A few weeks ago I was on my usual Wednesday night Beer & Bikes ride, and as usual I had my rear tail light flashing on the way down. Even though it was daylight, I find it’s a good practice to be illuminated as much as possible when traveling on busy city streets. When we arrived at the brewery I discovered that my rear light was no longer functioning. I assumed the battery had died prematurely, and since I had a rear helmet light with me, I didn’t worry about it.
However, when I returned home I discovered that my light wouldn’t take a charge, and was basically dead. I’ve had this tail light for a long time, and it’s been used and abused, so I wasn’t very surprised. This led me to start looking at a replacement. I really like the Bontrager lights, but they are a bit more expensive than I want, and plus I had just bought a Niterider mount for my rear rack a week before. As I went through the Niterider catalog, I decided to give the Sabre 80 a shot.
This light is economically priced, and despite putting out only 80 lumens, it seemed plenty bright. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now have found it to be a solid performer. When I first got the light I had to spend some time figuring out how to get to the correct flashing settings. There are two modes on the light, a solid mode, where you get different brightness levels of a solid light, and a blinking mode. In the blinking mode there are a variety of settings, including a quick flashing setting that is my go-to for visibility and attention getting.
To switch between modes you need to hold the single button down until the mode switches. It takes a good 5-7 seconds of holding the button to get anything to happen, which makes it somewhat un-intuitive. Once you’re in your desired mode you can switch between the different settings with a single button push. The single button operation makes it a breeze to operate, once you understand what the button does.
I came to discover that a fellow Beer & Bikes rider had the same light, and so after being behind him at night, I feel confident that the Sabre 80 is a perfectly acceptable tail light. It’s bright, and has multiple modes, and it’s simple to operate. The battery life is the one weak spot, with only an hour or so at it’s max solid brightness level. However, in the flashing mode that I use I’ve never come close to running out of power. As with any tail light you should plan to recharge it every night that you use it. It’s just a good habit to get in to, so that you’re never left stranded.
For $30 you can’t really go wrong for a nice, simple, bike tail light. The Sabre 80 is a solid performer, and at the price, if you drop it and break it, you won’t feel that bad.