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Niterider Sentinel USB rear light



Good rear light with lasers that add visibility if not necessarily virtual lanes

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The NiteRider Sentinel is a powerful USB-chargeable rear light that provides good visibility, with the added bonus of lasers that create a virtual cycle lane.

The first and most important aspect of any rear light is the visibility that it provides to other road users. In this regard the Sentinel excels, pumping out 30 lumens from a small and relatively lightweight rear light.

The light has four different settings, with two steady beams and two flashing options. I found that each worked effectively and I had a couple of cyclists behind me comment on how bright the light was. The light settings and the laser (which has a solid or flashing setting) are set by two buttons on the top of the light. I did find the buttons a bit awkward, especially when trying to use them with full finger gloves, mainly because they are right next to one another.

The standout feature of the light is the lasers that create a 'virtual lane'. Initially I was sceptical about how effective these could be, but they do provide good additional visibility.

I'm not so sure about the 'virtual lane' though. If the idea is to create a safe passing distance, then it would not be a wide enough lane for me to feel safe as the lasers project lines on the road that are only around 1.5 feet either side of the bike. However, it does make you seem bigger on the road and drivers did seem to give me a wider berth than usual.

The width is naturally dependent on the height at which you have the light on your seat post, which attaches through a hand tightened clamp. This worked effectively and the rubber inner surface of the bracket kept any surfaces from getting scratched. Surprisingly, the light works just as effectively when attached to a saddlebag: the lasers manage to maintain stability thanks to a strong clip.

Charging is a breeze and uses a micro USB cable that powers from 0 to 100% in around two hours. The battery lasts for varying times based on how you are using it. The settings that I generally used (flashing lasers and flashing lights) meant that it lasted for around 10 hours, which meant charging it once every couple of weeks for my commute into work.

In terms of weight (73g is claimed) the scales of truth came in at 93g, so it is not overly heavily, but isn't the lightest rear light on the market.

At £44 it is expensive for a rear light, but it does have impressive illumination and the lasers certainly add an extra dimension of visibility.


Good rear light with lasers that add visibility if not necessarily virtual lanes

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Make and model: Niterider Sentinel USB rear light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light 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?

The light is aimed at safety conscious cyclists in urban environments. Given that it does provide a considerable visibility on the road, I think that it does work in this regard.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

30 lumens

Ultra bright Laser Lanes

Powerful 2 watt LED

Rechargeable Lithium polymer battery

Rate the light for quality of construction:

Sits strongly in the mount and construction is of good quality. One issue is the proximity of the buttons, making it slightly awkward when turning lights and lasers on and off.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?

Easily to attach to the bike, the lasers are simple to use, but again, the button placement does make it slightly awkward to operate.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s

Very easy to put on the bike using either the bracket or the hook to attach to saddlebag.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?

Stood up well to elements, used it in cold and wet conditions without any concerns.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?

Good battery life and a flashing pattern that can be changed in order to prolong battery life.

Rate the light for performance:

Very bright light that works well, the lasers may not necessarily create a virtual lane, but they certainly increase visibility.

Rate the light for durability:

No worries with durability, seems like it would outlast cheaper options.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:

More or less middle of the pack.

Rate the light for value:

Expensive, but with added brightness and lasers the additional money doesn't seem too excessive.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed well, I certainly noticed cars making extra room for me on the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

The brightness was a really strong point and I also liked the additional lasers, they certainly added an element of visibility to the lights.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The buttons at the top are too close together, making it hard to operate with either thick gloves or freezing hands after a long cold ride.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

A strongly-performing backlight with the innovative element of lasers that may not create a perfect 'virtual lane' but certainly add an extra level of visibility.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,


George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for 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.

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HowardGees | 8 years ago

Bought this light in January and it's failed after two months. Until then I was happy with it as a rear light, although the laser bike lane markers are just a gimmick rather than anything of actual use.

I'm trying to find out where I can now send it for repair/replacement but seems to be very little support. I'll post here if I manage to get it fixed/replaced.

pakennedy | 8 years ago

I've got a colleague riding with one of these and he says it seems to work to get him a bit more room too. The "lanes" are fairly bright though and I don't doubt him. Now, how to make it pulse sideways with a *really* high intensity beam and a proximity detector...  21

Initialised | 8 years ago

Or you could get a Solarstorm x3 (awesome front light, I used it yesterday in a blizzard exploring some off-road trails) and the ebay light above for half the price:

This 1000% mark up lark will stop eventually, failing that China will undergo the demographic shift, adopt decent labour laws and prices will meet in the middle.

McDuff73 | 8 years ago

sod that I got a set from China it has either solid lines or flashing lines and the rear light has 7 different settings and it cost less than a £5!!

Scowel | 8 years ago

I want sharks with laser beams

harrybav | 8 years ago

Drivers did seem to give me a wider berth than usual.

I read the same claim of the Showers Pass Mullet rainhat. Imagine the extra space if you bought both!

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