Review – Lezyne KTV Pro
Lezyne is actually a reasonably new player in the cycling accessory game, starting up in 2007, and only entered the lighting segment in 2011, which is something I didn’t realize. If you knew nothing of the company and judged them solely on presentation, you might think that they are the Apple of the cycling world, with clean, polished design (both for product and packaging) and high-end looking materials. One of the features that most of Lezyne’s products share is the use of metal, usually aluminium, wherever possible, to set them apart from the plastic dominated herd.
“Exquisite design, intelligent engineering, and functional completion” is what they want to communicate to consumers, and on the face of it, I think they are succeeding (apart from “functional completion”, whatever that is…).
Sitting at the bottom end of their light selection, the Femto Drive lights are a small safety light (ie, to allow you to be seen, not being strong or focused enough to illuminate the road) that use a couple of small CR2032 batteries, is brighter than you’d expect, offers a number of steady and flashing settings, and couldn’t be easier to put on and take off of the bike.
The KTV is a new light that offers the same output as the Femto Drive but in a USB rechargeable format and a slightly awkward rectangular shape, and the KTV Pro is the more powerful front light in a traditional shape for those wanting a smaller, rechargeable, and bright safety light.
I got my hands on it recently to give it a whirl, and overall, I have to say that it delivers.
Whereas the output of the Femto Drive lights is 15lm for the front (7lm at the rear), the KTV Pro produces 70lm on Blast mode and 30lm on all other modes. For a safety light, this is more than sufficient. Lezyne produces their own lenses, so it may be that their optics enhance the dual LED’s to their best ability, but in any case, it’s 70lm certainly doesn’t seem to be an overestimate. The lens extends back to the sides of the light, intended to add side visibility to a full 180 degrees.
As with most Lezyne lights, there is a generous selection of modes. Two steady modes (the 70lm blast and 30lm economy), 3 flash modes (increasing the speed at which they repeat), and a less aggressive pulsing mode.
In terms of run time, according to Lezyne you’ll get 1 hour on Blast mode, 2 hours on economy, and 6 hours on all of the flash/pulse modes.
There is a small battery indicator light on the top of the KTV Pro, just next to the on/off button, and though it is small, it is easy to see. A green light indicates full charge, which switches to a red/orange light once the light reaches 75%, and then full-red at 25%. Something I figured they missed a trick on was that you have to plug in the light upside down if you are using a laptop or something similar, and that means that the charge indicator is also facing down, making it difficult and annoying to know when it’s finished charging. Not so. There is a second small indicator on the bottom of the light, but you also get a red glow through the front lens as well. Nice.
The base of the light allows it to swivel, which you actually need to do to attach the strap when fitting, but I suppose it also caters for alternative mounting options. The strap is robust, making it around a 31.6mm handlebar with little room to spare, but has additional settings for smaller bars or other sneaky locations.
This is Lezyne’s smallest USB rechargeable light, and though it is not the smallest out there, it is small enough not to take over your handlebars. It is also their lightest, if that matters to you, weighing in at 55g. Still, there are other lights out there that pack as much punch in a smaller size (Infini Lava) or more punch in a similar size.
For recharging the KTV Pro, the rubber backing pulls off to reveal the USB stick that plugs directly into any USB slot, which will take approximately 3.25 hours.
How does it all work?
I found the output to be sufficient. No problems here. Nice and bright, but don’t expect the KTV Pro to “really light up the road”, whatever the review excerpt found at the bottom of Lezyne’s web-page for the light says. The beam is not focused enough to be useful for that purpose, unless you are desperate and keep your speed down. The range of modes is better than most, offering something for everyone, or every condition.
The side cut-outs that are intended to extend the visibility of the KTV Pro to 180 degrees are nowhere near as bright as the front, but they do allow enough light to pass through to make them useful. In fact, you don’t need to go much past 90 degrees from the front to be in sight of the LED’s directly, so although the side cut-outs help, there isn’t much need for them.
For run time, I actually got around 1.25 hours on Blast mode until the indicator went to full red, and then only a couple of minutes until the light turned off completely. This may differ between the lights, but just be weary of your warning time. Charging from empty actually took slightly less than the 3:15 that Lezyne suggests.
I don’t have any experience with this light in the rain so I can’t judge its water resistance, but the rubber end that covers the USB stick seems fairly well sealed, being quite a reassuringly tight fit.
My biggest gripe with this light is the same with other Lezyne lights, and that is the lack of any rubber material on the underside of the bracket which results in very little grip on the handlebars. It’s not a heavy light, and there is enough grip with just the strap to keep the light from bouncing around too much or dipping unexpectedly if you hit a bump, but only just. With the on/off/mode button fore of the handlebars you need to hold the underside of the KTV Pro when pushing it, otherwise the light just spins down. It’s not a significant mark against it, but one would think that it would be an easy thing to address.
So, what’s with the name? For this, we have road.cc to thank:
Lezyne’s Sam Chau:
‘The KTV light was created to bring a ‘unique personality’ into our LED line, challenging the norm and conventionality of what’s currently in the market… There can be a lot of interpretations but in the end it should all conclusively be blissful and happy. Going to a KTV is like going to a sanctuary – it can be a place to relax, a place to have fun, and a place to celebrate… When a consumer purchases this product for their night ride, we hope they can bring this positive energy with them – just be happy.’
Overall, I think Lezyne have a good product with the KTV Pro. At $35 AUD it’s reasonably good value for a USB rechargeable light with 70lm and a CNC machined alloy body. Run-time is good, the battery indicator light is easily visible and easy to read, and there are a plethora of modes to choose from, but in my opinion the light could certainly benefit from a more secure fit on the bars (not that the light is at risk of coming off, but it does spin around the bars too easily for my liking).
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is the best light in its segment, but you certainly wouldn’t go wrong with spending your hard-earned cash on this one.