- 4.5 / 5 Bee's Knees -
Last year I reviewed the Sentinel rear light from NiteRider and the comments section lit up. For those who were new to the product, there was a lot of excitement. A newer iteration of the Sentinel hit the shelves this year with a few tweaks, let’s take a look.
Primarily, the latest Sentinel, named the Sentinel 150, is nearly indistinguishable from the previous light but there are in fact a number of changes. In general, the output has been greatly increased to a searing 150lm…searing for a taillight at least, and the mount has been exchanged for an elastic strap model. Aside from these changes, the sentinel remains a dual purpose flashing rear light and laser bike lane illuminator. Each light setting looks familiar with 2 flashes and 2 constants. These are organized sequentially, simply press the light button to cycle through each of the settings and press a final time to turn the light off. After either the light settings or laser settings, a subtle led will flash blue indicating a positive charge or red to indicate a low charge. Laser settings are organized in the same fashion as the light settings only with 2 flashes and 1 constant. A nice snappy tactile click is felt from each button, though they are small. Changing settings or turning the light on while riding would be rather challenging and nearly impossible with insulated gloves.
Catering to the popularity of flexible strap mounts, NiteRider employs this design while maintaining its original quick release setup. This allows users to clip the light on to garments and other items without the use of a mount. For the most part, I like the new mount. It is very soft and forgiving which prevents damage to your seatpost. A vertical ratcheting system allows for some pitch control. While it is slightly larger than the previous model, its ease of use will win over most audiences.
As mentioned before, operating the device is very simple. The only deficiency is its small buttons which will be a turn off to some but should be a deal breaker for none. Output is massive! I don’t think I’ve ever said this: for nighttime use this light is possibly too bright. This should come as no surprise since the Sentinel 150 is branded with the DVF (daytime visible flash) badge. While not exclusive to daytime use, the 150’s potent flash punches through typical daylight to increase a cyclists road presence at a time when most accidents happen…daytime. This is skewed of course because most cyclists ride during the day, but regardless, the added safety is welcomed. Again, at night the light is a bit over kill but if you have a vendetta against motorists you likely wont care. I am all for people seeing me but this particular light just may induce road rag from a select few drivers. What’s missing is no more than 2 additional flash settings of lower outputs. This would be helpful to make this light equally beneficial at night. It is worth noting however that the laser lanes do excel at night, daytime use goes mostly unseen.
Every year I am more and more impressed with the advances in LED technology and their applications in the products we use each and every day. NiteRider stays current with this of course and has combined a number of safety elements in the Sentinel 150. Laser lanes provide motorists with a harmless reminder of when they’re too close and a 150 (max) lumen set of lights promotes bike awareness even in the daytime. In the most critical sense, the 150 mount is larger than it needs to be and the mode buttons are too small in my opinion. Overall however, this light leaves others in the dust with massive output, ease of use and uncommon features such as its unique laser lanes. Definitely an impressive light.