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Vizavee's Sam Browne belt is a contemporary take on a commuter staple that attracts the right sort of attention on or off the bike, regardless of whether you're wearing club or street threads.
Retro reflectives is a clever play on words too, referring to both the style and technical nature of the materials that beam back under the glare of vehicle headlights.
A choice of four colour schemes are printed on PVC using transparent inks for maximum UV resistance. This also means they're easily wiped down. Detailing elsewhere is sharp. Sturdy plastic buckles mean it snaps on and off in seconds, while the moleskin backing prevents unwelcome slippage and provides a secure mounting point for blinkies.
Designed with cycling in mind, its also intended for other vulnerable road users such as scooterists/motorcyclists and horse-riders. The latter is quite significant when it comes to sizing, Visavee have plumped for a one- fits most M/L supposedly gracing waists between 28 and 40 inches. Suffice to say, ours adjusted to my thirty-two in a matter of seconds and was largely unnoticed in the saddle. However, it wasn't readily adaptable to thicker layers or indeed a motorcycle jacket, so some further length would be welcomed in these contexts.
Incognito by day, the houndstooth pattern came alive from a distance of around two hundred and fifty yards on clear nights and unlit stretches, especially at junctions and roundabouts. Round town this falls to around 150. Red wasn't so effective in overcast conditions though, so I'd be inclined towards the orange/fairisle if you didn't fancy adding LEDs.
A clever way of remaining conspicuous in the saddle yet suitably chic around town.
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Make and model: Vizavee Reflective Sam Browne Belt
Size tested: Red
Tell us what the product 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?
"Our houndstooth belts in red and white reflective". Short, sweet and to the point, although the red isn't as eye-catching as neon in low light/overcast conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PVC belt impregnated with transparent inks (for maximum UV resistance)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Generally speaking the belt meets its design brief extremely well, attracting the right sort of attention on the bike and off. However,it proved a tighter than ideal fit worn over thicker layers, which is particularly significant if you were planning to use it in other contexts e.g. motorcycling.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Innovative design, good quality materials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing perhaps a little limited given differing audiences.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)