GIVEAWAY! and Product review!
A little while back, I wrote about how we saw a cyclist who had a death wish. Denise, the owner of Monkeysee Products in Australia, saw the post and reached out to me to tell me about her company. I learned that Denise is a cyclist who noticed two issues with cycling products: first, it’s important for cyclists to be visible for safety reasons. Second, the existing gear to keep cyclists visible were simply…well…ugly. Don’t believe me? Search “reflective vest” on Amazon for a quick review of typical products.
Enter: the Monkeysee harness–a high-visibility, reflective product for cyclists!
Monkeysee started off at a disadvantage with me. You see, I was never a fan of reflective gear. I see too many cyclists ride around in the dark, zipping through the streets, relying entirely on their stupid little reflector to keep them visible. Me? I like lights. Multiple, bright, shiny, and blinking. But, a fair shot I would give this harness, said myself to me.
I requested a size SMALL in WHITE. Once it arrived, a very unfortunate trait from my childhood took over: Giddiness over packaging. Yeah, I’m a sucker for it, and Monkeysee won me over.
A cute zippered plastic pouch full of cards and cardboard keychain-type-thingies? Clearly it’s an ace product!
Once I stopped squealing over the packaging, I finally looked at the product. My first reaction was surprise: This thing looked good!
My camera isn’t that great so it looks kind of dingy in that picture, but I assure you–it was bright and shiny, and felt like high-quality material. No thin flimsy crap, this bad girl felt like she would last!
And the rings–those were also really nice! I tugged and pulled and moved it around…
…and it was sturdy. So far, so good! But how reflective was it? I put it through my first round of tests: snapping photos with flash.
As you can see, a small doesn’t fit him, which is why it’s just dangling there. But kind of cool that he could still wear it if needed–it just didn’t snap on the bottom, but it still stayed on.
Well it passed the test. It was very bright. Plus, I got one of the coolest picture I’ve ever taken:
And finally–Test #3, the whole purpose of the harness for me–how does it work while cycling? Well, we already established that it looks nice and is, in fact, highly reflective. So the next test was about fit, comfort, and maneuverability.
That’s me wearing the Monkeysee harness. I am wearing two shirts: the long-sleeve Adidas undershirt, and a tank-top jersey (I get cold, okay! Don’t judge!). Because I was wearing two shirts, I had to loosen it all the way. But it fit nicely–I forgot I was even wearing it by the time we got rolling. I only remembered because I wanted J to take pictures of me wearing it.
As you can see, it has a very nice and distinct look to it. I like it. And it was incredibly comfortable…as in, I kept forgetting I was even wearing it. This is important to emphasize because there can be three reasons that you remember you’re wearing something like this: (a) it’s too tight and constricts your breathing/movement, (b) it doesn’t fit right and drives ya mad because you have to keep fidgeting with it, or (c) it gets in the way when you try to reach into your jersey pockets. None of those were the case. It was the perfect amount of snug, and did not interfere with access to my jersey pockets.
Seriously. Manuverability was excellent. Here I am twisting and moving in different positions to show how well it stayed in place.
Why was it such a dreamy fit? For one, I picked the right size. Basic, right? Sizing is important, duh. But there’s something about the product itself that makes it so comfortable–the rings. They are on both sides: front and back, so that when you move, so too can the strips. They keep the harness flexible, unlike a stiff vest or a reflective strap that only uses some buckles. They also keep the harness together and flexible without adding pressure. Well done Monkeysee harness makers, well done.
Small Area for Improvement
The only downside that I can think of for the harness is the information provided on the web to help you choose your size. It’s very vague and hard to actually know what size is right for you. I was lucky that I guessed a small–especially because I’ve been losing weight (thanks to cycling!) and my size has changed…and it ranges based on the brand. It would be helpful if they provided the actual measurements for each of the sizes, so that there is no confusion/hesitation about which size to get. I think this is particularly important for women because, you know, we have them boob things.
HOWEVER, I already mentioned this to Denise, and she is working on getting more measurements to address this issue. A company that listens to feedback? Awesome.
Conclusion: Highly Recommend!
So even though I started off with a slight bias against reflective gear, I am now a huge fan and think that it’s important to have a combination of materials to shine brightly while riding. This harness is going to be with me when I ride, and now Jason wants his own.
Here’s a quick run-down:
- Looks? Check! And they come in a variety of colors: yellow, orange, pink, black, and white. I searched Amazon for something that looks similar, and this was the best that I could find. And it looks like a harness that parents attach to their children at the mall…
- Bonus!! Denise showed me some prototypes for new designs, like polka-dots! So more designs are coming to make them even more fun to wear!
- Cheap? Mid-range. If you’re a broke student like us, then the price tag is a little high. They run $29.50 GST, and the current equivalent in USD is about $31.00 plus shipping. To be clear, I am NOT saying that it’s overpriced. Quite the contrary, for what you get, I think it’s a very reasonable price. What I AM saying is that it sucks to be a broke student…
- I also checked around some bike shops in Chicago, and there were some cheap ones (under $10) and one around $25 …and they were hideous.
- Ease of Use? Check!
- Works? Check!
- Maneuverability? Check!
- Bonus! Can be used for more than cycling! It’s small and lightweight, and easy to fold up and store anywhere. Keep it in your car in case you need to change a tire by the side of the road. Keep it in your backpack/bag/purse/desk/etc in case the batteries on your light die out while you’re riding in the dark. Even if you typically don’t use reflective gear, this makes an excellent back-up for emergencies!
Where to Get it
The company is based in Australia, so you can visit the main website here.
They are also working on getting more distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Currently the following bike shops have them:
How is it good for women?
Since the purpose of my blog is to support/promote women’s cycling, I decided that when I do a product review, I must include information that answers this very question–how is it good for women?
First, women have boobs. And it’s nice to have a product that can fit around them, like this adjustable harness!
Second, the company is run by women. Specifically, one woman: Denise, the “Chief Chimp.” So by purchasing a monkeysee harness, you’ll be supporting a woman-owned company.
Now the moment where I talk about the giveaway is finally here! Denise at Monkeysee has agreed to give away one harness. A BRAND NEW one, you choose the SIZE and COLOR, and it’ll be shipped from them directly to you.
Here are the rules:
- Pick a number between 1 and 200
- Enter the number in the comment section below by January 15, 2013
How the Winner will be chosen
I will use random.org to choose the winning number. If no one has the exact number, then the person with the closest number will win. If 2+ people pick the same number, the one who submitted their comment first will win.
Please, only one entry per household.
I was not compensated for this review, but I was provided with a free harness to try. The opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.