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illumiNITE clothing expierance questions(11 posts)

illumiNITE clothing expierance questionsMaartin
Sep 12, 2002 6:55 AM
I was wondering other peoples expierance with Illuminite. It seems a good investment for commuting but does it really work ?

1. Does it work at dusk-dawn or just in pitch dark when headlights hit it ?

2. does it wash out or dull with time ?

3. Is it itchy when added to tights ?

Thanks in advance for your imput
re: illumiNITE clothing expierance questionsKEN2
Sep 12, 2002 8:14 AM
I have a couple of jerseys, never had any tights or shorts with Illuminite. My experience is mixed: had my wife follow me in the car at night and found that the built-in reflecting fabric on back of the shoes (Diadora Jalapeno II)and the high-quality (automotive) 1" reflector tape I put on the back of my seat bag are by far the most visible, almost radiant looking. Illuminite appears pretty pale next to those, and really doesn't work at all at dusk. I also use a Vistalite Total Eclipse taillight, that comes in second in the visibility dept., but of course it's active rather than passive, and you need at least one active rear light for safety.

It's not scratchy, but certainly not as soft as my regular jerseys either.

I'd say if you can get it at the same price as a regular jersey then go for it. Not worth extra $$$ IMO.
$13 reflective vest works better, I thinkcory
Sep 12, 2002 8:49 AM
I haven't found any Illuminute clothing that both fits me (XXL Tall) and ISN'T dark blue or black in daylight--I like to show some color to reduce my chances of being squished.
For dusk and night riding, though, I bought one of those highway-worker neon yellow vests with several reflective stripes on it. It's glaringly visible in headlights (I followed my wife in the car the other day to check), and on the country roads where I ride, cars slow down and change lanes several hundred feet away, compared to just a few feet in regular cycling clothes. I've even had drivers slow down and yell out how far back they could see the thing.
re: illumiNITE clothing expierance questionscommuterguy
Sep 12, 2002 11:46 AM
I have commuted with Illuminite for three winters. I have a wind jacket, vest and tights (all from Performance). The other posters are correct in noting that it isn't as bright as reflective tape (like scotch bright), but it does reflect surprisingly well, particularly in dark conditions. The one huge advantage that Illuminite clothing has over strips of reflective tape--even on vests--is that motorists can more easily pick up the size and shape of a moving human body when the entire body is reflecting light back at them. (I have read elsewhere that our brains are hardwired to pick up some images, such as other bodies, which reduces the amount of time it takes for a motorists to interpret the visual cues suggesting that there is a cyclist ahead).

I experience this phenomenon every night: I pass many things that reflect light very efficiently (automobile reflectors, road signs, reflective tape on trailers, emergency response vehicles, etc. etc.) that I initially can't distinquish from joggers and bikers. I have to stare and wait for other information to emerge out of the darkness. However, there is no mistaking a glow-in-the-dark cyclist: I know immediately what it is and how to react. (Another way to illustrate the same point: my commute includes an MUT far away from street lights. I can discern joggers wearing Illuminite about 6 seconds before I am upon them; joggers with some reflective piping on a jacket or reflective details on shoes with about 4 seconds to spare; joggers w/o any reflective surfaces implicitly rely on my reflexes to avoid collisons.)

Final note: Illuminite and other passive, reflexive measures are necessary for night riding, but are not sufficient. I believe you need (and most state laws require) lights front and back. I think a single 12 watt halogen bulb is the bare minimum for a headlight, and a good (I use Vistalight) red blinky for the rear. It boggles my mind that so many people ride after dark with no lights, or with only a POS 2 AA cell white blinky in the front.
wow! 12 watt bare minimum?JS Haiku Shop
Sep 12, 2002 12:06 PM
i've recently experienced 2.4, 5, 10, 12, and 15 watt-lit night riding, first hand. IMHO, 12-watt would be sufficient (for me) for fast, technical mtb night rides. 2.4 watt commuter lights worked well for climbing and slow riding, 5 watt for normal speeds, 10 watt for faster or descending, and a helmet-mounted 5-10 watt supplements descents.

though 12 watt would be nice, and light up the whole lane and up the road some, you'd sure pay the price with run time, and--literally--the price.

then again, all imho.
wow! 12 watt bare minimum?commuterguy
Sep 12, 2002 1:13 PM
I was writing from my own commuting experience, which includes a long stretch that is lighted only by the moon. I ride a road bike, a little slower than I would during daylight, but still at a decent clip (17-19 mph cruising speed). I also have probably below-average eyesight (corrected by glasses, but, carrot-chomping notwithstanding, my night vision is not the greatest). I find, with just one 12 watt halogen bulb (Performance viewpoint), I expend a lot of mental energy processing visual information. My route includes the usual hazards (broken glass and potholes in the city; sticks, stones and dog droppings on the MUT, occasionally low-hanging branches and vines above it).

