Urban style meets cycling function in the Eclaireur LED jacket
By C.C. Weiss
November 15, 2013
LED jackets built for cycling and running are nothing new. We've covered the Sporty Supaheroe jacket and other examples of this type of wearable technology. Where the new Eclaireur jacket steps it up is in integrating LEDs into a jacket you'll wear in public when you're not on your bike. On purpose.
In a fashion sense, the only street many LED and reflective cycling clothes belong on is the one in front of the elementary school, protecting the crossing guard. If that's not your gig, you'll probably want to stuff such a jacket into your backpack the minute you dismount your bike. Such jackets are just not built to blend in casually.
Designed by French company Esthete, the Eclaireur is a different animal. It's a stylish casual jacket that just happens to have LEDs in the back and chest. The jacket and its many buttons and rivets may or may not appeal to your personal sense of style, but it's hard to deny that it's better looking than the average bright, plasticky windbreaker.
The Eclaireur isn't just a pretty face; it's designed to perform. A waterproof-breathable SympaTex polyester with a nylon lining and waterproof seams protect against the elements. The zip vents under the arms and ventilation holes on the back let the breeze in when things are hot and active. A removable waist gaiter and a set of wrist gaiters seal out that same breeze when it's chilly.
The light system pairs two white Ultrabright LEDs up front with five red Ultrabright LEDs in back. Esthete claims that it makes the rider visible from 328 feet (100 m) away. An integrated controller switches between front-only, back-only and all-on modes. The lithium-polymer battery runs up to 20 hours and requires 3.5 hours to recharge. The LEDs get a little help from a removable reflective yellow armband.
The Eclairuer jacket costs €600 (about US$800) as described. It is also available without the LEDs for €480.