When their Blinder light range first arrived on the cycling scene sometime around 2010, Knog lights got me excited. Finally this essential bit of kit that helps you be seen and light your way no longer had to be an ugly blight on your pride and joy.
These were good—looking, sleek lights that were easy to remove and with no need to leave an unsightly clamp on your bike. Fast—forward seven years and they have continued in the same vein — albeit now at a much higher standard — with their ‘PWR’ light system.
Knog was kind enough to send us two units to review — Adam tested the bigger Trail option, whilst Rich ran the more sleek Road version.
Before we delve into the specific models themselves, it is worth explaining a bit about the PWR range. Starting with more basic clip—on ‘Commuter’ and ‘Rider’ options — both of which still push out 450 lumens — the range then gets more involved.
The Road version has a 600-lumen output and a runtime of over two—hours on the maximum output from the 3350mAh battery. This battery is referred to as the ‘Power Bank’ because Knog has designed it such that it can be used to top up batteries on electronic devices when you don’t need it for your light.
When it is used for dedicated light use, the small Power Bank on the road version on Eco-flash mode will see you through an impressive 195 hours of use.
The Trail version steps that Power Bank size up to 5000mAh and the output up to 1000 lumens. On max, the runtime is similar to the road version at a published 2 hours, but the Eco—flash mode steps up to a mighty 300 hours.
Both the Road and Trail versions improve on the clip—on mount of the Commuter and Rider models with a really well-designed and executed bar clamp. This has been produced such that you are able to position the light directly under your stem.
For those with an OCD leaning — of which I am one — that is a rare and very satisfying luxury, and even more so if you prefer an uncluttered handlebar or don’t run a GPS.
There are limitations of this clamp in that it is dependent on your stem length and angle as to whether you are able to make the light point exactly where you want to; and whether you can run the light on the first or second of the available positions on the clamp (which dictates how well hidden or visible the light is).
It can also be tricky to position right depending on how your cables, wires, and hoses are setup too; and those running EPS or Di2 with the junction box under the stem will find it hard to mount at all.
Where none of this is an issue, though, the mount is really very good and nice and secure — and, in keeping with the rubber straps on the entire Knog light range, it is quick-release to boot.
The light attaches to the bar clamp with a well thought out slide-on system. The light has a groove down the side of it and the clamp clicks into one of two notches cut into this groove. You then tighten the clamp via a thumbwheel which is just accessible enough to get tight or loosen off when you need to.
The light itself can hardly be easier to use. No buttons are used aside from the one you need to depress to remove the light head to access the charge port. Instead, it uses a twist action with the head of the light — to turn it on you twist the light head and hold it for a few seconds, then you briefly twist the light head in the same manner to cycle through the modes. This makes for a really easy and effective solution; and one that won’t be affected by wearing gloves in winter as many button setups can be.
As already hinted at, to charge the light (or to use it as a power bank) you remove the head of the light. It needs a firm tug to come off, but that in itself is kind of reassuring — especially knowing that you also need to depress a button to release it, meaning there is zero chance of this popping off accidentally.
There are four small red LEDs on the side of the light that show you the charge status, both during use and whilst it is being recharged. Once the head of the light is back in place the light is watertight and completely free of any external ports, which helps to maintain a very sleek design.
The light lens on the Road model creates a nice oval beam for a more effective spread of light. There are also two notches designed into either side of the lens to help with side—on visibility for other road users.
The light heads are also interchangeable, so you can run the brighter Trail light head on the smaller Power Bank — although obviously, you should expect a reduced runtime as a consequence.
Knog will be launching an app such that you can connect the light and program your own modes. Called ‘ModeMaker’, it is due for release early in 2018. Whilst this is a great idea in principle, it is perhaps worth noting that I don’t feel any desperate need for it as the built-in settings are perfectly good as they are.
The only mode I might be inclined to add is a more random flash to help with daytime running, like the ‘DayBright’ option Exposure use in their front lights.
All told, this is a very impressive light design. It highlighted to me how sold I am on it when I was disappointed not to be able to run it on a review bike that was running Campagnolo EPS on account of the control unit preventing me setting the light up as intended — it’s not often I get that attached to any product, let alone a light which is something that I generally consider to be an ugly necessary evil.
It makes me happy when bike products are as well designed as this is — even more so when the price feels like respectable value. Well done, Knog.
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