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Verdict: 
Good light with a useful beam, and the promise of modular fun down the line
Weight: 
149g
Knog PWR Road 600 front light
7 10

Knog's PWR light is nicely built and smart looking, with good output and a decent beam shape. The bracket works pretty well and the fact that it's configurable is a good selling point. I'm not necessarily sold on the twisty on/off/mode button, but it's okay.

  • Pros: Good beam, configurable, nicely made
  • Cons: App access needs lots of personal data, twisting both ways would be more intuitive

Knog's higher-output PWR lights are modular. There are three head units ranging from 600 to 1,800 lumens, and three batteries from 3,350 to 10,000mAh capacity. The PWR Road consists of the least powerful head, the road-specific 600-lumen one, and the smallest battery. You can upgrade to the next battery up (or buy a spare), and the head will also fit on the 10,000mAh battery, although that's a bigger diameter so it might look a bit odd. There's also the option to use the battery from the light to power up your USB devices, and future releases in the range will include camping lanterns and Bluetooth speakers, all running from the same battery pack.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The battery has an alloy case, with a slot that accepts the bar mount that can be tightened into place in two positions. There's a quick release lever for tightening it against the bar, and everything works well and stays put. It's fairly easy to remove the light and leave the mount, although the knurled wheel you use to tighten the mount against the light is a bit fiddly.

Knog PWR Road Front Light - clamp side.jpg

Knog PWR Road Front Light - clamp side.jpg

The light is operated by twisting the head against the battery. You hold it in the twisted position to turn on and off, and give it a quick twist to change modes. It's fairly intuitive once you get the hang of it, and fairly easy to do in gloves, but it's not really any better than a nice big clicky button. It's a shame that the twist doesn't work both ways, so you can move up and down the modes.

Knog PWR Road Front Light - top.jpg

Knog PWR Road Front Light - top.jpg

The PWR Road puts out a decent amount of light for its claimed 600 lumens. The beam isn't exactly a cut-off shape but it is an oval that's wider than it is tall, so, it does a decent job of putting the light where it's needed. It's still a symmetrical beam top to bottom, so it doesn't matter if you fit the light above your handlebar or below.

One of the nice things about the Knog is that you can fit it directly under the stem so it's out of the way, although that does make doing the twisty button a bit more difficult. Having said that, it's probably easier than locating a button you can't see.

On full beam there's plenty of light for fairly quick riding, although fast descents had me a bit twitchy at times. The middle setting is great for night-time at more of a cruising pace.

You get decent side visibility from the two cutouts on the side of the light, and the beam shape means that illumination side to side is good. Overall the light is easy to get on with from an overall illumination point of view.

Knog claims 2.3hrs of run-time on full beam, and I got nearly that in testing. The 250-lumen middle setting is good for about 6 hours and you'll get nearly a full day on the low setting, although that's a not-especially-useful 65 lumens. There's a four-LED display on the side of the light to let you know the state of play of the battery.

Knog PWR Road Front Light - side.jpg

Knog PWR Road Front Light - side.jpg

As well as the static modes there are nine possible non-static that range from pulsing to strobing to flashing to blinking. Twisting through them all would be a major pain, but thankfully the light is programmable: Knog's Modemaker app allows you to plug your light in and select the modes you want by dragging them into a list. Most of the time I just ran the light with high beam and low beam selected, a bit like Lezyne's race mode. You can't switch between your selection and all the modes, like you can with Lezyne lights, but most people know what they want. You don't have to cycle through off to get to back to the start of your list either.

The app (it's available on Mac and Windows) requires you to register and plug your light in for it to work. That I can understand; what's less clear is why it needs my full name, postcode and date of birth just so I can change how my light works. There seems no reason why Knog would really need to collect that data. You're stuck with the modes that Knog has pre-programmed, which is a bit of a shame; I would have liked to see the ability to do a full custom setup.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2017/2018 front lights for cycling

Overall I enjoyed using the PWR Road – it's got a nice beam that's powerful enough for fast(ish) riding at night. The twisty button thing works, although I've yet to be sold on the fact that it's a leap forward from a nice tactile button, and the ability to pick and choose your modes is a useful feature.

Given that the other modular bits aren't available yet you're likely to be looking at this as just a light for road use, rather than part of a system. It does a good job of that, and the new bits coming might tempt you to buy in. If you're just looking for a front light, Cateye and Niterider lights around this power level will probably offer you better value for money.

Verdict

Good light with a useful beam, and the promise of modular fun down the line

road.cc test report

Make and model: Knog PWR Road 600 front light

Size tested: 600 lumens

Tell us what the light is for

Knog says, "PWR Road is a modular bike light. But it's not JUST another bicycle light. Not only is it a high power headlight, but simply take the product apart and you have much more. A lighthead for other PWR bike and camping lights, plus a PWR Bank to charge devices that is also the battery for all products in the PWR range. The PWR Road outputs a max 600 lumens, can run for up to 195 hours on Eco Flash mode, uses an elliptical beam for broader road coverage, can be mounted both on top or under the handlebar (mount under your Garmin), or your helmet, incorporates twist mode operation (turn the light on and off twisting the lighthead - no buttons) and gives you the option to program your brightness and runtime through our ModeMaker app."

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

From Knog:

LIGHT OUTPUT : 600 Lumens

POWER BANK : 3350 mAh

DIMENSIONS : 104 x 30mm Ø

WEIGHT : 125g

FITS HANDLE BARS : 22.2mm - 31.8mm Ø

WHAT'S IN THE PACK : Light, Side Mount, Gimbal Shim, USB Cable

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Nicely put together, mount feels solid.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
8/10

Twisty button worked fine.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
7/10

Tightening wheel a bit fiddly, otherwise okay.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
9/10

No issues during testing.

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

Just over 2hrs on full beam, useful 250-lumen mode.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

Early days. Twisting mechanism probably inherently more complicated than a button so might fail earlier, but ours is fine.

Rate the light for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Pretty well as a light; we'll wait to see on the other accessories you can use the power bank for.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Well made, configurable, good beam.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Mount a bit fiddly; app wants personal data that's not really required.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Maybe; lights from the likes of Niterider and Cateye are probably better value at this kind of level.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a good light as it is, with the promise of more versatility down the line as the range of accessories grows.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.