Knog's cheeky, no-nonsense approach to LEDs made a splash when they hit the UK a few years back with the Frog. The Aussie company had solved the problem of complicated fixings and brackets to keep your light and bicycle in happy attachment. Plus, they were fun and simple.
Since then Knog have developed their product range impressively. These Knog Frog Strobes - arriving at road.cc in front-and-rear tag team - are an evolution of the original Knog Frogs, the small single LEDs encased in stretchy, easy-to-attach silicone that were the company's first hit.
The new Frog Strobes are a definite improvement on the old version. They're still small, light and handy, and keep the same tactile, colourful casing, as well as the same stretchy loop-and-hook arrangement that makes them a doddle to mount securely, to take off and to switch between bikes. It also makes them simple to mount on to any part of your bike you want.
New for 2012 are the four, rather than two, light settings: single flash; double flash; constant flashing; and always lit. They're also 2.5 times more powerful, if my millicandelas-to-lumens calculations are correct, than the old ones. That gives them a bit more welly but, even so, they're not very bright. Unless you live in a seriously well-lit place, for cautious or very safety-conscious cyclists this is probably only a back-up light.
So keep it stowed away somewhere with you, in case you get caught out after hours, right? Hmmm. The rather large on/off button on the top is all too easily triggered by other things in your pocket or bag. I've pulled the front and rear pair out of my bag a couple of times and found one flashing away. So, if you do use them as back-up, there's a risk they'll have discharged a chunk or all of their battery life since you last used them. I've used a lot of Knog lights, and this is also a problem with the bigger ones.
The other problem I've experienced with Knog lights over the years is one of reliability, I've had a couple of pairs of Bullrogs just fall off, which okay could be pilot error, my Knog Skinks proved not to be waterproof when mounted what I presume to be was the right way up, the Gekkos I've owned have been the worst culprits for simply turning on in your bag and my Boomer went on the blink straight from the box.. and not in a good way. Maybe it's just me, or the vagaries of the postal system but one of the pair of test Frogs I was sent continued this unhappy record from the off it wouldn't turn off reliably, and would start blinking again of its own accord. Of course, Knog would replace a faulty product straight away, if you took it back to the shop, something I never managed to.
All that said, these are fun, useful and, for a tenner mine proved capable of resisting the worst of the rain and despite getting turned on accidentally the batteries lasted well and are cheap to replace, so pretty good value. All lights come and go - they're probably the most-replaced part of a commuting cyclist's armoury - but an LED of any price shouldn't be a throwaway purchase - which some of my Knogs have felt like… although that didn't stop me buying a rear Frog Strobe to replace the test one that didn't work.
A great light, with some flaws
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Make and model: Knog Frog Strobe Front Light
Size tested: Green
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?
A back-up light for urban riders. The website isn't that helpful on that one
"Houston - 1987: a lab frog escapes from its enclosure and knocks a vile of stinky chemical gunk onto an unsuspecting LED, giving it special powers. The light escaped to a nearby medium security retirement home, where it spawned an army of multi-coloured freaks,hidden from civilization... until now."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
It's a bit better on the technical aspects:
"Water-resistant, flexible silicone body, integrated clipping feature, quick-release mounting. Visible up to 600 metres. 12 HOT colours (look out for random special colour releases). Note: Safety light only
BURN TIME 80 hrs (flashing), 50 hrs (steady)
DIMENSIONS 80 x 35 x 42 mm
WEIGHT 19 grams (including batteries)
BATTERIES 2 coin cell - CR2032 included
LED SPECS Hi Powered surface mounted LED strobe system with lens
LIGHT OUTPUT 25 lumens
MODES 1. Strobe 2. DISCO Strobe 3. Strobe Pulse 4. Constant"
One of them arrived broken, though faulty products would of course be replaced by the manufacturer.
I like the silicone, but design-wise, the easily triggered on/off button is a big no-no.
I love the stretchy strap and hook system. Makes it simple to mount anywhere.
An improvement on the previous version, but still relatively weedy. It's only a back-up light though.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great on the bike, bad in the bag or the pocket.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? With caveats
Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?
I still have a lot of goodwill towards Knogs. They're a great idea, but in my experience the initial leap forward their stretchy casing represented, hasn't been followed through 100% in other areas of the product design.
Age: 31 Height: 1.78m Weight: 65kg
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,