The Micro Drives excelled on commutes along lit, urban roads. The front light’s 150 lumen “Blast” mode will see you safely along a canal towpath or dark cycle path, while the rear is suited to any road, lit or otherwise. We used the latter on a chain gang, where the safety of the whole bunch depends on the last man in the line.
Off-road riding, or venturing out into the pitch black of the countryside, exceeds the remit of the Micro Drive front light in our opinion. While effective, it does not produce sufficient light for speedy training rides on dark lanes. The beam spread is adequate but more wattage is required for serious night riding. The Macro Drive may be the answer for such missions. We’re in the process of finding out (review imminent).
The CNC aluminium body of both units is solidly constructed, and in our view will last a number of seasons. The internal workings are housed entirely by the cylinder and its robust resin end cap. The cap is threaded to screw into the cylinder, and sealed with a rubber washer that has kept out moisture thus far.
Unthreading the end cap revealed a USB charging point to plug into a desktop or laptop computer. You may, as we did, choose instead to use a plug from a well-known computer manufacturer [hint: Apple – Ed] to charge the units, limiting the potential for damage to light or computer.
Charging exposed a small design flaw. The power light flashes gently to indicate charging, but unfortunately when plugged into the USB port of any of the three devices from which we conducted charging operations, it was positioned on the ‘underside’. We’d like to see the USB board positioned so the power light is on the ‘topside’ when attached to a computer, saving much craning of the neck to see if it’s charging.
We wondered if the side visibility of the Micro Drive could be improved, certainly at the rear, by using either a deeper machined cut in the side of the unit, or a clear plastic cowl to create some sideways glow, but this is a minor detail.
We made mention of the resin clamps that hold the front and rear lights to the bike in our ‘first look’. We liked the soft silicone bands that strapped the base clamps to the bars or seatpost. The ease of use allowed us to keep our bars free of clutter during daylight rides and to replace without fuss when required.
We were invited to test a slightly modified rear bracket; one that came with rubber pads and which we exposed to the additional demands of off-road riding on a hard-tail mountain bike. It passed with flying colours, holding the light securely.
The Micro Drives are well made, and offered excellent performance. The minor design flaws recorded above were noticeable primarily because these are such clean and simple units; ones that have clearly result from detailed consideration.
At a penny under seventy pounds for the pair, they represent good value in our opinion, and will equip your everyday bike with a perfectly decent set of lights that should easily survive the rigours of year-round commuting.