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Old 09-12-08, 12:03 AM   #1
mechBgon
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Iron-on reflective tape pictures :)

I recently got a neon-lime riding jacket, and decided to add reflective tape to it. I chose the iron-on 3M reflective tape instead of the sew-on stuff, since I'm probably even worse at sewing than I am at ironing The ironing didn't go as well as I'd like but the reflectivity is pretty good, so I thought I'd post some photos.

I particularly wanted the reflective treatment on the arms, so that motorists have an easier time seeing my arm signals in the dark. It also adds quite a lot of reflective surface when viewed from the front and sides. Now if we could just get the motorists to all turn their headlights on when they ought to...

I had some tape left over, so I also striped the back of a pair of full-fingered gloves, and put a stripe down each leg of a pair of cheap athletic pants I'll probably use for commuting as temperatures begin to get lower.


Side view. There are two 2-inch stripes on the tail of the jacket, which comes further down than my reflective vest does (see picture #3). I also have a stripe down the side of the torso. This photo shows the tape more realistically than the next two photos, I think.


Front view. The backs of my gloves are reflecting well here, too. That's 3M Scotchlite adhesive tape on my helmet, and Jog-A-Light reflective legbands.


Rear view (in this photo, I'm also wearing my ANSI Class II neon-lime vest over the jacket).

Photos shot using a Fenix L2D next to the camera as the illumination source, on lowest power, at a range of about 10 meters. The first photo is more representative of the reflectivity than the last two, which show the tape a bit too bright.

Disclaimer: as most of you already know, reflective material only looks bright if the viewer (1) has lights, (2) the lights are actually turned on, and (3) the lights are aimed at you, and (4) the viewer's lights are close to their line of sight, so that some of the reflected light comes back to the viewer's eyes. Without illumination from my flashlight, I'd barely show up at all in these pictures unless I had my own lights turned on. Reflective material will never substitute for actual lights on your bike.

Last edited by mechBgon; 09-13-08 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 09-12-08, 12:16 AM   #2
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There was this movie called "Tron"...
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Old 09-12-08, 12:41 AM   #3
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There was this movie called "Tron"...
haha lightcycles!
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Old 09-12-08, 01:04 AM   #4
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There was this movie called "Tron"...
Oh great, now I have to learn a whole new set of sound effects to make when I'm riding
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Old 09-12-08, 05:44 AM   #5
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Wow, that really lights you up!

A person would have to be DRUNK to miss you.
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Old 09-12-08, 05:59 AM   #6
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Wow, that really lights you up!

A person would have to be DRUNK to miss you.
Or drunk to hit you, depending on how you consider it.
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Old 09-12-08, 06:15 AM   #7
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Dude, you're glowing!

Good to see you around again.
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Old 09-12-08, 06:21 AM   #8
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hey mechBgon - nice iron work! can you post a pict of that setup in daylight? I want to see how the gray arm stripe changes your outline after the sun comes up. particularly from the front.
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Old 09-12-08, 06:51 AM   #9
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Dude, you're glowing!

Good to see you around again.
How could you miss him! :-D

-Jon
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Old 09-12-08, 07:11 AM   #10
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There was this movie called "Tron"...
"Tron" FTW!!!!!
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Old 09-12-08, 08:55 AM   #11
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hey mechBgon - nice iron work! can you post a pict of that setup in daylight? I want to see how the gray arm stripe changes your outline after the sun comes up. particularly from the front.
Sure thing, I'll try to shoot a photo before I jam for work this morning, and post it when I get home.


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Good to see you around again.
Thanks!
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Old 09-12-08, 09:10 AM   #12
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Dude, you rock.
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Old 09-12-08, 10:59 AM   #13
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Ok, here's the daylight picture:

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Old 09-12-08, 12:45 PM   #14
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Wow! A superb job! THAT is what a cycling jacket should look like!

I have never understood why cycling clothiers used reflective material so sparingly. Especially for things marketed towards commuters.

Nice job!
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Old 09-12-08, 01:15 PM   #15
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Keep us posted on how that iron on stuff holds up. And where did you get the ANSI vest?


