I hate bike lights. Don’t get me wrong, they serve their purpose; they’re just such ugly things that stick out, stand proud, have mounts that look crap if you leave them on the bike or are fiddly to put on and take off if you don’t leave them on the bike. It’s exactly why I’m such a fan of “USE Light Mount”, the new Exposure Flare saddle mount – change the lairy red band for a sturdy black one and you barely know the light is there.
Finally though, Knog have answered my prayers.
The Blinder isn’t just one light, but a range. Front and rear options are available, and in a host of anodised colours. They also have a range of designs for the manner in which the four LEDs look on the front of the light with arrows, crosses, stripes, circles and a more plain and simple design with the LEDs just set into the light (my preferred).
The beauty of the light is that it’s small, discreet, doesn’t use a separate mount and has an easy to use rubber ‘clasp’ design. When it’s on the bike it’s barely noticeable (unless you get a lairy coloured arrow design as pictured above) and it’s removed really easily should you not need it, or want to move it to another bike. The front light is designed to sit square on your bars whilst the clasp mount for the rear light is angled so that it sits flush with your seatpost but with the light at the right angle to be seen from behind.
But is it any good?
First things first, anyone who’s a fan of Light In Motion, Exposure, Hope or other lights primarily designed to illuminate a dark MTB trail probably won’t find it anywhere near bright enough, plain and simple – but then it’s too small to even attempt to match up to the likes of those, and that’s not what it’s there for. As a commuting light it is good enough to be seen, and even to offer up enough light to see where you’re going. It’s brighter than many other cheap commuting lights on the market, and should you feel the need to add a second one up front and you’ll be very clearly visible as well as giving yourself a good deal of light for navigating dark streets.
Battery life seems to be ok, and there’s a built-in USB connector in the recess of the back of the light for recharging, and is accessible enough to connect up to a laptop or USB extension lead. But be warned that this little USB connector rattled against my bars when I first used it so I now pad it out a bit with an extra piece of rubber (cut from the rubber pad that used to be supplied with older Garmins).
The switch is good and offers a number of options, but it can be a little bit fiddly to access if you’re on the move and decide your light need switching on. Like many commuter lights now it needs a couple of seconds holding to turn it on, and likewise to turn it off.
I only bought the front light so I have little idea how the rear light stacks up against the likes of the Exposure Flare. More importantly though I now have a set of lights discreet enough to leave on my bike most of the time, and that don’t leave geeky mounts behind when I remove them – this makes me happy.
If only some of the bigger, brighter lights could be produced in a more discreet design…