Knog Blinder 4 Lights

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I’ve been aware of Knog products for years. Their Interbike booths have been places of wonder to visit  each year, sometimes less for the products themselves than the presentation. One recent booth wasn’t so much a trade show exhibit as it was the 32-headed love child between a Euro disco and a roomful of architectural dioramas. I could have spent the whole night there.

But we’re talking about lights, or at least, we’re meant to be.

I’ve dealt with my share of blinky lights that pierce the darkness with the hope that they’ll remind drivers to go around rather than over me. Honestly, some aren’t all that bright. Most of the rechargeable ones I’ve encountered have batteries and/or charging systems fussier than my three year old (and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone except maybe one former girlfriend), while a great many of them are difficult to mount—even to a jersey pocket.

If you’d told me 10 years ago that one day four LEDs could be produce this much light, I’d have laughed until I snorted. The first time I turned the Blinder 4 Cross (a front light featuring white LEDs) on and turned it around to look at it, I turned it back around with all the haste of someone releasing the wild animal that has just bit them. It was brighter than some gifted kids. The front light is rated at 80 Lumens which, on paper, isn’t a lot and by not a lot I mean less than a night light, but my experience actually riding with this light is that it’s a good deal more useful.

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On those mornings when I leave the house when it’s still pitch dark and there’s no glow on the horizon (it’s happened a few times in the last week), the Blinder 4 Cross has thrown enough light to actually help as a headlight. I didn’t set out with that desire, mind you; there was enough light being cast by the streetlights that my only concern was being seen by drivers. That the Blinder 4 Cross could actually illuminate the road in front of me was a real surprise. Of course, if I was traveling faster than about 12 mph I outran the light thrown, but I have enough uphill on the way to the start of my ride thatI was moving pretty slow. On full burn, Knog says the Blinder 4 Cross will last for three hours. I’ve gotten about a week’s worth of use from a single charge and all I need the light for is getting to the start of the ride, so that sounds about right to me; I get a week’s-worth of use from a single charge. It has four other settings and if switched to the Eco Flash a single charge should last 50 hours.

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The Blinder 4V (a rear light featuring red LEDs) throws 44 Lumens which, again, on paper is absolutely dim. Dim, that is, until you actually stare directly into the flashing lights which generate enough light to spark seizures in the dead. Like the front version, the Blinder 4V offers five modes of use, ranging from steady (three-hour burn) to the 50-hour run time on the Eco Flash.

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Charging these things is a snap. There’s a flip-out USB plug so that you don’t need a special charger, yet another outlet or anything fancy. Just plug it into your computer for a few hours. For those of you who are commuters, the ability to charge both your lights during your workday is useful like beer after manual labor.

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Both lights come in a variety of colors and even styles to match your bike and your personal sense of style. At $44.95 apiece, these things ain’t cheap, but when I think back on what I’ve spent for other lights in the past, these are a good bit more useful, as evidenced by their clamp system. I’ve heard criticisms of the rubber bands that Knog uses for mounts on their Blinder-series lights. I can see how with repeated mountings (if you shift them from bike to bike as I do) they may eventually break. And at nearly $50, that would be a colossal frustration. Sure, you could strap the light to your bar or seatpost with a couple of zip ties, but really? What I can say is that if you’re switching them from bike to bike, the clamp system is pie-easy and wit-quick. In the past, moving lights was time consuming enough that I’ve had to appoint a single bike as my early morning winter bike.

Final thought: As bright as they are easy. If only kids were like this.

 

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13 comments

  1. naisan

    Have you tried the Serfas thunderbolt lights? I am curious how these compare to the thunderbolts, because I like the thunderbolts a great deal. As far as lumens go, they are similar.

  2. David

    Do you need to remove and remount them in order to charge? If so, it’s not just changing bikes that might lead to the bands failing?

