One issue I have been curious about for quite some time is why bike companies do not paint frames with reflective paint. We have reflectors, reflective tape, and reflective strips on tires, why not reflective paint on frames? It seems like a no brainer to me, but I received one of my lowest grades ever in high school chemistry so I am not the guy to try to figure it out.
One common way to increase visibility is to use reflective tape, however I learned of another solution due to networking. Check out this email I received:
I was just attending the Portland Bike Expo as a vendor and two
seperate people came up to me and said that they read your site
religiously and that I should contact you about getting my product
reviewed... So, I'd love to submit my hack for you guys to review.
My company is called BikeWrappers and I make reflective wraps that go on your bike frame so you can be seen at night. They go on with velcro so there is no permanent adhesive you are putting on your frame and are temporary so you can swap them out between multiple bikes. In addition to being visible to car headlights from a 1/4 mile away, they help to protect your frame from scratches.
After feeling all warm and fuzzy, I responded and asked if the BikeWrappers creator would like to collaborate. He responded in the affirmative and I received a set to review, and he generously agreed to give away a set to a reader. We are working on contest ideas so stay tuned. In the meantime here is the package I received.
On one side is decorative fabric, and there are many choices on the website to choose from.
And on the other side is reflective fabric that looks like this when you point a smart phone camera on it with the flash on.
When I first tried them on I noticed two things.
1) The fabric will stretch, which is good. My downtube is a bit oversized and you can see at the end of the arrow that some of the Velcro is showing. This is no big deal because it does not really impact visibility/reflectivity.
2) The "bad" thing is that these things have the ability to make my bike actually look good. I love the ghetto nature of my bike, and the picture above shows how the BikeWrappers transform the look of the original appearance of my bike.
As far as performance, BikeWrappers do not disappoint. This is a night picture (with flash) without the wrappers -
As I wrote earlier in this entry, we are working on a giveaway so that a reader can receive a set of BikeWrappers, so stay tuned.