The Lezyne Deca Drive is powerful, robust, and easy to operate, but the handlebar mount gave us cause for concern and could be improved.
The Deca Drive’s 800 lumen maximum output provided a perfectly adequate level of illumination on unlit roads and the clarity of its pure white beam, cast in a circular pattern through the excellent MOR lens, was impressive.
On urban roads, where our priority switched from seeing to being seen, we opted for the more powerful of the Deca Drive’s two flashing modes. The Deca Drive has three LEDs, arranged in a triangular form. The flashing mode that engaged the two bulbs that form the triangle’s ‘base’ proved to be the most effective in our opinion, offering a clear demarcation between on and off. It achieved the desired effect on motorists at the approach to roundabouts and junctions: alerting them to our presence and inspiring sufficient respect to make us consider running a flashing headlight in daylight.
We’ve been testing the ‘loaded’ package, one supplied with an additional battery, but frankly we didn’t exhaust our supplies on any of our test rides, which typically lasted about two-and-a-half hours, and with a period of daylight either at the beginning (missions begun in late afternoon) or at the end (early starts).
Lezyne claim a 90-minute run time on full power, and with our mix of maximum setting on unlit roads and flashing on urban highways, we always had plenty in the tank. Carrying the spare battery, while unlikely to prove necessary for all but a night time effort such as the Dunwich Dynamo, presented no difficulty. At 65mm long and tipping the scales at 90g, the spare battery occupied no more pocket space than a multi-tool, and weighed little more.
While some lights can seem unnecessarily complicated by a host of programmable modes (the Lupine Piko TL Max reviewed last year had 56, for example), the Deca Drive’s straight-forward and easily accessed selection seemed well-judged. The Overdrive Race mode, for example, was especially useful, offering either full power or 250 lumens. Accessing this mode was a piece of cake, proving no more difficult than holding down the power button for five seconds and waiting for the light to flash, and its operation was just as simple: a single push to change from ‘main beam’ to ‘dipped’.
Charging the battery was as simple as opening the hatch at the rear of the light and attaching a USB cable. Many contemporary cycle lights have adopted the USB standard, and while it isn’t the fastest, once you’re in the habit of connecting the light as you sit down at your desk, charging times cease to be a concern. Fuel levels were easy to monitor, thanks to a simple traffic light system that illuminated the power button in red, amber, or green to indicate the degree of charge. We raised our concern about the latch that holds the battery door closed in our ‘first look’ but it’s stood up well so far.
The handlebar mount provided the sole area of concern. On one occasion, the light slipped from the mount and onto the road. The Deca Drive is a robust unit and the road was quiet, so no harm was done, other than a few chips to its paint work. It was enough, however, to make us look critically at the fixing, which offers no more than a plastic tab to hold in place a unit that tipped our scales at 250g, with battery. The light has to be ‘backed in’ to position, where it is then secured with a tab. A design that allows the light to slide in ‘face first’, and to butt up against a permanent fixture would be superior, in our opinion.
The Lezyne Deca Drive has sufficient power and breadth of function to meet the needs of a road cyclist. The 800 lumen output was equal to the task of riding on unlit roads, and the variety of ‘dipped’ and flashing modes made it a useful companion around town. We experienced satisfactory run times from the battery, and the spare supplied with the ‘loaded’ option would make three-hour rides conducted at maximum setting at possibility – a requirement likely only for those who live in the depths of the countryside and whose rides are conducted entirely on unlit roads.
Operation was simple, but we’d like to see a different mount, rather than the plastic dock into which the Deca Drive has to be reversed, and which offers only a flexible plastic tab to secure the unit. The existing system requires the light to be ‘backed in’ to place to avoid fouling the handlebar clamp, but we’re confident that a company so intently focused on design as Lezyne can find an elegant solution.