Knog PWR Road front light review£85.00

Super-smart switchable head innovation from Australia

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The renowned free thinkers at Knog sneaked us pre-production versions of a new modular lighting concept that adds some practical twists to your after dark options.

After several months riding with our UK and Australian teams, the PWR Road has proved itself to be a very user friendly and practical light that also looks good on the bike.

The PWR system is based around five different head units (600, 1,000, 1,800 lumens) that click-fit onto Small (3,350mAh) or Medium (5,000mAh) capacity batteries. Weighing 134g by our scales, the PWR Road's 600-lumen head attached to the Medium tube's long battery for a slick pipe of light.

Made from CNC-machined aluminium with a brushed finish the lights are tough. One day after the lights arrived at BikeRadar HQ in Australia I dropped the PWR Road and it proceeded to tumble the entire way down the sizeable hill outside my house. To my pleasant surprise, the light came out practically unscathed other than a small scuff on the bottom edge.

The PWR is a clean design for sure
The PWR is a clean design for sure

The cam tightened round bar mount uses a gooseneck arm that slides into a groove on the side of the battery. The arm is offset so it sits centrally over or under the stem to please those who like a tidy and symmetrical cockpit. Unfortunately, if you’ve got a Di2 drivetrain with a stem mounted junction box, it gets in the way of mounting the light below the bars.

The bar clamp is narrow enough to even sneak onto super short round sections alongside stems, so it’ll work on a lot of flat aero bars that you might think it won’t.

A thumbwheel locks the mount into place on the side slot and keeps it rattle free even on the roughest sections, so it’s a very practical solution as well as a pretty one.

It works above and below, though Di2 junction boxes may cause mounting troubles. I had to push the one on this stem to the side to for the light to fit
It works above and below, though Di2 junction boxes may cause mounting troubles. I had to push the one on this stem to the side to for the light to fit

You can buy a helmet mount/GoPro adaptor for £13.99 / $14.95 / AU$19.95 as well.

Twisting the head works as the switch (so no fat glove fumbling) and ignites one of six lighting modes: a broad and smoothly-edged beam in max, mid or stamina (600, 320 and 80 lumens respectively), as well as a flashing light in strobe, pulse and eco-flash.

Modes and even pre-set run times are tunable through Knog’s ModeMaker PC/Mac app which is due for release in the coming months.

Pulling the light head off turns the battery into a power pack for other USB devices. There is a mini-USB slot for charging the battery pack itself, a USB slot for charging a device, and a third slot with which the light heads interface — unfortunately, a USB plug won't fit in there.

The lights also have a four LED touch-sensitive traffic light charge/life left indicator to keep you abreast of ampage.

Under the hood there is a spot for a USB and Micro USB. The third slot is for the light
Under the hood there is a spot for a USB and Micro USB. The third slot is for the light

The lights are water resistant with the head attached thanks to an o-ring on the battery, and the PWR road has survived a few decent downpours. Our lights are pre-production samples so the head can be pulled straight off, however, Knog tells us the production version will also have a button release.

With so many combinations of heads and batteries there are just as many battery life claims. However, with the 3350mAh battery I got a little over two hours at 600 lumens and about three and a half hours at 400 lumens. With the elliptical beam shape, I found 400 lumens to be plenty bright enough on all but the darkest stretches of road.

The modularity of the PWR system, however, is where these lights really shine. Quite often bike lights are somewhat pigeon-holed in their use, but I’ve taken these lights camping a few times and they are ideal to keep in your car just in case, too. Given that Knog has plans to broaden the PWR range into things such as portable Bluetooth speakers it’s clear the brand is aware if their utility.

The Trail head light will work on the Road battery too, but the life will be reduced
The Trail head light will work on the Road battery too, but the life will be reduced

If you don’t need as much power as the Road, the 450 lumen/850mAh PWR Commuter is £49.99 / $54.95 / AU$74.95 and the 450 lumen/2,000mAh PWR Rider is £57.99 / $64.95 / AU$89.95.

If you need more power, the 1,000 lumen/5,000mAh PWR Trail is £109.99 / $119.95 / AU$159.95 while the 1,000 lumen head unit is £44.99 / $49.95 / AU$69.95 on its own if you want to upgrade the PWR Road.

There are plans to extend the range to include more powerful light heads and bigger batteries for flat out off road use, and other shaped cells will be available too. So it’s a system that’s only going to become more versatile.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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