Helmet mounted taillights are an ideal way to ensure you remain visible in low light conditions. With their high mounting location, helmet lights are visible even in traffic or with other riders on the road. The Lazer Universal LED taillight is Lazer’s new helmet taillight that can be directly attached to all Lazer’s KinetiCore helmets or any helmet using an included velcro strap. The taillight has a retail price of $34.99 and is capable of 40 lumen output and up to 54 hour runtime. While the taillight has a simple four LED surface mounted design, Lazer has incorporated both a motion and ambient light sensor to allow the taillight to adjust its output in specific output modes.
The Lazer CityZen KinetiCore is an sleek and budget friendly urban cycling helmet with Lazer’s innovative KinetiCore technology.
|Rating||9.1 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||20|
|Likes||+ Clever mount design|
+ Integrated sensors maximize battery runtime
+ Can be easily swapped between helmets
|Dislikes||– Magnetic charging cable|
– Confusing delay when turning on/off
– Doesn’t use a COB LED design
|Where to Buy (US)||Lazer|
The Lazer Universal LED Taillight comes in an eco-friendly cardboard box with simple branding printed directly onto it. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Magnetic charging cable to USB-A
- Velcro mount
- Instruction manual
Note, the taillight uses a proprietary magnetic charging cable instead of traditional USB ports. While it’s convenient to use, the cable just snaps into place, it does mean you need to be careful to not lose or damage the cable as it is a proprietary design.
While previous Lazer helmets such as the Lazer Urbanize used model-specific taillights, the Universal LED Taillight uses a new generic mount design. The mount looks like a USB-C port with a rounded rectangle cutout which can be found on all of their KinetiCore helmets. On the rear of the Universal LED Taillight you’ll find a matching rectangular protrusion with spring tabs built into it. To install the taillight you simply slide it into the slot and then rotate it 90 degrees like a Garmin quarter turn mount. Unlike model-specific taillights that sit flush inside the helmet, the Universal LED Taillight protrudes out of the helmet. While it’s a less integrated appearance, the external mounting does improve the side visibility of the taillight. The minimal slot design of the mount also means KinetiCore helmets like the Lazer Strada KinetiCore look normal without a taillight installed. You can also use the included Velcro strap to install the taillight on any helmet, as long as you can wrap the straps through a rear vent.
FIT & FINISH
Visually, the Universal LED Taillight has a simple rectangular profile with semi-transparent red lens. There are four surface mounted LEDs uniformly spaced along the width of the taillight. The mostly transparent sides and curved lens mean the taillight has excellent side visibility from any angle. Instead of traditional USB ports which require bulky rubber covers, Lazer has incorporated a magnetic charging port on the bottom of the taillight. It’s a polished round metal interface with a small protruding pin in the center that allows the charging cable to simply snap in place. On the rear of the taillight is a thin plastic backing plate with the T shaped mounting attachment. Branding is limited to an embossed Z on the front and Lazer printed on the backing plate.
The taillight has a single button interface that is cleverly integrated directly into the center of the lens. It’s a transparent round button that sits slightly inset into the lens itself and is easy to miss at first glance. The user interface has five output modes that can be cycled through using a short press while a long press shuts the light on or off. To help differentiate between the standby states and being actually off, you need to hold the power button for three seconds. After releasing the power button, a secondary corner mounted LED will flash three times to indicate the light is turning on or off. Even though three seconds doesn’t sound particularly long, it feels awkward and may confuse people into thinking the battery is dead. The taillight also does not have mode memory, which means it always powers on in the constant boost mode instead of the mode the taillight was shut off on.
Lazer has incorporated five output modes with the Universal LED Taillight which leverage the integrated sensors in different ways. The first mode is called “Boost” and is a constant full 40 lumen output mode that has a 3.5 hour claimed runtime. The second mode is called “Safe” and has a pulsing 5 lumen pattern that has the maximum 54 hour runtime. “Pulsing” is the third mode and has a higher 40 lumen pulsing pattern that is good for 14 hours. “Move” is a fast flash mode that uses the full 40 lumen output and has a claimed 8.5 hour runtime. Only the final mode, “Night”, utilizes the integrated ambient light sensor to shut the light off during the day. At night, “Night” mode has a 20 lumen pulsing pattern. The taillight quickly responds to changes in motion and light and can help conserve runtime by shutting off when not needed.
Only the “Move” or “Night” modes utilize the built-in motion sensor which allows the taillight to automatically go into standby mode when no motion is detected for approximately 30 seconds. Lazer has tuned the sensor to be highly sensitive which means even a slight movement or vibration keeps the taillight on. This avoids the taillight from turning off if you’re waiting at a stop sign or light. It’s a convenient feature for commuters or those that do short stops as the taillight will automatically go into standby mode without you having to turn the light off. The downside of the feature is that there is no visual difference between the taillight being off or in standby mode. We’d recommend manually turning the light off for a longer period of time as standby mode will slowly use up the battery.
Unlike the Magicshine Seemee taillights which have multi-level battery sensors, the Universal LED Taillight has no way to check the battery status. It’s a feature we would have liked to see as it makes monitoring the battery status easier and avoids the need for pre-emptive recharging or running out of battery while riding. While the taillight is rated for 40 lumen, we’d still recommend using it in conjunction with a traditional daytime bright taillight for additional visibility while riding. The Universal LED Taillight’s high placement and protruding design work great at night to keep you visible from a variety of angles. We’re also relieved that Lazer didn’t incorporate a brake mode into the taillight, such as those found on the Kryptonite Incite XBR, which can make runtimes unpredictable. Instead, the Universal LED Taillight is easy to use and leverages the motion sensor and ambient light sensor to help extend the runtime.
Overall, we found the Lazer Universal LED Taillight to be a bright and well designed taillight. Lazer’s slot style mount allows the taillight to be used directly on all KinetiCore models are any helmet with the included Velcro attachment strap. It’s a clever mount design that allows the taillight to quickly be installed or removed, which is a welcome change from model-specific taillights that could only be used on a specific helmet. We found the integrated motion sensor and ambient light sensor to be useful to extend the battery life that allow the Universal LED Taillight to automatically go into a standby mode when doing short stops or breaks while riding. The main downsides of the taillight is the fact that it uses a convenient but proprietary magnetic charging cable instead of a universal USB design. We would have also liked to see a COB LED design for a more uniform illumination pattern. That said, the Universal LED Taillight is a compact and well priced helmet taillight that is a welcome accessory for any helmet.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Lazer. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.