Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Darkness comes at 4:00pm at this latitude in the (mild West Coast) winter, so there are plenty of commuting riders in darkness and low light. I am a professional driver who bike-commutes to work, so I see things from both sides. I would stay away from anything that pulsates - it tends to be distracting and annoying. (Small blinky lights are fine). As a trucker, I expect to see lights from the usual places - handlebar height (aim it down, please!) and from the rear, fender height. Gimmicky lights such as z-z-pop! are just annoying (think bull, red flag). This vest in particular does not say 'vehicle' - is says 'what the hell is that? Interestingly, the thing that grabs my attention most on dark streets are the old-fashioned reflector pedals! Who knew?
So yes, there is great interest in being seen at night, but I don't think a self-lit vest is any more visible than a reflective vest in traffic. Also consider the nerd factor.
The demographic doesn't look good either - most bike commuters are price-sensitive, to say the least. At your price point, globally your customer base is a minority within a minority within a minority: White people -> socially-conscious white people -> wealthy socially-conscious white people (you know, the ones that pay three times as much for organic, fair-trade, conflict-free, shade-grown, free-range, gluten-free, recycled...). The rest of the world aspires to buying a car.
The other day I saw a Patagonia T-shirt for a toddler selling for 35.00. It had a slogan on the front. It said "Live Simple'. THESE are the kind of people who pay two hundred dollars for a vest. Unfortunately, they are a tiny market.
Last edited by NVanHiker; 04-13-14 at 12:13 PM.