If you've ever participated in an epic, all-night endurance race like the 24 Hours of Moab, you're certainly no stranger to having once been relegated to lugging around a heavy battery pack which powered an extremely expensive headlight that was no more powerful than a car headlamp on its lowest output. Thankfully, those days are long gone, as the elegant Taz 1200 Light from Light & Motion is the next evolution in portable cycling illumination at a fraction of the cost.
Few cycling lights come with the pedigree of those from Light & Motion -- a company who has been designing lights for over 20 years. But, not always bicycle lights. In fact, the small Monterey, California company cut its teeth making ocean-proof diving lights that adhered to some of the most stringent safety standards in consumer products. The DNA for safe, highly visible and weatherproof lights for cycling was already in place, and thus, we have the Taz 1200.
For the sake of comparison, a traditional car headlamp puts out around 700 or 800 lumens -- and as its name implies, the Taz 1200 puts out an impressive 1200 lumens in a self-contained package that tips the scales at just over 200 grams. In case you haven't checked in with light technology in a year or so, that means no more battery pack in your jersey pocket or swinging to and fro on your top tube. This concentrated beam illuminates not only what lies ahead on the trail, but everything in a wide 45 degree arc relative to your movement. This puts in clear view any major direction changes of the trail, or any sleepy wildlife considering crossing in your path. The Taz light sits at the top of Light & Motion's 'crossover' range, meaning it's also designed for touring or commuting use, and as 1200 lumens might blind an oncoming driver or cyclist, you can dial the light's output with the medium or low flash settings reducing its output to 600 and 300 lumens, respectively.
The Light and Motion Taz 1200 Light will run for a full hour and a half on the highest, 1200 lumen setting and for 3 hours on medium. Both of these settings should be more than enough to get you through your leg on a 24-hour relay, or a long, darkened stretch of your commute. One of the coolest features of the Taz 1200 is its Race Mode, which cycles between only the high and medium brightness modes, letting you quickly change modes as the trail opens up without demanding too much of your hands' attention. The lowest flash setting stretches the battery life out to an impressive 18 hours, and once it's dead a complete charge by means of the included USB-Micro charge cable requires around 5 hours. It's designed to be mounted onto your handlebars and comes with a rubberized, tool-free strap that secures the light in an instant.