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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-02-07, 10:23 PM   #1
hanshananigan
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Would you recommend an Illuminite jacket for commuting?

I'm digging several of those sold by night-gear.com:
http://www.night-gear.com/Reflective...ar/Jackets.htm
Pit zips or removable sleeves seem essential - I'm not sure I need or want drop tails (I have fenders), hood, or 3M tape.

Performance.com has a couple Illuminite jackets as well, though they don't offer much description.

Any recommendations for these or other commuter jackets?

THANKS!
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Old 12-03-07, 12:47 AM   #2
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If you're interested in them mainly for the reflectivity, you could always use some other jacket and just wear a $10 reflective vest over it. Otherwise, the only cycling jacket I have experience with is the Evap from Foxwear, which I like quite a bit.
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Old 12-03-07, 12:53 AM   #3
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I have heard they are defective and aren't all they are cracked up to be http://www.raveworx.com/LED-Reflecti...er-pr-457.html I found this, they have metal adhesive and are much more illuminating than strips.
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Old 12-03-07, 12:54 AM   #4
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I have one similiar to the 2 in 1 vis jacket. It does not breath. Feels like a sauna inside. I prefer to just use my night vest.
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Old 12-03-07, 02:05 AM   #5
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I bought this one a couple weeks ago. It is just a windbreaker shell. I'm using it as my top layer, with a sweatshirt under it and a base layer wicking shirt under that. This setup is fine for the weather we've had lately (~30F mornings). It hasn't rained on me yet so I can't speak to the waterproof qualities, but it claims water resistance. It is a good windstopper. It has a draft flap in the rear which I like. I like a rear flap better than pit zips because it breathes very well if I get warm and unzip the front. It is just as breathable as a cheap windbreaker I already own that isn't waterproof at all. Much more breathable and lightweight than my Columbia "breathable" waterproof jacket.

As far as being seen, I like it. The reflective quality of the sleeves and shoulders isn't as bright as silver reflective tape or other white reflective material common on bags, but I like the look. I think it is much more stylish than a one-tone brightly colored jacket (mine is the bright yellow color, with black illumilite sleeves and shoulders). The reflective qualities are definitely better than none at all.

I looked in several LBSs before I bought it. It would have cost me at least $90 for a similar water resistant wind stopper in a store here, with no reflective qualities. Very much worth the $60 Performance is asking (and coupons are everywhere for performance).

I read negative reviews by people here who didn't own one, before I bought it. I'm glad I went ahead and made the purchase. I wanted functional stylish and visible, and that is what I got. It is true that you could wear a construction worker vest over any jacket and be more visible, but I like it when female drivers flirt with me, so I try to look cool .

I attached a flash-photo. You can compare the reflectability to the silver reflective tape on my crank arm and the reflective sidewall on my Schwalbe tire. It is decent, slightly less than the reflector tape and about the same as the white-colored sidewall on the tire (but the jacket sleeve is black in normal lighting)
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Old 12-03-07, 02:15 AM   #6
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Not very breathable. Good water protection, though. I've used mine more off the bike than on it.
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Old 12-03-07, 02:27 AM   #7
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Good water protection.? Since applying heat ( the jackets don't breath) to water concentrates water, I am not sure whether water has greater density ; inside or outside the jacket. When not exercising and the temperatures are cold, they are great for visibility on dark streets.
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Old 12-03-07, 08:06 AM   #8
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Absolutely. I'm a huge fan of the stuff. IMHO, anything that helps you stand out as a person and not just a weird mesh of reflective taping on frames, racks, lights, etc, is a really good thing. It works very well. There are some vests and jackets which may have greater visibility, but they tend to just be lines of reflective material; they don't make you look like a person the way illuminite does by reflecting your torso & arm shape.

I'm on my 2nd illuminite jacket. I also have illuminite helmet cover, gloves, headband, and even my kid's halloween bags are made from it, too.

The performance brand illuminte jacket (which was completely covered in it) did not breathe well. The newer one that I got directly from www.illuminite.com breathes much better. This is the jacket I currently have http://www.illuminite.com/Catalog/Cycling/81706.htm


The illuminite customer service is excellent as well. After I tore my first jacket in a wreck my replacement had a bad zipper. The illuminite ppl took care of it immediately and professionally.



Illuminite doesn't replace the need for lights, relfectors or reflective tape, but if you're going to be wearing a jacket anyway it can add to the whole package, in my opinion dramatically enhancing your visibility.

