- by James Hutchison
- Published: 1 October 2012
When a motorist comments, positively, on the brightness of your light, you know it’s doing its job. The Knog Blinder 4V is a compact, intense rear light designed with the usual attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Knog, and does its best to get you noticed for all the right reasons. Looking for something compact, light, bright and portable? This light is going to check all your boxes.
When you take the Blinder 4V out of its packaging it looks and feels like a well thought-out, well-designed little unit. Built from polycarbonate and aluminium, the Blinder 4V feels solid. A lot of small lights feel too light or “plasticy” and the tabs or clips are prone to breaking. The Blinder has an integrated rubber strap and steel clip that looks like it’ll grab onto nearly anything. Knog says that it suits 22-32mm diameter tubing and I found that the rounder the tube, the better the fit. For undersized or oversized tubes, or odd-shaped tubing, it is more difficult to get a fit, though the rubber strap still allows for more flexibility that many generic lights. Knog are doing their bit for the environmental as well using fully recyclable packaging and enviro-friendly printing inks.
The Blinder 4V is, like many of Knog’s lights, a one-button affair; long-press on, short-press to cycle modes, long-press off again. This button is at the back of the unit, towards the top and you have to stretch the strap a little to move the unit clear of the seat post to operate it. This means that turning it on or off, or changing the flashing sequence is a task best performed when you have stopped and not while riding.
We reviewed KNOG Blinder lights earlier this year which had the same USB charging function as the 4V. Once it’s off the bike, the USB plug flips out from behind the clip area. Given the bulk of the light, it won’t fit all USB ports. Low fixed ports could prove troublesome, as you have to turn the light upside down to insert it. Using a short USB extender cable would solve any problems, but you may not always have one on hand.
There is an LED next to the switch to indicate charging, full, or low battery. It is very small, so it’s probably worth checking every few trips to make sure it’s not in need of a charge.
The Blinder on the Road
For my first ride I mounted the blinder on a 27.2mm seat post and rode home at dusk. It was obvious that this was a brighter, more visible rear light than my usual Superflash knock-off light. If you glance behind you can see the Blinder 4V lighting up your bike’s back wheel, parked cars and the road around you. This is a BRIGHT light.
My usual dusk/dark commute rear facing lighting consists of the Superflash knock-off light on the seat post, a single-LED blinky on the seat stay and a helmet-mounted LED blinky. When it’s very dark I run a 4-LED flashing light on my backpack, too. I’ve had comments from other cycle commuters about the level of lighting being very effective. Never have I felt under-lit.
On my first ride with the Blinder 4V I had a driver stop and say “Wow, that’s an effective light!” Knog note that the light has an inbuilt 15-degree mount angle which means that the light unit is angled to point directly behind rather than down towards the road (at the same angle as the seat tube). In practice the angle of change is minimal, though it is a nice thought. The light mounts such that it’s not pointing in driver’s eyes, however. This is a light that could easily distract other road users if it was poorly mounted.
The light has 5 modes: solid, fast flash, organic flash 1 (‘heartbeat’), organic flash 2 and eco-flash. I used it on fast flash and organic flash 1. The run time on for the eco-flash mode is claimed to be 50 hours, which is plausible given that it only fires two LEDs at a time.
The rubber strap seems a little counter-intuitive to install at first, being a ‘hook through and fold back around’ arrangement, but it felt solid. Even so, I can’t help but think there was a small risk of catching baggy shorts on the clip and becoming unbuckled, though this didn’t happen during the time I was testing. Should it undo on the run, there’s no safety net. Given the length of the strap, the seat post or seat tube are the only options for mounting this light. A low mounted saddle bag or short rise post may mean that this light won’t find a suitable mounting location on your bike, so ensure you have space first.
The Blinder 4V is small, light, and unobtrusive enough to be left in place all the time, though it also can be quickly removed, which is recommended if you leave your bike locked up in a public space. The waterproofing is rated at IP66 (dust sealed, strong jets of water with limited ingress), so it should stand up to being doused with water from your back wheel or a rain shower.
Consider buying the Blinder 4V if:
- You want compact brightness
- You want to swap lights between bikes often without removing mounts
- You want a less generic, better looking light
The KNOG Blinder 4V retails for $49.95 RRP and is available from KNOG online as well as in the many bicycle shops that carry this brand.