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BUYER'S GUIDE

18 of the best cycling reflectives — get seen after dark

Stand out in the dark with our selection of kit that shines in headlights

Riding at dusk or after dark is almost unavoidable, whether you're commuting on short winter days or riding into the spring or summer dusk. Adding some reflective clothing and equipment will help drivers pick you out from the urban visual chaos.

  • By bouncing light back where it came from — that is, towards headlights and therefore a driver — retro-reflective materials give you the best chance of being seen in low-light conditions

  • While more is almost always better, it's surprising how effective just a few patches of reflective can be

  • Studies strongly suggest reflective material is more effective than fluorescent "hi-vis" at helping drivers see you

  • If the worst happens, at least your loved ones won't have to accept "I couldn't see her" as an excuse

18 of the best reflectives for 2021

Walk into any decent bike shop and the shelves will be stacked with a variety of reflective products, from jackets and waist coats to sticker packs and ankle bands. When we head into autumn, and then winter, there's a good chance more of your riding time will be spent in the dark or at the very least, low light, and for many people that means donning some reflective products, or a product with a significant amount of reflective detailing.

Reflective clothing or other kit doesn't have to be in fluorescent high visibility colours. Reflectives work by reflecting back toward its source any light that plays on them. A black jacket made from the right material or with the right reflective detailing can be just as visible as a fluoro yellow one. Studies suggest that in the dark, a reflective product is more visible than a fluorescent one in car headlights.

2020 Altura Typhoon jacket - reflective 1.jpg

But will wearing reflective clothing or products improve your safety on the road? There are various studies that have looked into the effectiveness of such products, such as the 2009 study that found fluorescent vests were not a significant improvement on black clothing at night. It concluded that at night reflective knee and ankle stripes were far more effective. That's because the up-and-down motion from pedalling can catch the eye of the motorist more than a large reflective stripe across the back, which can appear stationary, so the placement of any reflective product is as important as wearing it alone.

More recently, another study suggested that it’s reflective, not high-visibility, clothing that is the answer to being seen in the hours of darkness.

Of course, that's not terribly surprising as fluorescent clothing requires the ultra-violet wavelengths present in daylight to make it glow, but it's nice to have the inference that fluoro gear's not much chop at night confirmed by Actual Science™.

Endura Luminite II jacket - cuff

In recent years many clothing manufacturers have paid more attention to visibility. Beside the obvious trend of fluoro, more clothing designers are adding reflective details, often very discreetly in the seams or zip lining and smartly applied details, so that style conscious cyclists can boost their visibility without having to don a bright yellow jacket with huge reflective stripes. That all makes it easier to add some reflectivity to your outfit without looking going overboard.

European standard EN1150, which sets out the minimum amounts of retro reflective material needed, is beginning to be applied to cycling kit. EN1150 is a standard for non-professional use; a stricter standard EN471 applies to high-visibility clothing for the workplace and you could argue that EN471 Class 2, designed for use on the road, would be an appropriate standard for cycling. There aren't many cycling-specific products that meet EN471, but plenty of cheap gilets fit the bill like this one for seven quid on eBay.

Let's take a look at 17 reflective products (plus an entire range) that give a snapshot of what's available, from ankle bands to jackets.

Spatz Roadman 2 Overshoes — £84.99

2021 Spatzwear Roadman 2 Super-Thermo Reflective Overshoes with Kevlar - sole.jpg

The Spatz Roadman 2 overshoes might look odd, but if you ride in wet and cold conditions typical of UK winters, they take comfort to new levels. Just as importantly for our purposes, they have big slabs of reflective on the back, sides and front, so they should attract drivers' attention as you pedal.

Read our review of the Spatz Roadman 2 Overshoes

Castelli Reflex Shoecovers — £55.00

Castelli Reflex Shoecover.jpg

Castelli offers its shiny grey high-visibility material in a number of garments. The Reflex Overshoes not only keep your feet as dry as can be with a big hole in the bottom for your shoe cleats, but help you be seen on murky days and at night. The outer material, along with being fantastically visible when lit up by car lights, is plenty windproof and waterproof.

