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Cycle ClothingReviews

The Proviz PixElite Gilet – cycling apparel that literally stops traffic

Proviz PixElite Softshell Gilet
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Has anyone ever pulled up alongside you in a Porsche at traffic lights to ask where you bought your reflective gilet? – no, I thought not. But that, quite seriously, happened to me the other day.

Let me backtrack for a second…

All of us cyclists (ok, most of us) (oh, alright, some of us) resist facing up to an inconvenient truth: that being visible on these increasingly dark autumn/winter rides is marginally more important than our sartorial sensibilities would generally allow.

It can seem like a bit of rum deal – a fly in the ointment – to be forced to contemplate spoiling the aesthetic of your beautifully considered kit choices by making concessions towards your visibility on the road.

I can’t imagine there are many cyclists in these enlightened times who relish dressing up like a trainee Police Community Support Officer in order to feel a little safer on the roads.

While super high-viz neon does have its place within the cycling community, for those of us with more than a passing regard for style as well as function its adoption can seem like a compromise too far.

It is show-stoppingly bright, giving you a sense of security that – while not being something to take for granted – is a welcome feeling on roads where you need every bit of help you can get.

British sportswear brand Proviz has come up with the definitive solution to this issue with the launch of its latest PixElite collection, a supremely eye-catching range of refelctive garments that satisfies the desire to be seen in all senses.

The PixElite range features a jacket, jerseys (long sleeved and short sleeved), gilet, bib shorts, arm warmers, gloves and shoe covers. The jacket and jersey are available in both men’s and women’s specific cuts.

The PixElite Softshell Gilet (the focus of this review) is billed as a “high-performance, Italian-manufactured garment for those chillier days when you need an extra layer.” It is those things and more.

 

STYLE, COMFORT & PERFORMANCE

Having bought the PixElite Gilet initially to improve my overall safety and visibility on evening commutes, I have found myself wearing it on almost every ride since it arrived. It has elongated the lifespan of my summer kit (with the aid of some great Sportful arm and leg warmers) and kept me warm on cold-snap days. It is an incredibly versatile piece of kit that marries great visual appeal with warmth and protection against wind and showers.

The PixElite collection is a supremely eye-catching range of high-visibility garments that satisfies the desire to be seen in all senses.

The PixElite reflective fabric built in to the shoulders, sides and lower back is astonishingly effective in car headlights. The micro-beads which make up the reflective element of the fabric bounce headlight beams back toward the driver; it should be impossible to miss a cyclist in one of these garments when it is illuminated by a car’s headlights.

The PixElite Gilet features rear pockets giving ample room for all your ride essentials and with a lock-zip middle pocket you can keep valuables secure.

FIT & SIZING

The sizing of the PixElite Gilet is a little closer than garments from some of Proviz’s other ranges (360+ and Switch in particular). If you are usually a large in either of those styles, I would consider going up a size.

The bulk of the gilet is made from a soft-stretch mix of polyester, elastane and brushed thermal microfibre. Think race fit, especially if you are going to be wearing it over another long sleeve softshell or gabba-style garment.

I’m 183cm and weigh around 75kg (165lbs) and with fairly broad shoulders I’m around a 38-40 inch chest. The large is comfortable, but might be a little tight or short for those above a 40 inch chest. If you prefer your fit a little looser then it might be worth going up a size or two.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The PixElite Gilet is available on the Proviz website for £69.99, putting it in competition with gilets from many other brands. What sets this apart, however, is the additional safety functionality. In daylight it looks just as good (if not better) than most cycling gilets, but at night it really comes to life. It is show-stoppingly bright, giving you a sense of security that, whilst not being something to take for granted, is a welcome feeling on roads where you need every bit of help you can get.

Which brings me back to the intro of this review…

Having a sports car labour slowly behind, pull up beside you – the window already on its way down – might lead you to expect a terse exchange (although my riding is always exemplary of course). In this instance however nothing could be further from the truth: a polite gentleman simply wanted to compliment me on the visibility of my ‘top’ and ask where I bought it.

It made me love the PixElite Gilet even more.

Pixelite_gilet_03

 

REVIEWER STATS

Height: 183cm

Weight: 75kg

Measurements: 38 inch chest, 32 inch waist

Cycling activity: 80-150 miles per week, in moderate British conditions.

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Vamper reflects on the Proviz Reflect360+ women’s jacket

Proviz 360+The reflective capabilities of the Proviz 360+ are second to none.
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When it comes to wearable reflectives, the launch of the Proviz REFLECT360+ range is game changing. In daylight the garments are silvery grey; fairly unremarkable, you might think. But in direct light – a camera flash, a headlight – jeepers! The transformation renders even the most cynical speechless.

