Pearl Izumi BioViz – Better Than Reflectivity

PI BioViz

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with the Pearl Izumi product team in Boulder to talk about a variety of projects, including visibility. As the industry gravitates towards all over reflectivity, are we sure it really work in all conditions? Pearl Izumi decided to take a step back and look at visibility in a whole new way for Fall ’15 in order to make sure you can keep running or riding 365 days of the year.

With the new BioViz collection, Pearl Izumi moves beyond screaming yellow and reflective hits to offer a more comprehensive approach to visibility. BioViz can be broken down into three parts: fluorescence, reflectivity, and visual design.


Most of us ride or run during the day but still want to be seen by motorists or other riders/runners. This is where fluorescence comes in. Mid-wavelength colors such as screaming yellow, screaming pink, and screaming green, can be seen from greater distances since their molecules actually vibrate in the sun.

While solid fluorescence is great, and each product in the BioViz collection with offer a fluorescent colorway, contrasting the fluorescent color with another color makes you seen even quicker.


Reflectivity is pretty much useless during the day, and when not used properly, such as with reflective thread in an entire product, may actually make it harder for drivers to see you. Strategically placed, super bright reflective is better than an all over shimmer for being seen.

To figure out where best to place the reflective hits, Pearl Izumi turned to biomotion. Based on Gunnar Johansson’s 1920s research, three zones of reflectivity help people not only see you quicker, but instantly understand what you are–a runner or a cyclist. Watch the video below to better understand the concept (the most interesting part is around 3:00). Once you do, it totally makes sense.

You need three zones of reflectivity–static, tempo, and flicker–to immediately understand your shape and context. Pearl Izumi recreated these three zones throughout the BioViz collection.

As no visual standards exist in the outdoor industry, Pearl Izumi decided to make their own. The company designed all their apparel to make sure you can be seen at a minimum of 100 meters for cyclists and 70 meters for run, with many of their products registering well above 133 meters for cyclists.



Lastly, design–by adding visual cues that drivers are familiar with into the designs, your visibility increases. Shapes such as chevrons automatically indicate the need to go around a cyclist or runner.

Look for the Pearl Izumi BioViz collections to drop at the end of the summer.

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