See.Sense Ace

So I’ve had the New Ace lights for awhile now, and have been using them on both day and night rides.

They are designed for commuters, their power output is low, however it’s noticeable, not quite as retina searing bright as the Icon+, but they get the job done.

Ace Rear

But, there are issues. First off was battery life. Initially, it sucked. They would run out of juice just sitting there on the desk, meaning a charge every day. A firmware update went a long way to curing this, unless you are an Android user. The companion app took months to arrive from see.sense, they blamed the exit of their developer, and farmed it out to an external company. A release was made, but it lacked almost all the features, and was pretty much only able to turn the lights on an off. So if you wanted to update the firmware, you needed an iOS device, or at the very least a mate with an iOS device..

Now, in the latest Kickstarter news letter, they’ve stated an in-house android developer will soon be starting, so hopefully we shall have a passable android app soon(ish).

Other than the poor development and battery life issues, they really are quite a good set of lights for commuting with.

The mounting options for the lights are first class, you get a multitude of mounts as standard: including a seat-post mount, aero seat-post mount, and bag clip, which I use to mount to the back of my jacket as I’ve two rears, so one on the seat post, and one on my back. There have been reports of lights falling out of the cradle, but I assume this is due to not being clipped in correctly. My lights seem to be in solid when clipped in correctly. See.Sense, to my horror lobbed a poor innocent bike off a roof, and the lights stayed on, that was the icon2, however it uses the same mounting system.

The ACE lights feature the same intelligence of the previous lights, with a little more processing power. They can track changes in movement, g-force, and ambient lighting; tailoring the light output to the conditions and surroundings: for example, on a quiet road the light lets out just a gentle pulse, but if a car’s headlights are detected then the light lets out a sudden burst to increase awareness.

The reactivity both noticeably improves road presence, compared to a regular mid-power flasher. My only continued niggle with the reactive element of the See.Sense lights is that the sudden bursts of light from the front light can be a little distracting. This is because the light is designed to have good side visibility, which unfortunately includes the upper side too – upwards towards your eyes, should you have it mounted horizontal on the bars. To be fair, my favourite daytime lights also have this issue, the Exposure Trace. A sliver of electrical tape however remedies this.

The Smartphone integration allows you to tailor the output of the light to further improve battery life. It also allows you to use the movement sensor as a theft alert. Both useful features, if they ever get the android app to release.

First ride for ages

It’s been awhile since I had the old boy out the garage for a ride.

But today was the day for it. I got changed, checked all the batteries, and set off. Just a short run out to Ripley. My backside was aching quite quickly. Guess I’m going to have to get used to sitting in a saddle again. I felt every pedal stroke. It seemed like an effort, more so than I remember. I guess my fitness really has dropped off. For some odd reason, my fingers would not recognise the fact I’m using a wahoo elemnt computer, and kept trying to use the button presses for a Garmin. I’ve not used a Garmin for years. Weird how muscle memory works.

And my old friend thigh pain hit again as I was climbing the small hill into Ripley. Well, I say thigh, it’s more hip than anything else. I’ve lowered the saddle from where I had it, so let’s see if that makes any difference. I hope so, because it’s a crippling pain.

You’ll notice the new See.sense Ace lights. I’m still waiting for a half decent Android app for these lights. It’s been a long long time in the process. Truth be told, I’m not overly impressed with them. But I guess that’s another story for a post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile.

On the way home, I was unfortunately reminded some people’s driving leaves a lot to be desired, with people pulling out of side streets, left hooks and close passes. But alas, I’m not surprised.

More new lights!

My new see.sense ace lights have arrived!

First thoughts are how small and light they are. I knew they’d be smaller than the Icon+, but they are seriously dinky.

Currently on their first charge, so it’ll be awhile until I can use them, but I’m really looking forward to trying them.

I’ll post a more in-depth write up after I’ve used them a few times.

Different strokes

I thought I’d just make a quick post about the difference in the rear lights in these two images.

