Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I would like to buy some reflective tape to stick on my wheels and to my frame to increase visibility at night.

From a look on ebay, it seems there's a variety of different types of reflective tapes with lots of different certifications and prices.

Can anyone tell me what the type I should be looking for that is most suitable to be stuck onto a bike?

share|improve this question
    
Whatever works. For the wheels I still prefer the purpose-made reflectors that bolt between the spokes. For the rear of the bike there's no good reason to not have a blinking LED taillight. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 20 '13 at 12:13
    
Fiks:Reflective sells reflective decals for your wheel, made to fit most wheel sizes. ridewithfiks.com –  Benzo Apr 20 '13 at 15:08
    
I've also had good luck with this reflective tape from amazon. Very durable and visible at night. I use the yellow color, that's the only one I have experience with. amazon.com/JVCC-REF-7-Engineering-Grade-Reflective/dp/… –  Benzo Apr 20 '13 at 15:09
add comment

1 Answer 1

Most reflective tapes are quite suitable. I've had good luck with 3M and Avery brands in general, but you need to strike a balance between cost and effectiveness. For example, SOLAS (safety of life at sea) tape is what is used on rescue buoys, life rafts, life vests... it is fantastically reflective and similarly expensive.

Other tapes have a finer surface, but still reflect very well. I would recommend only getting white tape as it is the most visible. In terms of placement, here are some ideas:

  • On the inside of your rims between the spokes. You'll have to cut individual strips that do not overlap the braking surface. (This is similar to Velocity's reflective rim coating except that it costs much less and you don't have to build a wheel around it.) Even better would be to cover one half of the rim so that when it rotates the effect seems to blink.

  • On the backs and fronts of your seat stays and fork legs.

  • On the backs and fronts of your crank arms to bring attention to your pedaling motion.

  • On pedals or toe clips for the same reason.

  • Your helmet and other accessories so you're visible off the bike as well.

Clean everything with alcohol or some other solvent (especially your rims) to help the tape stick. In my experience, you shouldn't expect to get the tape off so be confident about the placement.

Visibility is a great feature for night riding, but don't skimp on your lights! A bright headlight is an absolute must for any serious night riding as well as two taillights (one as a back up in case your primary goes dead.) Dynamo lighting is a smart investment if you're riding at night very frequently (but you'd still want to use a backup taillight.)

share|improve this answer
    
I disagree about only recommending white. I prefer other colors since in the city there are a lot of white lights around, so you don't stand out as much as you might with orange, yellow, or another color. Other colors may also stand out more in low light conditions like at dawn / dusk where the reflective material is less effective due to the high amount of ambient light. –  Benzo Apr 20 '13 at 15:23
    
I've used red, yellow, and white reflective tape for various projects. From my perspective, at least, white is by far the brightest and most noticeable regardless of ambient light. –  WTHarper Apr 20 '13 at 20:15
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.