Last edited by littlewaywelt; 12-03-07 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 12-03-07, 08:20 AM   #9
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little way. I agree. Its very effective stuff. Just many of us find it really hot and moist on the inside.
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Old 12-03-07, 06:06 PM   #10
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I have Illuminite arm warmers and booties, but I think a reflective vest is a much better idea than Illuminite. A reflective vest modified with 3M Diamond Grade reflective tape is even better. And said vest with LEDs is better still.
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Old 12-03-07, 06:16 PM   #11
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I've had one for about 4 years...... use it as long as it stays above 40 degrees. I have been generally happy with it over the years. I used to double up with fleece and ride it most of the winter....but last year I switched to a sugio winter jacket. But in general it is a good jacket at a good price.
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Old 12-04-07, 12:06 AM   #12
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I'm not a fan of Illuminite. Although it is better than nothing, the reflection off it is quite dim compared to real reflective gear. Besides, it's really not visible at all in low light conditions or if it's really rainy. You're better off with bright colors and something that's more reflective.

I wear an Altura hi viz jacket with reflective panels http://www.cyclestore.co.uk/productD...productID=4617 but there are other decent ones on the market.
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Old 12-04-07, 07:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
I'm not a fan of Illuminite. Although it is better than nothing, the reflection off it is quite dim compared to real reflective gear. Besides, it's really not visible at all in low light conditions or if it's really rainy. You're better off with bright colors and something that's more reflective.

I wear an Altura hi viz jacket with reflective panels http://www.cyclestore.co.uk/productD...productID=4617 but there are other decent ones on the market.
Not true. It's not quite as bright as many vests, but it is very very bright, especially the new version. In low light it's highly visibile when a car's headlight hits it, and in low light reflectivity is less important imo, than brightly colored clothing like lime, yellow, orange, etc.
Rain does, however dramatically affect it. The new style, though not as much as the old style.

I agree it's not as bright as a few vests out there, but illuminte makes you look like a person, not a bunch of lines, which tape on a bicycle can do a fine job of.
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Old 12-04-07, 07:34 AM   #14
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I got one from Performance a couple of years ago and love it. I use it as my rain jacket and outer shell in cold weather. The pit vents come in usefull when afternoon rides are warmer than the morning ride. It's fairly water repellant and windproof, the tail flap is a nice touch when you're fenderless, and the removable hood and reflective parts are nice features. In addition, I'm much larger than the average cyclist and this jacket is roomy and comfortable. The only down side is that it's baggy and seems to catch the wind that a tighter jacket wouldn't, it feels like you're wearing a sail when there's a good breeze.
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Old 12-04-07, 09:26 AM   #15
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Check out this website.

http://www.stridelite.com/
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Old 12-04-07, 10:39 AM   #16
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I like, but don't love mine.
The reflective stuff is on black, which seems like a bad idea. The bright colors are on the front, not the back, of teh ones I own.
They could be more reflective.
That said, they work as jackets quite nicely. I have a windstopper jersey that has illuminate on it that is a favorite of mine. Really cuts wind well. And some reflective can't hurt, right?


NOW: What about the Stridelight? My wife commutes on busy streets and I'm considering this jacket. Anyone tried it?
I may start a seperate thread about it.
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Old 12-04-07, 11:00 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by littlewaywelt View Post
Not true. It's not quite as bright as many vests, but it is very very bright, especially the new version. In low light it's highly visibile when a car's headlight hits it, and in low light reflectivity is less important imo, than brightly colored clothing like lime, yellow, orange, etc.
Rain does, however dramatically affect it. The new style, though not as much as the old style.

I agree it's not as bright as a few vests out there, but illuminte makes you look like a person, not a bunch of lines, which tape on a bicycle can do a fine job of.
I agree that it gives you the outline of a person, but what's really important is not so much to look like a person, but to look like a cyclist. This can be done with reflective material in the right places. For example, the movement from a good ankle strap is quite eye catching.

It can be bright if the light hits it at the right angle, it can't be seen from nearly as far away as other reflective surfaces which is an issue on highways and it's pickier about angles than other options. The rain is a serious problem in twilight and dark conditions, particularly if there is lots of spray and grime.

