As if cyclists didn't have enough choices to illuminate themselves at night, we now have one more. Joining the lighted helmets, belts, backpacks, wheel lights, and plain old bike lights are Realflex arm and leg wraps.
Realflex wraps are designed to keep a cyclist's arms and legs warm and limber, while lighting the rider up for the surrounding traffic. In order to tackle this two-headed function, the wraps use a three-layer design that combines a nylon-spandex material with an aluminum foil mid-layer and a glass-bead coating. The glass beads on the exterior reflect light, creating a glowing effect that is highly visible at night.
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Other companies offer arm warmers in bright neon colors, but the Realflex design appears to add some serious illumination over those more basic designs. Claims are that they can be seen from up to 100 meters (330 feet) in all directions.
Despite the glass-bead outer layer, Realflex wraps are designed to be highly stretchy and easy to slide onto the body. They wrap the arms tightly and don't appear to restrict movement.
While arm and leg warmers might seem odd and uncomfortable to those that have never used them, some cyclists, joggers and others like to wear them in cooler weather to keep the body warm and the joints flexible. A pair of leg warmers underneath bike shorts should certainly function more comfortably on the pedals than a pair of boot-cut jeans. The Realflex wraps are also a little more subtle and low profile than a bright orange vest, in terms of style.
Realflex makes several different wraps, including arm wraps, a scarf and an XL model that's suitable for the legs. They are made in Germany and available on Amazon for around 20 to 40 euros (about $26 to $52 as of publishing). They'll be making an appearance at the upcoming ISPO sports show in Munich.
You can analyze Realflex warmers a little more closely in the video below.