Scotchlite 680: Black reflective vinyl goes white under headlights

Bright Bike from Michael Mandiberg on Vimeo. This reflective adhesive vinyl is black under natural light, but reflects white when hit with a flash — or headlights, making it quite suitable for covering a bicycle. Mike Mandiberg did just that. The stuff's trade name is "Scotchlite 680" and is made by 3M. It's used traditionally in signage, but I think it may have just found a new popularity. [via Core77]
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14 Responses to Scotchlite 680: Black reflective vinyl goes white under headlights

  1. Tensegrity says:

    I prefer being equally visible under natural light for dusk and broad daylight situations. That’s why I wear a neon yellow jacket and my around town bike is safety orange.

    Perhaps not as stylish as the sans-helmet, bullhorned fixter in the vid, but I plan on riding for many more years to come.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had a pair of bicycling rain pants for a while that had this sewn into the sides of the legs. They were all-black during the day, but lit up at night under headlights.

  3. FunkDaddy says:

    I use the same stuff on my red motorcycle helmet. NJ requires 4″ sq. of reflective material on your helmet. I just just the material out in the Suzuki “S” and the SV650 logo… works great!

  4. bert hurt says:

    pack-n-tape dot com has small rolls for purchase, its possibly a better deal than buying a whole bulk roll for sale at 3m. Just in case any one was thinking about improving the visibility of their own cycle/whatever (it comes in many colors).

  5. technogeek says:

    Hm. I’ve been saying I need better reflectors…

    I suspect the “black under normal light” is just because it’s so effective a retroreflector — light goes back the way it came in, and since you generally don’t have a light source strapped to your head…

    I do sorta agree that intermixing this with a broader-scattering reflective material might be a net improvement. But the simplicity of just wrapping the frame is hard to beat.

    ‘Course, what I *really* want to see is for bike manufacturers to start doing this as standard equipment.

  6. Wouter says:

    Great stuff!

    Also available for motorcycles as rimstriping

  7. Skwid says:

    The vinyl insets on my front and rear bumper “PONTIAC” logos and the Pontiac Dart on the front of the car all use this kind of vinyl. Since my car is black, you can’t even tell it’s there until directed light hits it.

  8. HorsePunchKid says:

    I used some of this on my bicycle, but more sparingly than in the video.

  9. andygates says:

    In the UK this stuff’s available under the Respro brand in A4 sheets called “Black Diamond” – I have some on my bike, which is matte black with gloss black bits – so that it lights up but doesn’t spoil that Disaster Area ninja aesthetic. It works great on the bike and good on vinyl bags too.

  10. The Life Of Bryan says:

    @5: You’re right, that is a deeply wonky site.

    And not in a good way. Ack!

  11. Anonymous says:

    @5/12: And a 50 dollar min. order – lame.

  12. g.park says:

    Here’s another source with more size/color options, though the site itself is a bit wonky.

    Does anyone have a good guess as to how much someone would need to buy to cover an average bike?

  13. Mope says:

    The Toronto Police have several “Stealth” cars and vans decked out with this.
    The markings show up under light, but pretty much disappear otherwise.,_2005_010.jpg

  14. HeartlessMachine says:

    I used white reflective vinyl on the gas tank, side panels, and fenders on my old motorcycle. It was really rad at night. But it still looked white during the day. Now I want to do my bike in black! Thanks, boingboing!

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