Once, long ago, I dreamed of a bike light so bright that it would turn the darkest mountain bike trail into daylight and detach the retinas of drivers. That dream has become a reality with the Light and Motion Taz 800.
Fall and winter bring shorter days. If you’re a cyclist, it’s likely that most of your riding takes place before sunrise and after sunset. The Light and Motion Taz 800 is obnoxious enough for all riding in the dark adventures.
The Taz 800 has five settings:
- High: 800 lumens, 2:00 run time
- Medium: 400 lumens, 4:00 run time
- Low: 200 lumens, 8:00 run time
- Pulse: 200 lumens, 12:00 run time
- Flash: 200 lumens, 24:00 run time
That’s a lot of lumens.
Considering that a car’s light is about 700 lumens (give or take a few lumens), I can detach a driver’s retina if I set it the Taz at the full 800 lumens. For the record, I don’t do this. When commuting to work, I use the flashing 200 lumens setting out of courtesy to cars and to give myself extra visibility. Because when the pulse and flash settings are used, the amber lights on the sides of the Taz also flash or pulse for extra visibility.
On the mountain bike trails, the 800 lumen setting illuminates the trail and all the flora and fauna that I didn’t see with my Night Rider. Have you ever heard the term “opossum-in-a-Taz-800-headlight” look? Regretfully, with the Taz 800, you will. (Note: no opossums were harmed or blinded in the writing of this review)
I don’t advocate that you should ride faster and furious, and terrorize nocturnal animals on the dark trails, but having the power of 800 lumens on your handlebar is a beautiful thing.
For some reason, crashing into trees, falling on rocks, swerving off a steep side hill and plunging into a thicket of poison sumac to avoid hitting an animal hurts twice as much in the dark. Proper lighting helps avoid serious injury.
Keep in mind that if you do run the full 800 lumens, you’ll only have about two hours of illumination before the battery depletes.
When it does deplete, recharging is easy (when you have access to power). The Taz 800 comes with a USB-Micro charge cable that happens to be the same charger used by most smartphones. Including mine.
This is actually a big deal for me. Allow me to explain.
If I lived in a moderate climate, a charged Taz 800 running on 200 lumens flashing would give me twenty-four days of light (morning commute + evening commute = approximately one hour of riding with the light on/day). But I don’t. I live in Minneapolis, I park my bike outside during the day and in a non-heated garage at night. Winter nights and mornings can be exceedingly cold and the frigid temps deplete the battery faster. So I’m charging the Taz weekly.
You’ll know you need to charge when the green light turns orange. I can’t say for certainty how long the light will run when the battery indicator button is orange but I do know that if it’s orange when I leave for work, it’s still orange and illuminating thirty minutes later when I get to work. When the light goes red, you’re in trouble. It’s like running your car out of gas.
So being able to juice up a dying light during the day with the phone charger I keep at work ensures I have a safe ride home.
Note: If the battery is completely dead, the Taz 800 requires about five hours of charging.
Mounting is even easier. It’s one integrated unit of light and battery and mounts directly to the handlebar with a rubber strap that I can attach and detach without removing my gloves. I like this feature because in the winter I am forever interchanging the Taz between my commuter bike and mountain bike.
The downside to this simple rubber strap is that when the temps hover in the single digits or below zero, the rubber becomes hard and thus, hard to stretch. This gives me a concern or two about the rubber deteriorating over time and breaking. It will be interesting to see how well this strap will hold up over the next few years.
Even with the rubber strap concerns, this has been the best light I have ever used—and I’ve used just about all of them on the market over the years.
Light and Motion
Light and Motion is by no means new to the bike light industry. They’ve been designing and building illumination systems that light up your life. From 200 feet down on the ocean floor to your campsite high in the mountains and all the bike and hiking trails in between, Light and Motion has been around for more than twenty years
But what I find most impressive is that Light and Motion designs and manufactures all their lights domestically in Monterey, CA. This means that Light and Motion is involved in all phases of the product cycle to ensure quality.
Whether you’re riding mountain bike trails or the commuter circuit, you need both illumination and to be illuminated. The Taz 800 from Light and Motion is just the light.
If you live in Minneapolis, you can pick yourself up a Taz 800 at REI for $249 MSRP.