Zackees turn-signal gloves review

Zackees LED turn-signal gloves make your bike commute safer, raves trippier

Zackees’ turn-signal gloves use tiny LEDs to make a big visual punch, to help cyclists stand out and stay alive on crowded roadways.
Zackees’ turn-signal gloves use tiny LEDs to make a big visual punch, to help cyclists stand out and stay alive on crowded roadways.
Zackees’ turn-signal gloves use tiny LEDs to make a big visual punch, to help cyclists stand out and stay alive on crowded roadways.

Highs

  • Blazing LED arrows can’t be missed
  • High-quality materials and construction

Lows

  • You look like you belong in Tron

Bicycle-safety gear inexorably makes you look like an idiot — take it from a guy whose grease-streaked fluorescent bike jacket sparks up elevator conversations that start with, “What happened to you?”

From chunky foam helmets to DayGlo vests festooned in reflective tape, anything that makes you safer on a bike makes you correspondingly more likely to be mocked by a passing bus full of middle-school kids.

There’s no way any driver will miss your righteous fist of share-the-damn-road fury.

Zackees turn-signal gloves don’t exactly totally change the relation between safety and style, but they do sway the balance. And besides, you’re trying to stay out of the grille of a Mack truck, not impress hipster chicks. Right?

As the name suggests, these are cycling gloves with turn signals built right in — a giant flashing amber arrow on the back of each hand. Two metal contacts between the thumb and forefinger fire up the arrows: Hold them together, lift your arm, and your hand becomes a blazing LED beacon to drivers everywhere. Watch out world, I’m turning here.

With nine ultra-bright LEDs comprising each arrow, there’s no way any driver will miss your righteous fist of share-the-damn-road fury. And with the way the arrows are positioned, you can even leave your hands on your handlebars to signal forward to drivers ahead of you that you’re turning — useful at those four-way stops where confusion reigns.

Zackees LED turn-signal gloves
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Holding out a right hand initially felt awkward to this cyclist, who was raised to signal everything with his left. But it’s legal and technically correct, I discovered with a little research. The hyperactive triggers can be a little harder to adjust to. It’s easy to click them together accidentally if you’re using your hands for anything but holding handlebars, so I set off the lights all the time as I packed my saddlebag and locked up my bike. It’s not the end of the world, but prepare for plenty of unwanted bike-rack conversations with Spandex-sporting passersby.

Top-notch materials and well-stitched seams give these gloves admirable construction for a Kickstarter project — they feel like they’ll last. The LED circuit board sits comfortably under a layer of clear plastic on the back of the hand, with a little access slit inside to change the button-cell batteries. The padded palms even do a nice job of blocking road vibration. But the half-finger design makes them tricky to take on and off, and here in drizzly Portland, they don’t really provide enough warmth for riding outside the summer months.

As for the look, well, let’s just say it’s futuristic. You know, in the same way a suit made out of shiny Mylar balloons would be. A friend who found them in my house referred to them as my “power-lifting light gloves.” But if your number-one priority is arriving home unmangled, $75 for a pair of Zackees is cheap insurance. You can laugh off the naysayers every time to show up on two wheels in one piece.

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