Light & Motion Taz 800 front light  £199.99

6/10

Tries to be all things to all cyclists, but beam pattern doesn't quite work for the road

Weight 216g   Contact  www.madison.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   January 24, 2013  

Light and Motion Taz 800

The Light & Motion Taz 800 front light is an intriguing blend of high power and commuter friendly features. Although it has great potential, I don't think it quite succeeds.

Kicking out a hefty 800 lumens the Taz 800 sits in their Crossover range, occupying the middle ground between Performance and Commuter. It's certainly powerful, although 800 lumens is less of a standout than it was a few years ago, but it also comes with a pair of flashing side lights for extra safety.

Mounting is straightforward, although L&M's up-and-over version of the rubber strap is harder to use than some others. The light comes with some sticky rubberised strips to wrap round your bars and stop the light from moving about, which is useful as it can be a bit of a challenge pulling the strap tight enough.

Control is via two buttons on the top – one for the main light (which doubles up as a battery indicator) and the other for the side lights. Both of them are stiff and unresponsive, especially when wearing gloves and if you want to flick between settings on the move it can be awkward and frustrating.

There are five modes to switch between, starting with High and moving through to Flash. Pleasingly it doesn't cycle through 'Off' (a pet hate of mine) and there is also a Race mode (accessed through a long press) which just has High and Medium. Battery life is adequate but nothing special, L&M quote 2 hours on full power and my rundown test gave 2:25 before it shut down completely, albeit stepping down the output considerably for the overrun.

For comparison the Exposure Strada Mk4 (same output but a rrp of £70 more) runs for a quoted 3hrs on full power. What the Taz does have is a Pulse mode, based on the 200 lumen setting, which extends the run time by about 50%, from 8hrs to 12hrs. It's a useful setting, although a little underpowered for dark lanes.

Ok, so we have a powerful all-in-one light in a neat package with excellent side visibility. Surely it's all good? Well, kind of. There are a few niggles; the runtime, the stiff buttons and the lengthy charging time but my biggest gripe is with the beam, it's just too damn wide, as confirmed by our beam test. L&M seem to be pitching the Taz as a 'do everything' light and if you fancy a trail blast it's probably quite handy but on the road you can see just how much light is being wasted both above and to the sides. Despite the power on offer it lacks punch for showing up the road ahead. Of course a wide beam pattern also does oncoming traffic no favours, although I've had no complaints so far on the bike path.

Rather than trying to be all things to all riders, I'd love to see a Taz set up as a dedicated super-commuter with a proper road beam and perhaps that Pulse mode available on a slightly higher power setting, say 300 lumens. I'd also like a faster charger; using the supplied micro-USB takes a whopping 13/14hrs.

I had mixed feelings about the Taz. It's not a bad light and it has some useful features but it feels like it could have been so much better.

Verdict

Tries to be all things to all cyclists, but beam pattern doesn't quite work for the road

road.cc test report

Make and model: Light & Motion Taz 800 front light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

L&M say:- "The Taz 800 is your ultimate crossover light - perfect for on the trail with its bright beams or on the road with its lightweight."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

L&M don't say what the LEDs are, but they claim that the output (800 lumens) is a true figure as tested in a calibrated light sphere.

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
6/10

Buttons are stiff and awkward to operate in gloves. Bracket isn't the best of its type.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
6/10

I like rubber brackets, but L&M's version is more fiddly to use than most and has to be pulled very tight to stay secure.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
8/10

Stood up to the usual backyard test soaking.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
6/10

Battery life is ok, but well beaten by the likes of the Exposure Lghts Strada Mk4. Pulse mode eeks out some extra runtime. Recharge time is sloooooooooow. Could do with a fast charger.

Rate the light for performance:
 
6/10

Solid, but unspectacular. Beam is too widely spread to be ideal for road use and lacks punch.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Not a silly price, considering the features and quality.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Taken as a super-commuter light with some off-road capacity, it's ok but could be so much better.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Pulse mode, side lights.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Super wide beam, long charge time, stiff buttons.

Did you enjoy using the light? Kind of.

Would you consider buying the light? Probably not.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? No, but I wouldn't wince if they did buy one.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

Flawed beam pattern compromises this as a road light but with a few improvements it could be a real contender. Frustrating.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

4 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Is that charging time accurate? thats seems a crazy amount of time needed!

Was it charged from the USB of a laptop or direct from the wall?

iPad and iPhone have 2 different charger outputs 10/5 and obviously charge at different speeds, just wondering whether they supplied the correct charger?

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [365 posts]
25th January 2013 - 10:38

27 Likes

themartincox wrote:
Is that charging time accurate? thats seems a crazy amount of time needed!

Was it charged from the USB of a laptop or direct from the wall?

iPad and iPhone have 2 different charger outputs 10/5 and obviously charge at different speeds, just wondering whether they supplied the correct charger?


Yes it is and yes it is!

There is no dedicated charger (sorry, should have made that clear) just a micro-USB cable. Charging via desktop PC is at 0.5a, which takes *ages* as does the micro-USB charger I have for my digital radio.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
25th January 2013 - 13:01

23 Likes

I have a Taz 800 and it does indeed take ages to charge from a standard PC USB port which can only supply 0.5A of current. This isn't very surprising. However, if you use a higher current USB connection the Taz will charge faster. Light and Motion's web site says that Taz lights will charge at up to 1.8A if you have a 2A charger. Using my USB mains adaptor halves the charge time compared to using a PC's USB port. I'm not sure what its current output is but it's not 2A (it's probably around 1A).

The buttons are a bit on the stiff side. That's good in that the light doesn't turn on in your bag (I had a Cateye light with a hair trigger and its batteries were always flat) but the Taz's button lock feature makes such stiff buttons unnecessary. I don't think I could operate the button for the amber sidelights with gloves on.

I quite like the wide beam. Some lights illuminate a spot on the road in front brilliantly, but to either side and right in front of your wheel it's pitch black. For riding around city streets it probably is wasted light, though.

posted by moopig [3 posts]
27th June 2014 - 19:45

0 Likes

I should also have mentioned that if you hold down the secondary button for a few seconds while the Taz is charging then the primary button will stop flashing and light up to indicate the charge rate: red=slow (0.5A charger), yellow=medium, green=fastest (2.0A charger).

posted by moopig [3 posts]
27th June 2014 - 19:52

0 Likes

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