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Verdict: 
Effective alternative to spoke reflectors and particularly useful for tagalongs/trailers
Weight: 
1g
Flectr Zero aero wheel reflectors
7 10

The Flectr Zero is, crudely, a pack of four reflective peel and seal stickers designed to replace those clunky, unsightly plastic types often supplied with new bikes. Obvious pluses include decent retro-reflective prowess, minimal weight and – theoretically – zero drag.

Reckoned indestructible, these are impregnated with thousands of microprisms; these are what reflect light back when graced by car headlamps. Superficially, they're no different from others we're used to seeing on clothing, luggage and accessories.

> Buy these online here

According to the blurb, these supposedly meet the standards set by police and other emergency services. The blurb also says the Flectr's shape and profile are optimised to avoid drag and tested extensively – 100mph in controlled experiments failed to induce oscillation or noise. They're also universally compatible with aero and round bladed spoke patterns, regardless of diameter.

Fitting

There's no prescribed pattern, which allows a fair bit of creative licence, although I'd urge you to plan first, then stick. The adhesive backing is super-strong and doesn't permit dry runs, or realignment. It's well worth giving the spokes a quick clean first too.

flectr Aerodynamic Wheel Reflector - detail.jpg

flectr Aerodynamic Wheel Reflector - detail.jpg

This kit's arrival coincided with a sudsy bucket wash but a rag dipped in solvent will suffice on stainless steels. Once the spokes are dry, simply remove the foil backing and smooth the Fleckr piece around the elected spokes.

flectr_red01.jpg

flectr_red01.jpg

Chrome spokes, though rare these days, do crop up on some high-end 80s race wheels. I've had no problems persuading the Fleckr to adhere convincingly to these either.

Performance

First off, bereft of wind tunnel facilities I couldn't test the claims of aerodynamic efficiency, but otherwise I've been impressed with their effectiveness. Even allowing for a slightly haphazard pattern, they've been surprisingly effective.

Approaching roundabouts and generally entering the flow of traffic around dusk, even with bijoux blinkies doing their thing, I was surprised by how quickly I seemed to register on car drivers' radar, even at 5-6mph, and to a distance of 50-80 metres. A more consistent 17mph produces a striking arc of pure white light, enhancing your presence, particularly when passing concealed entrances and rural crossroads.

flectr Aerodynamic Wheel Reflector - packaging.jpg

flectr Aerodynamic Wheel Reflector - packaging.jpg

At the other extreme, drivers seemed less inclined to 'chance it' when I was belting past unlit junctions at 23-25mph. Open road visibility is nearer 100-150 metres in relatively clear conditions.

Pushing things to 30-35mph along descents, there's been no hint of flutter, and for the most part I've not noticed them negatively. Okay, some of us will not want these or anything similar adorning their pared-to-the-essentials race bikes, but to my mind they'd come into their own on tagalongs and trailers.

With increasingly bright main and secondary lighting, solo bikes tend – thankfully – to be pretty visible. However, many drivers are not looking for or don't consider a trailer/similar addition and will pull away, once the rider's rear wheel comes into view, seemingly on auto-pilot. I've experienced this first hand when my son was small and it's terrifying. I've had similar close shaves with a low-slung trailer trundling behind my tubby tourer. Put into this context, £16.50 pales into insignificance.

> Buyer's Guide: Clothes and accessories to help keep you visible

Durability seems favourable: despite regular exposure to wet roads and the cocktail of spilt fuels and subsequent exposure to bike washing solutions, the reflectives seem untainted. Adhesives seem unaffected too, so they should last – unless you're prone to spoke breakages.

Conclusion

There's no denying the Flectrs do exactly what they promise to, but they are a bit pricey. For my money, I'd be expecting a set catering for two bikes with sufficient surplus for a trailer/tagalong wheel. That said, £16.50 isn't that outlandish compared with similar quality retro-reflective sticker sets, including Respro's Camo.

Bottom line, they do work very well and would be something I'd consider on a winter bike/workhorse, especially if it regularly towed trailers/similar cargo.

Verdict

Effective alternative to spoke reflectors and particularly useful for tagalongs/trailers

road.cc test report

Make and model: Flectr Zero aero wheel reflectors

Size tested: 4-piece set

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?

Flectr says: "FLECTR is the world's first wheel reflector which combines stylish design with state-of-the-art reflection and outstanding aerodynamics. Beyond that it's weightless and indestructible. Paper-thin FLECTR fits every spoke like a glove"

My feelings are that it's very effective, even at slow speeds, but fitting requires concentration; super-tenacious adhesive means no margin for error, during fitting.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Flectr says: "FLECTR - thousands of retroreflective microprisms reflect light back to its source. Most advanced reflection technology that meets the high standards of police & rescue vehicles. Stunningly glowing when hit by car headlights.

"FLECTR's shape and profile are optimized to avoid air drag. Extensive testing with incident flow velocities of up to 100 mph / 160 Km/h has shown that FLECTR passes these tests without any oscillation or noise."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Very eye-catching, even at low speeds, with no hint of flutter or similarly annoying quirk.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Difficult to say at this stage. Adhesives and materials seem very strong, and they haven't ripped, torn or otherwise shown any signs of fatigue thus far.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Quite pricey, but in keeping with other aftermarket retro-reflective sticker sets.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Flectr generates a surprisingly captivating arc of light, even at just 5 or 6mph. The aero properties are difficult to quantify but there's no hint of flutter or similarly annoying quirk.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Weighs next to nothing yet very effective, even at low speeds.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Super-strong adhesive is a double-edged sword: seems durable but no margin for realignment when fitting to the spokes.

