See.Sense has been making a bit of a name for itself with its smart lights, and with the Ace Front and Rear Set it's bringing the prices down. As well as smart features, the Ace set offers really good visibility, discreet looks, and an app that does everything you probably need it to, though a bit more customisation would be good.
Perhaps the most notable of the smart elements is the 'braking' sensor. As you slow down, the brightness of the rear light increases, making you more visible at a time when you're more likely to be struck from behind. This seems to work fairly well, although there is a little lag in your slowing registering. However, all in, it is a system that seems to work pretty well.
The front light has an output of 150 lumens and the rear 125, which is more than enough to maintain visibility to other road users. Each uses a block of LEDs beneath the large button and a smaller row above it, and these create more than enough light for most situations.
Operation of the lights can be done in one of two ways: using the large button on the front of each light, or connecting the lights to your phone via Bluetooth and controlling them through the app.
The button is simple to operate, with a long press turning the lights on or off, and a shorter press changing the lighting modes. There are three different modes to toggle through.
When operating the lights through the app you have more customisation options and you can turn them on/off and select from one of six lighting modes. The app also allows you to change the brightness of the lights, which is a nice touch.
Smart features are also turned on or off through the app. The braking/slowing feature is specific to the rear light, the others are theft detection, crash detection, and sending ride information to city planners.
Theft detection works within 100m of the bike; if the bike is moved while you are in range you get a notification telling you. This works pretty well and gave me extra peace of mind when leaving my bike outside during coffee stops.
Crash detection sends a message to a contact if the lights detect that you have been in a crash and the bike is no longer moving. Again, this seems to work well, although in testing it's quite difficult to recreate a crash movement accurately.
One thing I would like to see in the app is a little more customisation. For example, I would like to be able to define which three light modes are in use with the button alone, how long the time out settings are, and maybe the ability to change the mode for braking. However, as with all apps they are continually evolving, so these features could be with us in the future.
From the high tech to the low-tech... The lights are simple to mount, using a plastic bracket held onto the seatpost or handlebar with a rubber band. The brackets are really easy to attach, and thanks to the large tab on one side, the lights themselves can be fitted or removed easily.
Three 'positions' on the rear light mean you can angle it to suit your seatpost – so that it points in the right direction.
Battery life is obviously dependent on the mode you are using, but on constant the lights were perfectly adequate for commuting, with my journey of 45 minutes each way requiring me to charge them about once per week. See.Sense claims a battery life of 10 hours and this seems fairly accurate.
An rrp of £79.99 seems a good price for a pair of smart lights offering this kind of performance. It's £10 more than the Bontrager Ion 100 R/Flare R City Bike Light Set, but they have a lower output and no smart features. A direct comparison to other smart lights gives a different picture, with the Garmin Varia lights offering a little more in terms of 'smartness' but at £279.99 rrp they're three times the price.
Overall, I was really impressed with these lights. They are small but powerful enough for most uses, the smart features work well and the app is a useful addition. Okay, it could have a few more features, but at the moment it does what it needs to without fuss.
Enough visibility for most situations with useful and practical smart features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: See.Sense Ace Front and Rear Set
Size tested: Lumens: 125 (rear) / 150 (front)
Tell us what the light set is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a set of smart lights for being seen rather than seeing where you're going, with enough brightness for most uses and some good smart features at a lower price than other smart lights command.
See.Sense says: "ACE makes you more visible at riskier moments, keeps you connected through a smartphone app, and gives you the chance to improve the roads you cycle on.
"REACTIVE LIGHTS FOR SAFER RIDES
"When you face moments of increased risk on your commute (e.g. at junctions, filtering traffic or high-stress intersections), ACE reacts by automatically flashing brighter and faster to make you more visible to other road users. It also shines powerfully both in daylight and at night-time, helps you be seen from over a mile away, and gives you 200° of side visibility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light set?
Lumens: 125 Rear / 150 Front
Runtime: 10 hours
Weight: 35 grams
Water Sealed: IP67
Seems well made and secure, no water got in during use and it's light enough that if dropped it's not affected at all.
Simple to use with the button, and the app is also pretty intuitive and allows for a certain degree of customisation.
A really simple design that works well, made simpler because the lights are only 59g combined so it's simple to keep them in place.
Waterproofed to IP67 standards and have withstood everything a British autumn threw at them.
Battery life was good, using the lights on a constant beam for a 45-minute each way commute meant that I needed to charge just over once per week.
Pumped out enough light to make sure I was visible to everybody around me, simple to mount, and decent battery life – performed well throughout the review.
They're light and well made, and despite me dropping them several times (I was testing out a set of split-finger gloves!) there are no marks at all on them.
At 59g for the pair it's not something you notice.
This is a difficult one to assess because they are smart lights and there aren't many on the market. In terms of other light sets they are on the expensive side, but compared to other smart lights, like the Garmin Varia, they are a bargain.
Tell us how the lights performed overall when used for their designed purpose
Very well: good smart elements, they offer strong visibility, and the battery life is more than adequate for most people's needs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the lights
The smart elements are a great touch, with the theft detection being a particularly useful element.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the lights
It would be nice to have a little more customisation on the app.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Bontrager Ion 100 R/Flare R City Bike Light Set is £10 cheaper but not as bright and no smart features. The best known smart lights, the Garmin Varia, offer a little more in terms of 'smartness' and brightness but come in at more than three times the price.
Did you enjoy using the lights? Yes
Would you consider buying the lights? Yes
Would you recommend the lights to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There's a little lag to the smart braking feature, but it still works well, and this combined with the visibility offered, decent run-times, good build and price, along with the theft and crash detection features and app, make this an 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.