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In terms of output, Knog's Lil Cobber Bike Light Twinpack is a great set of 'be seen' lights, and the battery life is excellent. However, although the mount for the rear light works very well, holding it securely, the same design is used up front, and if you use it on the handlebar rather than the head tube, it's too easy to knock the light off – sometimes without realising. They're not the best bike lights in terms of value, either, with 'smarter' and brighter options for the same money.
If you're interested in brighter units for seeing with, check out our guide to the best front bike lights.
I'm a big fan of Knog lights and have been running various models over the last few years, including the original Cobber rear, so I was excited to try out this smaller version and its twin up front.
They are designed very much as 'be seen' lights, the kind you tend to run in urban environments where you're unlikely to find yourself in unlit areas. The front gives out a maximum of 110 lumens flashing, 70 constant, the rear 50 flash and 30 steady. I felt these were more than enough to make sure I was seen on the road.
Helping this is that the lights can be seen from almost every angle, with 330-degree visibility when positioned vertically. This does mean there isn't much in the way of beam focus for the front light, but for the very infrequent times I found myself on an unlit section I could still see enough to get by.
However, to achieve that 330-degree visibility up front means positioning the front light on your head tube rather than your handlebar. Personally, it's not something I like doing, partly because it has the potential to damage the paintwork, but also because the light itself isn't visible to you, and you can't see the LED battery indicators easily.
If, like me, you prefer to mount your front light on your bar, Knog has included a clever 'Eye Saver' mode to enable you to do that, by turning off the top row of LEDs to reduce the likelihood of being dazzled or distracted. It also means the beam is slightly less bright and focused lower.
However, running the front light on the bar brings up another issue: the mount.
Both lights use the same mount – they slide onto a plastic bracket held in place by a silicone band. For the rear light this is fine because you're almost exclusively mounting it vertically on the seatpost and you're unlikely to knock it accidentally, but this isn't the case for the front light if you're using it on the bar.
There were several times when I found I had accidentally knocked the light without noticing and it was close to falling off. This could be something as innocuous as pressing a button on my computer or just shifting my hand position on the bar. Inevitably, one day it fell off and I didn't realise until it was too late and the light was lost.
Using the front light on the head tube avoids this potential issue – something Knog's UK distributor Silverfish has been recommending for time trialists, as lights are now required, and the Cobber doesn't affect drag. That's assuming it will fit, which could be a challenge depending on the design of your bike, though Knog does supply the light with two sizes of silicone o-ring for the purpose, the larger for head tubes up to 200mm in circumference.
In terms of modes, the front has eight (four standard, four Eye Saver), the rear five. The top lumen output for both is Flash – 100 lumens at the front, 50 at the rear – the lowest Eco Flash, 30 lumens for a claimed 60 hours (front), 10 lumens at the rear for 40 hours.
For daytime running I was happy using Flash both front and rear, for a good balance of output and run-times – 10 hours up front, 7 hours rear.
Max steady up front gives you 70 lumens but only around 1.5 hours of run-time, while at the rear it's 30 lumens for a slightly shorter run-time (1.4 hours).
Need a new rear light only? Check out our guide to the best rear bike lights.
Operation of both lights is via a single button on the top: a long press to turn them on or off, a quick press to change the modes.
Both lights also have an LED beneath the button which turns red when the battery needs to be charged, remaining blank when it doesn't.
I've always liked the way Knog lights charge, with a USB built into the light itself so you don't need to make sure you have a charging cable with you, if you need to charge them away from home.
Not that it's a frequent requirement, as their battery life is impressive. Using them on the Eco Flash setting I was only having to charge them every couple of weeks. Even when the red LED appeared, to show they were getting low, they would still run for a few hours so I never really had to worry about them running out mid-ride.
The built-in USB could easily be plugged in at work and they would charge off my laptop in under three hours. You can also plug them into an electrical socket if you need them to charge quicker, which is equally easy with the design of the USB. Charge time changes between power sources, as with all electrical goods.
While their output is impressive, you are paying a high price for it.
At £89.99 the Knogs are the same price as Cateye's Sync Set Core & Kinetic Front & Rear Light Set (down £30 since Matt tested them in 2019), but those are brighter – a 500-lumen front, 50-lumen rear – and offer smart connectivity too.
Likewise, although the Knogs are £15 less than the Lezyne Connect Smart 1000XL/KTV Pro Smart Lights (up £5 since Dave tested them in 2019), those can be controlled through an app and offer considerably more brightness with a 1,000-lumen front and 75-lumen rear.
Price aside, the only fault I could find with the Knogs was that front mount if you aren't keen to position it on your head tube. As it resulted in me losing a light, it is difficult to recommend the set, especially considering how much they cost. I did try the rear one up front and it was marginally more secure, but not reassuringly so. It's a real shame, because otherwise these are great lights.
If I were reviewing the back light alone or the front light with a different mount then these would score well, but as it is that front mount definitely requires improvement.
Great lights but expensive, and the front mount needs improvement
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Knog Cobber Lil Light Twinpack
Size tested: 110 LM Front/ 50LM Rear light
Tell us what the light set is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Knog says: "The Lil Cobber Bike Light Twinpack produces an incredible 330° of light, so you'll be clearly seen from in front, behind, as well as from both sides. It's brilliantly effective at attracting attention day and night, making it one of the safest lights you could choose."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Punchy 110 / 50 lumens (F/R)
Up to 60 / 40 hr runtime (F/R)
Incredible 330° beam angle
Quick mount release
Waterproof to 1 metre with an IP67 rating
USB rechargeable, cable-free charging
Front is programmed with 4 standard & 4 'Eye Saver' modes*
Rear is programmed with 5 modes
Customisable modes with Knog's Modemaker app
Compatible with standard & aero seat posts / bars
Both lights are very well made. The front light survived quite a few falls without so much as a mark on it (until I lost it).
Very simple – a single button to turn on/off.
It's the same mount front and rear. On the rear it works perfectly well, but up front on the handlebar it was easy to accidentally knock the light off.
No issues at all despite use in wet, cold, muddy conditions.
Very good, the claimed 60 hours doesn't seem far off at all.
They offer impressive visibility, run for ages, and are small enough to leave in your saddle bag if you need to.
In terms of construction there's no reason to suspect they won't last; if we're judging them on how long they will stay in your possession, though, the front light might not fare too well.
They are very expensive compared with similar, especially considering the issues with the front mount.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
They performed well in terms of making sure you are seen and holding their charge, but I had issues with the front mount.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
The battery life – very impressive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
That front mount.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cateye's Sync Set Core & Kinetic Front & Rear Light Set costs the same but the front is brighter (500 lumens) and they offer smart connectivity too.
Lezyne's Connect Smart 1000XL/KTV Pro Smart Lights are £15 more, but they're smart lights that can be controlled through an app and offer considerably more brightness at 1,000 lumens for the front, and 75 lumens at the rear.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? No
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
The lights themselves are fantastic – bright enough, loads of variety in settings, and the eye saver tech is a great addition. However, the mount for the front light lets them down; I would feel absolutely gutted if I had bought these and lost a front light because of the mount.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.