By Stephanie Nitsch
Design plays a big part in this little bike industry. Grips and helmets are, from an industrial-design standpoint, nearly as tricked out as forks and wheelsets. By comparison, little thought ever goes into beautifying lights and locks. Rightfully so. I can't remember the last conversation that had me nerding out on the aesthetics of such accessories—until Knog debuted a handful of candylicious LEDs and sexy U-locks that got my attention.
Knog's penchant for urban design summons colorful visions of Asian-pop fantasies, but still manages to take their lustrous and functional creations seriously. Well, maybe not that seriously—products like the Party Frank Sausage lock make as many phallic appearances in Knog's catalog as the photos of topless women that grace the same pages.
For such a little light, the Blinder 4 ($44.95) has a lot going on. Available in white and red LEDs for front and rear visibility, respectively, each waterproof light is wrapped in a silicone grip that stretches to clamp onto 22-32-millimeter handlebars, frames or seat posts. Powered by a rechargeable, USB-friendly battery, it also claims a three-hour continuous burn time, or 50 hours when set to one of four different strobe modes. A low-battery indicator gives you a heads up when it's time to recharge, but chances are, you might not notice that detail until you're SOL and riding by the glow of the night.
At 80 lumens, don't expect the white LEDs to stand in for a high-powered night vision (the red LEDs generate 44 lumens), but it does pump out enough light to illuminate the storm drains, chain-link gates and tire-eating bumps that stand to take you out at the last, unavoidable second. And visible up to 800 meters, you can expect oncoming traffic to spot you a (half) mile away.
While you may not be hooking a U-lock to the belt loops of your hipster jeans anytime soon, there comes a time when the trailhead ends at a sketchy dive bar and you need more protection than the zip ties and duct tape stashed in your pack can offer. The Strongman ($99.95) is Knog's burliest lock that has earned approval from ART and Sold Secure, a few security-product testing companies in Europe. Built with a double deadbolt mechanism, the Strongman claims to give bike-stealing A-holes a high-security challenge when it comes to ripping off your ride. Thirteen millimeters of hardened steel shackle are wrapped in scratch-free silicone and weighs in at a beefy 2.4 pounds.
A more trail-friendly option comes in the form of the Milkman ($24.95), Knog's low-security lock that protects against grab-n-go thieves. This pocket-sized cable lock houses a three-foot long retractable, braided steel cable that's more realistic to stash in your pack or jersey during a ride. Tipping the scales at just a quarter of a pound, the Milkman delivers just enough convenience to pack it with you when you know a quick apres stop is in order.
For more info on Knog products, visit www.knog.com.au.