NiteRider Sentinel 40 & Sabre 35—Rear Bike Lights with Benefits.
I am big on using bike lights whether the sun is shining or not. These super bright new taillights from NiteRider stand out no matter what your riding conditions are at any given moment. In addition to the normal high-quality and great lighting units you get from NiteRider, these have some nice features, and the Sentinel 40 has one extra benefit that many are embracing lately. That would be the laser safety zone lights in that straddle you during each nighttime ride.
Each light is different, yet they do share some features, so we will cover those first. Both are lithium powered with batteries that recharge through a USB port from your electronic devices. They have long run times and also have a light to tell you when the charge is running low. Small rubber plugs (with pigtails so they don’t get lost) cover the cord hole when not re-charging.
They have similar mounting straps and clips that work well on seat posts, yet have some limitations. The stretchable straps clamp on tight, but only to tubes that are not small like the seat stays on my bikes, although many rear lights aren’t too good in this respect either. Sometimes the seat post mounting won’t work because the saddle is set low or there is cargo on the rack. They did work well on my bike trailer too, although because of the mounting brackets, I wasn’t able to use them in all the situations I wanted.
The numbers refer to the lumen output at full tilt. Of course there are lower settings, and at those you can dramatically increase the amount of time they run. Both are quite bright and especially in the flashing mode I am sure they can be seen from a long way away. The Sentinel 40 charges in 4 hours and will stay lit for 4 ½ to 36 hours. The Sabre 35 charges in 1 ½ hours with a run time of 1 ½ to 12 hours. I usually use the least bright flashing setting, which is very visible and increases the run time. I did not test these times, they are copied from the packaging.
The Sabre 35 is a compact unit and I am sure the less expensive of these two. At first I wasn’t able to enact the flashing modes, but I soon found that holding the button down for a bit it transfers to those. It has a total of 6 modes, 3 solid and 3 flashing. I like the electronics as I can easily turn it off by holding the button, as opposed to the Sentinel with requires toggling the switch to find the off setting. In some ways the Sabre was my favorite, although the smaller battery just couldn’t match the long run times of the Sentinel.
The Sentinel has two separate systems—the rear light and the safety zone light—each with its own power switch. The rear light has 2 solid modes and 2 flashing modes. The flashing modes are kind of cool, with a pulsating look. With an incredibly long run time and an almost too bright feel, this light is one super unit . My wife asked me at one point to ride behind her because the light was so strong.
On to the laser safety zone lights in the Sentinel 40. This is the 4th rear light I own with this feature and I have a few things to say about it. It can be more of a gimmick than a safety item. Without a doubt this light has the brightest look on the ground of any I have up until now (and has 3 modes, solid, and slow and fast flash). I have found the lights really can’t be seen by approaching motorists, just by you and your riding mates. So it is kind of an ego blast, a cool thing to have, and a stand out with your friends.
It is a class 2 laser so the anti-safety effects might be more important than the positive safety effects. Although both the Sabre and the Sentinel can be used in a horizontal or vertical mounting position, the laser safety zone feature on the Sentinel 40 can only be used in the vertical position. Plus it must be mounted on the seat post so the lights hit the ground in the correct operation. Whatever you do, don’t let the lights cast into the eyes of people and pets. In the maybe 3 years I’ve been using laser safety zone lights I have these 2 highs and lows.
When we are near the bikes I will leave them on when parked (talking or eating). I did have one occasion where a young boy let his curiosity rise and he kept bending lower and lower to look right into it. Luckily I was wasn’t too far away and I was able to stop him from doing it. I had been concerned up until this point, yet at that moment I realized just how vigilant I needed to be when using them.
The funny thing is how many ask where the light is actually coming from. Many, many more have approached the bikes and then started looking to the sky, as if some alien spacecraft was beaming them to earth. I try not to laugh out loud every time this happens. During group rides they are quite noticeable, and most people seem to think they are pretty cool.
So there you go, the full skinny as I see it on these two new lights from NiteRider. No matter how you do it, make sure to stay lit, so you can stay safe on your bike. And remember, NiteRider has a monster selection of all kinds of headlamps and tail lamps for your bike, our main headlamps come out of their camp.
Day or night, use your lights, Turbo Bob.
“The bicycle is a former child’s toy that has now been elevated to icon status because, presumably, it can move the human form from pillar to post without damage to the environment.”—Brock Yates.
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Here are a couple videos I shot showing the lights.