- 4.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Chances are, if you wear skinny jeans without fear of judgment, think pita chips with humus is a suitable lunch and watch more foreign than domestic films, I probably don’t need to introduce you to the undeniably hipster brand Knog or their well marketed products. If, on the other hand, you count and scrutinize every gram of your club ride build, scoff at people who don’t ride sew-ups and drool at the thought of buying that new four hundred dollar kit, you may not know of Knog when it comes time for you to purchase a see-me light. All well-intentioned stereotypes aside, Knog has established themselves as an authority on indicator lights, and while they have been wildly successful selling uniquely hip lights to hip and unique commuting cyclists, will they receive the same praise from roadies with the new road inspired Blinder Road R? …damn right!
When a product design works incredibly well as it does in the case of the Blinder 4 LED, engineers must ask themselves: why change what works? With that in mind, the Blinder Road R is not so much “reinventing the light” as it is adding to a great lineup of blinkers while borrowing successful design elements from successful products. Of everything that defines Knogs lights as brilliant, their silicone mounting system would be at the top of this list. Simply put, the silicone strap design works flawlessly. Removing or installing the light is quick and easy, not to mention seamless, over a large range of seatpost sizes. The silicone material greatly reduces the likelihood of scratching your seatpost while also providing an extremely secure grip and ensuring years of use. Ultimately, these lights are among the most convenient to use because of this exceptional design.
Besides a superb mount, the Blinder Road R boasts one of the brightest outputs of any compact rear indicator light on the market. Furthermore, the choices of flashing patterns, of which “Chaser” is my favorite, will make you the envy of cyclists everywhere…they are just downright cool! Intensity is delivered with abundance, especially in eco-flash mode. Quality optics are employed for each LED resulting in a wide beam pattern while remaining intense at any angle. To further increase visibility, a lit ring encircles the housing and adds to the lights aesthetic appeal. This ring offers limited output, but it does work as an indicator to increase the likelihood of being seen on the road.
Although USB charging has become the new standard for large and small bike lights alike, few offer a waterproof USB plug mounted directly to the light. While this does pose an issue for charging via a computer with deeply recessed USB ports, the design is incredibly convenient and an extender cable is included to make use of USB ports in peculiar places. Just above the inconspicuous USB plug sits a compact mode selector button. I’d argue this button could be raised a bit higher for easier operation but the selector works quite well and offers a minute charge indicator light for added convenience.
Ever since I’ve owned a handful of various Knog products, I have become a believer in their superior design concept. With the Blinder Road R, consumers are not only presented with one of the most user friendly interfaces found on any bike light currently on the market, but also, buyers are not asked to sacrifice massive output, snazzy blinking patterns and most importantly high visibility. If I had to present a criticism of this light, I can only muster up one minor flaw. Being that the design is implemented in a vertical fashion, you do lose a good amount of seatpost real estate and therefore have less room for a QR fender, saddle bag or whatever accessory you may desire. But as long as you have a reasonable amount of seatpost to work with and you aren’t loading it up with unnecessary baggage, you’d be very hard pressed to find a single significant flaw with this industry leading indicator light