I’ve been wearing a bright yellow Gore Brand cycling jacket over the past few seasons, and I’ve been very happy with it. It replaced another bright yellow jacket since I’ve always been partial to high visibility clothing. However, sometime late last fall, someone rode by me on College St with a ridiculously reflective jacket; I yelled out “nice jacket” and the rider yelled back “reflect 360”. A little searching on the internet turned up the Proviz line of bike jackets, and according to reviews, it seemed that the Reflect 360+ was even a bit better. Unfortunately, they sold out prior to Xmas, but I did manage to get one about a month ago for a late Xmas present.
Under normal lighting, it looks like a grey jacket with small shiny black dots all over it.
However, it is very retroreflective: i.e. when you shine a light directly at it, it will reflect back in the same direction. Here is a side by side comparison with a regular bike jacket, with a bike headlight shining on it and held close to the camera position. If I did a flash picture, the effect is even more pronounced, but it is perhaps a little exaggerated.
(photos: K. Nogami)
You can see that the entire jacket looks as bright as the small pieces of reflective trim on the yellow jacket.
You can also see an interesting optical effect when the jacket is partially wet. (warning: Physics). The droplets look bright in this picture since the water drops redirect light more isotropically than the dry, retrofreflective areas.
Here is the front of the jacket. You can see two small chest pockets (with water resistant zippers) and pitzips as well.
Here is the jacket turned inside out. It is fully lined with mesh and there is one internal pocket.
Looking at the back of the jacket, there is a vent across the upper back, and a zippered pocket on the tail, approximately where typical bike jersey pockets are.
A closeup of the pit zips. I wish they had bidirectional opening, and perhaps some zipper pulls as well.
The detailing at the cuffs.
How do I like it? Well I get lots of comments about it when I’m riding at night, and I can even imagine that drivers give me a bit more space on the road. The only downsides that I see are that it is a bit bulkier than my Gore Tex jacket (being fully lined) and it might not be quite as breathable. Also, water or wet snow doesn’t brush off as easily as a regular waterproof/breathable jacket.
Nevertheless, since I am a big believer in conspicuity, I’m very happy. We’ll see how it holds up, and how hot it will be on those warm, rainy riders when I’ve forgotten my raincape.