Mini light show meets personal disco lights meets candy colored jelly beans. That’s the cool personality behind the Knog Mini Blinder Niner lights. You can buy the front and back separately for $29.95 a pop or the twin pack for $54.95.
It’s nine LED lights packed in a small, compact unit with a minimalist design that anyone with a clean design aesthetic will appreciate. If Apple was making a small bike light, this is what Palo Alto would produce. People who like an unobtrusive light that melds to their bike will love the Mini’s low-profile attitude. (We’ve also reviewed their well-designed Blinder 640 front light.)
While small and pumping out just 20 lumens front and 11 lumens in back, they both announce your presence. There are five modes, 3 flashing and 2 static so you can get creative with your illumination. You simply click through the modes from steady, strobe, fading flash, lightning flash and eco flash. There’s also a memory mode that remembers what you set the last time around.
Because they’re so small you could also put them on your fingers and create some flash at the nightclub. That’s to say, they’re fun-size. Switching them on and off is super easy – there’s a nice tactile feel and an audible click as you tap through the options.
The Minis mount securely and you’ve got some flexibility depending on type and diameter of your handlebars and seatpost – even an aero one. They come with detachable silicon straps (two sizes up front and three in back) that have a stretchy-grabby feel that keeps them firmly in place.
The clip and ratchet system makes switching them from bike to bike a quick task. What’s also nice is you can to slip them off when parking your bike so they don’t get stolen. The Minis are definitely grab ‘n’ go and that’s handy.
Runtime is up to 10-11 hours depending on what mode you choose and a full recharge takes two hours. While one review questioned how well they hold a charge over a week’s time, we’ve never had that issue because it’s so simple to recharge them. There’s an integrated usb charger that folds out from underneath the Mini. (Yay, no cable to lose.) I just pop them into an open usb port on my laptop and I’m good to go in no time.
It’s been noted that the Minis are not too bright for riding in groups. I’m often riding by myself but that makes perfect sense. You want to be seen but you don’t want to blind everyone else with your flashing and strobing. Again, this is about safely, not high lumen, light up the dark, monster lights.
So how bright is 20 lumens? Turns out, it’s actually quick a lot. The phrase “punches above its weight” comes to mind. I actually don’t see what you’d gain from any additional lumens – and the flash and strobe modes in particular are plenty attention-getting. Even during the day, drivers will find it hard to miss your existence. These LEDS pop.
The cons? I’ll agree that the low battery warning is hard to see and comes with just five minutes of power left. I balance that with ease of recharging and simplicity of the unit.
In my opinion, the Knog Mini Blinder Niner is a fun and flashy safety light with a simple and minimalist design that flatters any handlebar or seatpost. Plus, the fact that you can put them on your fingers and glam it up at the disco is an unexpected bonus.
Mini-Blinder Niner $29.95 separately, $54.95 together.