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Old 09-12-08, 01:17 PM   #16
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I know what I'll be dressing up as for Halloween this year.
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Old 09-12-08, 01:26 PM   #17
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Keep us posted on how that iron on stuff holds up. And where did you get the ANSI vest?
Will do I got the ANSI vest from here: http://www.safetygearonline.com/prod...?tid=4&pid=182 I added a stripe of the iron-on stuff around the bottom of the ANSI vest too, as my "practice run." So if I wear both the vest and my modified jacket, I have six inches of the iron-on stuff across my rear (as you may be able to see in the third photo), plus the ANSI vest's own reflective tape.
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Old 09-12-08, 01:33 PM   #18
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How do you find the flexibility of the tape? I was looking at the site, and they only have small pics with little detail. I am considering getting the sew on kind and have a friend sew on the strips onto my jackets,.....

Also, I use a Pearl Izumi Jacket which is some kind of polyesther,... what is your shell made of and how did it take to the ironing?

Any close-up pics of the adheered tape to your jacket and the tape itself showing how it flexes with the contours of the jacket material would be MUCH appreaciated. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 09-12-08, 02:20 PM   #19
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Man you really light up in that jacket. You done a good job.


.......but you'd still scare the beejesus out of me if I saw you in my headlights.
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Old 09-12-08, 02:54 PM   #20
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My eyes hurt from those pictures, I WANT SOME!
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Old 09-12-08, 03:06 PM   #21
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...I use a Pearl Izumi Jacket which is some kind of polyesther,... what is your shell made of and how did it take to the ironing?
Hirosima - I'm not sure which PI jacket you're referring to but if it's a laminated polyester like my Canari Eclipse - be warned that the iron-on tape will not stick well and will likely start peeling quickly like mine did. To be fair, the directions did make a clear point of mentioning this, I just chose to ignore the them. Lessoned learned...I ruined the jacket.
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Old 09-12-08, 11:43 PM   #22
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How do you find the flexibility of the tape?
The tape is not flexible when it's being ironed, because it's attached to a protective paper covering. After the paper is removed, the reflective tape is flexible like the fabric.

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Also, I use a Pearl Izumi Jacket which is some kind of polyesther,... what is your shell made of and how did it take to the ironing?
My shell is also a Pearl Izumi. The fabric itself had no problem with the ironing. Like Cygnus67, I knew when I started that the iron-on tape might not stick to the fabric well. It does seem to stick to the fabric, but I plan to hand-wash the jacket in the future so it lasts as long as possible.

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Any close-up pics of the adheered tape to your jacket and the tape itself showing how it flexes with the contours of the jacket material would be MUCH appreaciated. Thanks for the heads up.
Certainly Here are some photos:







As you can see in the photos, I should've avoided ironing the reflective tape over seams. The result doesn't look very good when you're holding the jacket in your hands, but my main goal is how it works out in the real world, and it definitely works as a safety enhancement. People who are considering making a reflective jacket like this might want to buy a cheap shell in neon-lime (example at Performancebike.com), and work on that, instead of using an expensive jacket like I did. I also suggest using short or medium pieces of tape, instead of trying to use long, continuous pieces like I did.

The tape went much easier on the legs of those athletic pants. I wish I had some more tape so I could also do that to my tights. Maybe I'll get some more.

Also, if you're deciding between the sew-on or the iron-on tape... look again at the first two pictures. My rear pannier has a stripe of the sew-on tape, and it doesn't seem to show as well (it is also much older, though). But it's still much better than even the "screaming yellow" non-reflective cloth that the jacket's made of.

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Old 09-13-08, 07:57 AM   #23
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Thanks for the daylight shot - I'm glad to see it doesn't kill your outline! My next modified jacket will have the arm stripe.

Regarding how well the iron on tape holds up. I used a jacket with the iron on stuff for winter. Washed probably 10-12 times. No problems at all. Still adhers fully. I only stopped using that jacket when I decided the tape I used is not reflective enough. I used some flourescent orange tape thinking it'd be more visible in the daytime than the silver. It has a very narrow angle of reflection.
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Old 09-15-08, 12:54 PM   #24
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Thanks to mechBgon for the detailed pictures and great description. I think I am going to beg a co-worker who sews to put some sew-on fabric on my jackets and vests. If that fails, I think the iron-on stuff is the way to go. Thanks again for the detail and for taking the time to get me those extra shots. Very much appreciated!
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Old 09-15-08, 03:50 PM   #25
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Does anyone know if you can use iron-on reflective tape on lycra shorts and synthetic materials (namely Nashbar Essential Jersey and/or Performance Century II Long Sleeve Jersey)? I'd hate to try it out only to ruin a perfectly good jersey or shorts.
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