In direct light, the Proviz REFLECT360+ glows like a beacon. It reminds me of chemistry lessons where we would study the bright white light of burning magnesium. The Proviz 360+ is positively dazzling in headlights.

With the nights drawing in, I’ve found myself in a highly reflective mood lately.

I’ve been reflecting on the dangers of cycling as the evenings darken; that worry, as someone who is both a cyclist and a motorist, of just how many things compete for our attention on the road and how we owe it to one another to make journeys as easy as possible, by ensuring we can be seen.

The Proviz REFLECT 360+ reminds me of chemistry lessons observing the bright white light of burning magnesium.

And I’ve been looking at reflectives to add to my cycling wardrobe.

You’re unlikely to ever see me in hi-vis yellow – I want to be safe and I want to be visible, but I don’t want to be garish.

Bright enough to startle the deer in Richmond Park? Quite possibly.
Bright enough to startle the deer in Richmond Park? Yes. Visible to motorists at night? Definitely.

I want motorists to be able to see me in low light on the awkward roads of London with their hit-and-miss cycle paths and narrow lanes. I’m not one of those militant cyclists who thinks I shouldn’t have to make myself seen because I have the right to be on the road: we’re all fallible. I believe cyclists have a duty to make themselves visible in the same way that car drivers have a duty to turn on their headlights when it goes dark.

I’ve been reflecting on the dangers of cycling as the evenings darken; that worry, as someone who is both a cyclist and a motorist, of just how many things compete for our attention on the road.

But what you want to know is how it actually performs, right?

Chest pockets - handy for work passes, debit cards and tissues.
Chest pockets – handy for work passes, debit cards and tissues.

Comfort & Performance

I’m a sweaty sort of person. I’m generally reluctant to cycle in any sort of water resistant clothing because I worry it will steam my torso until it resembles a dim sum, but I can safely say I did not feel like a steamed dumpling after my 10 mile commute in the REFLECT360+ jacket.

The fabric is lightweight and surprisingly breathable, and the jacket has a ventilation flap across the shoulders to help keep you cool. What’s more, it has zippered under arm ventilation which you can unzip for extra air flow.

Sweaty cyclists of the world rejoice!

There are just two downsides: the first is that the sleeves are unlined, unlike the body of the jacket, so don’t feel very nice against bare skin – a bit clammy on the arms. For my evening ride home I wore merino arm warmers which solved the problem. I doubt I’ll be wearing the jacket with bare arms over the coming months, so it’s a minor gripe. The second is that although the reflective fabric is incredible in the dark under headlights, in low light the grey is very un-visible, so while it’s a great jacket for night time riding, it’s not so good for wearing on dull greys or at dusk.

Freedom of movement is excellent thanks to the redesigned raglan sleeves. A large back pocket coupled with chest pockets for debit cards and tissues mean you can keep your commuting essentials handy.

On the bike, the jacket is very comfortable. It doesn’t pull across the shoulders, it’s nice and long, it keeps water out and the fleecy collar feels lovely.

Testing out the reflective capabilities of the 360+ in Richmond Park. Whatever will the deer think?

I usually cycle at around 6.30pm. At the moment, that means I set off while it’s light, so the reflective element doesn’t really come in to its own. In a few weeks’ time, it’ll be a different story and I’m really looking forward to standing out on dark rides home.

 

Fit & Sizing

The REFLECT360+ women’s jacket is generously sized – particularly in the skimpy world of cycling apparel – so there’s no need to order a size up.

I’m 5’7” and a curvy size 12 in non-cycling clothes.

If I’m buying Castelli I always order size large. In DHB, I’ll always go for size 14 (which is still quite snug). But the size 14 Proviz 360+ jacket is plenty big enough – in fact, I could probably wear a 12 comfortably. But as winter draws in and there are more layers to fit underneath a jacket, I don’t mind having a bit of extra room. The sleeves are rather long, as you can see from the photograph; however, the Velcro straps around the wrists allow you to cinch them higher up if need be. (It’s worth noting that the sleeve length increases by 2cm for each size up in the range.)

The 360+ is cut to allow freedom of movement while cycling. It doesn't pull across the shoulders and it's long enough to keep your bum dry.
The 360+ is cut to allow freedom of movement while cycling. It doesn’t pull across the shoulders and it’s long enough to keep your bum dry.

 

The REFLECT360+ is long enough to cover my bum and generously cut to accommodate winter layers.
The REFLECT360+ is long enough to cover my bum and generously cut to accommodate winter layers.

Value for money

The Proviz REFLECT 360+ retails at £109.99. For a garment that provides good water resistance and incredible visibility at night, we think it offers great value for anyone who will be cycling in the dark this winter.

 

Reviewer stats

 Height: 172cm

Weight: 69kg

Measurements: 94-74-97

Cycling activity: 80-100 miles per week, in moderate British conditions.