Read our review of the Castelli Reflex Shoecovers

100% Hydromatic Waterproof Brisker Gloves — £35.14

2020 100% Brisker Hydromatic flat

The Hydromatic Brisker from 100% combines all the good bits of the very well-reviewed Brisker Cold Weather, with some of the weather protection of the Hydromatic. A big reflective logo helps drivers see you when you're signalling, or, given that it extends over the first and middle fingers, when you're giving them the Vs.

Read our review of the 100% Hydromatic Waterproof Brisker Gloves

Altura Thunderstorm Gloves — £27.49

Altura Thunderstorm Gloves pr

The latest version of Altura's Thunderstorm gloves boasts even more reflectivity than the ones we liked when we tested them. With almost the whole back of the hand bouncing their headlights back at them, any driver who can't see you signalling in these needs to surrender their licence.

Read our review of the Altura Thunderstorm Gloves

Endura Urban Luminite Pants — £58.49

Endura Urban Pants on bike.jpg

Endura's Urban Luminite Pants boast simply superb waterproofing, breathability and reflectivity. As an effective pair of overtrousers for when the going gets wet, they're hard to beat. There are two huge reflective stripes on each leg – one on the outer thigh, the other on the calf – and a cute little Endura sign on the bottom.

Read our review of the Endura Urban Luminite Pants

Madison Hi-viz reflective vest — £9.99

Madison Hi-viz reflective vest

The only cycling-specific garment we've been able to find that meets EN471, this budget gilet also has a loop out back for a light and an extended tail.

Altura Nightvision Typhoon jacket — £66.99

2020 Altura Typhoon jacket.jpg

The Altura Nightvision Typhoon Waterproof Jacket is a development of the justly popular Nightvision series. During a relentlessly wet testing period, our reviewer confirmed this jacket is also highly waterproof as well as reflective, beading up and rolling away the rain after 2-3 hours battling the elements. The drop tail should also save your lower back from the lion's share of spray when riding without mudguards.

The red version we tested features extensive retro-reflective panels at key points to bring the jacket 'alive' when graced by vehicle and street lighting; and our tester found them highly effective, doing a decent job of reinforcing signalling, especially along backroads in the wee small hours.

Read our review of the Altura Nightvision Typhoon jacket
Find an Altura dealer

Altura Thunderstorm City 20 pannier — £49

Altura Thunderstorm City 20 pannier

The successor to Altura's popular Night Vision 20 pannier, this conveniently-sized bag incorporates reflective elements for 360-degree visibility. It mounts with Rixen & Kaul Klickfix fittings, incorporates a padded sleeve for a 13-inch laptop and has a loop for a rear light.

dhb Flashlight jackets, jerseys and more

dhb Flashlight - Feb 2020

The Flashlight range from Wiggle own-brand dhb includes shorts and jerseys as well as the obvious jackets and tights, all with dhb's distinctive reflective hexagon in strategic positions, and there are extra reflective patches on outer garments like jackets and overshoes. You can even get Flashlight reflective socks.

BTR High Visibility Reflective Jacket — £42.99

BTR Jacket front reflective.jpg

There's a tendency to expect high-vis and reflective outer layers to be all things to all people: windproof, rainproof, breathable, and so on. But by doing away with the requirement for all-weather ability, BTR's High Visibility Reflective Sportswear Cycling Running Jacket – to give it its full name – is a cheap, cheerful, lightweight and fantastically breathable garment that's perfect for dry commuting and late-night training.

Read our review of the BTR High Visibility Reflective Jacket

Proviz Reflect 360 Jacket — £89.99

Proviz Reflect 360 Jacket.jpg

The Proviz Reflect 360's unique feature is that it's entirely made from reflective material. If you spend a lot of time on the roads in the dark it'll certainly get you noticed. The cut of the jacket is more commuter style than race so it's safe to assume that a streetlit urban environment is where the designers expect it to be used most.

