akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Review: NiteIze LED Sport Vest

I received this for review last year, on Christmas Eve. Okay, that's not too long ago. Anyway, I've started using it for riding back from the office, whenever it's already dark out. Also for RTW when I'm early out while it's still relatively dark in the morning.

I was a bit reluctant to wear this at first, for it would be overkill with all the blinkers and reflectors that I already have on my bike, bag and right ankle. Well, in the interest of personal safety, I put it on and lit up the rear LED (continuous mode).

Of course, I myself can't tell if I'm highly visible on the roads at night. A friend passed me by in his car and commented that I was, due to the vest. So, in terms of being visible, it does the job.

It is lightweight, and airy due to mesh material used. The vest is adjustable on the waist with velcro continuing from elastic strap on left and right; within reach as they are on the front. There's a velcro fastener on the right shoulder. Combined with the front fasteners it makes wearing the vest is easy even when helmet is worn, or over a slim hydration pack. Be careful with the velcro fastener for it would catch the mesh and make it ruffled.

The red LED blinkers are of high quality, located on the left hand side, front and back. The LED is connected to a clear strip, effectively making the whole strip lit up, from the power supplied by a coin sized battery (included).

There are 2 modes: continuous and blinking. Press once for continuous, again for blinking, and the third would switch it off. If you're not using the blinkers (during the day) the fluorescent orange strips housing the LED strips are still visible from afar.

There are 2 strips of 3M Scotchlite reflectors, a bit higher from the waist, front and back across. The location of the reflectors is spot on. On the belly, it is visible from the front; if it's placed on the waist it would be hidden due to the riding position. At the back, it is not too far up either.

However, due to the traffic flow in Malaysia being on the left hand side, the postion of the LED strips would be better if it's on the right hand side. Well, this vest is imported from the US, so that's a compromise. I get around this by switching the vest's back side front. This makes the adjustment a bit difficult because I have to reach my hand to the back. The velcro on the shoulder helps a great deal when I just have to slip the vest from the top (sides already adjusted), past the helmet and just fasten the shoulder velcro.

If I could wish for an improvement, the front blinker should be white, while the rear blinker red. As it is, I switch on only the rear blinker wile leaving the front's switched off.

coiled and stashed under bungee cord on my commuter bag
Batteries are provided, the vest ready to be used the moment I took it out from the strikingly high quality packaging. Easily coiled (guided by the LED strips) and stash it inside my bag with minimal space required, or strapped under bungee cords on top of my commuter bag.

Overall it is a serious item for a serious commuter. At a glance, and further inspected, it boasts of high quality in material and make. Good for night (and dawn) rides, especially on busy roads.

Lightweight and airy
High quality material and make
Adjustable, with velcro on shoulder
High visibility (LED, reflective strip, neon strip)
Ready to use with batteries provided

Improvement suggestion:
LED strips to be located on right hand side
Front LED to be white, not red

Available locally through Gear n Gadget.

biker and product image from NiteIze website

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