White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

As someone for whom the aesthetics of a bicycle are paramount, lights are a continuous frustration. Rarely attractive, usually impossible to mount discreetly and often fiddly to use; they are a jarring addition to the smooth lines of a well-finished bike, but are an entirely necessary evil.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

See.Sense lights haven’t been around for long, but they appear to have already made quite an impact. Perhaps the first truly smart lights into the market, they get over the ease of use problem that plagues many alternatives by utilizing a Bluetooth connection to a SmartPhone app. It helps that they’re on the better-looking end of the scale too.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

On arrival, the lights paired quickly and easily to the app; which then promptly advised that both lights needed to have their firmware updated. Tap, download, done. So far so good. Playing with the app prior to mounting the lights was useful to get used to how they work.

Being able to turn the lights on and off via the app and control the light flash pattern and brightness (down to as little as 10% brightness) is actually quite nice – as much as anything because the app actually tells you what the light is doing, how bright it is and what life the battery has remaining.

Definitely an improvement over waving your hand in front of the light to see what it is doing without blinding yourself! It is worth noting that the app control is optional — you are able to control the lights without the app if you don’t wish to or do not have a smartphone.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

Mounting is quick and easy. The lights are designed such that the charging port serves as a locating slot for the mounting attachment on the back of each light. The strap then hooks onto the light around the intended mount point with this attachment in place to ensure security and weatherproofing.

The attachment for the back of the rear light is curved and angled to perfectly mount to your seat post. The front light comes with a mount that is curved to allow you to mount the light to your bars and offset to overlap the stem faceplate, meaning you don’t fill up all your spare bar space with the light and making the light sit more centrally on the bike in the process. Other mounting options are also available including an option for aero seatposts.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

However, the rubber bands supplied are almost too stretchy. Whilst this isn’t so much of an issue for the rear light, I found the front light did not sit right after hitting only the slightest of bumps, even on the tightest possible setting.

See.Sense have advised that they have not previously heard of issues with the front light mounting, so this could simply be that the shaping of my bars — Zipp SSRs — is a particular issue.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

The lights themselves aren’t ugly compared to many others on the market, but the mounting straps let them down aesthetically. Given the manner in which this mounting solution has been designed, they are a necessity, but I would like to see alternative mounting solutions – Lupine and Exposure both produce saddle rail mounts for their rear lights, for example.

The front light is also supplied with a rubber shield to prevent you seeing the light when it is bar mounted. Whilst this is a good idea, this would be better as a more rigid clip-on piece as the rubber material is a little flimsy and it moves too easily.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

In use and on the road the lights are plenty bright enough — even when not used at 100% — to feel like you would be clearly seen in traffic; which is helped by the 270º visibility. Both lights are very bright (190 lumens for the rear and either 320 or 420 lumens at the front, depending on the model).

The design doesn’t lend itself to being a light to see with, but front light is certainly bright enough to aid visibility on dark roads when it is used with a solid beam — although I wouldn’t necessarily rely on it alone if a lot of your dark rides are on unlit roads.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

I have a habit of charging lights before they die on me so I never got around to fully testing the battery life, other than to say that after what felt like a reasonable amount of use they still held more charge than I expected.

This will also obviously be subject to the modes and light intensity used so it will differ greatly, depending whether you use the crash protection, theft warnings, and solid beam.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

In addition to the app, the lights also have built-in functions such as automatically changing the light pattern at junctions, roundabouts and when cars are approaching. As great as these features are, I felt this was less obvious than the brake light option offered by the Lupine Rotlicht I normally use.

I say this is because a brake light on a road-going vehicle is a worldwide standard that says “I’m braking”. It’s a crystal clear message which reads more naturally to other road users, and is one which I personally believe has not been adopted enough in rear lights for bicycles.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

Another feature you can enable from the app is to set the lights up as a pair, meaning you only need to connect and turn on once. Whilst this is a good option, it was also the cause of frustration early on as I didn’t realize I had activated this feature and couldn’t understand why only one light was showing up in the app.

Reverting to turning one on by hand meant they were out of sync and turning one on from the app then turned the other one off! It’s a great ‘easy on’ option if you’re ok with both lights performing in the same manner, but this is not something I usually want.

Consequently I found myself connecting the lights individually then set each one to the mode I want to use. In this respect, the good old-fashioned method of turning your lights on by hand is definitely quicker and easier.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

An option that I found made the best use of the soft mount backing and elastic strap was to mount the rear light to the back of my helmet. In doing so I could be sure I wasn’t harming the helmet like some firmer mount solutions can.

This setup also felt like it made the most of the app as it meant I could turn the light on, know what its charge status was and know what it was doing in terms of flash mode without having to find a mirror or window reflection to look in to check it.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

The lights also offer the ability to notify you via the app if your bike gets moved whilst you are away from it. When I first tested this I was surprised at how responsive it was, with the lightest of touches resulting in a notification to my iPhone that I should check my bike.

This may not be a theft deterrent in its own right, but it is a great way to enhance your own ability to react to your bike being moved — particularly if your only option at the café park-up is to leave it out of your direct line of sight.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

Finally, the lights have a built-in crash notification — a great extra feature which enables you to identify a telephone number to be notified if the lights detect a fall. The app even gives you an opportunity to cancel the notification if you have fallen but are ok. Using this mode does also seem to eat into the battery life much quicker though.

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review

In summary, the features and capabilities of these lights are superb. The user interface of the app is perfectly usable, although could perhaps do with some subtle tidying up and simplifying. Having to use the app with gloved hands could be an issue in winter, but there are worse problems to have.

The lights themselves are bright, neat and seem to have impressive battery life for their size. For me, the biggest downfall is the mounting options and stability, which could be partly down to compatibility in my case.

If that isn’t a problem for you then I would highly recommend See.Sense lights — be that to see you through the winter months, for commuting or as daytime ‘running lights’.

See.Sense Website | Facebook | Instagram

White And Red All Over: See.Sense Lights Review