Melbourne-based brand Knog have been around since 2003 and have built up an international following for a collection of simple yet stylish lights and locks.
With a new range of lights on the market, we took a look at the Mr Chips front and rear lights.
Words - Tom McQuillan Images - Jarrod McShane
I’ve owned a variety of Knog lights for the past five years, and had very few complaints. The metallic housing feels very sturdy, moreso than past Blinders have done, and the lights come with multiple silicone straps to help attach them to a variety of handlebars or seatposts.
In the past there have been issues with the longevity of the silicone straps that Knog use for their lights, but they’ve compensated for that with excellent customer service for those who have had lights break. I went into my local bike shop last year with a broken light expecting to maybe get a small discount on a new light, and was surprised to walk out 5 minutes later with a brand new light. Free of charge. No questions asked.
The lights come with five different lighting modes:
- steadily on in high and low modes;
- a fast strobe mode;
- an ‘eco flash’ mode; and
- our favourite mode, ‘fancy flash’, where the beam of light slowly fades from left to right, with a brief flash before the sequence starts again.
We particularly liked this mode because it gives oncoming traffic a consistent beam of light to help them judge how far away you are, while still having a flash to help draw the attention of drivers.
The ‘eco flash’ mode has a claimed battery life of 60 hours for the front light and 54 hours for the rear, more than enough if that’s all you need for commuting to and from work or going on a ride from dawn to dusk, especially in summer.
However, all of the other light modes have a maximum battery life of under 6 hours, which means that you’ll need to charge them every couple of days if you’re commuting to and from work and planning an extra ride on the weekend. With that in mind, it’s a good thing that like all Knog lights both the front and rear Mr Chips lights are USB rechargeable, so they’re easy to charge at the office.
MR CHIPS FRONT LIGHT
All bike lights fall into one of two simple categories, lights that allow you to see and lights that allow you to be seen. The Blinder MOB Mr Chips front light is definitely in the latter category, as Knog’s own website will freely admit.
The beam the front light throws out is wide enough to cover both lanes of a suburban street, but isn't the best at allowing you to see a long way into the distance. We tested it on some dimly lit suburban streets late at night, and even with some help from the streetlights riding at more than about 25 km/h felt like an unnecessary risk.
If you're looking to ride along unlit roads or paths, you'll need a more focused beam pattern and a brighter light than the 80 lumens than the Blinder MOB provides - we'd suggest looking at Knog's ‘Performance’ range of lights for that purpose.
MR CHIPS REAR LIGHT
Unlike the front light, there’s no question of the Mr Chips rear light lacking power. The light may weigh in with 44 lumens, but with rear lights needing less power to be effective it ensured that we never worried about being invisible to other road users across three weeks of testing.
Indeed, we were grateful for the ‘steady on’ mode when going out on bunch rides, as the more powerful light modes would no doubt have resulted in a few grumbles from our riding mates.
The silicone straps mean that it’s very easy to switch the light between multiple bikes, and the inclusion of a strap for the rear light that accommodates an aero post is particularly welcome, given the increasing trend towards aerodynamic design among high-performance road bikes.
The Mr Chips lights are available with Black or Silver housing.
- Mr Chips front light - $59.95
- Mr Chips rear light - $59.95
WHERE TO BUY
Visit Knog here to buy online or find your nearest stockist.
There’s a lot to like about the Mr Chips lights – both are well designed, easily switched between bikes, convenient to recharge and bright enough for just about any commute that doesn’t take place in pitch darkness. We’ll definitely be hanging onto these ones.