How does the
SeeSense ICON 2 Review – Smarter Bike Lights
TLDR: A great light for commuters and rides a like, only thing brighter than the ICON 2’s AI smarts is it’s CREE LED TG SCORE: 5/5
Any review of the See
The original See
As much as I like the See
So whilst the ACE has the same lumen count as the ICON+, the lux count is going to be lower, as it is
The See.Sense Icon 2 is cumulatively SIX YEARS of R&D by the Northern Ireland team, the smart features built into the light should ensure the SeeSense stands out in the very crowded bike LED market, which is now being populated by not only by other smart enabled lights, but LED toting smart helmets such as the Lumos Matrix
Their unique approach to development was a feature list not dictated by personal
As with their previous projects, the See.Sense production is focused in Northern Ireland. The main Chip of Board (COB) is produced in the Nitronica about 20 miles from See.Sense head-office, meaning that See.Sense can be very adaptable to changes needed during the early production. By transitioning to a plug and play approach to the COB, construction time has been reduced by 40%
Whilst production times are great for the company, the refinements to manufacturing have resulted in benefits to the end users as well. During the early See.Sense ACE production run, there was a 1-2% failure rate. On the first See.Sense Icon 2 batch, comprising of 1100 units, there were zero faulty units, which they expect to convert into end user reliability as well
See.Sense ICON 2 – Design
See.Sense has continued to use the same packaging approach, with as much recycled material as possible. Although it would be interesting to see if an alternative to the individual plastic wraps was possible for the accessories
I do like that rather than double up with a manual and a “getting started” – that second part is printed on the box insert.
Along with the manual, from and rear See.Sense Icon 2’s there are also two plastic bags which contain the light mounting gubbins, and short micro USB cables. No USB C here. I’m a big fan of the short USB cables which some companies have opted for now. I find they are great for carrying in my “cables bag”
There is one accessory collection for each light. Inside we can find:
- Micro USB cable
- Belt/backpack clip
- Aero mount
- Rubber grommet
- Universal mount, which can be mounted on bars or seat pods, and remounted at 90deg
According to See.Sense has stepped away from the trusted CREE LED with the See.Sense ACE due to wanting to have a single uniform piece on the front of that light.
The issue is that the CREE lens requires a different thickness within the plastic, which means that a small amount of shrinkage can occur, meaning a failed cover. As a result the ACE had to be produced without the super bright LED.
On both light the matrix LED arrangement allows several benefits, firstly a wider grouping of the LED’s giving a block of light on the rider rather than a single point. But allows for more varied patterns across their faces, even more so with the inclusion of the CREE. The patterns are designed to simulate driver awareness, as humans are less able to “tune out” an irregular pattern compared to a regular flash. Think how you don’t hear the fridge hum, but find it difficult to ignore someone taping at a keyboard
The indent of the CREE lens is not merely as a result of a manufacturing necessity, but is also allows See.Sense to have a ring of light bounced from around the CREE bulb as well
The other benefit of the matrix and CREE combo is you get excellent visibility from the side.
The Garmin Varia Radar tries this with a single LED on each side, whilst this does “tick the box” as you can see from the above picture the ICON 2 has a much clearer side profile – specifically 200 deg of side visibility
One of the biggest irritations from users of the ACE has been the material of the rubber button. Whilst 20 different variations to get a level of deformity, texture and feedback were trialed by the company, not everyone has been happy with the current button. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to have changed here
Flipping the unit over there is the See.Sense ICON 2 branding embossed in the plastic along with a rubber flap covering the micro USB port – no USB-C. You’ll have also noticed on the back sticker the Bluetooth and ANT+ logo, along with ANT+ signal code for use when pairing to your cycling head unit
On each side of the See.Sense ICON 2 are four indents into which the arms for the mounting clip. I do like this system, whether I’m using the 3D printed GoPro mount, or the included stem/seat mount I can always find a position I’m happy with. Part of that is due to the slight forwards and rearwards leaning indents at the top and bottom if the unit, meaning you can normally get a nice vertical positioning
As for the mount, it is comprised of two pieces, a rubber piece which sits against your bike and the clip which holds the See.Sense ICON 2
There are four groves on the inside of the clip into which a rubber band slots, allowing you to orientate the clip, so you can still chose to mount horizontally or vertically
But you are going to be much betting with the mount in a vertical orientation, with the light gripped on the “sides” rather than across the “top”
There is one flaw with the button being off set, which has been exacerbated with the elongation of the See.Sense ICON 2 is that is really doesn’t handle being positioned horizontally. I’d say, that this is now very much a vertically mounted light
See.Sense Icon 2 – Specification
- Device weight:
- 50g grams
- 16hr Runtime on “reactive flash”
- Charging can also be done on the fly,
- Bluetooth, ANT+
- Water resistance:
- IPX 67 – 30m for 60mins
- 200 deg
- 300 Lumen Rear,
- 400 Lumen Front
- Other bits:
- Theft and Crash Alert
- Brake Light Function
- Day light flash mode
See.Sense ICON 2 – Manual
There is not currently a downloadable PDF of the See.Sense ICON 2 manual, but a link to the FAQ page is here
SeeSense ICON 2 – ANT+ / Bluetooth Smart Light
When you park up your bike the See
Lightly pressing on the power button will give you a series of green LED’s at the top telling you how much battery is left
I’m a big fan of the auto off and battery check, as it means I an just rock up at work (by bike is around the office back, and very safe), leave the bike, and know the lights will switch off shortly. My bike is only about 3 meters from the window, so I can also check the battery with the See.Sense app – or more appropriately be alerted if I need to juice things
Even when it is working I just find the alerts on my Garmin / Wahoo head units annoying. This is not about how See.Sense has implemented the tech, but how the smart light protocol works. The ANT+ connection should allow the See
SeeSense ICON 2 – Artificial Intelligence
If you wanted, you could entirely leave thing be, and just leave the See
Most car accidents are not actually malicious, the “Sorry mate I didn’t see you” is literally true. This is due to how the human eye works; you are only really “seeing” when your eyes are not moving and looking directly at something. Try it now – look from your screen, quickly turning your head so that you can see the far side of the room. You only really register in the “stop” positions, initially looking at the screen, and then when your eyes finally rest on the far side of the room. Everything in between isn’t really registered in normal situations.
