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Having been impressed with the quality and reliability of the Blinder Mob V Four Eyes I tested last winter, I was keen to get my hands on the Knog Blinder Road R70. I had a couple of criticisms of the Mob V, which the R70 goes some way to addressing – but then introduces one or two niggles of its own.
First off, however, this is another impressively-performing rear light. A little chunkier, a bit brighter, and quite a bit dearer but with most of the features that endeared me to the Mob V Four Eyes.
In particular, the same simple mounting system and the ease of use from the saddle with the button at the back. Stick your thumb down twixt seatpost and lamp and you will find the on-off switch instinctively. Push-and-hold turns on and off; one push to scroll through the five sensible settings (two steady, three flashing). The Road R70 remembers your last setting and automatically returns to it next time you use it.
The light came to me in the summer months and as a high-visibility day-running light it's been excellent. I chose mainly the 'Eco' setting; not so much for the longer battery life but because the strobing pattern seemed particularly well suited to daytime use. One of my riding companions commented on how visible the light was, even from half a mile behind (yes, that's the gap I put into him on that hill). This is partly down to the quality lenses which help throw the light a long way down the road despite the modest 70 lumens claimed output.
Now, in the depths of winter, it's proving equally reassuring in some grim light conditions. The solid construction is welcome at this time of year but I still prefer to protect it from salt and grit with a mudguard.
Knog claims 20 hours for the 'Eco' setting but I only managed 15, which is still plenty in real situations, although if you want to ride long distances with the light in Steady mode it may be found wanting. However, the recharge time is correspondingly brisk. You can recharge either by plugging the built-in USB bayonet straight into a socket or by using the quality Knog-branded extension cable supplied.
The two halves of the aluminium casing sandwich a clear gasket that allows some light to escape sideways. This addresses one of my issues about the Four Eyes which had next-to-no side visibility. The amount of light escaping to the sides still seems quite small, though, mainly coming from the big fourth LED at the bottom of the cluster, which is active in four out of the five patterns. It's better than nothing.
One of the settings is called 'Peloton' and you will be thanked for selecting it on a group ride where the barrage of full power will be irritating to riders behind you. I don't have much time for drivers who complain about taillights being too bright or strobing; when riding at night in traffic and up against the combined output of a dozen cars' tail and brake lights at any one time, it's all about standing out. This light really does.
The lenses are set back into the body and aren't as wipe-clean as a flush-fronted light, which is a minor issue. I had several very wet rides with the light fully exposed to the spray from my back wheel and the light continues to function flawlessly. That's not something that could be said about some of the lights I was using a decade ago.
At £55 it is a bit on the pricey side – Lezyne's Strip Drive Pro 300 is £50, for example, while its 75-lumen KTV Pro Drive 75 is £25. And Knog's own Mob V Four Eyes does a similar job for £15 less, but with limited side visibility.
Like the Four Eyes, the long body shape of the R70 takes up a fair bit of space on the seatpost, and there's still no option to mount it sideways (or on a pannier rack). This is a shame as I think it slightly limits the market for what is another quality product from Knog.
Well-thought-out light with great visibility, but surprisingly modest battery life by current standards
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Knog Blinder Road R70 Rear Light
Size tested: 27 x 75 x 35mm
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, "The Blinder ROAD R70 is the rear bike light for the discerning rider. With side illumination, dual and constant flash modes, and super power, you won't find another bike taillight with as much brains and beauty.
"Coming with interchageable straps (for standard and aero seat post designs) & outputting 70 lumens of light, the Blinder ROAD R70 has got your back, wherever you ride, day or night."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Five settings, battery life 3.5 to 20 hrs (Knog's figures).
Output: 70 lumens
Dimensions: 27 x 76 x 52mm.
LENS : Collimated optics.
CONSTANT BRIGHT TECH : Maintains consistent brightness throughout run-time.
INTEGRATED USB PLUG : Designed to be exposed to the elements, 100% waterproof.
THERMAL MANAGEMENT : Automatically regulates the light output for optimum performance.
BIKE ATTACHMENT : 3x interchangeable straps for post diameters measuring 22-32mm+ & AERO POST COMPATIBLE
MATERIALS : Polycarbonate housing and PMMA Lens. Hard-anodised aluminium fascia. UV-Resistant silicone.
BATTERY : USB Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Interchangeable straps for rear light, USB charge cable.
Well made, solid and robust. The light has been reliable through some poor winter conditions.
A simple press-for-on switch which is well positioned. Then press again to scroll through a sensible number of options. The light remembers which setting you were using when you turn it off.
It's Knog's now well-established system. A bit of flexibility in the mounting arms helps make a secure fit on a range of seatpost sizes. The plastic cam is a simple but useful addition that makes it very easy to stretch the silicone bands to fit. It's a pity you can't turn it sideways to take up less space on the seatpost if needed. Also, as with many modern lights, I'm at a loss as to what to do if you want to use it on a bike where the seatpost is obscured by luggage etc.
Like last year's Knog Blinder 4 Eyes I tested, the light seems very well sealed and resistant to the elements. I had no issues with the exposed charging bayonet, though I would still be cautious about using it on a bike with no mudguards in the winter.
Knog claims between 3.5 hours (steady mode) and 20 hours from the "Eco Flash" mode but I never got more than 15. In practice this was always enough, but there are plenty of other lights (even from Knog) with better battery life. Charge time is around 3 hours.
Despite Knog claiming only a 70 lumens output, this light is always highly visible whichever mode you use (even the eco setting) and good for daylight running as well as night. The improved side visibility is welcome though still not outstanding. It's easy to turn on and off from the saddle, which I like.
I'd expect a light at this price point to give a few years' reliable service, so a three-month test is hardly exhaustive but it seems made for the long haul.
It's a bit on the pricey side compared to some, Lezyne's Strip Drive Pro 300 for £50, for example. And Knog's own Mob V Four Eyes does a similar job for £15 less, but with limited side visibility.
It is reliable and well thought out, though, and if it goes wrong you know who to contact, too.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I thought this was a well-designed and put-together light that should last a few years, which helps justify the fairly high price. I would still like Knog to think about ways to mount these lights horizontally and on other parts of the bike or on a pannier or saddlebag. Battery life was fine in real-life situations but if you are out for hours and hours and want to engage steady mode you may run out of juice.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Simplicity of use, excellent visibility and solid construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
A more versatile mounting system would improve it. Battery life is only fair.
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
Improved side visibility over the Blinder Mob V Four Eyes I tested last year bumps up the score, though it's still only modest. Overall, an easy to fit, easy to use rear light with a sensible choice of modes and great visibility in day or night. It's a bit pricey, though, and only fair battery life, which knocks the score back down again.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking