NITERIDER SABER 35 BIKE TAILLIGHT vs. PLANET BIKE SUPERFLASH TAILLIGHT


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The Niterider Saber 35 taillight is among the available offerings nowadays. I can’t say much for the mounting strap they use, but the price is right … $16.99 with free shipping on EBAY. And it is BRIGHT! The 35 stands for 35 lumens. With a built in lithium battery it requires recharging using a USB cable plugged into a standard 5 volt USB outlet whether it be a computer or a power adapter (transformer).

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LED lights are everywhere these days and that’s good as they are a superior light, economical, bright and long lasting. That being said, not all lights are created equal when it comes to the power usage and battery life. This video tells what to expect as far as how long the battery charge lasts in each of its modes.

I have written articles about taillights before. There are lots of taillights available nowadays … far more than there were when I bought my taillights. At the time I bought one of the very best taillights available … the .5 (half) watt Planet Bike SuperFlash. I paid about $25 each for them at a local bike shop several years ago. The best price I can find on them at this time is $23.75 with free shipping at ModernBike.com. They are not as bright as this Niterrider light, but still I do highly recommend the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they are sufficiently bright and very economical to operate. (I tried to find the lumen rating of the SuperFlash taillight, but didn’t have any success. If you happen to know what it is please comment and let me as well as others know.) The triple AAA batteries last a long time in them. I use rechargeable batteries in mine most of the time. Just carry extra batteries along with you and you don’t have to worry about being left in the dark. With the Niterider taillight it has a built in lithium battery which requires recharging from a 5 volt USB outlet. That is not very practical when you are out riding. And the Niterider taillight doesn’t last nearly as long per charge as the Planet Bike light. On the most economical mode it only lasts 12 hours whereas the Planet Bike lights I have last about 40 plus hours on its most economical flash mode. (BTW, the newer version of the Planet Bike SuperFlash lights supposedly last more than 100 hours on flash mode and is visible up to one mile. I have the older version.) So on flash mode the Niterider light would last long enough for one or two long daily rides, but you would have to recharge it each day or two if you used it long each day. That doesn’t appeal to me.

If you park your trike somewhere near a 120 volt electrical outlet you could use a power adapter outlet to plug a USB cable into to charge the light on the trike. Of course, the light is easy enough to remove from its mount to take to a place to charge it. Anyway, I like the brightness and the price. I just don’t like the mounting strap nor the short battery power.

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Here is a look at the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight. It has a far superior mounting system than the Niterider taillight.

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One factor with all taillights and headlights to consider is the built in lenses as they can make a big difference in how well the light performs and can be seen. The pattern of the light as far as spreading out and being visible from the side vs. straight behind. The Planet Bike taillights have superior lenses which really make the “measely” .5 watts perform as well as lights which are far more powerful. That appeals to me since the battery life is so great with these lights. Planet Bike also offers a 1 watt version of this light. They are slightly brighter, but they also require more battery power and therefore don’t last as long as the .5 watt model does. Personally I don’t think there is enough noticeable difference in brightness between the two to justify the sacrifice in battery life. Also the one watt model has a “white-clear” plastic cover instead of red which I personally don’t care for. I don’t think it is nearly as noticeable as the red plastic. Actually much to my amazement I just found the one watt model available thru Ebay for less than the .5 watt model. It is only $19.94 with free shipping.

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I just read that Planet Bike has a USB rechargeable version of the .5 watt SuperFlash taillight. It also stated the brightness of the newer USB rechargeable is not as good as the older original lights like I have. The newer light only produces 3 lumens which is extremely poor. Fortunately they do still offer the model which is powered by two AAA batteries.

Here is an interesting video showing how well the Planet Bike Superflash work even when up against a far more powerful light being used for comparison. Remember, we are only talking about .5 watts here.

Another factor is whether or not the taillight offers much side visibility. Some lights offer very little or none at all. The Planet Bike SuperFlash  is superb in side visibility. There is a video by a customer review on Amazon which demonstrates how good the side visibility is.

I will say this … if you are after high visibility in daylight there are taillights which are superior to either of these. I have written articles about taillights previously.

Of course, I also highly recommend the use of  effective highly visible safety flags in addition to the lights. I have written articles about this subject before. Many times I have had people comment to me that they saw my flags before they saw my flashing lights … from any direction. And, of course, side visibility is going to be very limited if you only have lights. Good safety flags can be seen from the sides and can make a huge difference in whether others see you or not.

Right along with safety flags of high visibility is wearing high visibility clothing.

I started out writing this article with the intent of it being just about the NiteRider Saber 35 taillight, but I ended up drifting over into writing about the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights. I guess it is because I have been so pleased with mine. I love the long battery life which is somewhat rare with bike lights. I have seen other brands which have very poor battery life. Their brightness only lasts for a very short while in comparison.

I just found what looks to be identical to the Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight on EBAY for only $10.87. It doesn’t have Planet Bike shown on it however, so my guess is that it is an illegal copy  (knockoff) probably made in China. If that is what it is I would caution you that it may look like the real McCoy, but may be lacking in quality … especially the lenses I spoke of. If that is the case, then it would not be as bright nor as visible. Also the battery life may be lesser. Then again, it may be very good quality. I would be leery of it myself.

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Lastly here is another video of the Niterider Saber 35 taillight.

In all honesty, if I were in the market for taillights today I am pretty certain that neither of these choices would be my pick. There are just so many lights available nowadays and several are extremely bright. Riding at nighttime in darkness I would be quite content with what I have now. Riding in the daytime which is what I do I would prefer one of the brighter taillights that are available. But for now I will continue on using my Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights as they still work fine and have served me well.

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on November 18, 2016, in accessories, safety, tadpole riders, videos and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bike/Trike lights can be the most frustrating of accessories to add to your arsenal of safety equipment. Spending big $ doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better light. To add to the problem of being really visible on a Trike & I suspect in many cases a Bike as well is the blinding angle from a drivers perspective. Burning out a drivers retinas might seem like a good idea but it also means if you are riding in a group, you are likely to be causing a hazard to your fellow riders. Add in wash out in sunlight, poor reliability, short battery life or not another friggin cable to plug in, along with buying a new light only to find out it isn’t any better than the last $50. light you bought. What we need is a rating system for front & rear lights, rated in realistic conditions – on the road, in use. I’m sure there may be some very, very good lights out there but when prices are running from $10. – $500. a rating & comparison scale would sure be useful.