Topeak Taillux 100 USB Rear Light 43g 41.99
The Topeak Taillux 100 USB is a very bright rear light delivering 100lumens and with several sensible patterns and run times. The mounting kit is also refreshingly versatile. However, 100lumens across the board means, save for constant it’s hard on the retinas at close quarters. My other niggle concerns the switch. While user-friendly, it’s too easily engaged when holidaying in pockets or bouncing around in bags.
Pros: Bright, Good choice of light patterns, decent run times, nice fitting kit.
Cons: Switch too easily engaged, relatively long charge times, any output you like so long as its 100lumens.
Starting from the outside, the polycarbonate shell and lens feel reassuringly solid and an IPX6 rating for weatherproofing continues this narrative. The lens employs condenser technology. Condensers? Basically, two convex lenses placed back-to-back and flat units sitting on the outside. This configuration is a simple and seemingly effective means of addressing distortion and optimising output. In this instance, a 220-degree arc of light.
A total of nine diodes lay behind, three in a spine formation, the other six promenade around the side. These follow the chips on board narrative and are powered by a 3.7 V 700mAh Lithium-Ion cell, which fuels from a USB C charger. There are four modes in total. Constant (3hours), Blinking (30hours), Blinking & Constant 5hours, Constant & Blink (10 hours) sequence. A decent spread in my view, without feeling overly complex, as some can.
Mounting Kit 4/5
This is refreshingly comprehensive. Standard and aero seat
post mounts, luggage and helmet fittings, as standard. The aero is also rather handy for tethering the Taillux 100 to seat stays, or indeed, angular trailer tubing. There are two sizes of stretchy silicone strap, which loop around the light’s integrated lugs and seem similarly universal. No issues with pencil thin steel stays, or seat post diameters between 25.4 and 30.8.
These seem durable but if you do loose one, a doughnut type from the Bodge box will cater for posts and tubing. In terms of helmets, no issues with models such as the Pro-Viz Reflect 360 and a sportier Abus. It also seems compatible with other models in the Topeak family, including the Redlite Mega. The luggage clip, though designed primarily with Topeak in mind seems compatible with other brands and indeed clothing - the tops of jersey pockets being a prime example.
This is a top mounted, low-profile design with a dimpled texture. Its unusually soft and rubbery, which is very convenient, say when wearing full-finger, deep winter gloves, or indeed, “lobster claw” types. A single prod turns it on, subsequent prods cycle through the modes and yet curiously, a sustained ½ second hold powers down.
Welcome but powering up is that bit too easy, resulting in the unwanted engagements I was referring to in my opening paragraph. The memory function, though not overly necessary was welcome nonetheless and saves faff when you want to scoot off in a hurry.
100lumens and every bit as powerful as it sounds. True, there are some lights offering 450lumen daylight running modes but curiosity and talking points aside, several hundred lumens cross the border from assertion to aggression.
Along the darkest lanes, friends reckon they could spot me at 300-450 metres, blinking arguably being the most captivating but I’ve been known to mix it up a bit. Interesting the hybrid of steady and flash was particularly effective on my low slung, single wheel Bob Yak homage trailer and compensates for its smaller (but not insignificant) surface area.
As a daylight running light, good for at least 200 metres across the board, save for constant (nearer 100, maybe 125 metres), even in harsh winter sunlight. Impressive full stop but particularly welcome when entering the flow of traffic, especially from concealed junctions.
Again, a good bet for trailers and tagalongs, which other traffic isn’t necessarily expecting. Mounted horizontally, the 220-degree arc, illuminates both trailer and road, so approaching traffic has a much clearer idea and no excuse for not passing with ample space. Back to solos (although applies if you’ve tethered it to a tag along’s seat post) it’s worth noting the mount angles the beam downwards, rather than inline.
However, given my earlier comments and the power, this isn’t a problem and possibly helps avert dazzling. Peripheral punch is also very good, although best in the blinking and hybrid modes. While I’m always hyper vigilant, I’ve never felt stealth when navigating bigger roundabouts, or unlit junctions on faster roads.
Run & Charge Times 2.75/5
These are very faithful to those cited, which wasn’t a complete surprise if I’m honest but reassuring just the same. Even when the mercury’s hovering around zero, I’ve come within a few minutes of the official run times. Contant 2hrs 56, blinking & constant 4hrs 57, constant and blink 9hrs 58 and blinking 29hrs 55mins. Charging varies depending on whether it’s refueling from the mains, or laptop/similar third-party device.
Three hours from the former, bargain on four using the OEM charge cable. The charge light indicator glows green and turns clear when it’s done, which isn’t a major thing but slightly counter intuitive. On the one hand, this can feel pedestrian than many, but is offset by generous run times.
The whole package feels robust and IPX6 might not be weatherproof in the submersible sense but ours hasn’t missed a beat in heavy, wintery rain, subjected to waterlogged lanes, sudsy bucket washes and of course, my garden hose for several minutes. The lens has taken the odd direct hit during my mixed terrain detours. No hint of scratching, or similar calling cards. The charge port cover fits neatly too, which bodes well longer term. I’ve not felt the need to add a lick of silicone grease here.
Provided you don’t habitually drain the lithium-ion cell, there’s no reason it shouldn’t prove dependable longer term. Talking of which, I am told it will withstand 300 charge cycles before dropping to 60% of full capacity. Obviously, in the real world, we can’t do everything by the book, but lithium-ion cells are happiest so long as reserves don’t dip below 70%.
£41.99 is dearer than some boasting similar numbers and a bit more tunability. Magicshine See Mee 200 is £33.99 offers 8 modes and 200 lumens, albeit in the braking setting and 140lumens. Arguably, it offers greater tunability than the Topeak, which might be a better option. Especially if you were regularly riding through town, but still wanted enough wallop for letting your hair down along the backroads.
Ravemen CLO6 is another good choice in this respect and is much brighter than the numbers suggest. It also enjoys some very generous run times and ours is still going very strong. However, it can’t match the Taillight 100 in terms of raw output. Ravemen TR300 comes in at £49.99 and impressed Steve with its raw power but this is relatively short-lived, and it also tips the scales at 82g. However, these are tempered by its tuneability. Cat Eye Viz 100 rear bike Light comes in at £24.99. Aside from the 100lumen daylight mode, there are four modes an auto kick-down, defaulting to a 10lumen flash, should reserves plummet.
The Topeak Taillux 100 USB Rear light is very potent, while still offering generous run times and great mounting options, straight from the packet. It's well suited to dusk till dawn rides, hustling along unlit roads and indeed, trailers/tagalongs. Save for the constant mode, its arguably overkill for built up areas, or indeed group rides and the switch merits revision.
Playing Devil’s advocate, if the concrete jungle is your primary environment and you weren’t fussed about daylight running modes, its 30lumen sibling could be a better option and is also a little cheaper, to boot.