Cycle Life

The Sugoi Zap isn't a substitute for a light, but it will boost your visibility during dark commutes.     Photo: Sugoy Performance Apparel/YouTube

Sugoi Zap Jacket

Glow-in-the-dark apparel for after-hours commuting

On a couple of recent evenings, the swift descent of darkness has left me riding in traffic without a light and worrying for my safety. It’s for that scenario that Sugoi created the Zap Jacket, a water- and windproof shell with built-in luminescence.

The key to the visibility is a proprietary textile Sugoi calls Pixel, a polyester-polyurethane blend onto which tiny glass beads are silkscreened. The beads are so small that you don’t notice them in daylight. But in the dark when light strikes them, the glass fragments reflect like an array of tiny mirrors, causing the entire jacket body to glow bright white.

  Photo: Courtesy of Sugoi

Hi-vis clothing isn’t a new idea. Most cycling apparel companies incorporate reflective piping and highlights to add after-dark visibility. And Capo’s Padrone line even uses a fabric that, like Sugoi’s Pixel, adds luminescence to the entire garment.

The difference, however, is that the fabric in the Padrone pieces looks space age by day, whereas the Zap Jacket looks like any other shell in daylight. And while the Capo fabric has a rubbery, clammy feel, the Pixel wears more like a soft-shell knit. In short, you get a comfy jacket with enough fashion sense to work in the city but with the added benefit of full-body reflectivity when it gets dark.

Note: The Zap Jacket isn’t a replacement for a light. But if I forget my blinkers (or neglect to charge them), I know that the jacket, which I’m not likely to leave at home given the cooler temps, will boost my visibility on the streets.

The Zap Jacket comes in red, black, or green and sells for $160. The Zap line also includes a cycling cap ($25) and booties ($75) for even more visibility on dark, wet nights.

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