Reflective cycling jackets

Cycle ClothingReviews

Madison Stellar Cycling Jacket: we put this commuter jacket through its paces

featured
views
2060

The Madison Stellar cycling jacket is for commuters in need of a highly visible, waterproof, windproof garment. (So that includes pretty much everyone who commutes by bike in the UK…)

The Madison Stellar cycling jacket will certainly help you to be seen. I’ve been testing the “Diva Pink” version (which happens to match my Bont shoes and Rapha bidon very well). I know that a lot of female cyclists have an aversion to pink because it’s all too often a lazy way for manufacturers to make something more ‘female-friendly’ but I love a really ballsy shade. Day-glo pink doesn’t make me feel girly, it makes me feel gutsy. So, let me state for the record: I have no problem with pink. (Although the name “Diva Pink” does make me want to barf).

 

Fit and Sizing:

I have been wearing size 12 in the Stellar and it fits my 5’8”, 150lb frame pretty well. It’s quite a straight cut so not very fitted at the waist but a close fit over hips and bust. The sleeves are generously cut and the collar comes up high enough to keep draughts out without making me feel as though I’m being strangled. (I’m not good with zips that press against my windpipe).

The Madison Stellar cycling jacket is satisfyingly long, both front and back.

Madison Stellar cycling jacket
“Diva Pink” may be a horrible name but the shade coordinates well with my Rapha pink bidons, Bont shoes and Fizik bar tape…

Comfort:

I have yet to ride out in a hard shell jacket that I find truly breathable. Any jacket that keeps the rain out keeps some sweat in. I didn’t find this jacket to be particularly sweaty, but some underarm ventilation wouldn’t go amiss.

The arms are nicely shaped and the jacket didn’t pull across the back even when I was in the drops. The sleeves can be tightened with Velcro at the cuffs to keep rain out.

 

Functionality:

The Madison Stellar cycling jacket is designed to keep you dry and visible when you’re on your bike, and it does what it says on the tin:

  • It is fully taped and kept me dry in the rain;
  • It’s hard to miss even at that tricky time of day when the light is just starting to fade;
  • The generous reflective panels on the arms and back help with visibility at night;
  • A roomy zipped rear pocket is handy for stowing valuables and an easily accessible front pocket is ideal for keys, debit card and tissues. (My nose runs a lot when I’m cycling in the cold).
  • The jacket is long at the back, providing good bum coverage against spray and road dirt.

 

Madison Stellar cycling jacket
A generous rear pocket and high reflective detailing make this a useful commuter jacket.

Visibility:

My concern with cycling jackets which rely on reflectivity rather than visibility is that they are only effective when it’s dark and when a bright light is shining on them. Don’t get me wrong – the Proviz 360 is incredible at night when headlights are switched on, and make cyclists super visible. But what about those rides in miserable grey weather? What about the dull mornings with poor visibility? That’s where this bright jacket comes in useful.

Madison Stellar cycling jacket
The front pocket is handy for those items you want easily accessible: keys, debit card, tissues…

Does the Madison Stellar cycling jacket deserve a place in your wardrobe?

Let’s face it: no jacket suits every eventuality. A comfortable, non-sweaty soft shell will keep you toasty but not bone dry in a downpour. A Proviz 360 will ensure you are visible at night in headlights but does nothing to help on dull grey days. And a bright, hi-vis hard shell won’t look particularly cool, but if you’re a ride-no-matter-what-the-conditions cyclist, a bright jacket is a useful item. This is a hard wearing, lightweight and comfortable cycling jacket for people who want to be seen on the road. If you’re a commuter, it is definitely worth a look.

The jacket is available from various retailers including Tredz and Wheelies for £89.99. The women’s version is available in pink, purple and hi-vis yellow. The men’s version is available in paprika, hi-vis yellow and black.

Footnote:

It’s no secret that the Vamper team are not big fans of hi-vis apparel. Fluorescent yellow tabards are not our cup of tea and we tend to go for outerwear with high reflectivity rather than bright hues. However. HOWEVER. As commuters in West London where traffic conditions are just dreadful, we firmly believe that safety has to be the absolute priority for cyclists dealing with heavy traffic. There is plenty of time on sunny weekend rides to flaunt your best looks on the Surrey Hills; on Thursday evenings amid rush hour traffic in West London, it’s important to be seen.

I don’t want to get into any arguments here about whether or not it is the responsibility of cyclists to make themselves visible. Like many of you, we’re motorists as well as cyclists and we know how difficult it can be to spot cyclists who are riding on poorly lit roads, at night, without lights and in dark garments. Everybody has to take responsibility on roads to stay safe – pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike. And that means alerting other road users to your presence, because nobody is omnipotent…