The Reflect 360 is water resistant rather than Proviz claiming any waterproofing ratings but the material keeps out moderate rain for a decent amount of time backed up by taped seams and a storm zip. The rear drops slightly to which also adds protection if you aren't using mudguards.

Like dhb with Flashlight, Proviz has a whole collection of reflective clothing and accessories, even including classic cycling track mitts for warm summer evenings, Lobster gloves for the other end of the weather spectrum and loads more

Read our review of the Proviz Reflect 360 Jacket
Find a Proviz dealer

Endura Luminite jacket — £98.99

Endura Luminite II Jacket.jpg

Endura's Luminite jacket has been a commuting staple for many years. This is the latest version, with big slabs of reflective so it meets the EN 1150 standard (and it looks like only the lack of reflective stripes up the shoulders is keeping it from hitting the higher EN 471 standard too). It's a good choice for the daily schlep to the office. The 2.5 layer fabric is very waterproof with fully taped seams and is breathable too.

Read our review of the Endura Luminite jacket
Find an Endura dealer

Polaris Bikewear RBS Reflect Gloves — £26.79

2020 Polaris Bikewear RBS Reflect Gloves.jpg

These gloves are lightweight (47g), stretchy and have backs covered in lots of tiny reflective dots. High-vis yellow also sits between the fingers. A good choice for enhanced visibility in cold conditions, rather than deep winter.

Read our review of the Polaris Bikewear RBS Gloves

Oxford Bright Bands — £8.99

Oxford Bright Bands

The most significant point to come out of studies on cyclist visibility is that moving reflectives, on your feet or ankles for example, really do increase your visibility. These simple bands don't cost a lot and wrap around the ankle with Velcro securing them in place. They may not be that fashionable, but if you plan to do a lot of riding in the dark, then they're a sensible idea.

Find an Oxford Products dealer

Lomo High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag 30L — £32.99

Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag - worn

If you're commuting to work on a daily basis with a rucksack, then this Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag is a highly reflective option that will keep your office clothing and sarnies dry. It's made from tough UPVC with welded seams, and there bold reflective chevrons and stripes are very prominent. There are also reflective stripes on the front of the shoulder straps.

Read our review of the Lomo 30L High Visibility Backpack Dry Bag

Proviz Reflect360 reflective helmet — £59.99

proviz reflect 360.jpg

The German-made helmet uses what’s called the KStar reflective system with reflective particles embedded into the microshell covering. The reflective particles are protected by a clear outer casing.

The helmet has a pearl grey colour in daylight, but becomes brilliant white when caught in direct light from other road users. There is also a anti-bug net at the front, leaving your hair wasp-free and unstung.

Mat Brett took a look when it was launched.

BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover — £8.99

BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover

The BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover is an easy way to add some high-level reflectivity, while also doubling up as a nifty rain cover. It packs small enough when you don't need it, and fixes over a helmet with an elasticated hem and draw string closure for adjustment.

Read our review of the BTR High Visibility Waterproof Helmet Cover

Proviz Reflect360 Waterproof Cycling Gloves — £44.99

Proviz Winter Cycling Gloves

Gloves are a good candidate for adding some hi-vis and that's the idea behind these Proviz Winter Cycling Gloves. Useful for signalling an intent to change direction or lane, there's a large reflective panel on the little finger and across the back of the hand.

Read our review of the Proviz Winter Cycling Gloves
Find a Proviz dealer

Cafe wisdom

As is so often the case, road.cc readers have lots of opinion and knowledge on reflective gear. Here's a selection of the best comments from previous versions of this article.

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The Repro ankle bands are very good.

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There are many alternatives to the proviz jacket these days including a Boardman for around 40 quid with removable arms. The loo backpack is reasonable but again you can get a Hump cover that'll go on many better backpacks to use. I'd be interested to see you compare some expensive and cheaper alternatives rather than just pick 12 objects.

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I like the Proviz reflectiveness, but the jackets seem to have a non-cycling cut - quite big around the torso and the arms aren't very long. I do recommend the Proviz rucksack though - extremely visible from the rear and just the right size for my needs.

