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Verdict: 
Innovation and build quality can't disguise the fact that this is a fairly average and expensive commuting light
Weight: 
116g

Although the Knog PWR Rider is a 450-lumen front light and a power bank wrapped up in one, you'll pay for that in weight and price. More importantly, that headline output just doesn't feel that bright.

  • Pros: Nicely made, good run-times, added power bank functionality, ModeMaker app customises modes
  • Cons: Only average lighting performance, expensive, heavy

In many respects, it's very similar to the PWR Road front light I tested a couple of months ago. The major difference is that the Road is part of Knog's modular range, which means you can attach and detach different light heads to different power bank bodies. In the PWR Rider's case, what you see is what you get and this is one single self-contained unit. In truth, I'm not so bothered about that. Because of the way Knog has designed the lightheads and power bank bodies, although they may be technically interchangeable, using a more powerful lighthead on a smaller capacity battery body – or vice versa – looks a little ridiculous to me.

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The PWR Rider main body is made from CNC'ed aluminium and feels suitably robust. There's a plastic cap at the back to cover the USB charging and micro-USB recharging ports (the cap isn't stored anywhere when not in place, so don't lose it). The handlebar clamp – which new owners have to bolt on themselves – is a straightforward silicone affair. And it's all suitably waterproof, quite happily dealing with the worst of the British weather and even a quick bike wash.

Knog PWR Rider Front Light - power button.jpg

The PWR Rider is a little heavier than a typical 450-lumen light, thanks to the 2,200mAh battery-cum-power bank. The positive side of that is you get a decent run-time on full power of even more than the two hours Knog claims. Charging time takes – officially – five hours, although, again, the Australian brand sells itself short slightly and I charged it up from empty in a little less than five. A handy four mini-LED arrangement on the light body lets you know how much charge remains.

Knog PWR Rider Front Light - top.jpg

In terms of modes, the PWR Rider comes with six as standard, although you can tailor performance to your own specific requirements using Knog's ModeMaker, which allows you to add, remove and arrange lighting modes to your heart's content. Out the box, you have Ride (450 lumens/2 hours 15 mins as tested), Commute (190 lumens/5 hours 30 mins), Stamina (50 lumens/16 hours), Pulse (320 lumens flash/7 hours), Strobe (190 lumens flash/10 hours) and Eco-Flash (50 lumens flash/90 hours).

So, to action, mes braves. Because of the modest output, for night riding I generally stuck with the full Ride mode and the first thing to notice is that the beam is wide, which is quite effective for illuminating the sides of the road. However, that does have its down sides. Compared to its 600-lumen PWR Road cousin I tested, those 450 lumens look about correct relatively speaking. But the Road felt a trifle underpowered compared to the competition, and therefore, so is this one. There are other 450-lumen lights out there that offer more effective illumination performance. Possibly this is down to that wide beam shape. That said, as a commuting light for spending most of your time under street lighting, it's fine.

And what about its other trick as a power bank? It's simple to use and it does that without any great fanfare. Knog claims it'll top up your iPhone by 35% over three and a half hours, which fits roughly with what I saw: it recharged 10% of my iPhone XR in about 40 minutes.

Knog PWR Rider Front Light - ports.jpg

Value and conclusion

If we just look at top-line output figures, there are plenty of 450-ish-lumen front lights out there that cost a fair deal less than the Knog. For example, the Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL costs just £30 but only has a 400-lumen output run-time of an hour. Better is the Ravemen LR500S with 500 lumens of full power and a run-time of 1.6 hours for £34.99. Or there is the Kryptonite Street F-500, again with 500 lumens max brightness, a run-time of 1.5 hours, for £44.99 (which we felt was a little expensive!).

Essentially, there's no shortage of lights with this kind of performance, and most of them are significantly cheaper than the Knog.

> Buyer's Guide: The best 2019/2020 front lights for cycling

With that in mind, it's hard to recommend the PWR Rider. OK, it might be handy if you tend to have your bike with you whenever you really, really need to recharge your phone. For many riders, though, having charge in their light is arguably more important than having it in their phone. And with the options for recharging devices while out and about becoming more convenient, you could just carry a charging cable, plug adaptor and cross your fingers (or just charge your phone before leaving home, numb nuts).

So the Knog PWR Rider is beautifully made, beautifully packaged, and – combined with the ModeMaker app – a clever idea. It's also too expensive, too heavy, not too bright, and – as an innovation – possibly a few years too late. With Christmas round the corner, this is the kind of product that would make a great gift as a bit of novelty, but probably wouldn't be the first choice front light that any rider would buy for themselves.

Verdict

Innovation and build quality can't disguise the fact that this is a fairly average and expensive commuting light

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Knog PWR Rider Front Light

Size tested: 450 lumens

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?

The PWR Rider front light is a 450 lumen front light which doubles up as a power bank for recharging other devices.

