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Wheel reflectors

Old 02-27-16, 04:15 AM
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Wheel reflectors

I want to take off the wheel reflectors from my bike. My wife who is a worry wort thinks it is safer to leave them on. My question is who leaves them on or who takes them off. I am going to take them off as I feel they make the wheel out of balance but I will entertain any reasons to leave them on even if I don't follow the advice.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:17 AM
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As an occasional driver, they sure catch my attention when a bike is going perpendicular to me in the dark. I don't think balance is a serious issue. On my bikes they're mounted opposite from the valve stem so they would somewhat act as a counterbalance. That being said, I don't think either has enough mass to have much effect on wheel balance, at least not enough to be worth worrying your wife.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:02 AM
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How much do you ride after dark?

I have no doubt that wheel reflectors make you more visible in the dark. On the other hand, since I don't ride in the dark and since I have so few cool points to spare, I take mine off. YMMV.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:04 AM
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Have them on the commuter (which is ridden in the dark), not on the road bike (which is not)
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Old 02-27-16, 07:12 AM
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You gotta have them for someone to see um.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNL1...eature=related
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Old 02-27-16, 07:18 AM
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I like Reflective tape...no balance problem.

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Old 02-27-16, 07:23 AM
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I have a aftermarket wheelset on my commuter so I added 4 - 3/8" X 1 1/2" strips of reflective tape on each side
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Old 02-27-16, 07:29 AM
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I've got one bicycle with the original wheels, and I keep the reflectors on it; I ride a lot in the dark, so they're useful. I also have a few bicycles with aftermarket wheels, and those didn't come with reflectors. Similar to the other posters above, I added a strip of reflective tape to them for nighttime visibility.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:30 AM
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I take them off because I don't ride after dark, and because I can feel their unbalancing effect on wheel rotation. The last ones I removed were opposite the valve stem, which on most rims is also the same location where the rim is welded together.

I've never cut apart a box rim to see, but I'm thinking there may be an alignment key of sorts inserted into the box at the weld to hold alignment for the weld. I think this because my new VO wheelset, when in the truing stand sans rim tape, tube and tire, settles with the weld at the bottom and the valve hole at the top. The pendulum effect of the rim in the truing stand (man, those are nice bearings) was enough to make me think that the amount of weight drilled out at the valve hole was almost relocated to the weld location. Once the tire was installed this effect was greatly reduced, almost but not quite to nothing, it spun with very good balance. Putting on a reflector will surely cause a balance upset, even a small one. It will be more noticable at higher speeds. At casual, relaxed speeds, you may not notice the weight of the reflector.

Apply reflective strips or paints to spokes or rims (not the braking surface). There are tires with reflective sidewalls. My LHT came with reflective sidewall Conti's. Or, install a matching pair of small reflectors opposite one another, and 90 degrees to the valve.

Steve.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:32 AM
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I leave mine on, then again I use my bike not only for fun but also as my main form of transportation.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:38 AM
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I've taken them off all of my bikes. They are eye catching but I have gone to relying mainly on active lighting for night time visibility. With the advent of high output LEDs and USB rechargable batteries, active lighting has become very practical and economical. I have a bright red multi-led blinking light (two on my touring mutt, one on each seat stay) in the back which is visible from 180 degrees. On the front I have a 240 lumen LED flashlight in a Fenix handlebar mount. It has high, low and flashing settings and is easily visible from a mile away and gives me a clear view of 100 yards or so, even further for reflective objects. I haven't forgone reflectors altogether though. There are lots of alternatives to the afterthought, minimum required by law for retail sale, reflectors that come with bikes. Here are a few of your options:

- There are retroreflectives tapes and pre-cut stickers in a wide variety of colors, including black, that blend with your gear, helmet, frame or whatever by day but that reflect headlights or streetlights at night.
- If you use dual sided pedals, there are low profile reflector kits that don't interfere with clipping in or out and are unobtrusive (at least no more obtrusive than a dual sided pedal) during the daytime.
- Reflective spoke covers snap in place and are easily removable later. You don't have to cover every spoke, two-inch sections on the rim ends of two or four opposing spoke pairs will provide plenty of motion.
- Several companies have tires that have reflective lines on the sidewalls. Nothing says "bicycle" like two big circles crossing the road ahead.
- Mavic has introduced rims with retroreflective finishes. Ditto on the two big circles thing.
- There is a retroreflective spray paint available in both permanent and temporary versions which is said to work on both equipment and clothing (I haven't tried it nor seen it in person, but the online videos are impressive)
- Many helmets and some other equipment, like gloves, have reflective elements.
- Bright/light colored clothing with 3M reflective dots, stripes, etc. is an alternative to permanent or semi-permanent elements on your bike as are reflective wrist and/or ankle bands. I keep a pair of velcro ankle bands wrapped around the outside of my seat bag in case I get stuck out after dark unexpectedly.

