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.
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.