The Buff is a classic piece of kit for outdoor enthusiasts of all persuasions - a tube of fabric that turns into a scarf, hat, bandana, balaclava or face mask – and most popular with cyclists to go under a helmet or round the neck on winter days. This reflective version is your standard Buff with the addition of two strips of Scotchlite silver tape which'll bounce back the beam of car headlights when riding at night.
We reviewed the Buff Reflective here on road.cc back in 2009 and it's not clear if this new version is a new design or just new colours.
Either way, the Buff undoubtedly performs as a handy lightweight versatile accessory, and the reflective material is a good idea from a safety point of view. But it doesn't quite make the grade from the comfort angle, simply because the silver strips are quite coarse against the skin compared to the silky touch of the rest of the garment.
Most of the silver strips are on the outside and not in contact with the skin anyway, but where the top and bottom of the Buff fold over when in scarf mode, that's when you can feel it. This could have been avoided if the Buff had shorter strips of reflective material, or maybe incorporated dots of reflective material into the pattern, but that would presumably mean a different manufacturing process.
For runners or hikers using the Buff as a hat or balaclava this reflective feature might be useful, but for cyclists I'm not convinced it's a great leap forward. I'll stick with my standard original Buff, and for night riding I'll just make sure I've got reflective strips on my tights and jersey.
Classic piece of kit with additional safety feature that may be of limited use for cyclists.
road.cc test report
Make and model: DHB Reflective Buff
Size tested: One size, black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The official Buff website (www.buff.eu) is remarkably reticent about this product saying simply: 'Designed to increase your visibility and safety during low-light conditions with two retro-reflective 3M Scotchlite™ tape stripes that can be seen from almost 500 feet away.'
Keeps your neck warm, and reflects back the light from approaching cars. No arguments there.
Not so comfortable, because the reflective strips rub against the skin when the Buff ius worn as a scarf and the top id folded over
There are cheaper knock-off Buffs out there (at least one sportive organiser gives them away for free) but aficionados rate the original as best
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This Buff keeps your neck warm, and reflects back the light from approaching cars. No arguments there. But when worn as a scarf, the reflective tape is slightly uncomfortable when it rubs against the skin. It's only mildly irritating. But I prefer a standard original Buff which is totally comfortable, and have my reflective strips on other items of clothing.
Did you enjoy using the product? no
Would you consider buying the product? no
Would you recommend the product to a friend? possibly, but with the warning about slight discomfort
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The standard original Buff is lovely piece of kit. It's just this Reflective version that rates as 'good' rather than 'perfect'.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,