As a for-instance for the hazards I face, one night I was following (not drafting) a guy on a mountain bike. He had a good light, and was going at a good clip. I remembered from the ride in that a construction zone was ahead, with a detour around it. This was marked by a chain with a red ribbon on it. This guy just about clotheslined himself--he saw it at the last minute and panic-stopped safely. If he had anything less than 12 watts, there's no way he stops in time.

This is an unusual occurence, but it happens. So a lower-wattage bulb would work most of the time (maybe even 99% of the time). But for me, and a lot of other year-round commuters, at least once a winter (my ride home is dark from the fall-back to the spring ahead time changes) you're going to encounter a situation where you need more. Maybe in half of these cases, you'll still make it unscathed (if a little scared). But in the other half....

Yes, good lights are costly. But a disproportionate number of cycling injuries and fatalities occur during nighttime rides w/o adequate lights (riding w/o a helmet and RUI are the other big risk factors). So I feel quite strongly that, if you are going to ride at night, you really need to (1) face up the risks you are facing and (2) realize that you will have to spend some $ better your odds.

For context: as a society, we value a statistical life--ie., the probability of avoiding a single instance of premature mortaliy across a large population--at $6 million. Upgrading from a 2 watt to a 12 watt headlamp will cost around $60 (I just got a 12 watt helmet light for $90). If one only values one's own life at the rate that society values a person chosen at random, the upgrade is C/E if it reduces your risk of a fatality by one in a hundred thousand. Most people would place a higher value on their own life, which would tranlate in a smaller risk reduction being needed to pass the C/E test.
insightful response, well written, good points...thanks!!! nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 12, 2002 1:16 PM
I am looking at the Performance Items you mentionedMaartin
Sep 12, 2002 12:14 PM
Thanks for the input. The Performance jacket is yellow and illuminite and tights black that I am considering. It is not more than regular clothes so I will buy it. I do use two rear lights and one front white light with a small helmet light (very handy) also. I go like hell before it gets dark and then go even faster to get home !
re: illumiNITE clothing expierance questionsJS Haiku Shop
Sep 12, 2002 12:11 PM
my experience with illuminte is limited to its use on accessories: camelbak, primarily. seems to work well and as advertised, and i've had many comments on it. the camelbak has been used for about a year, and has been washed--cold, gentile cycle--3 times.

i'd second other posters' comments regarding reflective tape and vests/"storm-trooper" belts. i purchased two strips of 3m tape (marketed by jandd) and cut 'em up for use on bike, shoes, and helmet. it's certainly most visible, and as such for some distance, and has received the most comments and compliments. the tape is actually light grey in color, so it blends well with silver or white/light-colored accessories.

on dark rides i've seen some highway crew vests and those "storm trooper" belts, and both seemed to do the job exceptionally well. i also used jandd commuter straps on both ankles on recent night rides, and they seemed to work pretty well. $3.50 or so, each.

add to that a red rear LED and a front light, and you're in business.
Rode all winter with an illuminite windbreaker ...Humma Hah
Sep 12, 2002 1:48 PM
My own tests show that my jacket, when new, lit up like a reflectorized street sign when hit by headlights, although it is probably about 1/3 as bright. Very visible in the dark. My jacket is yellow, so it is also visible in daylight. The black ones would probably be marginal at dusk.

Cars avoid me like radioactive waste when I ride with that jacket after dark. Coming from behind, they evidently can see me at least half a mile back.

If dirty, it will certainly get dull, just as a dirty road sign loses its reflectivity. The bounce-back effect of the material is ruined by anything that diffuses the light. Hand-wash the jacket gently when dirty.

My windbreaker does have a breathing panel in the back, but it is so impermeable that I sweat horribly in it. It is OK for my short commutes, but for any long ride I'd be SOAKED with my own sweat in no time flat.
just FYItheBreeze
Sep 12, 2002 2:41 PM
If you decide to give the illumiNITE a try, Campmor (catalog or www.campmor.com) has jackets, vests and tights at good prices. Jackets and vests available in yellow.