It costs $300 for a small handlebar light. But for that money you get an end-all product perfect for road or trail, commuting on early mornings or for mountain biking at night.
New this year, the Taz 1200 is a high-end bike light that blazes with its namesake 1200 lumens of light. It offers this power in a small waterproof package that requires no cords or external battery packs.
I tested the TAZ for a month and came away impressed. The first time I powered the light up inside my home my entire family ducked away shading their eyes. The TAZ is stupid bright.
On the road, approaching oncoming cars, I feel bad using anything but the lowest setting — I’m pretty sure the TAZ 1200 is brighter than some automobile headlights.
There are three brightness levels, from the 1,200 lumen mark on down. A flashing mode is for visibility in traffic. A new pulse mode offers something between the seizure-inducing flash and a constant beam.
The little light attaches to a bike handlebar via rubber straps. With more bulk and weight than most similar lights, at about 215 grams, you need to cinch the rubber strap tightly to arrest slipping.
During my trail rides, I had to readjust the positioning several times with all the rattling and bumps. The light moved. But this problem is hardly unique to the TAZ, as I have other handlebar lights that move when introduced to singletrack. (You can mount the light under the handlebar to limit this issue, though it can be more finicky in that position.)
Battery run time on the TAZ ranges from 1.5 hours on high to 6 hours on low. Its flash setting nets 18 hours of run time before a recharge is required.
To refresh the battery, the light plugs into a laptop via USB. This is not my favorite feature, actually, as it takes a looong time to recharge — up to 14 hours from a dead battery to full charge.
I find this too long to have it yoked to my computer. However, you can use an iPhone or iPad charger plugged into a wall to decrease charge time significantly.
Caveats? For long rides, wilderness biking, or nighttime racing, I’d recommend other lights with a separate battery pack. This will let you swap out used batteries with fresh ones when in need.
In the end, if you like to ride after dark and want an easy system that blasts light, this model is a winner. For me, on city commutes as well as trail rides at night, the TAZ has performed so far without flaw.
It costs a lot, but we know the Light & Motion brand from years of testing other products in its line, and this light is of the same quality. It should last for years, shining a bright path as you roll ahead into the night.
—T.C. Worley is a contributing editor. He reviewed the Urban 500 from Light & Motion last year.