Knog says: "PWR Rider is a 450 lumen bike light that can also be used as a power bank. Includes the option to program your brightness and runtime (through ModeMaker app), then use your remaining battery to charge your devices. The light outputs in an elliptical beam for broader, brighter road coverage; has a 2 hr runtime at max 450 lumens and 4 smart battery indicator LEDs to let the rider know how much charge is left in the light."

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

Knog lists:

Output: 450 Lumens

Power bank: 2200 mAh

Dimensions: 122 x 30mm Ø

Fits handlebars: 22.2mm - 31.8mm Ø

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made – sturdy but not heavy.

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

Pretty simple really, although I found getting the rear cap off to access the power ports a bit tricky at times – there's not much to grip onto.

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

It's a fairly straightforward silicone strap, so nothing to get too excited by.

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

Coped with water just fine.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

Run-time on max output (450 lumens) was actually a little longer than the 2 hours Knog claims – I had it timed at 2 hours 15 mins. To fully recharge from empty takes just less than 5 hours.

Rate the light for performance:
 
6/10

It's OK, but it's not the most effective light I've tested with around 450 lumen output. That might be because of the wider spread of light – to the sides – that the PWR Rider provides.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

Seems very durable so far.

Rate the light for weight:
 
6/10

The power bank means this is not light for what is a fairly modest output front light.

Rate the light for value:
 
4/10

Compared to other lights with around the same type of lighting performance, it's pretty expensive. Of course there is the added power bank functionality, but you pay for that in price and weight.

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

It's OK as a commuting light, but I would have liked a bit more brightness. As a power bank, it works fine.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Smart design, decent run-time.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

Price.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL costs just £30 but only has a 400-lumen max output run-time of an hour. Better is the Ravemen LR500S with 500 lumens of full power and a run-time of 1.6 hours for £34.99. Or there is the Kryptonite Street F-500, again with 500-lumens max brightness, a run-time of 1.5 hours, for £44.99. Essentially, there's no shortage of lights with this kind of performance, and most of them are significantly cheaper than the Knog.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yup

Would you consider buying the light? Nope

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Don't think so.

Use this box to explain your overall score

There's lots to like about the PWR Rider in theory – the build quality is ace, the power bank functionality might be useful, and even the ModeMaker customisable features are handy. But when it comes to the job for which it was designed – lighting the road ahead – it's really only average.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'0  Weight: 16 stone

I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29  My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy

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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, leisure

8 comments

Avatar
Ad Hynkel [203 posts] 5 days ago
0 likes

Hmm, not sure you should be comparing lights with runtimes that much lower and then suggest they are of similar performance. Surely runtime is part of the performance equation? Not just lumens output and beam shape.

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a1white [172 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

Got this a while back, at a much cheaper £20. Although the quality feels good, after a few weeks of use, the power switch started playing up with the light randomly turning on in the middle of the night and then refusing to turn on at all. dissapointing.

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RobD [818 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

I managed to get one of these on sale a while back, at the price I paid it's been pretty great, although as the review says it doesn't have much of a spotlight vs other lights, but I run a second light that helps with that. hasn't let me down so far, but I wouldn't pay full price (or even the standard available price) for it

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dave atkinson [6545 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes
Ad Hynkel wrote:

Hmm, not sure you should be comparing lights with runtimes that much lower and then suggest they are of similar performance. Surely runtime is part of the performance equation? Not just lumens output and beam shape.

fair point, but the reality is you can get more for your money. Lezyne's Micro Drive Pro 800XL, for example will do four hours at 450 lumens for the same money, and nearly two hours at 800.

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reippuert [125 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

I just love mine. sturdy build, reasonable performance and battery + its doubles as a powerbank.

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Welsh boy [725 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

I had one for a few weeks, I couldn't put up with it any longer so I sold it. The two problems were that there was very little light thrown ahead to light the road (most of the light went into the hedges either side of the road, not a lot of use at 15mph or above) and  the other problem was that stupid rotating system for changing settings, trying to turn the light down when a car came towards me in dark lanes was a nightmare. Not long after I sold it some of the flashing functions stopped working. Not a good light. 

Avatar
mostly [73 posts] 4 days ago
0 likes

Got one of these in March , the bar clamp failed at the fixing screw within 2 months. So used a ebay cheapy mount. Lost several light modes a couple of months later, dead by October. Replaced with an Alpkit Boson. 

Avatar
Ad Hynkel [203 posts] 1 day ago
0 likes

Yes, certainly the Micro Drive Pro 800XL looks better value, though not mentioned above.

Would be interested to hear if either of Welsh Boy or mostly tried to fix the loss of modes with the software. I bought one of these for buttons from a well known online retailer, which always makes me slightly suspicious (have they had a lot returned?), but thought it was worth rolling the dice as the Arc I have is still going strong. I like the beam pattern on both for mostly urban and bike path riding.