Tuesday, October 24, 2017

See.Sense motion-sensing bike light

The See.Sense is a genuine British innovation, designed in Northern Ireland and marketed as an ‘intelligent’ cycle light. What makes the See.Sense light stands out is its ability to change the frequency and intensity of the light pulses depending on what’s happening to the bike.

The idea is simple, lights that pulse at a regular frequency (and don’t deviate from that frequency) are easier to ignore (whether intentionally or not). See.Sense units flash rapidly when the unit detects that the bike is on the move, slowing down to a more leisurely pulse when the bike comes to a halt – for example when stopped at traffic lights.

The logic makes a lot of sense. As the bike rider starts to pull away and the light pulses change in frequency, it catches the attention of drivers behind and acts as a clear visual marker that a cyclist is close.

The UnitSee.Sense

The See.Sense light is clever, no doubt. Visually, it’s a little bulky compared to some lights and it’s box-like appearance won’t win any design awards. But to focus on that is to ignore the clever stuff. The same motion-sensing technology used to determine the light pulses is also employed to control the unit itself – freeing it from the need to have external buttons and switches. For example, just turning the unit over in your hand three times turns the unit on; placing it face down for a few seconds turns it off.

This works fine, although there are a couple of drawbacks. First you need to remember the different ‘gestures’ required to alter the light settings (e.g. brightness). Second, you need to remove the light from the bike to turn it on or off. In defence of See.Sense, as something that’s designed primarily as a commuting light, you’d probably take it off the bike after most trips anyway.

A simple rubber strap attaches the light to the saddle post and this works just fine. For something slightly more robust, RaceWare Direct sells a mount which looks very good (although I have not tested).

The battery in the unit is rechargeable via a small USB port on the side, protected by part of the rubber seal around the lens. Charging is pretty quick, although I had slightly mixed results in terms of battery life (I guess this makes sense, given that some rides will inevitably use more power than others, according to the terrain, time in traffic etc.).

In Use

So, I have to confess, I don’t commute on my bike. My commute is either down a flight of stairs in the morning or on a plane! But I’ve heard some very good reviews of the See.Sense light in commuting situations. And I can see why. Put simply, it’s the brightest rear bike light I’ve EVER seen! It is literally impossible not to see this light.

The light stays in place very well (I even took it off road and it both stayed in place and kept working under a thick layer of mud) and it’s visible from a wide range of angles. In fact, I ended up turning down the brightness of the pulses (an option once you learn the appropriate ‘gesture’) as I felt the brightest setting was just too bright on dark country lanes (I can imagine the bright setting is perfect for daylight / dusk commuting).

Conclusion

Overall, I’m really impressed with the See.Sense light. I think it’s a genuine innovation and great that this has come from a British company. Although I can’t claim to be familiar with every bike light on the market, if you commute or ride regularly on busy roads, I simply can’t think of a good reason not to have this on your bike. My own limited experience suggests it is more easily seen by the traffic around you and that many drivers even give you a slightly wider berth.

The rear light (as tested) can be purchased online from www.seesense.cc for £44.99 or for £79.99 you can buy front/rear set.