As an impressed owner of a ladies hotpack jacket (check out Deputy Editor Aoife's first impressions of it here) I was really keen to try the ultralight version of the vest. Sportful have developed a 7 denier fabric that is very fine and light yet still windproof and and water resistant. The material feels very silky and soft and weighing in at a mere 39g it is so light that you won't notice that it is in your pocket or that you have it on!
First impressions were that the garment is extremely well made and highly technical and with a £100 price tag you would expect this. It stuffs down to the size of a gel into it's own built in stuff sack which doubles up as a rear pocket with reflective trim. An immediate downside however is that the vest is only available in mens sizes at this present time. I'm a UK 10 and the small fit well but not perfectly, it was long enough in the body but quite loose around the stomach and across the shoulders. The armholes and waist are elasticated however which does help counteract this somewhat.
My first ride out with the vest, i shoved it in my pocket just in case as it looked like a lovely sunny day. As soon as I descended the hill from home though the vest went on over my long sleeved jersey as there was a bitingly cold wind. It did a fantastic job at keeping out any windchill and although it warmed up later in the ride I discovered that it's pretty breathable too and I ended up keeping it on for the duration of the ride. Mesh sidepanels and a vented upper back help with this.
I also found out on this ride just how durable the material is when a car pulled across in front of me and i ended up over his bonnet onto the windscreen! A small hole appeared on the left shoulder and despite being washed and worn several times since it is showing no signs of getting any larger or ripping further, if only my bike had been as hardwearing!
Like a lot of gilets and race capes this one rustles in strong winds but the elasticated armholes and waist do an excellent job of stopping the jacket ballooning, even though the loose fitting stomach bunches up once on the bike. On a later ride out I was caught out in a typical north east shower and the vest did a very good job of keeping me dry.
All in all it's a very nice looking piece of technical clothing and I think one of the only gilets that I've set off for a ride in and then returned still wearing it because it is breathable and unnoticeable.
High qualiity and durable
Wind resistant, showerproof and breathable
So small and light there'll always be room for it
Men's sizing only
Price: £90.00, available from Wiggle.
We also took the Tern P9 Link Bike for a spin, check out the review for it here.
Looking for some new road kit, have a read of our first impressions of Sugoi's new offering here.
Why not give yourself a new hairstyle which is helmet friendly? Try creating the Half-Up Hair Tuck here.