Available in black, red, grape and gunmetal, the Knog Blinder Road 2 light resembles an old school high power twin lamp system that some batty boffin passed through a matter-shrinking device. Look elsewhere if you're seeking that level of see-with firepower mind, since all guns blazing it'll manage a very modest two hundred lumens. That said, this remains sufficient for navigating less challenging semi- rural stuff and the wealth of settings mean it's easily tailored for commuting and contingency duties.
Up front we've a beautifully executed CNC-machined housing, which is not only sturdier than a resin case but regulates heat more efficiently, so it's kinder to the LED circuitry and the lithium polymer battery. Collimator optics bend and project light most efficiently, banishing halos and similar imperfections.
The compact layout means the switches are very intimately positioned and a little tricky to use in full finger gloves but they're increasingly intuitive with use. There are three power levels '' flood, narrow and dual '' with five themes and the option of mixing things up. High eco flash sounds a bit rude but means one lamp provides a clear, static beam for picking out the detail, while the other dances a very distinctive samba. It's particularly effective through built up areas where the ambient glare can drown out powerful blinkies and it optimises economy and run times into the bargain.
An integral battery indicator means being plunged into darkness will be a blue moon event, though these aren't idiot proof; getting the very best from each five hour charge cycle requires intelligent deployment. Highest setting is a case in point. Unleashing the full 200 lumens crosses into see-with territory and I've been able to tackle semi-rural stuff to around 16mph but the setting races through the battery reserves in 53 minutes; less when temperatures tumble.
All settings are extremely extrovert, unleashing a very intense white hue that captivates, rather than mesmerises to around four hundred metres. Eco flash is the most frugal and hopeless for navigational duties but its strobe speed means it's visible to 500 metres without dazzling the rider. That makes it an absolute lifesaver should a dynamo wire snag, or time slip away on those late summer evenings.
Low wide and low dual are another useful option around dusk, casting a reasonable pool of light around you and generally adequate for suburban stretches, returning 1 hour 47 minutes from a complete charge cycle.
Irrespective of setting, peripheral prowess is better than its design would suggest, devoid of obvious blind spots when entering traffic flow or negotiating larger roundabouts but nonetheless, I took the liberty of adding small retro reflective stickers.
Now a quick word about the fitting kit. Thoughtfully, helmet, standard and oversized lips are included for a host of options, whether complementing a more powerful bar mounted systems or swapping between different diameters.
Standard manages bars between 25.4 and 26.4, allowing for cork and similarly dense handlebar wraps, though the oversized sibling struggles with beefy 31.8 Godzilla types and while the nylon clasp is arguably kinder to Dun/similar finishes, it's a faff, especially in gloved hands.
Knog claims the Blinder Road 2 is completely waterproof. That's a tall order from a plug-in rechargeable light but ours sniggered at five minutes sustained hosepipe torture testing and in any case a two year warrantee comes as standard.
Well made, versatile light for clutter-phobic riders who generally ride within city limits.
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Make and model: Knog Blinder Road 2
Size tested: Black, Front light
Tell us what the light 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?
"With the Knog Blinder Road 2, Knog introduces its first generation of Hi-powered bike lights specifically designed for road cycling. Delivering a colossal 200 lumen beam of light on the front, they're the first Blinder lights of their kind to give riders 100% visibility and freedom at night, all from a super-compact, super-light, USB rechargeable, waterproof, integrated silicone package." Certainly very bright in the seen-by sense and more powerful than others boasting 200 lumens but hardly colossal
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
* 200 Lumens
* Light Dimensions: W53mm x H30mm x D63mm
* Weight: 75g
* Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch
* Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime
* Leds: 2 x CREE XB-D LEDs
* Lens: Use of an optic design to provide a balanced ratio of beam width and distance to safely illuminate you and the path ahead.
* Visibility: Visible from a distance of min. 1000 metres
* Beam Angle (degrees): Wide beam 22°- Hi/Low. Narrow beam 15° - Hi/Low. Dual beam 15 and 22°combined - Hi/Low.
* LiPo Technology with battery protection circuit. USB Rechargeable and extension cord included.
* Constant current drive technology: Maintains consistent brightness throughout specified run-time.
* Integrated USB Plug: Designed to be exposed to the elements, the plug is also waterproof and will not be damaged by exposure.
* Waterproof: 100% Waterproof and Dust Proof. IP68 approved.
* Light Modes: Total of 8 light modes: 1. Narrow Low Beam, 2. Narrow High Beam, 3. Wide Low Beam,4. Wide High Beam, 5. Dual Low Beam, 6. Dual High Beam, 7. Flashing Alternate, 8. Flashing-1 LED Steady/1 LED flashing.
* Burn time: Low-beam modes: Steady 2hr, Flash mode 6hr. High-beam modes:Steady 1hr / Flash mode: 4hr.
* Charge time: 5 hour charge time
* Button: New longer button push on (0.75sec) prevents accidental activation of your light. Short presses switch modes continuously. Similarly, the light is switched off with a long button push off (0.5sec).
* Low battery indicator
A prime example of how Knog's build quality has improved these last two years.
Pretty intuitive, although rubberised buttons were tricky to locate and engage on the fly.
Very user friendly, although oversized strap struggled with 30.8 bulge diameters, even with judicious stretching.
Passed my garden hose torture test with flying colours.
Excellent in the seen-by sense and plentiful choice of settings.
Surprisingly well made.
Small switches were tricky to operate in gloved hands, especially in the saddle.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Knog Blinder Road 2 has considerable allure for those wanting a very bright, yet unobtrusive system primarily for sub/urban seen-by duties but with occasional/short semi rural sections thrown in for good measure. However, serious back road scratching demands a minimum of 500 lumens.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Cute looks, impressive output and build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Switch gear tricky to operate in gloved hands.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? No, a little under powered for my locale.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, provided they weren't straying far from the suburbs or wanted to make the most of late summer evenings.
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)