Urban Velo

Nike Vapor Flash 360 Reflective Jacket

I am as much a competitive distance runner as I am a bike enthusiast and have discovered the privilege of gear swapping to suit my all-weather activity needs, whether I am on the bike or my feet. I have used cycling arm warmers during cold running races, cycling rain jackets during wet training runs, running tights for cold weather cycling, and so on. It’s a cozy relationship. So, when I walked into my local running store and the Nike Vapor Flash jacket caught my eye (quite literally as I’ll explain), not only was I mesmerized by it’s appearance and technology, but I also saw the benefits of this piece as a bike commuting addition, probably more relevant to cycling than running.

The jacket is beautiful on it’s own, but the stunning 360 reflective technology is on a whole ‘nother level. I know there are other products out there that use this full-coverage reflectivity, but none I have seen match the intensity of this piece. I saw the jacket in full daylight and couldn’t believe how much it reflected via normal lighting conditions.

The Nike designers visited the coldest, darkest place they could think of and studied the runners there to see how they managed in such a dismal environment, which led to the creation of this piece. You can read the full interview with the jacket designer here.

As a runner, I honestly don’t find this that appealing. I’ve never felt threatened by car traffic as I don’t often run in the streets, but as a cyclist I would feel nothing but visible wearing this jacket. I imagine, even without blinking lights (which are often pathetic law compliance measures anyways and do little to make one seen) there would be NO excuse by drivers to plead they “never saw anyone”. The reflectivity is so intense there might be more a chance of drivers becoming entranced by the jacket and making a UFO report than putting a cyclist in a ditch.

Unfortunately, these suckers run upwards of $350, but the price of feeling safe and being visible might be worth it. Check out the video below to see it in action (the video doesn’t even do it justice).

About Scott Spitz

Commuting, touring, kid hauling, couriering, mechanic work, sales, advocacy, fixed, free—Scott has had his hands in it all over the years.

View all posts by Scott Spitz →

11 Comments

  1. Bob LoblawFebruary 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Will the hood zip off? Hood are fairly pointless on the bike. You can’t tell in the pictures.

  2. scottFebruary 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Correct, the hood does not detach.

  3. JorgeGortexFebruary 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Hoods may be pointless most of the time, but certainly handy when you get off the bike and are trying to stay warm post ride. If you figure you’d be using more for urban riding or commuting its not a terrible feature. Now, if it was helmet compatible for those truly frigid days that could be a bonus.

  4. chrisFebruary 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Funny that they came to Helsinki to test it. Yes, it is dark as hell in the winter, but no one runs on the streets here. Not even in the country. People run on separate tracks, trails and sidewalks, which are so well lit that one can ride or run in the winter without lights. 90% of the runners here wear black.

  5. DPOWFebruary 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I was given one of these by my wife as my lone christmas gift this year. Folks stop me nightly to ask about the coat on my commute home. Last night a woman told me she was following me for 3 blocks in her car trying to figure out what I was wearing. Yes the price tag is very high. Hopefully the technology with trickle down.
    As far as the hood goes, this isn’t a cycling jacket and it is nice for dog walking etc, as well as cycling.

  6. bendiFebruary 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    It’s a fantastic jacket that’s, unfortunately, universally unavailable under size XL at this point. Here’s to it being re-released some day.

  7. RaiynFebruary 15, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Size works for me but the price, OUCH!

  8. Charles DostaleFebruary 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I bought an all-reflective jacket in the early 80′s for $70 – outrageous at the time. This isn’t a new idea, although it may be a new fabric.

  9. JulianMarch 9, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I just made a video, it’s awesome.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/medevac71/6966432357/

    It looks like, the jacket really irritates car drivers :-D Maybe it was just pure coincidence, but yesterday eve, in the dark, every single drivers passed me with an adequate safety distance. They even reduced speed during oncoming traffic and passed when the road was clear o_O My oncoming traffic, on narrow roads, even got on the roadside.

  10. Vapor Flash Jacket In Motion « Urban VeloApril 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

    [...] month back I wrote a post about the Nike Vapor Flash jacket with it’s 360 degree reflective material. Originally designed for runners I think it is more [...]

  11. JAugust 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Illuminite does the same thing cheaper

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