Introduction: Triangle Wheel Reflectors - Bicycle

About: Science Fiction. A precursor to science fact.

I must stop watching TRON: Legacy, as I keep seeing things I'd like to make and this time it's something to make you stand out on the road* and doesn't require batteries. Triangle reflectors catch the eye, because they are different to what you're expecting to see from a circular wheel, but they also show your direction of travel. Different coloured spoke reflectors are now available from Hong Kong, so copying the actual wheels from TRON: Legacy is now possible.

These reflectors fit best on 36 spoke wheels (easy to mount due to 36 dividing nicely by 3), slightly more difficult to mount on 32 or 28 spokes. The bike is a Kirk Precision, a British die-cast magnesium machine from the late 80s.

* Do not rely on these to keep you safe on the road!

Step 1: Parts and Tools

You'll need the following parts to build these:

- 3M Scotchlite Reflective bicycle wheel spoke reflectors (usually sold in packs of 36, with similar brands available on eBay - just search for spoke reflectors)

- 2mm stainless steel x 3m (for two 26" wheels) (bought from Mallard Metals)

- 6x zip ties

- Sellotape


- Side or wire cutters for cutting

- Needle nose pliers for folding

- Measuring tape

Step 2: How to Make Them...

Cut the stainless steel to a length of 1.5m for each triangle reflector ready for folding. With the first fold you need to make sure that the join falls near the centre of a spoke reflector, otherwise the triangle will flex too much when you join it up. I used a paper triangle template to help make the shape, but to be honest it was easier to do it by eye.

Once you have a triangle you can start snapping the 3M reflectors in place, for the corner pieces you need to cut a notch to make sure the entire triangle is covered in reflective material.

Step 3: How to Mount Them...

Slightly tricky, as you have to feed the unclipped triangle reflector inside the wheel, working/rotating it round so that they don't poke outside of the spokes. Once inside, clip the joints together and then wrap some Sellotape around that joint. Using zip ties, you can tie each corner to the spokes. The reflectors aren't too rigid, so they can flex with the wheel, but because they will move the zip ties need to be checked for wear & tear on a regular basis.

For 32 or 28 spoke wheels you'll have to attach the zip ties at the 3 main contact points and it's a challenge to get it evenly centred.

Step 4: The Results

The results speak for themselves and really draw attention to the bike, but they are not as effective on the road as I thought they might be. This is due to the way that car headlights are angled off to the left (right in the US) to prevent dazzling oncoming road users. Having said that they look really impressive and there's a YouTube video on my main page showing them in action - Haydn Automation

Anyway, it will be interesting to see other people's variation of these...