Respro Hi-viz ankle bands are just brilliantly simple safety aids made from dual sided, washable neoprene that fit in a flash around the ankles, doubling as handy trouser-clips into the bargain. Lycra can induce slight slippage beyond ninety odd rpm but before you all start sniggering and picturing geography teachers, brown cords and three-speed sit up 'n' begs, they're fine with 3/4lengths, the latest generation of civilian styled cycling trews and can even be worn as arm bands should you prefer.
Measuring 25cm long by 5cm wide, these strips should fit the majority of adult ankles and children from around eight or so upwards thanks to simple, reversible Velcro closures that feature Scotchlite one side, neon yellow the other-perfect for scuttling to the office in the morning gloom before bowling back sporting the reflective side. Unlike the plastic coated types impregnated with LEDs, it takes ten seconds to achieve a smooth, seamless profile whereupon they're pretty much forgotten from the moment you hop in the saddle and the key to their effectiveness lays in the simple physics of revolving light. Rather like the ubiquitous blinky, cadence catches the eye and becomes more effective the faster you pedal - the reason pedal reflectors are also such effective visibility aids.
I almost never cycle in jeans but since a parcel had been left at my local post office and a friend wanted me to investigate an 'Interesting' squeak emanating from her bike's bottom bracket region, I donned the bands, leapt aboard her hybrid and whizzed elegantly through the village, collected said parcel and sprinted the mile or so home. Turning a steady seventy, the bottoms of my trousers never came close to catching in the chain and remained exactly where they should have been.
Waiting until dusk, I decided to head the 10 miles into town so got kitted up and gently woke the Univega. Cantering at close to 90 rpm, I found myself chuckling at how effective they were- visible to a good 400 yards along the lanes Scotchlite side up, although one irate Mondeo driver took offence at my lighting ensemble, screaming something about the twilight zone - you wouldn't think they'd scare so easily in Essex. Around town, their efficiency drops to a very respectable 300 yards but even the chav chariots with their lowered suspension and race-cans gave me a wide, albeit not entirely abuse-free berth.
Brilliantly simple visibility aids that double as nifty trouser clips.
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Make and model: Respro Hi-viz Ankle Bands
Size tested: Silver
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?
"Respro ankle bands are the ideal product for increasing visibility for both day and night time use. They incorporate Scotchlite on one side and Day-Glo yellow nylon lycra on the other side. Two Velcro fasteners make the product quick and easy to use and can be stored readily when not in use"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stretchable Neoprene band
Easy velcro fastening
Very unobtrusive, although can absorb and retain water following a heavy shower.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Respro ankle bands are brilliantly designed safety aids that also keep flailing trousers from catching in the transmission.My only very minor gripe is the neoprene can absorb and retain moisture during heavy showers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)