Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL Review

September 14, 2017
Ease of Use
Beam Quality

The Good

  • Waterproof
  • Rapid flash and pulse modes
  • Mode-specific battery indicator
  • Durable mounting strap

The Bad

  • Durable mounting strap is difficult to secure
  • Helmet mount not included

The Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL projects a bright, wide, powerful beam of 1100 lumens. It has six brightness modes to provide a variety of illumination levels for urban and mountain bike rides, including a flash and pulse mode. However it can be difficult to attach to handlebars due to the miniscule pull-tab.


Ease of Use
The Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL has a large, tactile on/off switch that is glove-friendly for all glove weights. A long press turned the light on and subsequent short presses change the lighting mode. Our tester found the switch on the stiffer side and it required more finger power than the other lights in this test.

With six modes including Overdrive, Blast, Enduro, Economy, Flash, and Pulse, there is considerable clicking going on to get to the preferred level of lighting, although the light will remember the last mode used when turned on again.

Beam Quality
The Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL puts out a solid 1100 lumens of light on the Overdrive setting. Beam projection is very wide and is more than sufficient for urban riding, general bike commuting, and mountain biking. However, for what it provides in terms of width, it lacks in depth. The light’s powerful 1100 lumen beam doesn’t extend far enough beyond the path directly in front of the cyclist.

On urban streets and paths that are lit from streetlights, this is not generally an issue. However going through a dark park is where the lesser quality of the front beam projection was most noticeable.

Run times vary depending on the selected brightness mode but the pulse mode at 150 lumens, carries the longest-lasting charge at nine days running sixty minutes each day. This is the highest of all the lights in the test.

With six brightness modes to choose from, the waterproof Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL offers the cyclist the most variety for visibility: Overdrive (1100 lumens), Blast (650 lumens), Enduro (450 lumens), Economy (150 lumens), Flash (150 lumens) and Pulse (150 lumens).

Six modes felt like overkill for a bike light especially when there wasn’t a noticeable difference between Enduro and Blast modes (except that it burns the battery faster).

An Overdrive Race Mode allows the cyclist to easily switch between Overdrive and Economy modes however our tester found this to be more superfluous than an enhancement feature. The battery-indicator light changes color according to the battery level though, making it easy to know where the charge was at all times.

Charging is via a standard USB cable. However the socket is deeply recessed in the back of the light and is tricky to get the cable plugged in. Charging times are considerably longer due to the larger battery that supports the higher lumen rating. Charging time from a completely dead battery to full strength required a solid six hours of steady current when plugged directly into the wall. When our tester plugged a completely dead light into the laptop at work, it did not fully charge after eight hours.

Our tester’s bike commute takes thirty minutes each way. Using the pulse mode only, Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL went nine days before it needed to be recharged.

For enhanced safety on urban streets or trails, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL LED lamp is slightly recessed on the sides to provide 180 degrees of visibility. They are activated when the light is turned on and remain illuminated in all six light modes.

The Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL attaches to the handlebars via an integrated rubber mount and quick-release ladder mounting strap. The strap contains ladder rungs to ensure the fit and light are secure. The materials are very dense and durable, but because of this level of durability, the strap is very difficult to stretch to secure to the handlebars, requiring a lot of finger strength. Our tester found this mounting strap the most difficult to secure of all the lights in the test because of the tight, dense rubber. 

Bike light theft is a reality and it’s always a good idea for a cyclist to remove a light if they will be away from the bike for any length of time. Without a quick-release mechanism, like other lights in the test, the Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL is the most difficult light to attach and detach.

However, once attached, our tester found that the light stayed firmly in place, even when riding over bumps or rough bike paths.

A helmet mounting kit is available but does not come standard with the light. It can be used for mountain biking and beyond cycling as a handheld flashlight.

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