So here is another facet of how humans work, we de-emphasise regularity and are drawn to an alert over irregularity, as mentioned before, typing vs fridge hum. Hence when a bike light, will register with a driver more strongly if the flash pattern is irregular. But there is a big difference between irregular, and smart irregular
Using the existing data held within the See
Let’s give you a use case about the AI within the lights. The See.Sense ICON 2 can determine it is likely that you have entered a roundabout and will determine what is going to be the optimal flash pattern for the attention of a driver in front or behind the cyclist!! I don’t if the AI makes the See.Sense ICON brilliant, or just flat out astonishing
Plus it makes the fact the original ICON could detect you slowing down and trigger a brake light warning drivers as practically old hat!
In order to use the Theft and Crash alerts, you need to sign up to sharing “Cycling Insights”. This is where the smart sauce comes into the See.Sense ICON 2, as the unit transmits recorded data about road conditions back to See.Sense. Info such as where you ride, what your behaviour was like, wear pattern on the road. All very clever stuff
I can’t believe I’m going to say this – but read the terms and conditions here. They are written in plain English, explaining what data is being recorded, but crucially what it will be used for – going into the smart cities project
SeeSense ICON 2 – Bike Alarm
By registering with the app, you get increased functionality of the See.Sense ICON 2
The anti-theft mode was first seen in the See
(I may have been trying to initially test and activate the theft function standing to the bike with my phone in my pocket doh!)
The range of the alert is approximately 100m depending on what is surrounding you. I would, for example, want to trust the Theft Alert alone to leave my bike and go into the supermarket. However, I’m certainly happy to have the feature like an alarm that someone is interfering with my bike, when paused at a cafe/cake stop!
Thankfully you can also position a safe zone around your home, where if the lights get moved they don’t trigger an alarm. You are also able to set up additional privacy zones, such as at work in the office for example (or perhaps not depending on how much you trust you, colleagues!)
See.Sense Data Security
There are some who worry that a data breach would allow people to find where your bike is kept. Now that is the same risk as with any device feeding your data to the cloud, but here See.Sense is specifically receiving your journey data and using it in their Smart Cities project. So do users have a reason for extra caution? I put this to Philp McAleese – CEO of See.Sense
In relation to data privacy, we have a different take than other applications. Other apps are capturing journeys, so need to capture start and end points for completeness. Hence privacy zones tend to just hide this from view. Hence often the data is still collected and included in the data the have.
In contrast, See.Sense is interested in insights on your journey and where most impact can be made to improve cycling. We don’t measure journeys, so not collecting start and end points makes no difference. Hence we do not collect any data within a privacy zone.
Yes, that’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to. The ways we mitigate this happening in a way that would identify individuals
We do want to see the demand from and to particular areas. We do this using grouping in a similar way to how the census is performed with several hundred homes being grouped together into a region with one centre point. Think of it a bit like a postcode. So a journey from AB12 to AB13 doesn’t give away privacy as it doesn’t provide any clue as to the precise address, but it’s more than enough to plan routes based on demand.
Hopefully that covers that the location of your “home” safe zone isn’t going to tell anyone where your precious steed is housed
See.Sense ICON 2 Crash Alert
Given that the accelerometer is able to determine the road surface you are riding on, I don’t think
See.Sense ICON 2 – Conclusion
If you looked at the See.Sense ACE, but had been put off feeling it wasn’t bright enough for you, then you should really strongly consider the ICON 2 as we move into Autumn this year.
It sounds as though the See.Sense ICON 2 should be replacing the ACE, but I can see a simple reason that they have not done that. People have different bikes for different activities and the same goes for both sets of lights here in my opinion.
My See.Sense ACE is happily fitted on my race / road bike where I want to balance between visibility and weight, where as the larger See.Sense ICON 2 sits happily front and rear on my Hummingbird commuter
The ANT+ system is, in my humble opinion junk. But that is more my reflection on the system, and not the See.Sense ICON 2.
Another small niggle relates to the See.Sense GoPro mount. This is excellent, and in my opinion should be included in the box, with the price increased correspondingly. It just tidies up the rear so well
So there we go! The ICON 2 takes everything which was good about the See.Sense ACE and refines it. 5/5 TG Stars, and the Recommended badge too!