see.sense ace light set

see.sense ace light set

a few years after moving to the inner-hebrides, faint hope of a music culture arose by way of an evening concert from northumbrian piper, kathryn tickell, in the nearby village of bridgend. the latter is a mere 5km from bowmore, reached by a decent, if slightly twisty road. given the time of year, it was plainly obvious that bike lighting would be required in both directions, so my muddy fox was kitted out with those heavy and chunky ever-ready lights, clamped to front fork and rear seatstay respectively. the need for a substantially sized, 9 volt battery in each, obviously decided the form factor of their illuminative clunkiness, but despite the less than favourable look, travel would be in darkness and any fears of aesthetic travesty, neatly avoided.

the concern, however, came not so much from the look, but their apparent shortness of breath. i had scarcely covered three of those five kilometres, before the front light had noticeably dimmed. it came as little surprise, therefore, when most of the way home had to be negotiated in the dark.

happily, not only have bicycle lights become more svelte, while gaining a substantial number of lumens in the process, the battery technology which feeds the micro-thirst of their light emitting diodes has improved beyond all recognition. when used in flashing mode, the charge applied to the majority of contemporary cycle illumination is measured in hours, rather than the fraction of an hour exhibited by those archaic ever-readys. and, technology being what it is, development has scarcely stopped there. the see.sense, ace lighting set under discussion is augmented by a ubiquitous smartphone app, a nugget of software that is thankfully, just as happy to function on an ipod touch.

however, as mere lights, the ace set will function perfectly well without sight nor sound of an app. their compact and bijou form factor means that both front and rear lights would have comfortably fitted inside the battery compartment of one of those ever-ready examples disparaged above. this renders them entirely innocuous upon even the most aero of carbon road bikes. with so many variations in tube and seatpost shape nowadays, the light set has need of supplying more than a single method of affixation; in this case, there are not only two mounting brackets, but a clip for attachment to a bag or jacket tab, plus a couple of rubber wedges to accommodate the teardrop shaped seatposts that have proliferated recently.

see.sense ace front light

of course, brackets and clips are all very well, but they have to be strapped to bars and tubes in one manner or another. in this case the simple and pragmatic solution is a considerable number and sizes of rubber straps. if none of those fit properly, then you've probably bought a car.

for simplicity's sake, it's possible to easily fit the lights to front and rear of the bike, set them to the desired flashing (or constant) sequence, and head off into the wide grey yonder. however, modernity decrees that it doesn't all end there. downloading the appropriate app for either android or ios devices, offers a few extra options, but this is where ordinary cycling begins to join the internet of things. even when writing this review, opening the app displayed a triangle with a spanner, subsequently understood to mean that the lights both required firmware updates.

the disarming point regarding this latter feature was the wording "your light has obsolete firmware and cannot be used until it is updated". thankfully, this seems only to refer to use of the app rather than my now possessing two inert lumps of plastic. the app connects to the lights by means of bluetooth, a technology that demonstrates an impressive reach, given that i was able to switch on the lights from the kitchen while the bicycle leaned against the bike shed. i could also alter the flash modes in the same manner. quite why i'd want to, is a discussion for another day . when connected, each light displays a flashing blue diode in the top left corner.

it's probably worth my pointing out that, once paired with the app, the lights managed to drain the battery on my ipod from full charge to less than 20% overnight, despite the latter being left a considerable (yet apparently insufficient) distance from the lights. my advice would be to close the app when it's not being used. however, according to the folks at see.sense, the accelerometer within the lights, is accurate enough to detect when you have a crash, sending a text message to a nominated recipient should such a malfeasance occur. this would obviously need not only a mobile phone (as opposed to my ipod), but the phone would need to be carried on the bike ride and you'd need to have reliable access to a phone signal, something not always possible in the hebrides. though operating under similar constraints, there's also an auto theft alert, whereby any untoward movement of the bike while you are somewhere else, will be notified to the app.

it hardly seems necessary to point out that you and your mobile device would have to be within bluetooth range for this to operate, somewhat minimising its effectiveness, since it would likely be possible to physically witness any theft attempts within that distance. given that the crash alert makes use of the mobile phone network, i'm intrigued to know why the auto theft alert cannot do likewise. however, luddite that i am, i'm happy to use the lights on their own, and leave my ipod at home (though bear in mind, any form of crime is very minimal over here). according to a see.sense spokesperson, the lights are able to detect any road issues en-route, thus making such information available to other see.sense users in the area, though quite how that actually works seems a tad vague. in any case, islay is not prone to much in the way of traffic jams.

see.sense ace rear light

a neat touch on the lights themselves is the ability to detect a lack of movement when parked, shutting down both to conserve battery power. the simple act of moving the bike a centimetre or so, is sufficient to wake them from sleep. the current state of battery charge can be viewed, either via the app, or by pressing the activation button on the front, resulting in illumination of a series of green leds along the top. flash modes available are: constant, flash, twin, burst, pulse, and eco. there is a brightness control when used on the constant setting, but it offers minimal effect. it's also possible to set the rear light (125 lumens) to brake mode, where the accelerometer can detect rapid slowing and offer a brighter, constant light until you stop, or subsequently speed up.

the front light in constant mode is easily bright enough (150 lumens) to show the way in the dark, offering a promised 200 degrees of visibility on the road. personally, i prefer not to ride after the hours of darkness, but i'm confident that, should kathryn tickell once again visit bridgend village, i could even take the long way round. operating the rear in constant mode would be unlikely to endear you to following motorists. i did hold fears over the security of the mounting bracket, sure that the roughness of many of islay's roads would separate light and bracket with little difficulty, but despite strenuous attempts to have this happen, the lights stayed firmly attached to the bicycle.

for yours truly, the app was probably surplus to requirements, but i can see the attraction for those more obsessed with the internet of things and permanently welded to their mobile devices. the lights, however, are marvellous; they work precisely as designed, they're light (pardon the pun) - 35g each - and unobtrusive, waterproof, recharging time is minimal and they surely offer sufficient variation of flash pattern to satisfy even the most demanding of cyclists. the recommended retail price of £80 doesn't seem too inordinate in comparison with the competition, particularly considering what's on offer, and with shorter days on the horizon, the sooner you choose your winter illumination, the better.

saturday 7 september 2019

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................