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Niterider Sentry Aero 260 rear light review: a bigger surface area for better visibility

Niterider’s Sentry Aero light aims to decrease drag while increasing visibility. Is the fin idea a fine idea or not?

Niterider Sentry Aero 260 rear light
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

The drag benefits are debatable but having more ‘flag’ area definitely helps visibility and cleanliness of an already bright, decent-value light

For

  • - Great all-round visibility
  • - Powerful 260 lumen main LED
  • - Secondary ‘Lava lamp’ LED
  • - Double row modes
  • - Two strap lengths

Against

  • - Less rearward ‘face’
  • - Aero benefit is debatable

Niterider does 11 different rear light options but the Sentry Aero is pretty unique thanks to its extended ‘fin’ design. Whether it actually decreases drag is a moot point but it’s definitely eye-catching from a wide range of angles and it stays cleaner than other flat-faced options that comprise the best mountain bike lights.

Niterider Sentry Aero 260 rear light

The light neatly straps onto all seatpost shapes (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design and performance

The extended fin lens is the most obvious feature and the reason for the Aero tag although Niterider doesn’t claim any wind tunnel wins and it could potentially interrupt the flexible airflow effect of a Kammtail post or tube. It certainly doesn’t stick out or look awkward on an aero post/bike like some conventional lights but it comes with two different mount depths and two lengths of strap to fit various seatposts. It’s not just the light profile designed to cheat drag either as even the end of the ladder-style mounting strap is designed to fit flush over the anchor hook. 

As well as the triple-row COB LED strip under the clear tip of the fin, there’s another buried in the base which lights the whole translucent red body up like a lava lamp for excellent side visibility. It also lets you see what mode you’re in more easily when you look back to check. Six different steady or flashing modes stretch performance from nearly five hours (max steady) to beyond 30 hours (low steady). 

Keep a tally of that yourself though as battery status indication is a basic ‘final furlong’ warning flash, not a traffic light countdown. The operating button is proud enough to be an easy find with cold, gloved fingers and the micro USB port is well sealed, too. 

While the actual face is much smaller than a conventional light, the 260-lumen max output LED strip is still seriously visible from behind. We’ve also noticed it naturally sloughs off grit and muck that would stick to a flat-face light so it works really well in winter if you’ve not got one of the best MTB mudguards. The weather hasn’t got past the IP64-rated waterproofing either and we’ve always had great reliability results from Niterider in general.

Niterider Sentry Aero 260 rear light

The lights shape gives it an excellant spread of visibility (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

We’re not convinced Niterider’s Sentry Aero gives genuine wind-cheating wins but, more importantly, the unique design works really well to boost side visibility and shrug off rear wheel spray so wet rides aren’t a worry. It’s plenty powerful for the price too and Niterider products always last well.

Tech Specs: Niterider Sentry Aero 260 rear light

  • Price: $54.99 / £49.99
  • Weight: 66g
  • Max lumen output: 260 lumens

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg