Three Knog Bike Lights in Review: MOB and Road Blinder

knog bike light review

When Knog released their new range of MOB bike lights last year, they sent over a few for review. It was a journey for me to discover where and when the lights work best because Knog lights aren’t for everyone and all situations. This explains why Knog have broadened their range to suit different requirements; the high powered Blinder Arc and Blinder Road lights sit at the top of their range, the Blinder and Blinder MOB are in the middle for power and price, while the new POP range are the fun lights at the lower end of the price and power spectrum. And of course you can still get the classics such as the Knog FROG and BEETLE, which I still use and love, as backup bike lights.

Knog are a particularly likeable brand, and you may already know that they are an Australian company based in Melbourne. You can find out more about the company and the characters behind it in my interview with Knog. Beyond their Australian-ness, they are also known innovators and have been at the forefront of bike light design since their early days creating lights housed in silicon. In this review I tackle three new Knog lights: a front light and two rear lights, and see if they live up to the Knog reputation.

Knog mob bicycle light review

MOB evolution

The Blinder MOB range of squarish front lights features five models, including some front/rear twin packs. For review, Knog sent over their MOB Mr Chips front light, which is striking because of the big yellow square in the middle. The light was coloured with a silver/white combination and puts out 80 lumens.

Knog mob mr chips light review

If you’re familiar with the Knog blinder range, the first thing you will notice is that the USB charging ‘stick’ no longer folds away; it is now an integrated part of the mount and is no longer tucked away, which I immediately found unusual, but quickly discovered was convenient as there are fewer moving parts.

Bike light USB recharge

Knog new fastener strap

Knog still use the silicon strap but have improved its construction. The strap is no longer in-moulded so can now be completely separated from the light which means that it can be replaced. On two Knog lights I have used in the past, the silicon straps have broken over time (Knog are fantastic on their support in these cases). The new strap design is smart design and both a short and a long strap are provided; I found that the longer strap worked equality well on handlebars with 25 – 32mm diameters.

Knog light handlebars

An additional small change over the previous models is the clasp is now made of plastic rather than metal, but this doesn’t affect the functionality and opening and closing is even better. It is not a heavy unit so it won’t move around.

With the integrated USB charger, the light can plug into a USB port on your computer… if there is space. On my laptop, both of my USB ports have been permanently reserved by other cables and even if one became free, the light won’t fit in both because there are nearby cables which block access. Furthermore, the laptop has to be elevated off the desk because the light unit angles down when it is plugged in, so needs clearance. The good news is that a small green USB extension cable is supplied and I can conveniently connect it to an external USB charging port on my powerboard (power supply).

recharging knog computer

recharging knog power

On the brightest mode (steady), Knog say this will give you 2.4 hours runtime, while on the energy saving mode (eco flash) you will get 60 hours. I used the fancy flash on some long rides which is estimated at 3.2 hours, so found that it did run out as I clocked up kilometres and burnt calories. Your ride duration should be factored in when selecting the light mode.

 

To Be Or Not To Be… Seen

In well lit urban areas you just need other road users to know you are there. In other areas you have to illuminate your path and shed light on obstacles ahead. If you need to break through the darkness, this light is not for you. Have a look at the Knog Blinder Road and Blider Arc lights instead as they have more output.

This light, the Blinder MOB Mr Chips, is 80 lumens and will give you a good visual footprint so that others can see you. I used this bike light on my road bike for urban cycling to let others know I was sharing the road. The kids also love having flashing lights on their bikes when they cruise the streets.

knog light lumens

All of the lights on review have five light modes: high power steady, low power steady, strobe (fast flashing), fancy, and and an eco flash setting. My favourite setting for this front light was the fancy mode which fades in and out from left to right . It is not as power hungry as full beam and not as startling as the strobe.

This light does something which high powered lights struggle with, it gives you a good visual footprint on the road without blinding or dazzling other road users. Bike riders who aim their powerful lights too high can dazzle oncoming bike riders and motorists (point them down please). Staring into this light from close range is a bad idea, but at a distance the flashing modes are very distinct and difficult not to notice.

