The Odlo Soulor is a slim-fitting vest/gilet for keeping cool air out during summer evening and spring/autumn rides.
The front and rear panels of the Soulor - named after the Pyrenean mountain pass – are made from a lightweight polyester fabric that, while not completely windproof, stops most air getting through.
The side panels are made from a stretchy polyester/Lycra mesh that's very stretchy. This means you can get a close fit over a range of different clothing combinations without the Soulor feeling tight. That's good with me; flapping clothing is one of my pet hates.
The neck is tall and I found it close fitting enough to stop cold air sneaking in down there when the zip was done up fully. Speaking of the zip, it's a good one from YKK with a puller that's large enough to grab even with full-finger gloves, and it locks in place wherever you position it.
The back dips down to provide good coverage when you're stretched out on the bike, and the binding around the hem is elasticated so it pulls the gilet in there. It's reflective too, adding to your visibility. That's a handy feature on something that you might well find yourself wearing on early mornings or late evenings when the light isn't great.
The side fabric is highly breathable courtesy of being a mesh and the main fabric lets sweat vapour evaporate through easily too. If you ever do find conditions getting muggy inside, you just open that front zip or whip the gilet off and stuff it in your jersey pocket – it'll fit with plenty of room to spare.
This is the type of gilet you can pack away in a pocket at the start of a ride and bring out if a sunny day turns cloudy or the temperature drops significantly over the course of an evening ride. By reducing the wind chill, it makes a surprising amount of difference to your comfort.
Slim-fitting gilet that keeps most of the cool air out while being impressively breathable
road.cc test report
Make and model: Odlo Soulor Bike Vest
Size tested: Medium
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?
Odlo say, "The Soulor bike vest boasts a lightweight design and outstanding protection from the wind. It noticeably reduces the wind-chill effect, preventing you from losing body heat when you're out cycling in windy weather. Its effective moisture management technology allows perspiration to evaporate well, keeping you dry and stopping you from getting cold even on longer bike rides. The cycling vest is made from ultra-lightweight fabric and has stretchy inserts on the side. This allows you to move freely and means you'll hardly notice you're wearing it."
Getting a gilet right isn't the most difficult thing in the world, but Odlo do a good job here.
It's more the bulk than the weight that's important. You usually want a gilet that you can fit into a rear pocket easily when not in use. This one does that easily.
The stretchy side panels mean you can get a close fit without it feeling too tight.
Gilets of this type generally aren't cheap given that they're a pretty basic bit of kit. This is a pretty good price for the quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does the job well. Some people might prefer a mesh back panel – so you only get the wind protection on the front – but that's just a matter of preference.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The slim, non-flapping fit and the breathability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not down with the styling, personally. Again, that's just a matter of taste.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This gilet does its job well and the price is okay, hence a 7. It's pretty hard for a gilet to do something exceptional and score a really high mark because it's a fairly basic item of clothing. There are no great secrets to making a decent gilet.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.