A long time ago, back before the days of plague and murder wasps, it was pretty common for me to roll out of my house on a bike ride with completely naked bars. No bike computer, no lights, no DI2 shift buttons, just a clean bar with (real) cork tape on it. Heck, not even the brake housing interfered with things, as it ran straight from the hoods to the frame and the shift levers were on the downtube, where the gods intended them to be.
For good and ill, those times are long gone. We now live in an age where bar-top real estate is at a premium, and mounting a front light on your bike can be more than a little bit of a hassle. How a manufacturer addresses this is a big part of what differentiates a good light system from a great one, well above and beyond the obvious illumination and operation aspects of said system.
Lezyne does some things really darn well in this area, and they’re worth talking about in depth.
As shipped in its stock form, the Lezyne 100XL comes with a rather nice variation on the “rubber(ish) strap with holes that stretch over plastic hook-type-things” theme.
As seen in this picture, you can rotate the strap mount so that it wraps around a tube parallel to the axis of the light as well as perpendicular, and any degree of intermediate rotation desired. This comes in pretty handy if you want to do something like mount the light to the underside of an aerobar, or if your handlebar tops aren’t perfectly perpendicular to your stem, as is quite common these days. This is a very useful feature that is not shared by all of its competitors.
Rotational allowance aside, this mounting system is fairly typical of lights at all levels of the price spectrum these days. It works well; it is easy to put on and take off, has enough stretch to fit around most bars that you might want to strap it to, and is quite robust, showing absolutely no signs of wear in the time that I have had it.
Even better, you can simply unscrew it from the back of the light, and replace it with a Go-Pro style mount.
My friends, Go-Pro mounts aren’t just for cameras anymore. I currently have at least one Go-Pro mount on all the bikes I ride, and it’s actually pretty rare that they see a camera. They wind up carrying a light 90 plus percent of the time.
If you’ve read the previous reviews I have written on light systems here at Slowtwitch, you may have noticed that I am a zealous advocate for the adoption of a universal light mounting standard for bikes. It’s more than a little ridiculous that we’re reduced to zip-tying and rubber strapping lights on to our multi-thousand dollar bicycles like an afterthought or an affectation. It’s well past time that bike designers include provisions for light mounting in those designs, and while I think the “standard” that those mount points should adhere to is still open to applicants when it comes to rear lights, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the ballot for front lights has been read, and the winner is the Go-Pro style mount.
Manufacturers, get to it. Start putting these mounts on your stems/bars/bikes, what have you.
While the age of the universal light mount standard may well never come, it’s nice that Lezyne has been thinking about this a fair bit and has partnered with some other smart folks to put together a really darn nice mount for their lights. Or their head units. Or both. Or whatever else you might want to mount to it.
The name of this mount is the Direct X-Lock Mount System.
While Lezyne doesn’t advertise it, the subtle logo impression on the side of the unit makes it pretty clear that they outsourced this project to the people at F3 Cycling.
F3 offer a very similar product for $20 more than the $39.99 Lezyne charges, and the F3 version doesn’t include all the accessories that you get gratis with the Lezyne version.
The F3 version does swap compatibility with Lezyne computer mounts for compatibility with Garmin and Wahoo style ¼ turn mounts, and that’s probably worth the bump in price for some folks. This is very much in keeping with the general theme of the Lezyne head units, which I think can be summarized as “all the cool features, a fair bit less coin” oftentimes conjoined with “…but may not do all those cool things quite the way you’re used to."
If you’re looking to mount a Lezyne head unit, or a Lezyne head unit and light, or a light and a Go-Pro (yes, you can configure this with two Go-Pro style mounts) then I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a better solution, provided you are using a compatible stem, and most stems that use a 4-bolt faceplate will be compatible.
Once installed, this is a clean looking set-up.
And it’s solid: nary a hint of flex nor wobble, even on rowdy gravel terrain. As you can see in the pictures, you don’t lose any bar-top real estate to mounting hardware, and this is particularly handy on bikes that might see aerobars coming on and off, or electronic shift points mounted on the tops.
What you can’t really see in the photos is just how adjustable this light is, as that ability to rotate the mounting point I mentioned earlier carries on in the GoPro style configuration. In contrast here’s the setup I’ve been running on another bike:
…where the computer and light are mounted directly to the aerobars, again via a GoPro style mount. The light mounted in this picture doesn’t share the Lezyne’s ability to rotate around the mount point, and as a result it is always aimed just a tiny bit off-center from where the bars are pointing.
This is a minor annoyance, but it definitely is an annoyance, and I solved the issue by swapping the lights between the two bikes pictured here immediately after the photos were taken.
This is probably a good way to sum up my experience with the mounting options offered by Lezyne. After a few weeks of testing, I’m running the Lezyne light on the non-Lezyne mount because it’s adjustable enough to compensate for the shortcomings of the non-Lezyne mount, and I’m running the non-Lezyne light on the Lezyne mount because it’s shortcomings in adjustability aren’t a problem with the Lezyne mount.
Score 2 for Lezyne.