With Spring finally here in Michigan (mostly), the motorcycle and scooters are out in force. Since these conveyances seem to be a new thing to car and truck drivers, it’s in a two-wheeled riders best interest to stand out from the background. A good way to do that is to wear high visibility helmets and clothing. One easy way to do that is with a safety vest, and a new entry to the market seems to be answering the call. The name of the company is Spectrum Ultra Sports and their products are relatively inexpensive and offer a fresh take on vest designs.
The old Fieldsheer “On-base” vest that I’ve been using for five years was finally showing its age with some permanent stains and a mild loss of my preferred Day-Glo yellow color. A web search and a recommendation from a poster on the Modern Vespa forum led me to Spectrum. I selected the Echo vest because the design is modern, minimalistic and unique, and because it was on sale for a very reasonable $38.00. It arrived in two days and not only is a good value, but it really pops in all kinds of weather.
The Spectrum Echo vest is a good fit for my torso on top of the protective jackets that I wear. Since year-round riding is always a goal, I like to order any gear to support the layering that is required for winter scooting here in Michigan. I ordered an XL, but found that the adjustments have enough room in them to go significantly smaller, and a whole lot larger if needed. I could probably get away with an L, and perhaps another of the Spectrum vests in that size will find it’s way to my house. The adjustments are two generous grip strips on both sides of the vest. The neck opening is correctly sized and sits just below the lower collar bone on me.
Construction and quality:
The vest is a single layer design and is remarkably simple. There are no pockets or I.D. holders of any kind. It’s fabric is a durable 100% nylon that is light (the entire vest weighs in at 9.5 oz.) and has a rich color. I choose the fluorescent green color because it’s amazingly visible in all weather, but especially in those gray days of fall and spring riding. The Reflexite reflective stripes are arranged in a simple but highly distinctive manner of three offset stripes on the front and five on the back of the vest plus two small epaulet stripes on top of the shoulders. The side adjusting straps are also Reflexite covered. As you can tell from the photographs, even on a bright day and with my camera phone, the reflective stripes ‘pop’ with all sorts of light input. There are two rubber-like “Spectrum” patches and the neck label is also a rubber-like material for comfort. There is a large-toothed plastic zipper that engages very easily and stays up on its own.
This is high performance reflective vest and it’s exactly what is needed for the casual rider or commuter. In fact, I’d say for commuting, this type of vest is an absolute necessity. The vest goes on quickly and fits well while maintaining arm movement. It’s light and seems to become one with the rider after just a few minutes of scooting. With my older Fieldsheer vest, I was aware that car and truck drivers immediately become aware of my presence around them. After years riding my stark white Genuine Blur (complete with mild Batternburg-style reflective highlights) with my white helmet and my vest, I was aware that some might perceive me as an officer of the law. That effect has only increased with the Spectrum riding vest, and even while riding a vintage Vespa, an Aprilia SR50 and an older Honda Passport. With the Passport (also known as a Cub), one car pulled over to the side to let me (slowly) past. The Spectrum vest seems to get noticed.
The American-made Spectrum Echo Safety Vest seems to be an excellent compromise between style, effectiveness and cost. It’s a great value, is comfortable to wear and is extremely conspicuous, which is after all, what a safety vest is all about.
What’s next: Riding in pothole country