The new Knog PWR range – the Commuter and the Rider are bike lights with a built in power bank to allow you to charge your devices. In time, Knog will be releasing additional tech, including a speaker which will plug in directly to the unit.
Both the Commuter and the Rider are 450 lumens. The difference between the two is in their capacity, both run time for the headlight, and charging ability. The Commuter is the lower capacity of the 2, with a 40 min run time at full power and a 850mAh power bank. The Rider has a 2 hour run time at full power and a 2200mAh power bank.
Both the Commuter and the Rider have a mounting strap which screws to the base of the light and an end cap which hides the micro-USB charging point and the regular USB port for powering other items. Both lights are also water resistant with the end cap in place.
These lights look very smart. They are both matt black metal tubes which seem to be machined to a high quality. The strap is easy to install and seem secure. The Commuter is a good size – bigger than traditional Knog lights but similar to some Leyzene or Cat Eye ones.
The Rider is quite long, however as it is narrow, the size isnt a big deal, it basically sits parallel to the stem.
The end cap is a little tricky to remove but conversely doesn’t feel like it would keep heavy prolonged rain out. Only time will tell with that, I never got caught in heavy rain during testing.
Operation is easy – turn the light on with a long hold on the button and then a short press to cycle through the settings. A long hold turns the light off and it will turn back on in the setting it was in last.
Both lights also have little LED indicators on the top to let you know how their battery life is doing, which is handy.
Run times seem to be accurate. The Commuter didn’t make it through an hour long commute on full power. However, 450 lumens is probably brighter than required for a regular inner-city commute. On the second setting – still 190 lumens – the light lasts 2.5 hours which should be plenty of time for most commutes. If you do need a very bright light for a longer commute, then the Rider is the PWR option for you.
Both lights have a ‘pulse’ setting. This is 320 lumens with a flash in it. The light is never actually out but draws attention to itself without being too offensive to other road users. This is the setting I ended up using the most. On the Commuter version your light will last 2.5 hours in this mode while the Rider will last 7 hours.
The beam is broader than other lights available. It does seem to cover a good amount of the road and has some side visibility. However, it would have been nice if they had made the transparent plastic part larger so side visibility was enhanced. It would have detracted a little from the sleek look, but lights are functional items first and foremost after all and it would make a significant difference to the visibility of the light at junctions and side roads.
They do take quite a long time to charge – these a not lights that you can shove on charge 45 mins before going home. However, if you remember to charge it during the day, you will be rewarded with some extra juice for your phone while out in the evening and powerful light to get you home afterwards.
Should you get one?
It’s easy to see how the Knog PWR range is useful. Who among us has not experienced some anxiety at our iPhone or Android devices running low on charge? If you follow directions using your phone or you are using it to track your commute – you’ll quickly move down those battery bars.
It’s also nice when you combine two devices in to one. Instead of needing to carry a portable battery pack to charge your phone and your bike light, you combine the two and off you go. One less thing to worry about charging.
However, the capacity of these devices is not huge. I recently purchased a a 10,000 mAh external battery for £20. This can charge my device multiple times. Keep in mind an iPhone 8 battery is 1,821mAh capacity. The Commuter is 850mAh so I won’t even get a full charge out of it. For that I’ll need the 2200 mAh Rider.
If you’re looking for a slick, powerful bike light that can also top up your phone, you’ll find some use for the PWR bike light range.
Even though the Rider is a little bigger than many lights on the market, it is not particularly heavy at 115g. Given its superior runtime and charging capacity I think it is a much better choice than the Commuter for almost all users. You just need to remember to put in on charge at lunchtime.
The PWR range is an interesting development in bike lights and it’ll be exciting to follow what Knog do with their PWR range.
The lights look nice and are certainly bright enough to been seen in most conditions and light up the road in street light free situations. I think the Rider version is a great light to have, I am a little more ambivalent about the Commuter.
Update: 20 October, 2017
Following publication of the post and after further use, the strap has started to break. As it’s hard to undo when you reach your destination, the strap hasn’t survived well at all. The light is attached to the bracket, so it’s the only way to remove it when you reach your destination.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.