The Knog Mid Cobber Rear is a smart looking funky light with a huge range of eye-catching modes with a large spread of lumen output making it ideal for use in the dark or on the brightest of sunny days.
- Pros: Eye-catching modes, decent battery life
- Cons: Bracket can be fiddly to use and feels slightly fragile
Using a blanket of Chip on Board (COB) LEDs, the entire curved body of the Cobber is illuminated, giving what Knog claims to be 330 degrees of coverage. And unlike some lights that make similar claims by having a cover that allows light to escape sideways, the Cobber actually has the LEDs pointing in the direction of each of those 330 degrees to give a uniform brightness of up to 170 lumens.
The modes are mixed between solid state and various flashes or strobes, so you can adjust to the light conditions and control battery life.
With the days being long and bright at the moment and most of my riding taking place during the middle of the day, I've been favouring the two that offer maximum brightness. Both the Steady Pulse and Flash offer that 170 lumens and they are bright. The latter has a consistent flash that will give you 6.5 hours of run-time, with the Pulse lasting 2.5 hours because of the LEDs remaining on all of the time at a lower output (about 70 lumen), interrupted with a bright flash.
In lower light like overcast days or during the build-up to dusk, I found the 70-lumen Rolling Flash (4.5hrs) worked well with a bit of 80s TV Knight Rider action on the go.
There is a Side Flash (100lm/2hrs) and a Disco Flash (80lm/4.5hrs), and for an emergency light to get you home there is an Eco Flash of just 15 lumens, but the battery will last 100 hours from full to empty.
Battery burn times were within +/- 5% of those claimed, so I'd be happy with that.
Charging is taken care of by the integrated USB plug that plugs directly into any USB slot, so you could charge it at work by plugging it straight into your PC or a wall-mounted charger. In the pack you do get a USB extension cable should space be a bit tight.
Charging was also pretty close to the claimed 4 hours and you can keep an eye on the battery level by way of the LED behind the switch. When it is fully charged the LED will go green.
The light is held in place by a bracket and silicone loops and it does the job of keeping it in position. It isn't angled to take into account the lean of the seatpost but with the amount of light coming from the Cobber it isn't a problem being pointed slightly at the road. It will fit seatposts of 'up to 32mm+' – plus you also get an aero mount.
The light fits to the mount by magnetism and it's a strong bond – you'll have no worries about the light disappearing off down the road – but it can be a bit tricky to remove at times: you need to hold the light firmly, lifting the mount over the little stopper to slide it out of the grooves. It all feels a little brittle and the tabs that hold the silicone ring feel quite fragile so I'd be wary of dropping the light. (Knog has a video here to show how to attach/detach it.)
Waterproofing is good. The USB plug is designed to withstand the elements, and neither riding in heavy rain nor a good blast from the power shower have seen any issues.
Value-wise, I suppose it could be seen to be a little pricey at £59.99 for a rear light, but looking at the opposition it doesn't seem too bad. The Exposure Blaze mk2 Daybright is one of my favourite lights; it's durable and performance is impressive, but it costs £90, and is only half as bright as the Knog.
On the other hand, the Lezyne Zecto Drive Max Rear is just £48 and can be run at up to 250 lumens for ultimate daytime visibility. I'd say that the striking modes of the Knog are more eye-catching though.
The Cobber is also available in a shorter 'Lil' version for £44.99, or a long 'Big' version for £74.99. You can also buy front and rear as a set. (I'm testing the front separately – full review to come.)
Overall, I really like the Knog Cobber for its design, brightness and range of modes, and even with a bit of faff with the bracket it should last you a good few seasons.
Very bright and eye-catching light, with only a slightly fragile feeling clamp taking the shine off
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Knog Cobber Mid Rear Light
Size tested: Lumens: 170 Visibility: 330°
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?
Knog says, "Mid Cobber produces an incredible 330° of light, so you'll be clearly seen from all angles. In an increasingly busy world, this bike light is brilliantly effective at attracting attention and helping keep you safe on the road. Packing 170 lumens this Mid Cobber is seriously bright.
"The Cobber has integrated USB recharging, is 100% waterproof and you can programme the settings using Modemaker.
"If you are looking for the best rear commuter bike light of 2019 look no further."
I think the Cobber is a great light for year-round use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
LIGHT MODES : Max, Mid, Steady Pulse, Flash, Rolling Flash, Side Flash, Disco Flash, Eco Flash come pre-programmed.
LEDs : Efficient Chip on Board (COB) LEDs designed to provide maximum brightness level for up to 90% of the battery burn time for each mode.
INTEGRATED USB PLUG : No charging cable required, plugs directly into USB ports & is designed to be exposed to the elements
100% WATERPROOF : The Cobber is 100% waterproof against all elements
CHARGE TIME : 4 hours (LED will turn off when fully charged)
BATTERY : USB Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
BIKE ATTACHMENT : Tool-less removable silicone straps for bars/seat posts 22 - 32mm+ diameter with magnetic mount. Aero Mount also included.
ACCESSORIES INCLUDED : Standard Mount, Aero Mount, 3x interchangeable straps for bars/seat posts 22-27mm / 28-32mm+, and USB extension.
Easy peasy. Press and hold the button to turn it on/off and a small tap to scroll through the modes.
It does the job of of holding the light in place but I found it takes a certain knack to remove it and it doesn't feel the most robust I've come across.
No issues at all.
Battery life isn't the longest I've seen for this kind of output, but you can still achieve some long rides or a week of commuting.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Bright enough for a whole multitude of weather conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Some smart looking lighting modes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Slightly fragile feeling clamp.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It sits somewhere in the middle of the range for lights with this kind of brightness and battery life.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great little package offering plenty of different modes to cope with various light conditions and decent battery life.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.