Lights are an essential part of every cyclist’s kit, and the difference between good lights and bad could literally be death, so the matter should be approached seriously. When you buy a lock the general advice is to spend at least 10% of the value of your bike, but the same can’t be said for lights – every rider should have a quality set. I bought the Knog Blinder Road R tail light from Cheeky Transport when I was on holiday in Sydney and I’ve now been using it regularly for almost six months.
As the name suggests this unit is built for road riding, it is super bright and Knog claims it is visible from one kilometre away, which I tend to believe. It is waterproof, USB rechargeable, weighs 52g and is easily compact enough to fit in a pocket or small bag. It has five different modes – fast, chaser, peloton, eco-flash and steady – shown in this order in the video below.
In my opinion the fast mode runs the risk of sending people into an epileptic fit, so for the sake of cyclists and drivers behind me I tend to ride around in either the chaser or eco-flash mode. The battery will last five hours in chaser mode and 20 hours in eco-flash – I generally find myself recharging it every two to four weeks, depending upon how much I have used it.
The light recharges via the USB plug countersunk into the rear of the unit. It comes with a cable you can use with your computer or a wall USB charger. I tend not to use the cable and plug it straight into my iPhone charger, which works a treat (and means there is one less thing for me to find). Charge time is five hours and there is a battery indicator which lets you know when it is getting low.
The switch is located at the very top of the rear of the light and has to be held for half a second to turn on. Half a second is a surprisingly long time, and with gloves it can be quite difficult to do, but the upside of this is that you very rarely accidentally turn it on in your bag, which is a worthwhile tradeoff in my opinion. Once the light is on, pressing the button again will change the mode, to turn it off you need to press it for half a second.
The light mounts securely to your seat post using the silicon clip, which I have found to be very quick and easy to use. Keep in mind that the light is really only designed to mount to a seat post; if you are looking for something to attach to a pannier, helmet or back pack, this is not the light for you. There are a small number of reports that the silicone mount is prone to failure, but mine is in near perfect condition, as is a friend’s that was purchased at the same time as mine. Either these reports are due to a rare production issue or to user error, I am not in a position to judge which is the case.
I especially like the transparent plastic that has been used around the edge of the unit, allowing riders to be more visible from the side, rather than just from behind.
The light costs $64.95 and comes in four different metallic colours, or in matte black. I have the metallic grey known to Knog as ‘Gunmetal’. This isn’t the cheapest light on the market, but it is an exceptional little unit that I expect will last for a few years yet. Keep in mind that the light’s task is to protect you from death, and spending that little bit extra to get a whole lot more seems like a good idea to me.