Road Bike Light Test: NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 VS. Light & Motion Taz 2000
A battle of high-output lights for day or night
As frustrating as it is sometimes, there are only so many hours of daylight available when we can still get some good miles in. Of course, there are also those of us who yearn for the sun to go down simply because the days are full of other priorities or just to get in some cooler temps. No matter why you choose to ride at night, there is still the need to see where you’re going.
Of the many options for illuminating your path, here we have two of the most powerful all-in-one offerings on the market. This means lots of light in a handy single-unit body. The 2000-lumen Light & Motion Taz 2000 and the 1800-lumen NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800.
Light & Motion: The Taz has four settings, as well as the option to use the side amber lights in each mode. There is a low level that they claim offers 500 lumens, medium that offers 1000 lumens, and the high setting that offers 2000 lumens, as well as a pulse mode. The pulse offers 500 lumens with the top two lights on constant and the lower beam pulses for daytime use.
The front element has two sections—top and bottom. The top is a more focused beam that has two LEDs, while the lower single LED is more of a wide flood beam.
For run-time we found that all of the claimed times were spot-on except the pulse mode, which they claim almost nine hours, but during our testing we only got six hours. The 2000-lumen high setting offers one and a half hours, 1000-lumen medium offers three hours, while 500-lumen low offers six hours.
There are two buttons on the top of the body that control power setting and are under-lit to identify power remaining. On the bottom side there is a micro-USB port used for charging. The unit took a little over four hours to charge from a completely exhausted battery. The light is waterproof IP67, and even after a few drops our unit shows no signs of fatigue.
The Taz came with two different mounting options. The first is the bar strap that even works well on aero bars as long as they aren’t too wide because the strap is a bit short. The second option is a GoPro interface that works well as long as you can get the thumbscrew tight.
NiteRider: The Lumina has seven settings with five of them being steady and two flashing. There are four steady settings for riding, plus a dim 100-lumen setting used for walking or hiking. There is a low that offers 350 lumens, medium at 700 lumens, high at 1500 lumens and a boost mode that offers the full 1800 lumens. The two flashing settings offer longer versus shorter durations between the flash.
As for battery life, we got better results than NiteRider advertises across all settings. The low setting offered seven hours versus the claimed six. In the medium setting we got just shy of four hours and two hours for the high setting. Boost mode offered just under an hour of light, but did seem to fade in the last few minutes.
The light itself uses two LED lights with a lens that has a center portion that is focused, while the outside edges diffuse the light for a wider beam. There is one button at the top that is illuminated from underneath to identify the battery status. The button light seems to only have two colors and just turns red when the battery is nearly empty. The light uses a proprietary AC adapter that offers a fairly fast charge at three hours. It is also IP64 rated and has a high resistance to water and dust.
The Lumina Dual 1800 only came with one handlebar mount that has a quick release so you can leave it on the bars. It does a great job of securing tight on many different round handlebars. NiteRider does offer a few other mounting options, but as delivered, there is only the one, so make sure you see what they offer and that it will be compatible with your specific build.
Light & Motion: The first impressions of the Taz are very good. It is easy to mount, easy to charge, and after figuring out how to take it out of lock mode, it’s very easy to use thanks to its four settings. For most of our road riding we leave the light in the low setting and have more than enough light at 500 lumens. We really only turned it up for fast descents. The Pulse mode is good if you want a light that is easily seen by oncoming traffic as the sun is setting; otherwise, we didn’t use it much.
The beam on the Taz is one of the things we like the most, as it was easy to focus the beam where we needed it, but thanks to the third LED that fills in the void between the front wheel and the focused beam. Battery life is easy to monitor, as the power button cycles through a few different colors to identify the level remaining. If there is one thing that bothered us, it was that when the road got rough the light was a bit nose-heavy and would adjust down. This was rare, but did happen a few times during testing.
NiteRider: First impressions of the Lumina were also good, and the styling and feel seem robust. The mounting bracket uses a thumbscrew and clam shell that seems bulky but grips round handlebars well. Since aero and integrated bars are all the rage at the moment, we had a hard time finding bikes that were compatible with this stock mount.
The power levels are good, but we found ourselves jumping between low (350 lumens) and medium (700 lumens) during normal riding speeds, and then jumping to high on the higher-speed sections. We rarely used the full 1800 lumens, and with a run-time of less than an hour, it didn’t seem realistic. The flashing settings are nice to have and great for daytime use or as the sun is setting. We have also found that the 100-lumen (walk) setting is handy if
you are in a big group but still want a little light.
Both lights offered more than enough light for all our road needs. The size of both is a bit big on the bars, but if you have any descents that exceed 30 mph, then the high-output settings are very nice and light up the whole road.
The Taz is definitely the easier to use and maintain light since it uses the common micro-USB cable for charging and the mount would be hard to lose since it’s screwed to the body.
The Lumina offers more settings and what seems to be better battery life. The trade-off is that there are
a lot of options for settings, and we found ourselves forgetting which one we were in and running the battery down faster than expected. The mount is also a bit limiting, but once it’s on, you can leave it and just pop the light off for a charge. The biggest drawback for us on this light is the proprietary charging cord that we have to keep track of.
LIGHT & MOTION
• Simple and straightforward
• Fits aero bars
• A bit expensive
• A setting for everyone
• Proprietary charger
• A lot of light for the price
LIGHT & MOTION
Weight: 221 grams with bar mount
Weight: 258 grams with bar mount