Knog's Blinder front LED light certainly lives up to its moniker. 88 lumens sound distinctly average by this season's standards but the choice of lighting patterns seems to grab the attentions of approaching traffic faster than conventional blinkies.
Dropping its podgy medical grade silicone in favour of anodised aluminium/sturdy resins has bolstered its build quality too and it's been the only USB plug in that I've been bold enough to hosepipe test at close range, let alone fully submerge!
Silicone still prevails in the mounting hardware, which is a neat idea since it ensures limpet like purchase on all bar diameters, although the engraved locking mechanism, reminiscent of those used in watch bracelets, can leave marks on the bars with repeated removal/refitting. This is essential, not only to avoid theft but to charge the beastie, since the USB stick folds into the back, so you'll never leave home without it.
Not only will a weight 35g court approval from the most calorie conscious but a choice of five distinctive lighting patterns (crosses, stripes, circles, arrows and standard) and five modes - steady, fast flash, organic flash 1, organic flash 2 and eco flash - certainly ups the ante.
Basically, this means choosing between synchronised/random pulsing and outright economy - in real terms we're talking 2hrs 50 in top mode, six in fast flash, and eight in 'organic'. Knog reckon eco setting returns 50 hours and we've seen a near-as-damn-it 48.52 from a full three hour fuel up.
Output is pretty good, and certainly good enough to around 12mph, closer to 15 in the 'burbs. Visibility to approaching traffic is phenomenal - we're talking up to 750 metres on a clear night - nearly double that of competitor models and something that can be attributed to the unique beam patterns.
On the other hand, the light's styling around the sides resulted in the occasional split second blind spot in the peripheries, leaving me feeling extremely vulnerable when exiting major roundabouts in the pouring rain.
Another innovative design that's bright and well built. However, weaker than some for side lumination.
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Make and model: Knog Blinder front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product 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 Knog Blinder 4 has four super bright LEDs that pump out upto 80 Lumens of front light and 44-Lumens of rear light. Its optimized optics focus and directs a smooth beam pattern that makes the Blinder visible over 800 metres. With 5 dfferent modes (Steady, Fast Flash,Organic Flash 1, Organic Flash 2, Eco flash) and a burn time of up to 3-hours in constant beam and up to 50-hours in eco-flash mode, they will keep you well seen".
Super innovative design that lives up to the marketing hype.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*42 x 42 x 62mm
*Industrial grade UV-resistant silicone rubber, polycarbonate housing, anodised aluminium, solid stainless steel.
*Rechargeable Lithium Polymer
*FRONT: 80 Lumens (LED Rating)
*LEDs: Efficient LEDs designed to provide maximum brightness level for up to 90% of the battery burn time for each mode. Rather than LED brightness deteriorating during your ride.
*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: Light is visible at over 800 metres
*Light Modes: 5 light modes: 1.Steady, 2.Fast Flash, 3.Organic Flash Slow, 4.Organic Flash Fast, 5. Eco-flash.
*Burn Time: Blinder 4 front lasts upto 3 hours in steady mode, 4 - 5 hours in modes 2,3 and 4, and up to 50 hours in mode 5.
*Blinder 4 rear lasts upto 3 hours in steady mode, 4 - 5 hours in modes 2 and 3, 15 hours in mode 4 and up to 50 hours in mode 5.
*Battery: Rechargeable Lithium polymer battery via integrated USB plug.
*Integrated USB Plug: Designed to be exposed to the elements, the plug is also waterproof and will not be damaged by exposure.
*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).
*Storage Mode: Storage mode provides the best longevity for your Blinder light. Repeat this procedure every 3 months thereafter if the light isn't being used.1. Charge the light for a full charge cycle. (indicator glows green when charged).2. Remove light from USB charging device / port.3. Turn light on in any mode.4. Hold button down for more than 5 seconds, at which point the indicator LED will turn red.5. The light itself will remain on until the Blinder switches itself off and into storage mode.
*Bike Attachment: Tool-less attachment for handlebars/rear-posts and frames of 22-32mm ø
*100% Waterproof: The Blinder 4 is IP66 Tested and 100%waterproof against all elements
*Testing: The Blinder 4 has been tested against the following; Drop tests, corrosion tests, UV tests, Electrical shock and static, vibration and impact, temperature and humidity, cycle testing and CE certification.
Passed hosepipe and immersion testing.
Very reasonable compared with others of similar specification.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Retina tickling output, funky styling, superb economy and solid build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could be improved for periperal safety, although this is less problematic when paired with "proper" primary lighting.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly.
Age: 38 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)