The top image is the See.Sense Icon+, and the bottom one is the Exposure TraceR react. Both lights are Set to their maximum output, although the Icon may of limited its power as its stationary. However, the difference here is notable. The TraceR directs alot more light back, and spilling further out, whereas the Icon spits light out in almost every direction.

So, which light is better for visibility on the road? While they both do a superb job, the Icon is more eye-catching, and dispite not casting light as far back as the TraceR, it is just, if not more visible, than the TraceR.

I’d certainly feel safe with either light on the rear, but would nearly always reach for the Icon when heading out.

One bonus of the TraceR is that mount. It takes up alot less space on the post than the Icon, so if space is an issue, such as running with a saddle bag the TraceR fits better.

Exposure TraceR

While my Icon+ is away being repaired under warranty, I’ve been using a Exposure TraceR.

And truth be told, it’s a fantastic light.

Pumping out 75 lumens, for its size is remarkable. Visible from a distance, and with its daybright settings very noticeable during the day, but unlike the icon, the flash pattern is the same, one long flash and two rapid, whereas the icon seems to be more random, with increased detection of the surroundings. The tracer is constantly lit however, which gives drivers the ability to judge distance in the dark.

Runtime is good, with 6 hours on the high flash, is more than enough to ride for a good week before recharge. Which brings me onto the only issue I have. The charging port is covered by a silicon band, and that is incredibly hard to move but does make for a very watertight seal.

The react built into the light works in a similar fashion to the see.sense, but I think the see.sense is more adaptable to the environment, and noticeable to those behind.

What both lights share, is pain for those riding behind you. Even on the lower settings they distract, and in some cases are quite painful to ride behind. At least with these lights you’ll be sent to the back, and never have to have a turn on the front.. Well, that’s my excuse anyway 🙂

Will it replace my icon+ as my favourite? It’s close, but no.

Night Rides

Night rides give a whole new lease to the normal routes. Familiar roads and lanes have different and often creepy appearance.

But lightened by my trusty Volt 800, the roads lit up, the noises of various animals scurrying around the path edges the only sound.

Busting the light upto 800, more than enough of the path was illuminated for me to feel comfortable riding at 20mph, at least until I came across a deer, which was as surprised to see me as I was it. For a couple of seconds, it just looked at me, not quite sure what todo, before exploding over the fence into the night.

My See.Sense rear icon+ Light however died. Plugged it in to charge, and the charge light came on as normal. When I went back sometime later, the charge light was off, signalling the end of the charge cycle. However, the light would not turn on. Neither could I get it to connect to the companion app on my phone. Eventually the low battery light flashed and it connected to the app, which report zero battery. Plugged it back in, nothing. No charge light, no charge going in. Its dead jim. Contacted see.sense, who have asked for the light back to see what’s happened, so hopefully the reportedly excellent customer service see.sense are known for will sort it out.

Enjoy a good night ride, it certainly can bring back old routes to life.

Icon+

As you know, I recently picked up a pair of See.Sense Icon+ lights, and have now ridden a couple of rides with them. Safe to say I love these lights.

They increase my visibility on the road, and give me a sense of safety. Seeing the front light I’ve sort of worked out the responses they have;

  • Senses decrease in speed
  • Senses drop in ambient light
  • Senses increase in ambient light
  • Senses tilt to react to hill climb
  • Senses lateral tilt for sharp cornering
  • Senses a sprint

And any combination of the above. They are ideal daytime running light, as they are bright enough to be seen from a fair distance.

Build wise, they are solid. No movement in the plastic face or back.

Mounting them onto the bike is easy with the supplied straps

, however I’ve noticed a tendency for them to move. While not a major issue, I find it annoying. I mount the rear on the saddle post, which unfortunately means no saddle bag will fit. And the front on the lower head tube. My one criticism would be the button on the units. They are a little tough to turn on. The cover over the button is significantly larger than the button, meaning you some times miss all together. Not a major gripe but it does get annoying.