As we enter the darkest time of the year in Melbourne the team at Knog has sent us two of their lights, the rear ‘Blinder Road R’ and front ‘Blinder Arc 5.5’.
Known for throwing out the rule book and taking a fresh look at how things are done, we’re expecting good things from this Melbourne based team.
La Velocita's Mike Boudrie reports.
Knog landed on the cycling scene in 2003. In no time Knog were making a name for themselves by changing the way we look at bike accessories. A step up in design, easy and quick to use mounts, new materials, function and form working together. Knog now have a presence in 46 countries and have a team of designers and engineers that work together with the aim of keeping the momentum up, bringing ever better products to us.
We’ve been riding with a Knog front and rear light the last few weeks. Around urban areas, country roads and a fast descent in almost complete darkness into Apollo Bay on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.
Blinder Arc 5.5
Knog’s top light put’s out 550 Lumens and is designed to see and be seen. It’s USB rechargeable, 100% waterproof, has a silicon outer and is visible to 1,000m.
The Blinder Arc 5.5 comes in at 150 grams and is a nice size at 32x32x100.5mm.
There’s four light modes, full, medium, low and flashing with a battery life of between 1.8 hours on full mode to 7.9 hours on low and 17 hours on flashing mode.
Blinder Road R
This is a serious rear light. A 70 lumen strobe is billed by Knog as ‘the first Blinder Lights of their kind to give riders 100% visibility and freedom at night’. A big claim.
As with the Arc 5.5 the Blinder Road R is USB rechargeable. It comes in at just 52 grams, is fully waterproof and is a seat post hugging shape (long and thin) at 27x76x52mm.
Five light modes, including steady to a various mix of flashing modes designed for riding in a group through being out by yourself with a eco-flash setting to provide long battery life. You’ll get between 3.5 hours and 20 hours depending on the mode.
We really like Knog finishes at La Velocita. We use Knog Blinder 4’s for day to day riding, with one set still going string after around 5 years of heavy use.
Both the Blinder Arc 5.5 and Blinder Road R are nicely built. The silicone and aluminium finish is great. The silicone bar mounts are a point of concern for some people. They are great for quick fitting and removal. The mounts feel firm and the silicone looks like it will last the distance.
Blinder Arc 5.5
This light comes with a few mounting options, there’s a helmet mount and two mounts, one for bar diameters between 25 and 30mm and one for bars 30 to 35mm. There’s also some foam tape included if your bars are less than 25mm.
The Blinder Arc 5.5 has a nice beam angle, it provided a wide flat throw of light that did not upset riders or drivers coming toward us.
In urban environments the flashing beam was great, you can be seen clearly from a long way off, no complaints here.
550 Lumens sounds a bit low in a world with 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000 lumen lights. Saying this, when riding out of the city in complete darkness the Blinder Arc 5.5 got the job done. It lit up the road nicely and was fine at speeds of up to 30 to 35 kph when riding on the front of our group.
We found the Arc 5.5 only started to struggle as speed increased. On a country road descent, as speeds passed 50 kph and moved toward 60kph+ we found ourselves reaching for the brakes due to vision being too limited. While fast decent’s in darkness are not the norm, it was a good test for the Knog.
We generally used the Arc 5.5 on high and medium beam while riding in darkness and flash for urban areas in dawn/dusk times where it becomes more about being seen.
The mount did a good job. On our first outing we did find the light had a tendency to rotate forward/downwards when riding on rougher roads. A quick wrap of the bars with some tape stopped the problem.
Battery life was as claimed, with us getting under two hours on full power. There’s a warning light to tell you the Arc 5.5 is running out of juice. We’ve found that most people don’t ride for longer than 2 hours in complete darkness in one stretch, if you do you’ll need to dim down to medium, that way you’ll get around three and a half hours.
Blinder Road R
We really loved this rear light. It’s lightweight, really bright and has a setting to save your mate's retinas when riding in a group. It’s quick to mount and looks great on the bike… I’m not sure we need to say anymore… but we will.
The light out of the Blinder Road R is strong. So strong that you’ll need to reduce to the ‘Peloton Mode’ if riding in a group. I did not do this on the first outing and at a set of lights I received some strong verbal ‘comments’ from the guys behind me. Once in Peloton Mode all was well.
All the modes are highly visible from a long way off. There’s a nice section around the sides of the Blinder Road R that provide some visibility from side on.
The mount was great, it takes a second to release and fit. Once on it did not move. The light’s design with four LEDs mounted on top of each other means that it sits nicely behind your seat post. We did have trouble fitting to some aero posts on bikes in our group, however this was not an issue to just Knog lights.
Battery life was as claimed and charging is quick and easy using the integrated USB plug.
Being Knog we had to include a small section on style. While not a critical consideration for lights, form is overlooked by many light manufacturers. Not Knog. The lights look great, sit nicely on the bike and don’t look like an afterthought.
The Blinder Arc 5.5 comes in Black, Blue, Red and Silver.
The Blinder Road R comes in Black, Grape (basically purple), Gunmetal and Red.
The Blinder Arc 5.5 - RRP$129.95
The Blinder Road R - RRP$69.95
Where to buy
Visit Knog here to buy online or find your nearest stockist.
We really liked the Knog light combo. For most of your day to day riding these lights tick all the boxes. They are simple and easy to use, can be charged by USB, switched between bikes in seconds, are bright enough to cope complete darkness on the road all while looking good.