  3. John Marrocco

    I’m over the trend to make everything usb. What about us slugs that don’t keep computers fired up at all hours or us commuters who don’t work in an office in front of a glowing lcd. Give me my 2-prong and a cord long enough so I don’t have to move the furniture everytime I want to charge something.

  4. Matt

    I’m on my third front Blinder, due ti the strap failing. It’s really the Achilles heel of an otherwise nice light. For a 26.0 bar it’d probably be fine, but using a 31.8 and having (gasp) bar tape and cables as well, it’s just a bridge too far for the flimsy rubber to stand up to repeated mounting and removal. And with the charger mechanism under the light, you have tom take it off your bike roughly weekly for a commute of my length. I’ll keep using mine as long as it lasts and as long as Knog keeps replacing it, but would not recommend it to anyone, despite the fantastic brightness and eye catching randomness of its program modes.

    I now have it mounted on a Paul’s light mount about halfway down my fork, which hopefully will extend the life of the strap. Great for a second light for my commuter but less great as an everyday blinky on my road bike.

  5. David B

    John Marrocco: I’ve just checked eBay – a set of two USB power adapters (one for each end of the commute!) sells for $3.69.

  6. thirdwigg

    I have not had the strap fail on mine yet, but I do think the front is a little too snug for the 31.8 handlebar. I usually strap it around the bar on the tape. Other than that, these are very simple to use, and work well.

  7. tinytim

    Everything that I’ve had by Knog has self destructed, usually quickly after purchase. And I dont abuse my gear. I’ve had the Lyzyne Super drive since they first released it 2 years ago. It was like $100 and is strong enough to ride technical single strack for 1 hour or ride a road bike for 6 hrs (depends on setting used). Combine this powerful front light with a cheap rear and you are more than be seen, you can actually see. Also, the Lyzyne is housed in a durable, water proof, aluminum shell. The light is rechargable and comes with a USB charging cord.

  8. Jim Couch

    The Blinder is ok, but overall a poor design as far as the charging goes. Having to remove a light from the bike to recharge is a real pain – I prefer to charge them while on the bike. The fact that the band seems prone to failure makes this more than an inconvenience. It’s not just switching from bike to bike, the light has to be removed every time you charge! Having to remove a light, causing the band to fail is an EXTREMELY poor design. The design of the USP charger is also poor, the angle that it plugs in at makes it difficult to charge on most laptops, and it blocks any adjacent USB ports as well.

    I have to agree with many of the other posters here, the Knog stuff just does not cut it in the real world. The failure rate for Knog products is just to high.

  9. Sean

    Hi Guys, Sean here from Knog. I can confirm that as of the current production run the strap and clasp of the Blinder lights have been re-engineered to create a tougher and more durable light unit. Thus combating the strap failure issue that has been identified with some of the current Blinder light models.

    All Knog product come with a 2-year warranty, so if you do have any issues then please send an email through to peeps@knog.com.au as we would be more than happy to resolve this for you.

    For more info on our super bright, 100%waterproof and USB rechargeable Blinder lights, please check http://www.knog.com.au/gear-blinder-lights/blinder.phps


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Sean: Thanks so much for stopping by and adding that info. That should give prospective buyers some real peace of mind.

      I couldn’t help noting how some readers mentioned they were clamping the light around the taped portion of the bar. It strikes me that this could be the source of some of the trouble that some people mentioned. I’ve been careful to clamp around only the bar and it hasn’t seemed like the clamp is too small for the 31.8mm bar.

  10. Sean

    Hi Padraig, the issue you raise has a valid point. The Blinder lights are recommended for use on bars and posts with a diameter of 22-32mm. Therefore if you have a 31.8mm bar and are clamping the light over taped bars or cables then this will be exceeding the limitations of the strap, potentially causing a failure.

  11. Joe

    I had a front and rear Knog blinders last all of two rides before the straps broke earlier this year. Wasn’t wrapped around bar tape or cables. One was a 31.8 bar and the seatpost was 27.2.

    Love the light, but the strap is inexcusably fragile.

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