Did you enjoy using the product? More than I had expected.

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. And they would be particularly useful for tagalongs and trailers.

Use this box to explain your score

Expensive, but seems durable and very effective, so a good 7.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

12 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2141 posts] 11 months ago
5 likes

Those look to be a nice design and it's great that they've thought about aerodynamics. Now let's have a look at the price...     ***faints***

Avatar
Bmblbzzz [197 posts] 11 months ago
4 likes

The aero claims are irrelevant if you're going to use them on trailers and tagalongs, so do they have any advantages in that situation over the standard plastic reflectors new bikes come with? Or over the much cheaper 3M tubular reflectors that clip on to individual spokes, sold for about £5 for a packet of 36 at Lidl or Aldi in their sales? Not to mention a tyre with reflective sidewall? Come to that, how many are in this pack for £16.50? I can see it says 6 on the photo but it would be nice to be told this in the review – and to have them compared to other ways of making your wheels reflective. 

Avatar
Tass Whitby [58 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Bmblbzzz wrote:

The aero claims are irrelevant if you're going to use them on trailers and tagalongs, so do they have any advantages in that situation over the standard plastic reflectors new bikes come with? Or over the much cheaper 3M tubular reflectors that clip on to individual spokes, sold for about £5 for a packet of 36 at Lidl or Aldi in their sales? Not to mention a tyre with reflective sidewall? Come to that, how many are in this pack for £16.50? I can see it says 6 on the photo but it would be nice to be told this in the review – and to have them compared to other ways of making your wheels reflective. 

Sorry, it's a bit hidden: we had six pieces in our test set, but they're sold as four-piece sets (as it says in the 'Test report' section). I'll add that info at the start!

Avatar
Ronald [57 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Bmblbzzz wrote:

The aero claims are irrelevant if you're going to use them on trailers and tagalongs, so do they have any advantages in that situation over the standard plastic reflectors new bikes come with? Or over the much cheaper 3M tubular reflectors that clip on to individual spokes, sold for about £5 for a packet of 36 at Lidl or Aldi in their sales? Not to mention a tyre with reflective sidewall? Come to that, how many are in this pack for £16.50? I can see it says 6 on the photo but it would be nice to be told this in the review – and to have them compared to other ways of making your wheels reflective. 

 

It says 4... I'll leave the discussion on price there  3

 

I put 2 packs of the 3M on my touring bike... The're brilliant (ha!) and durable... not sure the flappy flag will be anywhere similar on either!

Avatar
me [98 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I also use the 3M tubes that go over the spokes and they're very effective.  Though eventually the winter road crap seems to impregnate them and they go a bit grey.  Or maybe it's the sparkle wearing off.

Luckily I'm very mean and instead of using them on every spoke I use alternate ones so when they're worn I have enough left over to replace them.

Not sure how I'd do that with these flags.

(Yes, I know EU says use the tubes on every spoke otherwise you need other reflectors but soon Blighty won't be in EU.)

 

Avatar
janusz0 [111 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Where I live, quite a few drivers drive around town without lights, What I'd like is something like these, but with active lights: LEDs powered by thin batteries (preferably rechargeable, wirelessly).
Nostalgia moment: I've jut remembered those Cateye lights that would sideways project a cat's head onto walls and fences when you rode on pitch dark roads.

Avatar
LastBoyScout [455 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
me wrote:

I also use the 3M tubes that go over the spokes and they're very effective.  Though eventually the winter road crap seems to impregnate them and they go a bit grey.  Or maybe it's the sparkle wearing off.

Luckily I'm very mean and instead of using them on every spoke I use alternate ones so when they're worn I have enough left over to replace them.

Not sure how I'd do that with these flags.

(Yes, I know EU says use the tubes on every spoke otherwise you need other reflectors but soon Blighty won't be in EU.)

Agree - the 3M ones are cheap and effective.

I've got them on my commuting bike but they weren't a very good fit on the bladed spokes, so I cut them down to about 1" and they just about fit on the round bit by the nipples. Looks on a par with a set of tyres I've got with reflective sidewalls.

My hybrid has them on every 3rd spoke, I think. Get a slightly annoting rattle as they slide up and down the spokes at low speed and they're quite easy to knock off with cable locks. I must get round to putting a bit of tape on them, which would cure both problems.

Avatar
Butty [272 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Four small bits of reflective tape that come with a load of bulky packaging junk (& random spoke?) to to try and justify the cost.

Somehow it is promoted as being eco-friendly. How does that work?

 

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter [2141 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Thanks to this product review, I've now gone and bought some black reflective stickers to put on my wheel rims: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M1EEN3Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Still expensive, but I got 24 stickers (6 packs of 4 stickers) for £17.99.

Avatar
TypeVertigo [428 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

The "aero" bit I don't really care for, but these look like a great idea. Personal preference puts them over tires with full-circumference reflective sidewalls because these will "flicker" when rotating at speed, catching ocular attention better than a solid reflective ring. At least that's what I think.

That they're usefully reflective while being smaller than arc-style spoke reflectors is great too.

Avatar
sw600 [21 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I must be missing something here. This tape is available on Amazon, 50mm x 50 metres for 7 quid. It also has the properties of being able to be folded around a spoke and stuck to itself :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B018JZ1420/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1...

Avatar
flat4 [15 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

These are easier, removable, cheaper, etc.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Salzmann-Spoke-Reflector-10pc-3M-Scotchlite-Refle...?

Available from many sellers.