Buyer's Guide to commuting in the dark
By Matthew Cole | Thursday, November 13, 2008 9.21am
Buyer's Guide to commuting in the dark Brian Bahr /Allsport
The evenings are getting darker earlier and we’ve been digging out as many reflectors, lights and flashing gadgets as we can to light us up on the commute home and evening rides.
You may be doing the same, whether it’s to see or be seen, so we’ve trawled through the reviews on the site to bring you some nighttime kit that should help light you up, from head to toe.
There's a good selection of jackets, gilets and jerseys that are aimed at commuters or have integrated features that will make you more visible in the dark. Here are a few:
Altura Night Vision
Good recreational level all-weather jacket that'll get you noticed.
Altura Women's Night Vision
If you're into night riding, commuting or simply like to blind everyone when someone points a light at you, then look no further than the Altura Night Vision with its more-than-generous slathering of reflectives.
Gore Bike Wear Cosmo Gore-Tex Jacket
Made from Gore-Tex with fully taped seams, the Cosmo keeps out even the heaviest rain. Lots of reflective trim and zipped pockets on the sides, chest and arm.
Ground Effect Doctor Smock
Clever design with high visibility – but not for the worst winter weather.
Altura Night Vision OverTrouser
One for the city: high protection from a well made budget overtrouser.
Proline Hi-Viz Gilet
A high-visibility weatherproof gilet suitable for a range activities.
Adidas Response Thermo Vest
This heavyweight gilet has a great close cut.
Montane Featherlight Velo
Breathable, showerproof and packs down small.
Lightweight and breathable top with spot-on performance.
Lights and high-viz bits
Visibility on the road is an all-important concern, and a legal requirement in most countries, so we've picked out a few recommendations for the front and rear of your bike. Many people ride on cycle paths and country roads once dusk has fallen, so we take a look at some more powerful lights too. We start with supplementary lights - lights that will highlight your presence when used in addition to the usual front and rear combination:
Small blinkers/supplementary lights
Raleigh Micro LED rear light
Tiny, fit-anywhere LED light for back-up or grey-day riding.
Reelight SL100 Flash Compact
Simple, innovative, robust and green – perfect back-ups to your lights.
Sigma Micro Lights
In terms of 'weight-to-light' ratio these are the best we've seen. Stylish and hard to fault.
Commuting lights to be seen
These lights are ideal for inner-city riding, where you want to be seen by motorists and other road users.
For commuting duties the LAA883 gives fantastic visibility and enough light to ride by in return for a tiny dent in your wallet. There are other great lights in this range, but few can compete in terms of value for money.
Loads of light and excellent construction and sealing make this the best-performing rear light, if you don't mind the slightly short runtime.
Units that'll light your way on unlit cycle paths and country roads.
Cateye Singleshot Plus El-610
An excellent all-round light output with a useful beam pattern. Good side visibilty thanks to light spill windows, mounting will fit almost anything and even when heavily tested, it still works almost as well as box fresh - very durable.
AyUp Roadie kit
Powerful enough to use beyond the realms of many commuters' needs, the units are independently adjustable, provide more than enough light to ride by and give a good runtime.
B&M Ixon IQ
The Ixon IQ is our pick for those who have a long commute on the roads with great visibility and a traffic-friendly beam cut-off. It's perfectly adequate for riding at pretty high speeds on full power, while the low power setting is okay to ride with.
For a more in-depth look at commuting lights, head to our commuting lights showdown.
The more reflective items you wear, the more you'll be noticed [in theory] by other road users. Here's our pick of the bunch:
Respro The Hump rucksack cover
Rucksack cover with 3M reflective tape which will light up when illuminated by rearward approaching vehicles.
Respro I-Shots Reflective Strips
Scotchlite reflective stickers - a winter essential that should keep you safe on dark roads.
3M Scotchlite High Visibility Snap Band
A cheap and easy way to add a bit more visibility and keep your trews out of your chainrings too.
Glow Lightweight Safety Belt
This design brings the old-fashioned Sam Browne belt into the 21st century.
We've got loads more Buyer's Guides on the site too, here are some we'd recommend you have a look at to help with your commute:
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