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hawkinspeter wrote:

I like the Proviz reflectiveness, but the jackets seem to have a non-cycling cut - quite big around the torso and the arms aren't very long. I do recommend the Proviz rucksack though - extremely visible from the rear and just the right size for my needs.

I bought one of the racier gilets for an overnight event that I did earlier in the summer and sized down from normal after reading so many stories about the baggy fit. I'm around 183cm tall and 70kg so a bit of a beanpole and even the XS was enormous. It seemed to be pretty well made and, personally, I think it's a great product but the sizing is borderline hilarious.

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The Lomo rucksacks are the business: comfy, lightweight and roomy, tough as old boots and in my experience completely weatherproof: for the price, a total steal and perfect for my commute. Would highly recommend.

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Proviz jacket = breathable as a bin liner. No thanks. The B'Twin "mere £20" jacket for £24.99 seems like a bargain...

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LOL at that helmet shower cap. Really won't make any difference, apart making you look like a complete ti t.

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Also check out some of the Lusso longs - they have reflectives on the legs for 360 degree visibility.

Stuff on the legs is much much more visible than the upper body and the movement identifies you as a cyclist much better than say - a floating reflective helmet....

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alotronic replied to Veloism
Veloism wrote:

LOL at that helmet shower cap. Really won't make any difference, apart making you look like a complete ti t.

Well I have one (altura version) and while it is a thing of hideousness and I feel like an utter berk wearing it it is actually fantastic in heavy persisent rain and a top piece of kit for longer rides. By long I mean all day and night when the four hours tolerance that most products seem to be 'waterproof' for is too short. I accept that all my moral and personal standards have declined to a point where I don't give a f**k about what people think at 3am in Suffolk, I'd rather keep my head dry... YMMV!

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BarryBianchi wrote:

Proviz jacket = breathable as a bin liner. No thanks. The B'Twin "mere £20" jacket for £24.99 seems like a bargain...

I've got a Proviz gilet - and I agree. They are not cheap either.

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Those ProViz jackets and gilets are awful in dusk and ealry morning, they're basically battleship grey and render the rider completely invisible.

If they had substantial fluorescent or brightly coloured trims they'd be great, but as it stands, they're only any good when hit by headlights.

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BarryBianchi wrote:

Proviz jacket = breathable as a bin liner. No thanks. The B'Twin "mere £20" jacket for £24.99 seems like a bargain...

Got one last winter, and it is excellent. Good chest flaps for breathability, very bright yellow (the orange was sadly out of stock) and the reflective detailing stands out really well. As you say ... a bargain.

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https://youtu.be/3RaCa4g66Fg (link is external)

Short video demonstrating drivers eye view of pedestrians not wearing reflectives.

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The ones who are not looking are out of my control, but I have no problem in giving the ones who are looking a sporting chance of spotting me a good distance off.

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https://road.cc/content/review/171013-lusso-nitelife-thermal-bib-tights

Great tights - all the grey bits are reflective so you've 360 visibility so long as the car is pointing at you. And the pedalling motion of the legs instantly identifies you as a cyclist too.

[Now replaced by the Nitelife Repel Thermal bib tights (link is external) — Ed]

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Halfords reflective arm/ankle bands £1.

https://www.halfords.com/cycling/cycling-clothing/hi-vis/?prefn1=type&pr... (link is external)

The Respro ones look a tad overpriced in comparison.

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Here you are. Pound Shop Special to jazz up your flaps:

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Go on Ebay and look for 3M Diamond Grade: https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_sop=15&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=3m+diamond+grade&_sacat=0&_oac=1 (link is external)

This is the stuff they use on police cars and the like; it is very reflective. I've used it on the mudguards of my "shopping" bike. It's quite stiff though, so it won't stick around tight curves, like frame tubes, and will tend to lift, so it's best cut into small dots or pieces if you want to stick it to something that isn't pretty flat.

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They were referred to obliquely, but if your bike was from the mid-eighties onwards - and you ride between dusk and dawn - you already have reflectors on your pedals right, kids?

