The UK brand Proviz have really come of age, founded in 2008 by brothers Bob & Ant Langly-Smith, we first covered the high-vis cyclewear on Bicycles Network Australia in 2013 when the brand were promoting their tron-like LED lighting feature called Triviz on their reflective jackets. Proviz is a brand who explore the limits while at they core they are about reflective and high visibility wear for cycling, running and outdoors in every format and style you could imagine. Do you have a dog and want a reflective or high-vis coat? Proviz have three to choose from.
For review on BNA, we received a cycling vest suited to sporty riders which features the ‘Reflect360’ technology. This is not just reflective… it is super reflective. More on this shortly, but first we need to talk about hi-vis verses road cycling. In this day and age, you could argue that the average road cyclist appreciates the modern graphics and bold styles of premium bike clothing from Assos, MAAP, pedla and Attaquer. When you are lucky, the great-looking bike gear also incorporates subtle reflective tabs or printing. In contrast, most high-vis clothing is suited to commuter and leisure riding so is often impractical for road cycling, not to mention it is fairly daggy.
To be fair, I wear daggy high-vis fluro bike wear when I am commuting and face a lot of traffic. But the speeds and conditions of commuting are different to road riding. The Reflect360 Plus Men’s Gillet bridges the gap in aesthetics and practicality for sport cyclists and gives you mind-blowing visibility at night.
How Reflective? Super Reflective!
As a night-time jacket this is built to reflect light. It means that in the daylight it appears grey and fairly non-descript from a distance.
The good news is that there are also red, green and blue coloured vests (Reflect360 CRS series) – the colours are fairly bright but you get the impressive Reflect360 tech.
Although the grey jacket appears grey during the day, it also shimmers and I was stunned to see it lightly reflecting colours in the room when I was taking photos. This is different from the run-of-the mill reflective tabs and prints you usually see on sports gear. At night against light, the Reflect360 is seriously bright. The following short video demonstrates the daytime and nighttime reflectivity.
In the video with the nighttime sequence, a light is shining from the camera toward the bike but you can’t even see my head or features while the vest shines extremely brightly. The material does a great job of catching light from other directions (and not just dead-ahead) and with absolute confidence I can say… you are going to be seen in this at night.
The Reflect360 Gillet
There are a few vests different vests available from Proviz and this particular one for $115 (AUD) has a solid front section and perforations on the back and rear panels. The Reflect360 Plus gillet ($120) has perforations on all panels (front and back) whle the Reflect360 Performace gillet ($155) has solid panels and has black panels on the sides and top half of the back.
The perforations on the back and side are for breathability and Proviz describe this feature being coupled with a ‘waterproof membrane ensuring the perfect combination’. I experienced damp, but not wet conditions so didn’t fully test the waterproofing in pouring rain but felt it was like the splash protection that some cycling gillets provide. Despite the perforations, breathability wasn’t as good as I had hoped for and when my body heated and I started sweating, the moisture struggled to escape.
The material is fairly thick and feels like thick plastic sheeting so it is not comfortable as a jacket or jersey with soft fabric. However, the high collar is lined with fleece which was a good decision by the designers. As a thicker material, the wind protection was good, the material creates a nice barrier against cold rushing air to the chest.
The zipper works well and I was able to comfortably ride during warmer weather with the zipper undone. There are no pockets on the back, which was fine, but I feel that the designers really wanted pockets so put some in on the sides which I feel was unnecessary.
Elastic is used on the arms and waist though around the arms I felt it was too tight. This is often a tricky part of clothing design because for road cycling you neither want it too tight (as it is uncomfortable) or too loose as it will let air rush through. As a gillet, around the waist the material should have been tapered-in more to provide a closer fit though if you have a bit more girth, it will be a better fit on the torso.
The vest can be folded and squeezed into a pocket and while it is fairly lightweight, the robust material does not fold as compact as a typical gillet making this a vest you would tend to keep on for the entire ride.
The reflective capabilities are impressive and you need more daytime colour, Proviz also have you covered. The range of jackets, vests, pants and other high visibility wear provides so many options with prices that are fair, designs that are attractive and quality that you expect.
The fit of the Proviz Reflect360 Gillet was not a snug (around the waist) as I feel it should be and extra material flaps about and is not as comfortable while road cycling. For my energetic road cycling I would be seeking better breathability. The high collar lined with fleece and elastic still shows that Proviz are seeking to appeal to the sportier cyclist and long distance riders (such as Audax) and touring cyclists are well catered for.
Even with some of the criticisms of the vest, I am sold on the Reflect360 by Proviz and have my eye on a commuting jacket.