Visibility is an ever-persistent concern for cyclists, and plenty of companies have come up with ways to help boost our brightness. I’ve been testing a pair of intelligent See.Sense lights to see what extra protection they can offer.
See.Sense lights are a step up in bike lighting – they respond to road situations, shining brighter and flashing brighter when you most need them.
Approaching headlights, roundabouts and junctions all cause See.Sense front and rear lights to go into overdrive, whilst they’ll step back a little (though still remain very bright) in less traffic heavy conditions.
The lights, originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign, use an accelerometer to detect when you slow down for junctions or traffic lights.
A light sensor responds to low light conditions, for example when you disappear beneath a bridge when riding in daylight, and high light, when car lights approach as you ride in the dark.
The response from the rear light is obviously fairly hard to monitor when riding, but the front light clearly gains brightness when it’s meant to and begins to flash more quickly.
The lights use CREE LEDs and once changed, via a USB port, they last around 12 hours depending upon usage.
Charging the lights is simple – a rubber flap hides the port which can be plugged into a PC or wall charger.
When you initially turn the lights on, a ‘fuel gauge’ lights up to show how much charge you have left – all green being good, and all red being ‘charge me soon, please/flat’. They switch off after 3 minutes of inactivity, and will begin to shine again as soon as you move them when you’re out and about.
The lights vary in lumens – you can opt for anything between 160 lumens and 250 for the front, and 95 and 155 for the rear. I’m using a 200 lumen front and 120 lumen rear. These are obviously designed for being seen, and not for seeing – so you’d only want to use them on lit roads if riding in darkness.
The light omitted is incredibly bright, and you wouldn’t want to look directly at the beam in close proximity. On the road, of course, where there is distance, they aren’t dazzling.
An extra wide, 180 degree viewing angle means the light is evenly spread, not dazzling drivers, but giving you visibility to vehicles approaching from the side. Holding the lights up from a side angle, I can see they do provide plenty of brightness from the side.
Mounting the light is incredibly simple – a rubber strap connects to hoods on either side of the light, and the underside is slightly curved to cater for rounded handlebars and seat posts.
I felt a little nervous attaching the light with no other mounting system, but this was perfectly adequate, and nothing else was needed.
See.Sense have packed a lot of intelligent features into a reassuringly bright light, which comes in at £99.99 for this set. The lowest light option comes in at £79.99 for a set, and brightest pair will set you back £149.99. Singles are available, too.
A lack of buttons means once you’re used to the functions, it’s easy to switch between them without fumbling, though I did find this did take a little bit of practice.
Creating a light that adjusts to conditions is a smart way to ensure visibility is provided when it is most needed, for example when entering tunnels, or at busy junctions, without wasting battery life.
This said, if the lights are out of your price range, it’s also worth remembering there’s no reason you can’t simply buy a constant set of lights, and charge them daily. The See.Sense tech is incredibly advance and very useful, but not altogether necessary.
Interested? Buy them here.