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Verdict: 
Stylish and user-friendly town lights with decent output
Weight: 
113g
Knog Pop Duo light set
7 10

The Knog Pop Duo light set is aimed at fashion-conscious casual riders and commuters who want to be seen but need something more substantial than traditional blinkies. Both front and rear work well for around town use and less-well-lit areas, and are available to buy individually if you prefer (£13.99 each).

There are 10 colours, from the mild (black, white and carbon Electra) to the 'seriously wild' (sky blue tattoo, leopard print, rainbow) with a few pretty middle ground options in between.

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

The front lights are available in single or twin-diode versions (we have the single on test) and both use surface mounted technology (SMT); this is just a clever way of saying diodes are mounted directly on the printed circuit boards, thus allowing more compact product. Pop 1s 35 lumens, Pop 2s almost double.

The polycarbonate lenses seem durable, with side windows allowing some peripheral bleed, and use collimator technology for a crisp, focused beam.

Knog Pop Duo Front and Rear Lights - front mount.jpg

Knog Pop Duo Front and Rear Lights - front mount.jpg

AA cells might sound a bit old school, given rechargeable li-on and li-polymer batteries have been default for several years now, but it means replacements are easily carried, or bought anywhere, so no need to worry about charging.

The front light opens via a coin slot, the rear by simultaneously pressing and pulling the lens, so we are talking water-resistant in heavy showers, not submersible. A slither of silicone grease on the contacts and switch doesn't hurt either.

Speaking of silicone, Knog pretty much started the craze for rubberised bike lights, and the Pops' stretchy brackets hug their hosts handsomely. These are easy to remove for cleaning/replacement and permit the 5-lumen rear to sit vertically, for the cleanest aesthetic, or horizontally on bikes with bigger saddlebags and/or less exposed seatpost.

Knog Pop Duo Front and Rear Lights - rear mount.jpg

Knog Pop Duo Front and Rear Lights - rear mount.jpg

Mounting the front beneath the bar prevents it being eclipsed by brake/shifter hoods on moustache and other, less conventional bar shapes – assuming you weren't using an extension bracket.

Overall performance is pretty good. In the highest setting, the front's 35 lumens is adequate for navigating moderately lit suburban/urban stretches at speeds of up to around 18mph, although the lower pulse and flashing settings are arguably more conspicuous.

Drivers seemed to take notice from around 300 metres in town, especially when tackling roundabouts/junctions, and between 300 and 400m in the sticks.

> Check out our guide to the best front lights and our beam comparison engine here

The rear is far more extrovert than 5 lumens suggests, and on its own, fastest flash seems best, although the subtle samba dancing strobe worked quite well combined with dynamos in slow-moving traffic.

In the concrete jungle we're talking 300, maybe 400m on a clear night, vertically mounted. Distances in semi-rural contexts are better – 450-500m, 650 in fast flash, which is pretty impressive given the price and design brief.

> Check out our guide to the best rear lights here

Run times seem pretty faithful to those quoted – even with the original batteries, the front managed 2hrs 37mins (3hrs quoted) while premium grade replacements notched it up to 97hrs 37mins in eco flash, whereas the rear hit 6hrs 23mins (steady) and a whopping 197hrs 41mins in eco flash. A faint pulsing red beam is emitted when reserves are dwindling, and we're talking three hours before you risk being plunged into darkness.

The only slight negative is that, although switches won't accidentally engage in pockets or panniers, powering up the lights proved trickier than some when you're wearing winter weight gloves.

Verdict

Stylish and user-friendly town lights with decent output

road.cc test report

Make and model: Knog Pop Duo light set

Size tested: 25 x 25 x 75mm, front and rear

Tell us what the light set 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?

Knog says: "3 MODELS X 10 DIFFERENT PATTERNS

"Casual rider or commuter, these brand new POP lights have got your back (or front). With an impressive set of features for a low cost light including side-illumination, water-resistant, focused beams and up to 200 hours runtime, the only choice you'll need to make is what POP pattern will you choose?"

Simple but funky and very practical lights for town and around/contingencies.

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

FRONT LIGHT
OUTPUT: 35 lumens
DIMENSIONS : 25 x 25x 75 mm
WEIGHT : 56g
MATERIALS : PC-ABS plastic housing and polycarbonate lens.
BATTERY : 1x AA Battery
 
REAR LIGHT
OUTPUT: 5 lumens
DIMENSIONS : 25 x 25x 70 mm
WEIGHT : 53g
MATERIALS : PC-ABS plastic housing and polycarbonate lens.
BATTERY : 1x AA Battery

Rate the front light for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Generally well sealed from the elements and plastics seem reasonably hardy too.

Rate the light set for design and ease of use. How simple were the lights to use?
 
7/10

Nice, positive and easy to locate. The switches are a little trickier than some when you're wearing winter weight gloves.

Rate the front light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
8/10
Rate the rear light for the design and usability of the clamping system
 
8/10

Simple, secure and convenient.

Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10
Rate the front light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

Good in the everyday sense.

Rate the front light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
7/10

Generally commensurate with those quoted and the ubiquity of AA cells is another boon for commuting.

Rate the front light for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the rear light for performance:
 
8/10

Both are very good for simple town lamps with much greater presence than numbers would suggest. Personally, I'd go for its bigger twin-diode front sibling but that is not to suggest the single-diode front is a poor relation.

Rate the front light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the front light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the rear light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light set for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose

Overall, there's a lot to like about Knog's Pop Duo. While the front is a perky little compact design intended for town use, it's more powerful than numbers suggest and with a reasonably pure beam pattern. There is a more potent sibling, but the front has sufficient bite for urban navigation. The rear is very effective and often swapped between my fleet because of its user-friendly nature and decent output. Not retina tickling perhaps, but highly visible through town and along unlit lanes. Run times are reasonably frugal by genre standards and the ubiquity of AA cells means replacements are easily found in supermarkets, petrol stations, off-licences etc.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights

Funky styling, user-friendly design and decent output relative to design brief.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights

Nothing. Would probably plump for the Pop 2 front but that's personal choice, not a reflection on the single diode's performance.

Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes

Would you consider buying the lights? Yes, as tertiary/contingency lighting.

Would you recommend the lights to a friend? For town and around or in the above context, yes.

Use this box to explain your score

Surprisingly useful and very funky town/contingency lights in the be-seen-by sense. They're good, though the switch merits improvement.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

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: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)