Last edited by GravelMN; 02-27-16 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:44 AM
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Wheel reflectors, in my experience, usually buzz and eventually break off, but also look like the thoughtless hacks they are, and do nothing to enhance aesthetic appeal if they don't degrade it.

Yes they increase visibility, but with proper and sufficient active lighting (i.e. lights), I think wheel reflectors add nothing of consequence.

If you won't be lighted at night, then reflectivity is important. I'd go with 10Wheels and use reflective tape over hard plastic reflectors, though perhaps not as exuberantly! Check out Lightweights for products and ideas: Lightweights

Keep in mind that motion is attention-getting, and probably better for being seen than solid brightness, whether talking light mode or reflective accents. Specifically, I think pedal/shoe/leg reflectors are best, wheel reflectors less so due to "persistence of vision" effect, but that will depend on how much tape and riding speed.
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Old 02-27-16, 07:44 AM
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Nothing says Fred like wheel reflectors. Even more so than a dork disk.

Plus:

Cycle Sense: Why Reflectors Don't Work
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Old 02-27-16, 09:08 AM
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Bought tires with the ring of reflective tape applied to the sidewalls.

+ I have LED lights run off a front hub dynamo.
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Old 02-27-16, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Bought tires with the ring of reflective tape applied to the sidewalls.

+ I have LED lights run off a front hub dynamo.
The 9mm wide reflective sidewall of the LIT tire is probably the finest example of the breed.
LIT Ultra Reflective Tire | Elevengear Cycling

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Old 02-27-16, 09:41 AM
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better with disc brakes.. dirt and aluminum from braking covers the reflective stuff over time..

You could clean the sidewalls regularly of course. soap and water...
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Old 02-27-16, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Nothing says Fred like wheel reflectors. Even more so than a dork disk.
Concern over being labeled a "Fred" sounds like a First World "problem."
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Old 02-27-16, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Concern over being labeled a "Fred" sounds like a First World "problem."
And a problem which I don't have to confront.
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Old 02-27-16, 11:47 AM
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Does your wife dress you?
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Old 02-27-16, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL
Does your wife dress you?
Now, now, we don't want to make the OP feel like he's being too much of a Fred, .

Seriously though reflectors can't hurt unless you're worried about the Fred thing; they certainly don't unbalance your wheels.
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Old 02-27-16, 11:56 AM
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I don't think my "road wheels" came with them.

As a general rule, if I'm working on a bike, I leave the reflectors alone unless they get in the way (truing wheels) and then they must come off.

Some appear to be made so one must break them to get them off to service the wheels... so they can't go back on anyway. Others can be remounted, and I'll put them back on when I'm done.
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Old 02-27-16, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Concern over being labeled a "Fred" sounds like a First World "problem."
Yeah, call me whatever you want, I don't care. I haven't taken off the reflectors and haven't taken off the disk either since neither bother anything. I did take off the front reflector to make room for stuff to be mounted to the handlebars. I bought my bike to ride out on the country roads, not to show off how cool looking I am. If I ever need to remove them for maintenance, I'll remove them then.
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Old 02-27-16, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Concern over being labeled a "Fred" sounds like a First World "problem."
Yup. Everybody has a place in their mind where they store all of their worries. We keep it full 100% of the time. If we don't have enough serious things to worry about, we just lower our worry threshold. If the thought of somebody calling you "Fred" upsets you, you are indeed living a blessed life.
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Old 02-27-16, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
How much do you ride after dark?

I have no doubt that wheel reflectors make you more visible in the dark. On the other hand, since I don't ride in the dark and since I have so few cool points to spare, I take mine off. YMMV.
Could not have said it better!
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Old 02-27-16, 06:42 PM
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I'll always choose tires with reflective sidewalls if an option, or use some sort of reflector on the wheel to supplement my lights. I do ride at night, and for transportation.

I may be lacking, but if I thought reflectors or "dork disks" could have any bearing on the quality of my character, I'd be doing some serious soul searching.
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