Even though my favourite mode is the fancy fade in and out sequence, if you really want to get noticed, the fast flashing strobe mode is the best, followed by the eco mode which flashes left and right. Over a distance of 50 minutes, particularly when it’s lighter or daylight, the steady modes are more difficult to notice than the flashing modes.

I do need to deduct a points when scoring this light though. Firstly the on/offf button can be tricky to access when the light is mounted on your handlebars. The second deduction is very much based on personal opinion; I feel that this light is more plasticy than its predecessors.

I don’t want you to get the impression that I don’t like this light, so I’ll also add points for the IP67 waterproofing rating which means that after a torrential storm it will be happily flashing away while you are wet to the bone. More points are awarded for the updated clasp mechanism which is easy and reliable; fastening or removing the light from the handlebars is a breeze. And finally, despite my criticism about its looks, it is still more attractive than the bulk of the competition.

 

Coming From Behind

As a bike rider in traffic, much of the danger is the unseen danger which comes from behind. So a shining, crazy red bike light directed to the rear is a good way to encourage the traffic to be more cautious.

Knog provided two rear lights: the To Be Seen 44 lumen Blinder MOB V Kid Grid and the To See 70 Lumen Road R70.

knog blinder road r70 review
To See – 70 Lumen Blinder Road R70

recharging knog bike light
Blinder Road R70 fastener and recharging

The Road R70 is an updated version of the Blinder rear light. It is now slightly more compact and features the new clasp system with the protruding USB connector, replaceable silicon strap, and plastic clasp. This light has 4 LEDs in a vertical road, the bottom one is super bright.

Knog mob bike light review
To Be Seen – MOB V Kid Grid

Knog mob grid recharging
MOB V Kid Grid fastener and recharging

The MOB V Kid Grid also has the new clasp, is even thinner and lighter (39g), and has 2 x 8 LEDs in the light panel.

Both fit easily on round and aero seatposts and will either point directly behind or slight downwards, depending on the angle of your seatpost. For riders who have their saddle set very low and have a saddlebag, you may run into problem finding space for these 76mm high lights.

As with the front light, it becomes harder to access the on/off button when they are mounted. Although it remembers the previous light mode, you need some finger gymnastics to help you locate the button for the long press to turn the lights on.

knog blinder road r70 light review

Knog bike light button

Which bike light is better?

There are a few factors to consider to form an opinion, so I did some testing. In daylight I observed both lights from a distance of 50 metres; the fast flash mode for both lights draws the most attention. Even though the Road R70 has 70 lumens and is meant to be brighter, the MOB V Kid Grid (44 lumens) was more visible in daylight. The super bright LED which sits at the bottom of the R70 was not as striking as I anticipated in lighter conditions.

Knog mob grid bike light review
MOB V Kid Grid rear bike light

Night time is a different story. The MOB V Kid Grid is bright and visible, but the booster light at the bottom of the R70 really cuts through the night and is clearly brighter.

knog blinder r70 bike light
Blinder Road R70 rear bike light

Although the R70 is noticeably brighter, I was still satisfied with the brightness of the MOB. In busy urban locations it will be noticed. I also recommend that you avoid the steady light mode because the flashing mode will get you noticed more easily. The exception is if you are riding with a bunch of cyclists, in which case set it to the steady (low) setting to avoid annoying riders following you.

The MOB V Kid Grid has a lower lumen rating (44 lumens) and will give you a longer battery runtime in all modes except for the high powered steady mode. The R70 is designed with a stripe around the side, tagged as ‘side illumination’, that lets out some light to give you better visibility to vehicles approaching from the sides. The overall design of the R70 is also more elegant.

Armed with all of this information, there is still no clear winner in my book, so on price alone the Blinder MOB V Kid Grid is $15 less than the R70 (RRP $59.95) and would be in my shopping bag first.

Knog blinder light review

Find out more about the knog lights on review and purchasing options:

Blinder MOB Mr Chips – 80 lumen front light
Blinder MOB V Kid Grid – 44 lumen rear light
Blinder Road R70 – 70 lumen rear light



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About The Author

Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a professional design business, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.

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