• Reflective Sidewall Tires - Safety Innovation or Gimmick?

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Could Reflective Tires Prevent Collisions?

Shinko, one of the big names in aftermarket motorcycle tires, has released a new tire based on its 777 H.D. (Heavy Duty) line that it touts as the next evolution in motorcycle tires. The 777 H.D. Reflector has a reflective material embedded in the sidewall that lights up when light hits it. It’s a blackwall by day and a ’glow ring’ sidewall at night when headlights hit it. To ride a motorcycle responsibly, safety is always a front-burner topic and being seen is a big part of that. Is this new Reflector tire a safety innovation or a gimmick?

Continue reading for more on safety and the new Shinko tire.

What’s My Take?

Reflective Sidewall Tires - Safety Innovation or Gimmick?
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2014 crash data, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a vehicle accident than operators in other vehicles. Looking at statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal motorcycle accidents involved at least one other vehicle between 54% and 59% of the time from 1975 to 2015. There is no denying that being visible is a big part of motorcycle safety.

While the most important visibility is at the front end, controversy surrounds the effectiveness of Lights On legislation so we need to look beyond that. If you’ve been riding any length of time, you’ve had cars attempt to pass a vehicle in front of them and change lanes into your space, or vehicles turn in front of you because they didn’t look or they looked right through you on your motorcycle. Estimates give riders less than two seconds to take whatever action they’re going to take to avoid a collision. That’s not much time. It would help if the other vehicle saw you first.

Will reflective sidewalls help with that visibility? I can’t see where reflective sidewalls aid in front-end visibility, but they also won’t hurt. As a side-view visibility aid, yes. Added to the already present side-marker lights, the reflective sidewalls could add that one distinguishing feature to draw the attention to your bike after the marker lights and headlight have been lost in the sea of lights behind you. So safety innovation or gimmick? I’m going to go with safety here.

The 777 H.D. Reflector

Reflective Sidewall Tires - Safety Innovation or Gimmick?
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Shinko’s new Reflector is specifically designed for many V-Twin and metric cruiser models. Sizes available include 100/90-19 front tires and 130/90-16, 150/80-16, and 180/65-16 rear tires. All are reinforced carcass, H-rated tubeless four- or six-ply tires with higher mileage and load capacity.

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Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor - allyn@topspeed.com
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read More
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