Light & Motion’s Taz 1200 melds the latest in high-output LEDs with small but powerful lithium-ion batteries to create an extremely bright light that weighs a scant 220g.
Light & Motion bills this as a ‘crossover’ light, meaning it can be used for commuting and trail riding. The breakdown of the high, medium and low outputs and run times are as follows: 1200 lumens/1hr 30mins, 600 lumens/3hrs, 300 lumens/6hrs.
In addition to these three steady modes, the light has flashing and pulsing options. According to Light & Motion, pulsing lights are less obnoxious to motorists than flashing ones.
On the highest setting, this US$299 / £249.99 light is brighter than many of the high-end lights we were riding a few short years ago. In fact, on its brightest setting, the Taz 1200 is overkill for commuting – low is sufficient for well-lit streets, and medium will take care of the rest.
By holding down the on/off button for two seconds when the light is turned off you enter Race mode, which can be used to maximize run time on trail rides. The Taz will cycle between the high and medium settings, allowing you to use the high beam where it’s needed and conserve battery life when it’s not.
But output is only half the story – it’s the placement of the LEDs, along with the design of the light’s reflectors, that creates a usable beam pattern.
The beam pattern (shown here on the highest setting) is clear with no artifacts to distract the rider: the beam pattern (shown here on the highest setting) is clear with no artifacts to distract the rider Josh Patterson/Future Publishing
Light & Motion prides itself on quality beam patterns
Both the Taz 1200 and the lower output Taz 800 use three Cree LEDs. The top two sit side by side, providing a focused beam to illuminate your path. The lower one has a wider spread, with an opaque lens to diffuse light for peripheral vision. The beam pattern is wide and nearly uniform, with no halos or hot or dark spots.
While we’re on the topic of peripheral vision, the Taz 1200 has two amber lights, one on either side of the body, to catch the eye of motorists looking perpendicular to the headlight. A smaller button located behind the main on/off/mode button is used to toggle these side lights between steady, pulsing and off.
The taz 1200 packs a lot of light into a compact package, (note the amber side lights for peripheral visibility): Josh Patterson/Future Publishing
Amber side lights ensure 180 degrees of visibility
One feature we quickly came to appreciate was the light’s integrated mount, which fastens much like a belt through a buckle. This makes swapping the light between bikes a breeze. Better yet, there are no brackets or handlebar shims to lose.
The Taz 1200 charges via a USB cable to a micro USB port located on the underside of the light. Charge times will vary depending on the device you’re using. A USB wall charger took approximately four hours to fully charge the batteries.
The Taz 1200 ticks a lot of the right boxes – its run times are respectable, the beam pattern is outstanding, functionality and design are clean and simple, and the asking price is fair, given the quality of the product.
Serious commuters, as well as mountain bikers who don’t want to invest in a more expensive night riding setup or who might be looking for an auxiliary light, are likely to find their needs met by the Taz 1200.