Retro-reflective Bikes Aim to Stand Out on City Streets

Innovative and eye-catching bikes are a standout niche within the growing market of visibility and fashion.

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Photo courtesy of Mission Bicycles

Photo courtesy of Mission Bicycles

Retro-reflective materials, conventionally used for industrial purposes, are making their way into the growing market for the urban cyclist. Retro-reflective materials reflect light directly back to the source making them brighter than reflective materials, which reflect light in every direction. The mechanism behind the more advanced retro-reflective material is small glass beads that reflect light through the back of the curved round surface. This retro-reflectivity is found all over highways and streets and has been keeping important markers visible to motorists for years.

Photo courtesy of Mission Bicycles

Photo courtesy of Mission Bicycles

Now this technology is available on bikes. Halo Coatings specializes in retro-reflective paint coatings and has recently partnered with bicycle-specific businesses. The paint gives an iridescent effect when lit up and appears a steel grey during the day. From Mission Bicycle Company in San Francisco, CA, comes a minimal retro-reflective bike called the Lumen. For those looking to update a current bike, Hub Powderworks in Boston, MA, offers custom paint jobs. With the current surge in bicycle use, these innovative and eye-catching bikes are a standout niche within the growing market of visibility and fashion.

Hub Powderworks makes use of a powder coat, with an oven treatment sealing the paint making it highly resistant to chips. The technology is considered groundbreaking because, until recently, the retro-reflectivity could not effectively be used on a 3D object. After a successful initial launch, Hub Powderworks now offers their retro-reflective treatment for $329 locally and $419 shipped. The Mission Bicycle Company Lumen frame set retails for $499.

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