When it comes to commuting by bike, there’s a lot of talk about how you can improve your visibility by lights but we feel there’s not enough around increasing your visibility by reflectors. Reflectors are a super cheap and efficient way of increasing your visibility on the light whether the reflector is attached to your bike or even yourself through ankle bands, reflective vest and so on.
We decided to put this article together to share some of the best and cheap reflectors on the market to help increase your visibility in those wintery dark months. If you don’t have time to read this article, we’d recommend the following:
- Reflective gloves - Craft Sportswear Focus Reflective Gloves
- Reflective socks - Reflectoes Cycling Socks
- Lightweight vest - HiVisible Reflective Vest
- Front and rear reflectors - MFC Pro Front and Rear Reflector Kit
- Spoke reflectors - BSK White Spoke Night Reflectors
Why Use Reflectors when Commuting?
We get it - attaching reflectors to your bike or worse, wearing reflective clothing isn’t the most stylish thing to do. But hey, for some people riding a bike to work will be one of the most dangerous things they do. For this reason we recommend investing in either a reflector attached to your bike or better yet, investing in some reflective clothing to help increase your visibility.
A study undertaken by Costa, Bonetti, et al on the effectiveness of reflective tape when applied at night time looked to see just how much more visible reflective equipment can make you when cycling. The results were quite interesting and found simply by having a reflective tape attached to the rear of your bike can make you visible from 256 metres on a road with no lighting whilst the study found that you will be visible of up to 229 metres away if cycling on a well lit road. The study further found that even by having some reflective tape attached to your pedals can make you visible from 146 metres.
Based on the above, it’s a no brainer that you should be riding with at least some reflective tape on you or your bike to help increase your visibility and safety when cycling. Below are some of reflective items we’d recommend buying.
Best Reflective Vest
GoxRunx Reflective Vest
The GoxRunx reflective vest is an ideal option for anyone that is seeking a reflective vest to wear over their existing attire without adding too much warmth. The GoxRunx uses a lightweight and breathable material where you’ll forget you’re wearing it.
Made using reflective strips over front and back of the vest, the GoxRunx provides 360 degrees visibility and will be bound to keep you visible from all directions.a
Included with the GoxRunx reflective vest are two arm or ankle wrist bands which work great especially around your feet to increase visibility on the lower part of your body.
Best Minimal Vest
HiVisible Reflective Vest
The HiVisible is a minimal vest which relies on 4 reflective straps in order to keep you visible on the roads from all angles.
We think this style of vest works great for anyone that is looking for a reflective vest but concerned it may add too much warmth. With the HiVisible Reflective Vest, you will get the reflective benefits without having to worry about whether it will warm you up too much.
Another benefit of the HiVisible Reflective Vest is that because it is so lightweight and minimal, it doesn’t get in the way and you’ll forget you’re wearing it.
Also included with the vest are 4 reflective bands for your wrist or ankle and a carrying bag so you don’t lose them.
Our only criticism of the HiVisible Vestis is that sometimes having to re-adjust the vest when you’re in a rush can be a bit of a pain but not a deal breaker!
Best Race Fit Vest
Craft Sportswear Reflective Vest
For those of us that like to make an effort with how we look on the bike you’re in luck with the Craft Sportswear Reflective Vest which is designed for road cyclists however also works well for us commuters.
Included with the vest are reflective stripes on the front and back of the jacket while also including a pocket on the rear of the jacket which works great for stashing away your mobile phone or wallet.
Our only criticism of the Craft Sportswear Reflective Vest is that due to being designed with polyester, it’s not the most breathable jacket out there and you may find it on the warmer side on warm days.
Best Bike Spoke Reflectors
Jusmar Bike Spoke Reflectors
Reflectors for your bike spokes are a bit different to some of the other accessories we’ve shared in this post but we think they’re a great idea. Similar to lights for your wheels which we’ve reviewed in a previous post, bike spokes are great for increasing your visibility from side on and at a low angle.
Jusmar Bike Spoke Reflectors come with 36 different reflectors to attach to both your front and rear wheels which work great for increasing your visibility on the road.
Attaching the Jusmar reflectors to your bike is a breeze with no fancy tools or glue required. Simply just snap them on to your spokes with the reflectors being designed for all road and mountain bike wheel types.
Best Front and Rear Reflectors
MFC Pro Front and Rear Reflector Kit
We’re sure everyone remembers having a front and rear reflector on their bike once upon a time. Reflectors are something that have stopped appearing on some new bikes in recent years. Design over safety perhaps?
Luckily though, reflector kits are still very much available and cheap too! The MFC Pro reflectors have been designed to fit on a seat post diameter of 22-24mm so generally you shouldn’t have an issue with most commuter bikes however we’d recommend measuring before you buy to be on the safe side.
Physical reflectors like the MFC Pro kit are a great way to add a reflective material to your bike without having to wear it like some of the previous items we’ve recommended. Plus most people would be silly to steal them too so there’s also that you don’t have to worry about!
BSK White Spoke Night Reflectors
Similar to front and rear reflectors which we just mentioned, spoke reflectors are another one that you seem to see less and less of on modern bikes. Once again possibly people prioritising design over safety? Either way though, we think they aren’t that ugly and provide a great and affordable way to keep you lit on your bike at night.
The BSK White Spoke Night Reflectors comes with two reflectors which are available in clear or red. Both are cut to either a rectangle or oval shape.
These only take a few seconds to install on your bike by simply clipping on to your wheel spokes.
Best Reflective Socks
ReflecToes High Reflective Cycling Socks
We’re a big fan reflective equipment where you don’t need to wear additional layers to get the reflective benefits. This is why we’re a big fan of the ReflecToes cycling socks as unless you’re riding in sandals, you would of been wearing socks anyway right?
The ReflecToes differ to most reflective socks by using a Reflective HTL/Fabric instead of a reflective yarn that most sock manufacturers use. You’re probably wondering to yourself, what’s the benefit and why do I care? Reflective HTL Fabric is what’s used for road work uniforms and uses thousands of directionally oriented mirror spheres to reflect more light back. ReflecToes argue that Reflective HTL Fabric can reflect 10-100 times more light than a normal reflective yarn. Pretty impressive!
If bright yellow isn’t your thing, the ReflecToes also come in black and thicker version with a reflective layer applied to the sock.
As these socks have been designed for exercising, they sit well and don’t bunch up like some cheaper socks can do. The last thing you need when you’re riding along in the dark!
We recommend these for anyone that does a lot of night cycling.
Best Reflective Gloves
Craft Sportswear Focus Reflective Gloves
For anyone that does a lot of night time riding, buying reflective gloves is a no brainer and a great way for additional reflective material on you. We recommend the Craft Sportswear reflective gloves which are designed for cyclists.
The Craft Sportswear gloves come with shock-absorbing gel pads across the pressure points in the palm which help provide more comfort on those longer rides.
The only downside with these gloves is that they are not waterproof so you may want to consider another pair if you live somewhere where you are constantly battling the rain, especially in winter!