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Verdict: 
An excellent four-season gilet with great 'packing' qualities
Weight: 
140g
Contact: 
Rivelo Men's Rowsley Gilet
9 10

With autumn approaching, the humble gilet is about to become a must-have for most rides. With that in mind it's worth investing in a good one, something like this Rivelo Rowsley. It fits well, offers good protection from the elements and is impressively breathable. A good all-rounder.

Rivelo designs its clothing here in the UK and is keen to point out the amount of testing that goes on in our rather inclement country too. (Although when it comes to manufacturing, Rivelo, like many others, looks to China – in the case of this gilet, anyway.) The quality is very good too. At first glance there doesn't seem anything overly flashy with the 100% polyester construction, but it's the attention to all the little details that makes the Rowsley so complete.

> Buy this online here

The fabric itself is quite thick, thicker than the likes of dhb's Aeron Super Light or BTwin's race orientated Aerofit, which explains why the Rivelo is nearly double the weight. What it also means is that the Rowsley is highly durable and much better at shrugging off light rain and heavy drizzle, and it's warmer too. Being bulkier doesn't stop it folding up well; this gilet will still easily pack down to a jersey pocket size in a few folds.

Rivelo says that the Rowsley is water resistant and I'll vouch for that. After getting caught in the rain for two hours at the tail end of a ride, I was suitably impressed with how dry I remained. Not just from the rainfall but also the lack of sweat, because the Rowsley is great when it comes to breathability. It uses a mesh fabric for the side panels, which helps a lot, plus there's a little flap on the back, which is actually there to allow access to jersey pockets, but allows some heat to escape too.

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - back.jpg

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - back.jpg

With a mesh baselayer, short sleeve jersey and the gilet, I was good up to about 16°C. With the fresher evenings coming in, the windproof nature of the material stops those chills getting through to your chest, especially when your speed increases.

The fit is tailored for riding but without being too close fitting. Rivelo says its garments offer a true size and you shouldn't need to size up unless you want a relaxed fit. I actually sit somewhere between the medium and large according to the sizing chart, but the medium was spot on – fitted but with plenty of room to move around in.

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - riding.jpg

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - riding.jpg

The tail is dropped for a bit of bum coverage and it seemed a good length too, the front being cut short enough too to stop any bunching when in the saddle.

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - tail.jpg

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - tail.jpg

The zip is full length and it's a YKK one, which tend to be reliable long term, and this one certainly felt smooth in operation. Once fully zipped up there is a small fabric cover, a 'zip garage', to stop any irritation of the neck. The neck is pretty tall too, to stop any draughts from whipping down.

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - collar.jpg

Rivelo Mens Rowsley Gilet - collar.jpg

Colour-wise you've got this teal option or a dark blue with red detailing; both get reflective detailing down the rear for a bit of safety. Its position is pretty good too, running the full length of the body and being visible from a good angle spread.

> Read our guide to the best cycling gilets here

At £60 I'd say the Rivelo is right on the money, sitting somewhere in the mid-range price-wise of gilets we've previously tested but performing near the top end. Thanks to the Rowsley's warmth, breathability and ability to combat wet weather, you'll be wearing it for quite a bit of the year, further adding to its value.

Overall, I'd highly recommend the Rivelo Rowsley as a long lasting, high performance gilet.

Verdict

An excellent four-season gilet with great 'packing' qualities

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rivelo Men's Rowsley Gilet

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?

Rivelo says: "Gilets are the most versatile piece of kit in any cyclists wardrobe, and this one is no exception. folds down small enough to fit in your pocket, but also offers core protection if the weather turns windy, cold or damp. reflective design features ensure extra visibility - this gilet is the perfect partner for any ride."

The Rowsley is very impressive indeed in all conditions.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

windproof, water resistant fabric yet breathable and lightweight – easily packs into your jersey pocket

central back vent for added breathability and also allow access to jersey pocket underneath without having to unzip

stretch mesh panels for freedom of movement, breathability and a performance fit

reflective piping & print details for added visibility

dropped hem at rear to protect from road spray

stretch binding ensures a secure fit

YKK full length zip with Ri lock down puller, zip garage & guard for protection

angled collar, lined in soft microfiber fabric, for comfort and weather protection

soft grosgrain ribbon back neck hanging loop

no scratchy labels – care label is laser cut and bonded

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very nicely made with impressive attention to detail.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The polyester fabric feels very tough.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

A slim style gilet without being exclusively cut for racing whippets.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

I sit somewhere in the middle between medium and large on the chart, and found the medium a great fit.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10

We've tested gilets that are near half the weight but they are very minimalist emergency versions. The Rowsley is more substantial in material and thickness.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10

Nice to wear and impressive breathability to keep you comfy.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Sixty quid is pretty good for this kind of quality, fit and performance.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Like most, you have to avoid fabric softener, tumble drying and that kind of thing. Thirty degree wash and drip dry.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Really well, a great product that'll see plenty of wear over the coming months.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

How breathable it is.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I like a pocket on a gilet but at least this does come close with the access flap.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Rivelo seems to cover a big temperature range and loads of weather conditions which makes its 60 quid price tage reasonable. Take into account the cut, the finish and the quality and it's almost a bargain.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Mason Definition

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.