Cycle clothing manufacturer Primal has a specific HiViz category, for riders who like to ride hard but also still be seen. This version of their Fusion jacket is for those who like to start winter rides early — or finish them late.
Lets start at the most, um, visible of the features. This jacket is really bright. We're talking Vini Fantini levels of radioactive yellow here. A housemate of mine even commented that it 'might be too visible'. In my eyes, on dark British roads there is no such thing as too visible - but it was a good way to describe just how effective the colour is in making you seen.
On top of the yellow, the Fusion has reflective piping and reflective bands on one of the biceps. That's great, but the reflective bands are on the left - the wrong side for UK roads. I'd have preferred to have them on the arm that I use for manoeuvres like signalling right, cutting across traffic lanes.
Getting technical with the fabrics used, the jacket is made from a mixture of Primal's Strata and Traverso thermal materials. The more wind resistant Strata material is used on the parts of the body that will be more exposed to wind, such as shoulders and the chest. Meanwhile the slightly stretchier Traverso is used in other places that are a bit more sheltered. This tech works well in slightly breezy conditions/on high speed descents but I can't see it making a big difference in properly gusty weather.
The construction of the jacket is also pretty spot on, with cargo pockets angled on either side and then full height in the middle. This makes access to your phone/anti-bonk/tools very easy, but perhaps loses a point in the overall storage capability stakes. The main zipper also performed without issue during my test period. The only wear issue I had was the reflective transfer on the middle pocket starting to peel off. To be honest this is probably because I commuted a fair amount in the jersey with a heavy rucksack on rubbing on my back.
The fit of the Fusion is excellent. It actually might be the best fitting jersey I've ever ridden in. The jersey was plenty tight across my chest and waist, without having ridiculously short sleeves. If you are fairly tall and skinny and like a close fitting jersey you'll be pressed to find a better example than this.
In terms of the warmth of the jacket, the fleecy interior meant I was pretty happy using it as an outer layer. Generally I rode with an additional base layer as it was tested in pretty cold weather, however on more recent warmer commutes and rides around the 10 degree mark it was plenty good enough on its own. The neck is reasonably high and tight to keep the wind out, and the sleeve cuffs provide decent but not perfect overlap with gloves - my benchmark test of a good sleeve cuff.
Having said that I'm surprised Primal are calling this garment a jacket. Primal never mention that the materials used are designed to stand up to any kind of rain, and so I would say the Fusion falls squarely into the 'winter jersey' corner of the cycling clothing universe. Put it this way, if the forecast was for rain at any point in my ride, there would be an extra lightweight waterproof in my pocket as I left the house.
Finally in terms of the price, this jacket (well, jersey) performed exactly how I would expect £89.99 worth of cycling clothing to. Oh, and if you don't have the need to be the most visible rider in your postcode the Fusion is available in plain old black for the same price.
An excellent fitting and extremely visible jersey for colder commutes. Don't expect it to perform like a full blown waterproof jacket though.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Primal Hi Viz Race Cut Fusion Jacket
Size tested: Medium, Black/Fluo Green
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"The Fusion Jacket is a thermal outer layer designed to protect riders from the cold while still allowing airflow to and from the body. Complete with reflective piping, this jacket is great for any ride, from the early morning commute to and extended training route."
Pretty accurately sums up my experience of this garment, although I still think calling it a jacket is a bit of a push.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Again from Primal's description:
"The Primal Fusion jacket is constructed with a combination of Strata and Traverso thermal fabrics to provide maximum comfort in cool temperatures. Traverso fabric, with 4-way stretch properties, is used on the body of the jacket for a free range of motion while Strata fabric on the shoulders, chest and arms helps block wind."
As mentioned in the review, this tech worked well in light breezes and on fast descents but don't expect it to keep you completely warm for hour upon hour of gusting wind.
Loses a point for the reflective bands being on the wrong side.
Performs excellently as a winter jersey in chilly conditions, but I wouldn't take it as my main jacket on three-hour-plus winter rides.
Only issue was the transfer rubbing off the back.
The best fitting jersey I've worn in a long time.
Performed as I expected for ninety quid's-worth of jersey.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cut of the jersey was really top notch for my tall, slim frame.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The reflective bands being on the wrong side, and it being marketed as a jacket.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, although possibly in the black version depending on who it was.
About the tester
Age: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB/Kinesis Pro6 My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,