We got our hands on the regular Knog Blinders last year and generally liked them. They are handy, easy to charge and bright enough to be seen on busy London streets. So, when we were offered the chance to check out the new Blinder Mini we thought, why the heck not?!
What are they?
The Blinder range have been super popular amongst London Cyclists – I see them all the time. They come in a good range of styles and you can buy them separately and as a set. This makes them great for spares and replacements.
The Minis are pretty much a scaled down version of the regular lights. They come in a Dot (single LED), Niner (9 LEDs) and Chippy (a homogenous chip). The front ones are all 20 lumens and the rear are 11 lumens. This might not seem like a lot compared with some of the crazy bright things you can get, but it is plenty bright enough for being seen on well lit inner city roads.
The lights all have 5 modes, 3 flashing and 2 static. The lights are USB rechargeable in a couple of hours with the integrated plug. The run time for the lights on a full charge depends on the modes, but you can get up to 10-11 hours out of the lights.
We tried the Mini Niner and the Mini Chippy. The former has nine led’s in a grid while the later has a large central chip and reflective surrounding surface surface. They are the same power, but the beam of the Niner spreads out 90° while the Chippy goes 120°.
These lights are certainly bright enough to be used in London. I havent felt that I am not visible while riding home in the evening (any more that I am sometimes to some drivers, and would be even if completely glowing). The lights are small enough to fit into even the smallest gap on overcrowded handlebars. On the road bike I recently acquired there are cross top levers thus really limiting the space left over. I would struggle to fit a larger light while the Blinder Minis fit great.
The Chippy does have a slightly wider field of view than the Niner, and therefore I prefer it a bit more. Its still not completely visible from the side, but it does widen the angles it is visible from. The down side is that the beam is slightly less concentrated and so it really doesnt help with lighting the ground in front of you. If you cycle through unlit areas, this one might not be for you.
These lights are super lightweight and compact off the bike. Therefore, even if you don’t want to keep them on your bike, you can shove them in your bag and suffer no penalty at all. No excuses for ninja cycling here.
Battery life is the only option you do have for ninja cycling with these lights. The only criticism I have of them thus far is that the battery does not hold its charge well. The battery life straight out of a full charge is up to 11 hours. However, if you have had the light sitting for a while, do not expect to get anywhere near this long -I have had them die on me twice after using them for an hour a week after charging.
To some extent this is to be expected – these lights are really compact, the battery has to be tiny, but pretty bright. My other lights that hold a charge well (Blaze and PDW City Rover) are considerably bigger. It is also not a huge problem, especially if you use your lights every day and work somewhere you can charge them in the afternoon before heading home (i.e.. an office). It has really only been an issue for me as I have been using two different sets on different bikes – one set would be a lot easy to regulate and charge.
These are good lights. They are conveniently compact, bright enough to keep you seen and generally do their job well. They come with everything their bigger sibling does – straps for different sized posts and bars and an integrated usb charging plug. They are also waterproof and pretty robust feeling – potentially even more than the larger ones due to their compactness as they feel like solid little units.
They can sit in the smallest gap on your bars and the only penalty you have for the small size is limited battery life. For a regular commuter – the people this light is aimed at anyway- this should be no problem as long as you are a little vigilant about charging them regularly.
They are also not too bright for riding in groups. This is not something I do often, but when I do I have found that the brighter 100+ lumen lights I have are just too bright. These little Knog Blinder Minis have been perfect and have been my go to lights for commuting in the last few weeks.
If you want your own, you can get them from Wiggle, starting at £21.99 with free shipping.
Do you have some Blinder Minis? What do you think of them? Let everyone know below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.