50 Shades of Hi-Vis – the Evolution of High Visibility Bicycles, Clothing & Accessories

There was a time when cyclists had three clothing choices when it came to staying visible at night: reflective trouser clips; reflective Sam Brown sash belt; or both worn at the same time. Nowadays, though, garment manufacturers build hi-vis and reflective details into almost every one of their products, with only replica pro team jerseys tending to go without. So here we look at some of the clever ways bicycle manufacturers & cycle clothing designers are keeping riders bright at night.

Flouro block colours

There’s still nothing more effective in most daylight riding conditions than hi-vis block colours. These simple but effective designs help attract other road or trail users’ attention and make the rider stand out against a typical urban or natural background. As well as being lightweight, waterproof and windproof, the FWE Kennington Stashable jacket is an effective hi-vis yellow. Meanwhile, Altura’s offering of jackets – and above all the Night Vision range – comes in a variety of bright flouro colours, such as blue, red, yellow, pink and grey.

Integrated lighting technology

Possibly the first move cycling manufacturers took to increase visibility beyond simply producing brightly coloured and reflective garments was to include integrated lighting technology. Companies such as Proviz led the way with electroluminescent panels built into their products, meaning riders aren’t reliant on external sources of light to be seen. These garments remain hugely popular, with Altura’s Night Vision Thunderstorm jacket featuring highly visible colour reflective technology over the shoulders, upper arm fabric and lower back.

The next stage in the development of hi-vis outerwear and an area where breakthrough developments are constantly appearing is with new, hi-tech ultra-reflective fabrics. Proviz’s Reflect360 range uses material impregnated with thousands of tiny glass beads to provide incredible total reflectivity. Similarly, Evans Cycles’ new FWE Kennington SFX jacket uses an innovative fully waterproof and breathable highly reflective stretch fabric which is also flourescent – exclusively developed in house – to provide all round visibility.

360-degree reflective taping

While new materials offer all-round reflectivity, other manufacturers have preferred to go down the less-is-more route with sections of 360-degree reflective taping. Endura Luminite garments feature 360-degree reflective safety chevrons to make the rider stand out at night. In much the same way, Altura’s Night Vision jacketrange uses it’s own NV360 ‘retroreflectivity’ technology to provide all-round nighttime visibility.

Subtle reflectivity

While hi-vis colours obviously get a rider noticed, not everyone wants to wear bright yellow. In recent years product manufacturers have been increasingly successful at incorporating subtle reflective details in otherwise reserved garment designs. The Gore C5 Shakedry 1985 Viz Jacket is a super lightweight jacket aimed at training in lower light conditions with coloured Gore-Tex active paneling and small reflective details to keep you seen.


Similarly, the FWE Coldharbour+ Reflective Jacket has a subtle camo print during the day but at night truly lights up with the tiny reflective dots all over the jacket, keeping you visible in low light.

Iridescent Reflective Detailing

Most recently, Kalf’s AW17 range features a reflective logo, trim and subtle patterns on many of their products, including jerseys all the way through to arm warmers offering extra visibility but also a unique aesthetic.


Toby Investigates – Reflective Clothing & Accessories

Be safe, be seen, be stylish and keep enjoying the ride this autumn/winter.


>> And for our range of high-vis accessories, browse the website here. <<




jeremy zimmerman 22/11/2016

You must understand cyclists better than most.
Why don’t all cyclists wear even the simplest of Hi-Vis vests or jackets ?
The advantages are obvious,they can cost little more than £ 1,and yet people are reluctant to put them on.
Is there a rational,or even an irrational reason ?
Jeremy Zimmerman

    keith 30/10/2017

    Good one Jeremy, like me can’t understand why you would take the risk, so its not cool to wear one? be rational and wear SOMETHING as long as it is BRIGHT !!

keith 30/10/2017

Hi Everyone, I do wish more cyclists would wear reflective day glow jackets as well as at night.
I can’t understand how wearing dark even black cycle kit is even safe these days on the road with the sun low in the sky morning and evening now or at any time of the year, so,STAY SAFE WEAR SOMETHING BRIGHT !!!! better to look not cool in your expensive kit than be really cool on the mortuary slab !!! Think about it please !!!

Mark 22/09/2018

I can’t understand why vehicles and vehicle drivers don’t pay more attention and respect to bike riders!

Rob 22/10/2018

While i agree that we should all wear some hi vis gear (at the risk of looking like Banana man i’ve just bought hi vis yellow overshoes) many serious accidents are caused not by drivers being unable to pick out riders wearing muted colours rather they’re not actually focusing on the road ahead but instead looking at their phones or fellow passengers. Do mitigate the risks though by focusing on kitting out moving parts with hi vis gear.

Paul Evans 22/10/2018

Tonight totally didn’t see a fellow cyclist. I was at a t junction turning right and didn’t notice him travelling from left to right.
He had very bright front and back lights but with a dark but supposedly reflective clothing.
Side on the lights were not obvious and the dark “reflective”clothing did not stand out.
The lesson for me is to also have bright luminous colours, which I do, plus lights visible from the side which I will make sure are in future.


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