- 5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Early on in the days of the Subjective Cyclists conception, Knog was an integral player to the success of this website. One of the products I was most passionate about was the Knog Blinder Road R. Within that title “Knog” stood for attitude and sass. “Blinder” meant…well yeah. “Road R” defined the product but don't think it is limited to road use. This rear (“R”) light is at home on the road, protecting you on your commute, accompanying your club ride, or being your downtown romp accomplice. But what made this light so good and where has it been lately? The latest iteration of this light is the Blinder Road R70, lets dive in.
If I had to point to one single feature that sets the Blinder Road R or R70 apart from other rear lights, it would be its cascade light mode (or something I like to call the waterfall setting). While we all get irritated by motorists from time to time, ultimately it is in a riders best interest to draw attention to themselves without blinding and irritating motorists. The cascade setting found on the Road R/R70 is the industries best example of a light mode that will grab someones attention without inducing spontaneous seizures. Each of the settings found on the Road R are also employed on the R70. Intense flash settings of up to 70 lumens are more daytime oriented and round out the versatility of this product. Although the red emitters w/clear lens were replaced with clear emitters and red lens, the output is unchanged and the runtime is identical. This is a surprise to me, but the Road R was never short on output so I don’t have any real complaints here. Generally, efficiency/intensity increases by using white LEDs over colored models. “Constant Bright Tech” may be the source of this change. Bright Tech claims constant output throughout the posted runtime whereas the previous model may have tapered slightly over its charge. …again, I’m hazarding a guess here.
Where we do see changes however is in the design of the lights mount. It seems the audience has spoken and they are chirping “aero post, aero post!” Albeit a smart move with the increasing popularity of aero-style road bikes, the slightly changed R70 features a cutout or notch that better accommodates the pointed trailing edge of an aero post. Additionally, the clasp has been modified slightly which I believe makes it harder for the light to un-clasp itself...something I have never experienced however. Furthermore, I have not had an issue with the original integrated silicone strap failing to cater to different post sizes. However, the R70 implements a hook with swappable silicone straps of various sizes to maximize grip regardless of seatpost size or custom applications.
Only one other major change is apparent, that being the mode selection button and charge indicators. Neither of these changes strikes me as an improvement or a setback compared to the previous model, just slightly different. As with the original R, you’ll also find the R70 to be difficult to power up while wearing finger covering gloves. There is one more minor change as well and that is to the USB tab. Because of the aero notch detent, the USB charging tab is now located in a slightly different spot. Unless you plan to charge this on a laptop, you’ll likely find yourself using the included USB extender…it’s a good thing it’s included.
Initially, after playing with the R70, I was a little disappointed to find so few changes or improvements. Again, the improved aero compatibility really seems to be the primary tangible difference here. But let me say this again, the Blinder Road R has been my single most used and favored rear light over the last 3-4 years. This is one of those rare circumstances where there isn’t a lot to be improved upon and for that reason it’s a good thing that many features have gone unchanged. For those riders who currently own the original Road R and don’t need the aero feature, upgrading won't afford you many changes. For riders who haven’t had the pleasure of owning the Road R, look no further than the refreshed R70 for a nearly flawless rear light. This light may save your ass…and the rest of you for that matter.