Small Irish company See.Sense created quite the buzz with its original intelligent LED flashers, which were not only ludicrously bright but automatically adjusted their intensity and flashing patterns to suit the surrounding conditions. The concept was brilliant – literally and figuratively – and now the company has made it even better with the debut of the new Icon series.
See.Sense’s previous flagship rear light boasted up to 155 lumens of output, which was already insanely bright for a dedicated flasher. The new Icon, however, cranks that figure up to a whopping 250 lumens (or 420 lumens for the front), virtually guaranteeing that approaching drivers will notice you. That brightness comes courtesy of two CREE emitters, both with equal intensities but with different lenses – one for focused, long-distance visibility and the other for an impressive viewing angle up to 180 degrees.
Twin LED emitters crank out up to 250 lumens - a ludicrously high figure for a dedicated flasher
As before, See.Sense’s suite of onboard sensors will automatically adjust the light’s brightness and flashing pattern based on its surroundings. For example, Icon will boost power to the LEDs and flash more rapidly when it senses approaching car headlights (at nighttime only) or when it senses that you’re approaching an intersection, and it’ll shine brighter during daytime hours than at night.
In addition to improving the rider’s visibility, this also boosts battery life. See.Sense claims up to fifteen hours of run time at full power – three more than its predecessor.
See.Sense has added Bluetooth to the new Icon lights, which allows them to be controlled through a smartphone app and connected to each other. Whereas other lights typically have to turned on and off individually, you can turn paired Icon front and rear lights on and off with a single button.
The companion smartphone app will unlock a wealth of additional features
Meanwhile, the smartphone app opens up a wide range of convenience and customization features such as sensor sensitivity, flashing patterns, brightness, and over-the-air firmware updates.
For example, you can program the lights to automatically turn off when you walk away (or on when you’re nearby). A theft-deterrent function will also send an alert to your phone (provided it’s within Bluetooth range) if the system senses that someone is tampering with your bike, and although this won’t bring your bike back in the event it’s stolen, a ‘lock’ function will prevent someone from turning the Icon on when its paired phone isn’t nearby.
As with the previous version (shown at right), Icon will automatically adjust its brightness and flashing pattern based on surrounding conditions
There’s even a crash detection function that will automatically send an alert (through your phone) if the system detects that you’ve been in an accident.
See.Sense envisions quite a few truly advanced features later down the road, too. For example, a proposed ‘peloton mode’ will detect if other Icon users are in your group so that only the lights at the back of the pack are at full brightness. An optional function will detect potholes and other road damage, and then send that information on to the appropriate agencies for logging (and hopefully, repair). And if you’re running low on battery power, you can tell the app exactly how much time you need to get to your destination and the system will adjust the brightness from there to get you there safely.
A new add-on shroud (shown on the left) helps preserve your night vision when using the front light
Even the onboard sensors themselves have grown smarter. According to See.Sense co-founder Philip McAleese, Icon can actually detect how it’s mounted – be it on your bike, your helmet, or bag – and then adjust its motion sensitivities accordingly. McAleese says the sensors are so dialed in, in fact, that it can detect high-friction road surfaces commonly used in many European intersections, meaning Icon can flash brighter and faster through those higher-risk areas even when you aren’t slowing down.
It has a better case design
Most of our complaints with See.Sense’s previous light were related to its physical case design. It was a bit clumsy to mount in certain applications, the gesture-based on/off switch was novel but frustrating, and the front light wasn’t shielded from the rider. That’s all thankfully been fixed with Icon.
The revised mount is more secure than before
Despite the increased brightness and longer run time, Icon is slimmer, more compact, and nearly the same weight as its predecessor (62g vs. 58g, including all mounting hardware) while swappable rubber inserts make for a more secure mount that works on a wider range of tube shapes, too. The front light now attaches much more elegantly to your bars and there’s also a new snap-on rubber shroud for the front light to help preserve your night vision.
Best of all, See.Sense has equipped Icon with – hallelujah! – a physical on/off button. It’s far easier and more intuitive to use the old gesture-based system, plus you no longer have to pull the light off of your bike to turn it on or off.
The physical button is far easier to use than the old gesture-based system
Riders who regularly find themselves pedaling in inclement conditions will also be happy to hear that Icon is fully certified to IP67 standards, meaning it’s safe to use even on your pedal-powered submarine provided you stay within a meter of the surface.
And it's even cheaper (sort of)
See.Sense lights have never been cheap and Icon will certainly continue that trend. Retail prices will start at around £60 (final figures and international prices are still to be determined) with higher-output premium models carrying additional premiums of £20-30. That means the entry-level models will be a bit more expensive than before but top-end models will actually be cheaper.
That’s by no means chump change but given our experience with the previous model, it’s still a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind – and if you act quickly, you can get them even a bit cheaper through the company’s Kickstarter campaign. We’ve got beta samples on hand already so stay tuned for a full review once the companion app is fully developed.
For more information, visit www.seesense.co.