Knog's Blinder 3 front light is a classy and capable front light for anything up to pitch black lanes. It's unobtrusive, easy to fit and powerful. Only the slightly flimsy mount and lack of side visibility let it down, especially as a commuting light.
The Blinder 3 kicks out a claimed 300 lumens from two CREE XB-D LEDs housed in an aluminium body and powered by a lithium polymer battery. The two LEDs have different beam patterns. There's a 15° spot and a 22° flood, and you can run them separately or together; there's a number of flashing and pulsing modes too, 11 in total.
There are two buttons on the Blinder 3. One controls the beam pattern being used, and one toggles between high, medium and low power. The buttons are small and a bit fiddly to use with gloves, but otherwise fine. There's a green/blue LED to indicate what setting you're on and another, red, LED comes on when it's time to plug the Blinder back into the mains.
A flip-out USB connecter at the back of the body is used to charge the battery; you can plug it into your computer (easier with the supplied lead) or straight into a USB mains transformer like the ones supplied with mobile phones. Charge time is around five hours and the Blinder 3 will run for two hours on full beam and up to seven with just one of the LEDs running on low.
The Blinder attaches to your bars with a silicone strap and metal clip. It's a simple system and Knog supplies two bands for different bar diameters, but even with the small strap tightened on an oversized bar the light can be easily adjusted by hand. That also means that a big hit from a pothole or speed hump can move the light, however, and on road bars with under-tape cable rounting it can be a bit of a trick to get the light to stay pointing where you want it.
It's not a deal-breaker, and generally doesn't move much in normal use, but it means you rein in your speed on descents just in case the light suddenly ends up pointing at the front wheel or the tree canopy. Handily knog supply the Blinder 3 with a helmet mount and it's very capable when stuck on your helmet, and light enough to not be a burden.
The amount of light available is perfectly adequate for clipping along unlit lanes. Assuming you're not in a big hurry you'll get by with just the narrow beam, which is a good shape for road riding. On full beam that'll power you for nearly four hours, which is good value from a light this size. Because the control buttons aren't that simple to use on the move – especially with gloves on – you tend to pick a mode and stick to it a bit more than lights with a big button. If you stick both LEDs on full then that's enough light to even venture off-road, although you won't get that for long. The red charge LED comes on at just under 50% in my experience, meaning you get plenty of notice to stick it in the wall; too much, in fact, since you tend to ignore it for a bit.
Around town it's a good light for getting seen from the front, especially in alternate-LED-flashing mode. There's no side visibility at all though, because the LEDs are recessed into the aluminium body. The Blinder 3 is claimed to be fully water- and dust-proof and we've had it out in the slanting autumn rain with no issues at all.
If you're looking for a simple, good-looking light to stick on your road bike to get you home after dark, or light you up before dawn, then the Blinder 3 is certainly one to consider. It's more powerful than it looks, and at 105g, with a small footprint, ideally suited to living on your bars through winter just in case you need it. The lack of side visibility marks it down as a commuting light, unless you pair it with a cheap blinky.
Powerful and classy-looking dual LED light that's a good option for winter riding.
The light comparator
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Knog Blinder Road 3 front light
Size tested: Red
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?
Light Dimensions: W53mm x H30mm x D75mm
Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch
Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Leds: 2 x CREE XB-D LEDs
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: Visible from a distance of min. 1000 metres
Beam Angle (degrees): Wide beam 22°- Hi/Low. Narrow beam 15° - Hi/Low. Dual beam 15 and 22°combined - Hi/Low.
LiPo Technology with battery protection circuit. USB Rechargeable and extension cord included.
Constant current drive technology: Maintains consistent brightness throughout specified run-time.
Integrated USB Plug: Designed to be exposed to the elements, the plug is also waterproof and will not be damaged by exposure.
Waterproof: 100% Waterproof and Dust Proof.
Light Modes: Total of 11 light modes: 1. Narrow Low Beam, 2. Narrow Mid Beam, 3. Narrow High Beam, 4. Wide Low Beam, 5. Wide Mid Beam, 6. Wide High Beam, 7. Dual Low Beam, 8. Dual Mid Beam, 9. Dual High Beam, 10. Flashing Alternate, 11. Flashing-1 LED Steady/1 LED flashing.
Burn time: Low-beam modes: Steady 4hr, Flash mode 9hr. High-beam modes:Steady 1hr / Flash mode: 5hr.
Charge time: 5 hour charge time
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).
Low battery indicator
Thermal management: Automatically regulates the light output for optimum performance when the bike is stationary and in motion.
Bike Attachment: Two removable silicone straps for bars 22-28mm / 29-35mm. Helmet mount included
Testing: The Blinder Road 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.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Simple, small footprint, bright.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
fiddly buttons, clamp not strong enough, no side visibility.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.
Would you consider buying the light? Yes for road riding, not for commuting.
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.