Not the brightest in terms of power for price but an outstandingly smart, responsive, responsible and user friendly light particularly for urban riders who want fit and forget safety
Tough, waterproof unit
Suite of smart urban focused safety features
Excellent Garmin based mount options
Set-and-forget riding environment automation
Adequate, well balanced beam
Reasonable run times
Low on power for price
Calorie/Co2 data is obviously a guesstimate
Theft alarm depends on Bluetooth range
Level of tech will be overkill for many
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See.Sense has taken a decent, proven lightweight light and created one of the best bike lights currently available. Depending on which mode you select from the accompanying smartphone app, it’ll auto adjust to road and lighting conditions, monitor run times and even record surface quality so you can send a post-ride report to the local authorities, and it also works as a localised theft or crash alert system.
It’s really easy to use from a practical point of view and when synced with the See.Sense Ace rear light, it’s a very impressive combo for not just improving your safety but also other riders.
Rather than developing its own basic hardware, See.Sense has added its smarts to an existing light - the $84.99 Magicshine ALLTY 1000. That’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned because we’ve never had any trouble with Magicshine products in several years of testing. It also means you get the benefits of a Garmin-style twist-lock fit that works with existing out-front GPS mounts, the universal size-and-shape bar mount supplied or the GoPro mount adaptor you also get in the box. A secure mini USB charging plug under the chin gives it an impressive IP67 waterproofing score that several wet rides and deliberate dunk tests haven’t contradicted.
While the claimed 1,000-lumen output is a little low when compared against verified 1,000-lumen lights, the beam is still a decent balance of spread and reach for most road riding. It’s certainly enough for panic-free 25km/h cruising on less technical roads even in damp, pitch-black conditions. Side cut-outs give some spill for wide-angle visibility and with over two hours run time at full power, there’s plenty of time to play and/or pedal home even if you keep it full gas. Riding at 30km/h+ on twisties or gravel trails definitely feels sketchy though so if that sounds more like your regular riding then have a look at the more expensive 1,500-lumen Beam+.
While the pricing might seem steep for adequate - rather than amazing - power, the level of practical smarts you get with the Beam will more than make up the difference if you’ll use them. Download the smartphone app and Bluetooth sync to the light and you’ll immediately get battery percentage and firmware information. It’ll even prompt you to recharge if the battery is low. Switch it on remotely and you can adjust the constant power using a percentage slider or engage four different flash/strobe/pulse modes or a low power eco setting.
You can also enable the speed-sensing and light-sensing functions of the light that will dim your chosen setting when you’re riding slow and smooth or in well-lit areas but increase brightness and flash rate if it detects high speeds, a lot of stop-start riding or high light levels from random sources (such as traffic).
You can also set a 'get me home' mode that kicks in below 20-per cent battery life to drop levels and ensure you have at least an hour run time remaining. The lights will also turn off if you stop for a while and then fire up again automatically when you move which is really useful (if potentially startling) for forgetful riders.
If you’re within Bluetooth range, the same movement sensors can set off an anti-theft alert on your phone, just in case it's not you moving the bike. You can also enable a crash alert that will contact a designated number with a GPS position if it detects a big hit followed by no movement. You can even use the anonymised ‘seismic’ information it collects to augment post-ride ‘infrastructure reports’ you can forward to the relevant authorities so it’s not just you who's safer in future.
Alternatively, it’ll compile a personal ‘my stats’ ride report where your distance ridden and average speeds are displayed as percentage totals of the Irish or UK end-to-end distances, the 2019 TDF route, or world circumnavigation. And it's not done there: it'll also guesstimate your calorie burn and report the equivalent in bananas, flat white coffees, donuts or pizzas, as well as calculate your fuel and CO2 savings versus if you'd taken the car on the same journey.
Judging by the ‘coming soon’ icon there’s even more in the pipeline too as See.Sense regularly updates firmware once you’ve got the basic hardware.
If you don’t want to be checking your smartphone while riding, the Beam still gives you basic mode and remaining charge information through the backlit ‘traffic light’ main switch that also toggles through high, mid and strobe settings. It's nice to see it comes in a recycled cardboard pack with no plastics, too.
Obviously, not everyone needs a bike light that gives a rough idea of how many bananas have been burnt on a ride or adjusts automatically to the riding environment. However, if you’re a primarily urban rider looking for a genuinely smart and very easy to custom-tune safety system based on a reasonably powerful and very practical smart bike light, then the See.Sense Beam is genuinely brilliant. At £119.99 / €141.00, it's competitively priced, too.
We’ll carry on testing it through the winter to see how it evolves with subsequent firmware updates, too, so make sure you check back in on this initial review to see where See.Sense goes next.
Tech Specs: See.Sense Beam light
- Price: £119.99 / €141.00
- Weight: 145g (129g light + 16g bracket)
- Power: 1,000 Lumens
- Battery: 4000mAh
- Size: 95mm long, 35mm high, 30mm wide
- Run times: Adaptive Mode 30hrs, Solid Mode (High 1,000 lumens): 2hrs, Solid Mode (Med 450 lumens): 4hrs, Solid Mode (Low 250 lumens): 6hrs
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