My eyes! New dhb Flashlight jacket and jerseys reviewed

Flashlight jacket reflective

What trickery is this, sun during the night?! This stuff is bright. It is reflective and it is bright. Did I say it was bright?

I am not usually one for neon colours (although I happen to think that neon pink actually looks quite good on me). I generally prefer my urban cycling gear to be somewhat muted and subtle. I really like that reflective material which is black until a light is shined on it. I think I never really fully outgrew my greb stage.

However, sometimes there are times when bright is needed and can help make you just that bit safer. At this time of the year, when you are going to and from work in the not-quite-dark, high-viz needs to be both a bright colour and reflective to be most effectively seen. It is certainly a good addition to a safety kit for cycling around London, although by no means a failsafe on its own.

dbh are well known on this blog and in cycling circles for producing good quality, functional and affordable clothing. Their current Flashlight range is no exception.

Flashlight Windproof XT Cycling Jacket – £45

This jacket is a great outer layering piece and I can see it serving me well all through autumn, winter and spring. It is light weight and can be worn over a tshirt or over a warmer jumper/baselayer/jacket in cooler weather.

Flashlight jacket in London

The cut is typical cyclist with a long, scooped back and longer than normal sleeves. This is good even in a city as it means you don’t get cold wrists and you don’t have to constantly pull your jacket down at the back. It also means that some of the bright jacket can be seen below your rucksack, should you use one for your commute. My favourite reflective areas are the ones on the sleeves: when signalling it is nice to know that your arm is visible to traffic.

The fabric of the jacket is windproof nylon. It has elasticated cuffs to keep the wind from getting where you don’t want it. There is a large vent on the back along with some meshy fabric under the arms to let the hot air out. As it is a windproof it is more breathable than a waterproof and therefore more comfortable in a a greater range of temperatures and activity levels.

It is a little sweaty when placed directly next to your skin, but with a layer underneath it is very comfortable. dhb make some really good merino base layers which would work very well.

Mens flashlight jacket

This jacket serves a purpose and is certainly only an on-bike garment. It is not going to win any style awards anytime soon but it will help to get you seen and cut out the windchill. It will also keep light precipitation off. It is certainly a good jacket to keep in your bag and chuck on over your regular street clothes.

Available for £45 from Wiggle

Flashlight Jerseys – £35 & £40

The jerseys come in a short sleeved and a long sleeved version. For commuting purposes the long sleeve one works quite well as an outer layer in the cooler mornings and evenings when a jacket isn’t necessary but you want something a little technical.

Mens flashlight jersey

The jerseys have everything you would expect from a cycling jersey, including a zip neck, rear pockets and tacky stuff on the hem. These are not all features you necessarily need to cycle around the city. However, the big reflective patches are very useful.

Flashlight jersey reflective

Personally I tend to get hot when I cycle, especially when I am commuting 5-10 miles each way. As long as it is not below about 8°C then I like the wind to cool me down so a highviz jersey is perfect in the evening.

Available from Wiggle for £40 & £35

Review Conclusions

Reflective items are useful additions for certain weather conditions and roads. We are not saying they are absolutely necessary, but sometimes they just make you feel that little safer. It certainly can’t hurt. These pieces are practical and very affordable. For most weather London will throw at you during your commute, a windproof is more than adequate and this one from dhb is a good choice if you only want to wear it on your bike.

The jersey is one of these pieces that is useful if you change for your commute. I tend to change my top if I have the chance so the long sleeve version definitely could find a space in my regular rotation. The short sleeve version is probably less useful for most commutes – it is usually cold by the time it is dark. However, it might have a place for you, and it is certainly worth considering if you have irregular commute times in the warmer weather.

Do you feel reflective items are useful for your particular brand of London Cycling? Is there a particular wind shirt you could not live without? Let us know!

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7 Responses to My eyes! New dhb Flashlight jacket and jerseys reviewed

  1. MJ Ray 30/09/2015 at 10:33 am #

    They might make you “feel safer” but is that a good thing or does it mean you’ll take more risks unconsciously? There’s no evidence that hi viz improves outcomes, is there? It’d be surprising because we’re not invisible anyway: our bikes have lights and reflectors – it’s just the next step in the transfer of blame from motorists to cyclists that the CTC opposed for nearly a century. When will we admit CTC is correct and use the law to expect motorists to look more carefully, instead of encouraging cyclists to look ever less human?

    • Vincent 30/09/2015 at 12:59 pm #

      We all know that the real solution is 1) installing bike tracks on 50km/h roads and 2) lowering the speed limit to 30km/h where segregation isn’t possible.

      In the meantime, wearing hiviz clothes makes sense.

      From experience, I can tell motorists and pedestrians pay more attention to me since I started wearing a hiviz vest a couple of years ago, even in broad daylight.

      As Karl Lagerfeld says: It’s yellow, it’s ugly, it goes with nothing, but it can save your life”.
      http://www.italiq-expos.com/news/images/Automobile/securite/lagerfeld-secu-routiere.jpg

      • MJ Ray 01/10/2015 at 1:42 pm #

        And my experience is that it didn’t help. There doesn’t seem to be any data that it does in general – did you ask Mr Lagerfeld what evidence he has for his claim?

        I agree with Dave: looking human seems a better defence.

  2. Dave 30/09/2015 at 7:19 pm #

    I prefer really bright lights for dark roads, also not being dressed as a cyclist motorists see me as a guy on a bike instead and give me more room.

  3. SteveP 02/10/2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I believe many objective tests (i.e. plenty of data, not to mention our own observations) show that hi-viz clothing, like lights and reflectors. make cyclists more visible to observers. Of course there are still people driving blind drunk whilst texting who kill cyclists, and in the real world it is difficult to measure or even calculate the exact value of being seen over not being seen. I think any claim that data is lacking is disingenuous.

    Each element may offer more or less value in each circumstance. Reflectors (especially pedal reflectors) tend to catch the eye of car drivers at night. But I suspect they offer nothing during the day. Neon colours especially “pop” at daybreak and dusk but are just another tone in the dark (and in car headlamps, as most have no UV). Some reflective fabric loses its reflectivity when wet, etc.

    There are those who feel “I’m on a cycle and it’s perfectly legal so your responsibility is to look out for me.” I submit many children are killed by drivers when using zebra crossings. In other words, staking your life on others “following the rules” is a poor bet. I see people riding at night without lights wearing street clothes and texting as they ride along multi-lane London streets. And I see riders with front ad rear flashing lights and neon clothing. Chances are, that bad driver will see them a fraction of a second sooner than the Prince of Darkness

    • MJ Ray 07/10/2015 at 10:35 pm #

      We’re unlikely to agree because this is a debate that’s been going on for at least 80 years, with cyclists being bogged down with more and more red tape while motorists gets treated with kid gloves and absolved of any blame for driving beyond what they can see to be clear.

      Believe whatever you want, but when I’ve followed the trail back about claims that hi-vis improves outcomes, it always seemed to end up with the same few studies of railway workers. When you search for studies about cyclists, they either find no significant benefit, or merely concentrate on whether you can be seen earlier which doesn’t mean you’ll be treated any better. I think suggesting this is clear-cut is far more “disingenuous” than pointing out it’s doubtful.

  4. Dave 08/10/2015 at 6:40 am #

    Anyone, riding anywhere, at anytime should be safe. Whether a sixty year old lady wobbling to shop, or a 6 year old child wobbling to school.

    Laws don’t protect us, clothing doesn’t protect us, painted lines don’t protect us, cycle lanes don’t protect us nothing other than properly separated paths with barriers will do.

    Oh, I nearly forgot, the laws we have should be properly enforced, for all.

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