I believe in wearing bright colors always because light conditions can change on you. Bright colors are necessary when your visibility doesn't come so much from active and passive lighting.
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Old 12-04-07, 11:24 AM   #18
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I wear an Illuminite jacket purchased off of Nashbar 2 years ago. Outside of the cheap zippers I like it. it's light, It has a back horizontal vent and pit zips and a pocket on the back where I keep my supply of hand warmers. It is water and wind proof. Just about everything I need in a jacket. It is also an ugly red color. I can not speak for how well it lights up but I do not run into many issues with cars on my commute to and from work. I assume it does OK. I have so much reflectivity ( Conspicuity?) on my bike it really wouldn't matter if the jacket is working 100% as claimed.
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Old 12-05-07, 10:51 AM   #19
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I agree that it gives you the outline of a person, but what's really important is not so much to look like a person, but to look like a cyclist. This can be done with reflective material in the right places. For example, the movement from a good ankle strap is quite eye catching.

It can be bright if the light hits it at the right angle, it can't be seen from nearly as far away as other reflective surfaces which is an issue on highways and it's pickier about angles than other options. The rain is a serious problem in twilight and dark conditions, particularly if there is lots of spray and grime.

I believe in wearing bright colors always because light conditions can change on you. Bright colors are necessary when your visibility doesn't come so much from active and passive lighting.
Angles? If someone's driving their headlights are exactly on the right angle. All that's necessary is that the person's eyes follow the same path as the light source. The angle of the jacket to the lights is irrelevant. Have you actually owned or used illuminte? It lights up to any driver with headlights on.

Grime doesn't affect it. My current jacket hasn't been washed in 6months of nearly daily use. It is unaffected by grime. What affects it (the old style coating) is the water droplets refracting the light. it's 1000% better on the new style with regard to rain.

Illuminte jackets can be had in nearly any color. Mine is lime green. It's incredibly visible in any lighting condition.

No, it's not as reflective at a distance as say 3m tape or diamond tape, but the point is that you likely already have that on your bike, wheels, bag, etc. An illuminte jacket is one extra thing. And for what it's worth you can see it at least 1000 ft. That's plenty.
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Old 12-05-07, 11:29 AM   #20
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Angles? If someone's driving their headlights are exactly on the right angle. All that's necessary is that the person's eyes follow the same path as the light source. The angle of the jacket to the lights is irrelevant. Have you actually owned or used illuminte? It lights up to any driver with headlights on.

Grime doesn't affect it. My current jacket hasn't been washed in 6months of nearly daily use. It is unaffected by grime. What affects it (the old style coating) is the water droplets refracting the light. it's 1000% better on the new style with regard to rain.

Illuminte jackets can be had in nearly any color. Mine is lime green. It's incredibly visible in any lighting condition.

No, it's not as reflective at a distance as say 3m tape or diamond tape, but the point is that you likely already have that on your bike, wheels, bag, etc. An illuminte jacket is one extra thing. And for what it's worth you can see it at least 1000 ft. That's plenty.
I've had at least one illuminite item or the past 5 years. What I have left right now are leg warmers, and gloves. Illumunite is not visible from nearly as far away as proper reflective gear. This may not be an issue in town, but most of my riding is on 2 lane highways where the cars move about 65mph (speed limit is 55). I need to be seen from far away where headlights don't really reach so that when I cross bridges that have no usable shoulder, the motorists aren't surprised. Road reports from motorists and my own testing indicate that there is a huge difference between different kinds of reflective materials. Illuminite improves your visibility, but I wouldn't describe it as the good stuff.

A huge percentage of my night commuting is in wet conditions. The road is busy so much of my ride is in spray and grime. It covers, my bike, lights, and anything I'm wearing with a grayish brown tinge. It is enough to noticeably dim my 13W HID, soften the visually obnoxious hi viz jacket I wear as well as even the best reflective tape. It definitely makes Illuminite less visible.

While it is true that you have other markings that identify you as a cyclist, the reason I like to have highly reflective stuff on my jacket is that is up high at eye level and also gets less grime than the stuff that's down low. Moving pedals are great, but you want stuff on your arms and back.

Especially when riding in storms, you need every visibility advantage you can get. Even on clear nights, people overdrive their lights. Add water, fog, etc, and the degree to which they do so is just stupid. I should say that I probably am more paranoid about visibility than most. I have never encountered a cyclist on the roads at night who I thought was as visible as I am.

What I do like about the Illuminite jackets is that they look more like regular jackets when you are off the bike.
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