built into the light itself. Also, at 228 g, it’s pretty heavy compared to a comparable plastic light (for example my Cygolite Metro 1100 weighs only 121 g) so even if you could put it on a helmet, you’d definitely be feeling it.
The handlebar mount is rubber so it does a good job of flexing to fit different bar diameters. It's soft enough that you don't have to worry about it scraping or damaging the handlebars and it grips well. I’ve never had an issue with the light moving or shifting, even when riding through rough stuff. The weakness of the mount is how it attaches to the bars. You have to stretch the rubber strap around the bars and then slide it over this plastic hook which is pressed up against the body of the light. Every time I put it on my bike, I have to double-check the mount to make sure it's secure (this contrasts with the Cygolite, for example, which clicks into place). The upside of this type of mount is that there is no mounting hardware that stays on your bike when you’re not using the light. It's either all there, or it's not, which is ideal for a dedicated handlebar-mounted light.
This light can be almost annoyingly bright. If you accidentally shine it into someone's house or car, they're going to see it. I usually use it with a Cygolite on my helmet and I can see clearly, even out on the trail on a cloudy night. I only need the Cygolite to direct light to things not right in front of me. For riding on the street or sidewalk where you have some streetlights, the Macro Drive alone is more than sufficient. The light is very simple to use and only has one button like it was made by Apple or something. You can cycle through the modes and select the appropriate brightness. There are also pulsing and blinking modes if you’re just worried about cars seeing you and not lighting up the trail.
Battery life is more than adequate for casual night rides. I use it on all different modes, depending on how dark it is or where I'm going. Using it in this way (not on "hi" all the time), I've used it at least 6 or 7 times, with each ride ranging from 15-30 minutes, and it's still not showing any signs of being low on battery.
Overall, if you're looking for a handle bar mounted light, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1300XL is an amazing option. It looks nice, it's super bright, has a nice variety of lighting modes, and is easy to pop off when you're not using it. If you want something that can potentially go on your helmet as well, then check out a Cygolite or NiteRider.