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Anyone else tried an ilumiNITE jacket?(14 posts)

Anyone else tried an ilumiNITE jacket?Humma Hah
Oct 28, 2001 3:16 PM
I've been commuting at night, and worried that my old windbreakers were not very visible. My favorite is dark grey, my other two are red (not terribly visible at night). I figured a bright yellow one would be better.

I gasped a bit when I saw the price (about $54 on sale, pretty steep for a windbreaker), but then I saw the reflector feature. The entire jacket is a reflector.

I rode with it today, and tonight tried out the reflector feature in the parking lot. From about 100 ft, with my wife modeling and standing in the beam of my 10W bike headlight, it lights up stark white. No way could I be missed.

With the new headlight, the laser-like blinking LED taillight, and this jacket, I may be more visible at night than in the day!
re: Anyone else tried an ilumiNITE jacket?jtolleson
Oct 28, 2001 3:29 PM
My partner rides with one and loves it. And when the zipper broke, Performance gave her a new one, no questions asked. Also, the reflection is deep in the fabric; washing hasn't seemed to reduce it.

And YES, you will be more visible at night than during the day... during the day that jacket looks like plain old boring black ("by day, I'm just a mild-mannered black windjacket; but by night, I am SUPERJACKET, saving lives of cyclists everywhere...")
Thanks for the tip, guys.look271
Oct 28, 2001 4:13 PM
I wondered how they worked. Just might pick one up. I commute @ night, too. (Coming home after midnight.)
I wouldn't be caught dead in the middle of the nite with thatET
Oct 28, 2001 6:04 PM
Just dead without it. :-)

I can't get myself to wear one. I suspect it doesn't do as good a job with the breathability/windbreaking combination either (at least I hope so :-)). I've often wondered if a motorist will find it so offensive he'll just have to zone in on whatever's wearing it and destroy it. :-)

Visibility is on us bike commuters' minds now that the clocks have changed. There are alternatives, aside from the usual blinking lights and more expensive front bike lights, e.g. a high-visibility continuous/blinking armband. Got one from Colorado Cyclist. It ain't cheap. But it sure ain't IlumiNite! :-)
Scared to ride without one now...cory
Oct 28, 2001 6:07 PM
I got a vest off a clearance table at the Performance store in Sacramento last spring...$19 or something. It makes such a huge difference in the amount of space cars give you at night that I get nervous when I don't have it now. I ride a lot on a narrow two-lane road that's straight for almost a mile. Cars coming toward me from the front clearly see me at least half a mile a way and move to their right, away from me.
Nice job getting rid of the gray, too. When I see the things people wear to ride at night, I'm surprised drivers don't kill thousands of cyclists a year.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that these work really well.MB1
Oct 28, 2001 8:16 PM
The beads inside the material are nowhere near as effective as a standard LARGE reflector. They are not as directional as a reflector so they scatter the return light over 180 degrees. In otherwords the return is no where near as bright to a driver as a reflector. We gave up on iluminite and started wearing true reflective strips. Noticeably more reflective from a distance.

Better yet are pedal or ankle reflectors that move as you pedal.
The list of stuff I'm using for safety ...Humma Hah
Oct 29, 2001 6:07 PM
The jacket is only part of the system. I wanted something bright enough that cars could see my turn signals at night (I have a few tricky lane changes). However, I've never counted on being seen, just used it as a backup.

The other elements of being seen: front and rear reflectors on the bike, side reflective tape on the bike, blinking LED taillight, 10W headlight, reflective stripe on the cuff strap on my right pants leg.

I also religiously use the Third Eye mirror, and treat every car I see as a potential killer.
I think this link shows the problems with illuminite.MB1
Oct 28, 2001 8:32 PM
I didn't see the 3M product, but ...Humma Hah
Oct 29, 2001 6:14 PM
... I'd judge the reflectivity of this (new, pristine) IllumiLite jacket as on the order of half the reflectivity of speed limit signs. It definitely is far brighter than bright yellow nylon.

I don't generally machine-wash windbreakers, and was planning to treat this one especially delicately, suspecting that degredation is possible. And dirty films, which degrade any bead-reflective surface, would certainly do so with this jacket. I plan to test it periodically.

I do have one complaint about it so far: the fabric does not breathe (contrary to what the literature said). Sweat condenses inside, particularly in the sleeves. The vented back DOES work well if you don't happen to be wearing a back pack (it was great at lunch today).
When used as part of a philosophy, it's great...Curtis
Oct 29, 2001 6:32 AM
...I've used one for years and I love it. I've heard comments from all manner of of other road users, so it's obvious that it works to some extent.

Having said that, I think it's important to use gear like this as part of a system or, dare I say, a philosophy designed around being seen. An Illuminite jacket by itself is not an effective means of assuring conspicuity. Wearing the jacket with Illuminite tights and Illuminite shoe covers is getting closer. Using the above along with high intensity lighting (I use a dual 10/15 watt handlebar system, a 15 helmet light, a red flasher on the back of my helmet and a bright strobe in my trunk pack) may not guarentee visibility, but it sure comes close.
Now this is more like it. nmMB1
Oct 29, 2001 6:45 AM
ilumiNITE jacket?Dog
Oct 29, 2001 7:10 AM
I think I'd get the ilumNite vest, not the jacket; might be a little more versatile. You can get it at Performance in bright yellow, too.

I think with reflective clothing, you are looking for something that can be seen at angles other than front or back, as you have lighting both of those ways. If people can't see your lights, I doubt they'll see reflective clothing that's probably about 100 times dimmer than a good headlight or rear flasher.

BTW, during the 508, at night the crew said the reflectors that showed up brightest were the little orange (they come in orange and yellow) triangle on the backs of my shoes. The movement really made them stand out, they said. They come from these panels of reflective stick on's that I got at my LBS, but Peformance had them, too: They work really well, and peel off in one piece, rather than shredding itself like some reflective tape. I'm leaving them on my shoes permanently.

A vest would not work with by backpack ...Humma Hah
Oct 29, 2001 6:18 PM
... I specifically wanted the arms to show well, partly because of my pack, partly to show turn signals clearly. I'm using this as my mild-winter riding jacket, with a sweatshirt underneath for colder days.
My vest is standard equipment for my early AM ridesElefantino
Oct 29, 2001 8:09 AM
Even when it's really warm, I'll wear the vest (over bib shorts) because I can be seen more easily. I got mine at a Performance store for $29.99 (a return, and a bargain) and love it.