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Strangely I fit pedal reflectors on my commuters, and it's getting difficult to find the new generation for flat and very grippy flat mountain bike pedals that have the little holes for the fitting of pedal reflectors. Luckily Wellgo still make them, the Wellgo V12s are still good, and I have just fitted some Magnesium MG1s to my new bike. I will maintain them and look after them (of course) but when they die I will probably change them for the wellgo B219, for a bit better grip, and still holes for the pedal reflectors.

And I like the old style bolt on reflectors, the ones with the plastic retainers tend to rattle more, and they like to fall off.

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Sriracha replied to ktache
ktache wrote:

Strangely I fit pedal reflectors on my commuters, and it's getting difficult to find the new generation for flat and very grippy flat mountain bike pedals that have the little holes for the fitting of pedal reflectors. Luckily Wellgo still make them, the Wellgo V12s are still good, and I have just fitted some Magnesium MG1s to my new bike. I will maintain them and look after them (of course) but when they die I will probably change them for the wellgo B219, for a bit better grip, and still holes for the pedal reflectors.

And I like the old style bolt on reflectors, the ones with the plastic retainers tend to rattle more, and they like to fall off.

Not strange at all, it's a legal requirement after the sun dips below the horizon!
https://www.cyclinguk.org/lighting-regulations (link is external)

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That's why I fit them, and they really work, though probably not as good as my Respro Ankle bands and many rear lights, some flashing. But having been in cars that approached otherwise unlt cyclists at night, they are incredibly noticable and say cyclist.

It's just that so few "performance" pedals allow fitment of BS pedal reflectors.

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Forty years ago, while cycling across a very dark Romney Marsh with a dodgy rear light (aaahhhh, Eveready!), I was pulled over by the police who told me that the only reason they saw me was the reflections from the pedal reflectors. Some years later I was told by a work colleague that while cycling home across Freckleton Marsh the previous night the reflective strips on my jacket were visible to him quite a while before my (working) rear light. So personal experience tells me reflectives help in the dark (not with the stupid or inattentive driver, obviously, but we can only do so much).

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CyclingInGawler wrote:

Forty years ago, while cycling across a very dark Romney Marsh with a dodgy rear light (aaahhhh, Eveready!), I was pulled over by the police who told me that the only reason they saw me was the reflections from the pedal reflectors. Some years later I was told by a work colleague that while cycling home across Freckleton Marsh the previous night the reflective strips on my jacket were visible to him quite a while before my (working) rear light. So personal experience tells me reflectives help in the dark (not with the stupid or inattentive driver, obviously, but we can only do so much).

Yup. Reflectors work, very well. And their batteries never go flat. Of course they don't have watts or modes or bluetooth and would be difficult to spin up into a £100+ boxed product with multiple marketable metrics. But hey, anyone for 'coefficient of reflectance' or some such nonsense?

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I like the SealSkinz all-weather XP hi-viz gloves - neon yellow for day and reflectives for night:

https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15897238/sealskinz-all-weather-cycle-xp-glo... (link is external)

Waterproof, but in both directions - the breathability is pretty poor - but otherwise very good.

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redimp replied to Woldsman
Woldsman wrote:

They were referred to obliquely, but if your bike was from the mid-eighties onwards - and you ride between dusk and dawn - you already have reflectors on your pedals right, kids?

I have those on my commuter

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Sriracha replied to Woldsman

Naturally I do - not hard to fit to Shimano M324 pedals. As a driver I know that the first thing that alerts me to a cyclist at night is their pedal reflectors moving up and down in my beam - if they have them.

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Anyone who is first being noticed by a car because of their reflectives, rather than their lights, really needs to sort their lights out.

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I wear a reflective hi-viz bib when I'm cycling, on account of this question on the form for submitting incidents to Hampshire Police. I have bright flashing lights front and rear on my bike and on my helmet, so hi-viz seems a bit pointless to me.

Image:
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Sriracha replied to Tom_77

I wonder, do they ask questions about the clothes worn by victims of sexual harassment? Were you wearing suggestive clothing - Y/N?

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