Knog PWR Trail Review
Knog PWR Trail Review
The Knog PWR Trail light is a modular bike light consisting of a PWR 5000mAh power bank, a PWR 1000 lumen light head, a side mount, a gimbal shim and a usb cable.
The Knog PWR range is expected to expand with different sized power banks, head lights, and other items such as speakers and camping lights that are powered by the PWR power banks. The range also contains the Rider and Commuter lights which aren’t modular but can also be used to charge phones or GPS units as well as lighting the way. For now, there are three main choices if you want a full modular kit light that you can use straight out of the box. There’s the Knog PWR Road light, the PWR Trail light, or now there’s the PWR Mountain light which has just been released. The Road light is 600 lumens and has a 3350mAh power bank, so it’s not as bright and the battery doesn’t last as long but it is slightly lighter and smaller at only 125g. The Mountain light is 2000 lumens with a 10000mAh battery and 355g.
I was looking for a light to use on the Revolve24, a 24-hour ride around Brands Hatch. Our chief requirement was to have a light that would last a full night without having to keep recharging or changing batteries. It made sense then, to go for the Knog PWR Trail light with its slightly larger battery pack. The 1000 lumen light might be handy on some of the unlit sections of the track too. Knog kindly sent us a spare 5000mAh PWR power bank just to make sure we’d be okay. We didn’t need the extra power bank for lighting, but we did use it to charge our Garmins. This is one of the advantages of the modular system. You don’t have to wait for the light to recharge, just clip on a fresh power pack.
Fitting the Knog PWR Trail light is easy. The side mount should fit most handlebars. Because it offsets the light, if you can sit it next to the stem you can site it centrally over or under your stem. In reality, the cable routing will guide the siting of the mount and light. On the tandem we borrowed, the light sat central and over the bars. On my winter bike the light is underslung, but I had to move it to the side slightly. There are two positions on the mount rail, so the light can sit slightly further forward or backward on the mount. Once the light is in place a thumb dial secures the unit so there’s no rattling, and at 230g you want to know the light is secure. I forgot to use the thumb screw the first time I used it, the light didn’t drop off, but it was obvious there was something not quite right. It moved about quite a bit until I realised my error.
Turning the light on and off and selecting the different modes is easy even with the thickest winter gloves on. There are no buttons, you just twist the top of the light and hold it for the light to switch on, the twist it to switch through the modes. There’s a companion app that lets you select which modes you want to store on your Knog PWR light head. You can also select different light intensity on various modes. It’s very basic but there’s scope for improvement. Out of the box the light has enough modes to suit most people. We found that the lowest setting of 80 lumens was fine for Brands Hatch at night. It was so dark, and the track is well defined by its wide red and white kerbs, that I didn’t have any issues finding my way around. It didn’t stop some people lighting up like a football stadium, but it was nice to know we could whack it up to 1000 lumens if we had a puncture or needed to use the portable toilets at the back of the track. Proper off-roading in the dark shouldn’t be a problem with the full beam on but it does take the run-time down.
On 80 lumens we used the light for about 6 hours and the power bank was still showing 75% left on its battery indicator lights. The Knog website estimates 21 hours runtime for 80 lumens, so that tallies. On the 550 lumens setting we would have needed the extra battery pack for the 6 hours we were out. I’ve used the PWR Trail as a daytime running light on some of the different flashing settings and there’s hardly any battery drain at all, and the 550-lumen setting is fine on poorly lit or unlit roads at night with that 1000 lumens only a quick twist away if needed. There’s a projected 300 hours of running on the most efficient flashing setting. On max power 1000 lumens Knog say the battery will last for 2 hours. The quality is good, Knog is a trusted and respected brand and the light feels solid and well put together. I dropped it once when I was putting it on the tandem and it still worked, so that’s a thumbs up. The only slight drawback of the modular system is that the PWR battery pack is only waterproof if the light head or the supplied protective cap are attached, otherwise it is at the mercy of the elements. If you were on a long ride and needed to change the battery pack you’d have to have some consideration for this, and if you were charging a device you’d have to make sure to keep the charging port dry.
The Knog PWR Trail is a great light. I’ve found that the 550 lumens setting is plenty for road riding at night, but it’s nice to have the option of a higher setting. If you mostly ride on lit roads in town, then the slight weight and size difference of the PWR Road might be a good option. If you’re doing long rides on country roads or trails then the PWR Trail is a decent alternative to the kind of lights that have a separate battery pack, certainly for shorter rides. Then there’s always the option of having a spare PWR power bank if you do expect to be out for longer, or you might need to charge a gps unit or phone. Having used other Knog products it seems that ‘well-built and easy to use’ is pretty much what Knog stands for. The new PWR Mountain light with its even bigger battery pack should be great for longer off-road rides at night. With 2000 lumens being enough to bring daylight to the darkest depths of the woods!