On the back of my Blinder and Blinder 4V reviews, Knog were kind enough to send me their latest offering – the Blinder 1 – to me to receive the same treatment.
This is quite a timely review as most places are slipping – not so quietly it would appear – into the late autumn and early winter months, and with British Summer Time now over (and clocks changed one way or the other in most other parts of the world) daylight is now much more scarce for many, meaning bike lights are becoming a priority. On the other hand, we’re just heading into summer here in Australia. Not that this means bike lights are of no interest though – when the ‘par for the course’ midweek ride carries a 5:15am (yes, am) start time, lights are still very much essential.
Back when I reviewed the Blinder I mentioned that Knog had answered my prayers in designing a light that actually looks good on the bike. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear the same applies to the Blinder 1 – and in fact it’s probably even more relevant for this as it’s a smaller, even neater package which really does sit on the bike without drawing attention.
But does it draw attention on the road in the dark?
The Blinder 1 is so named because it carries just the one LED compared to the Blinder’s four. The front version of the light is rated at 20 Lumens (11 for the rear) with a claim of visibility for over 500m – which I can actually believe given that it’s a focused rather than refracted beam. So far so good.
In practice it’s certainly bright enough to offer some forward projection of light so it is a light to see with as well as to be seen… although I can’t help thinking if I were planning on a long ride I would probably want to mount one either side of my stem for a bit extra of that ‘to be seen’ security (I’ve been riding with much bigger, brighter lights for too long now to feel safe with something so comparatively small).
Functionally it’s right on par with the 4V and Blinder – a slightly longer button hold to turn it on and off (to avoid accidental switching on in a bag or on the bike) and a storage mode to turn it properly off when it’s not being used for long periods (I did notice my 4V flatted without use as I hadn’t activated this). Run time is suggested as 2 hours on full and 11 hours on flashing (there are four different flash modes to choose from), and I have no reason to doubt this. I tend to switch between modes at different stages of my morning rides though, and charged it prematurely out of habit so I cocked up any chance of testing this thoroughly.
Again, like its siblings it carries the built-in USB charge function which, thankfully, is much easier to use than the one on the 4V. In fact on this model the USB stick forms part of the clamp (which, again, uses the same natty little clasp-style attachment) in a manner which seems quite fragile, although is apparently very robust and waterproof. Again, not something I can, or have, readily tested.
I really like the light and the fact that it’s offered in lots of funky colours and designs (heart, flower or skull anyone?) is sure to appeal. I wish it were a bit brighter given that it’s visually and functionally such a good package, but then I guess that’s what the original Blinder is for.
For me here in Oz right now it’s perfect to light the 20-40mins of the early morning rides that are still dark before first light, and for a tidy bit of light on a short or already well-lit commute it’d be ideal. It’s also perfect for leaving on your bike as a dependable and good looking ‘just in case’ backup.
In short, aesthetically perfect – you just might want two of them.