The Huez Moonrider Gilet is windproof and waterproof and is made from a special dimpled material that is incredibly reflective. Be seen and be stylish, says Huez.
As this reflective thing is the stand-out feature, I'll talk about that first. This gilet is made from reflective dimpled material using 3M reflective technology. The dimples catch and reflect light at more angles than a normal fabric would; quite clever. It definitely works – shine a light on it and you're more visible than your average Las Vegas casino.
So in the dark it works really well; in daylight it's not nearly as visible as your standard DayGlo yellow affair, in fact it doesn't stand out much at all. Which I think is exactly what Huez was trying to achieve: look stylish during the day, be safe at night.
In terms of dressing for the weather, this one is definitely more of a sleeveless waterproof than a stuff-it-in-your-pocket-in-case-of-a-shower-or-slight-chill. The fabric is fairly substantial and does a really good job of keeping actual rain out. While it may not have a waterproof zip, it has a pretty big stormflap made from a rubbery material.
Talking about zips, the Moonrider gilet sports a 'Quickburst' zip, which allows you to bypass unzipping if you want to take it off. Simply pull on the tabs and the zip comes apart. It works, and is another feature you don't find on most gilets although, for me, it's a solution to a problem I don't think I have. While you can do the quickburst thing with one hand, it works better with two. While riding, using the zip as it was intended works fine with one hand, leaving the other available for staying-upright duties.
As I mentioned, the fabric is fairly substantial. That's great for staying warm and dry, but the downside is it doesn't pack down particularly small. You'll be able to just about stuff it into some jersey pockets, but I don't think I'd want to have a big bulge like that on my lower back. I wouldn't mark it down for this, it just isn't that kind of gilet.
Other features include a long horizontal opening along the back to allow you to get to the back pockets of whatever you're wearing underneath, with three Velcro tabs to keep it from gaping open and letting the rain in. In use, I'm not sure this arrangement works that well. I found it pretty hard to get my phone in a back pocket without undoing one of the Velcro tabs, and doing it up again with one hand is tricky.
There is also a zippered pocket to put some valuables in, which doubles as a built-in stuff sac. To give some idea of stuffed size, this pocket measures 17 x 20cm empty. Full, it's somewhere between the size of a healthy grapefruit and honeydew melon.
In terms of sizing, the gilet comes up quite big. We have a medium on test and medium is normally bang on for me. A Bontrager or Endura (racing type gilet) medium fits me like a glove over a summery jersey. A Mavic UK medium is snug over a Roubaix long sleeve, and the Huez Moonrider gilet comes up a bit bigger than that.
I don't think that's a bad thing because, for me, that's the sort of temperature where it works best: not cold enough to go for a full windstopper or waterproof, but not warm enough to go for the Gabba and arm warmers. For me that's between 7 and 15 degrees with any rain short of a downpour. If it's warmer than that, I'd want something a bit lighter. Because it's made from the same reflective material all over – so no mesh back panel – it's not super-breathable, so it's more suited for a leisurely ride than an all-out chaingang sufferfest.
In those leisure circumstances, it's an absolute joy to wear. The fabric is four-way stretch, the inner fabric feels really nice, there's a substantial collar to keep the weather out, the shoulder cuffs are just the right size – tight but not overly so – and there's a gripper hem to keep everything in place.
In summary then, while the Moonrider may have some features that strike me as more gimmick than genuinely useful, there's no denying it's a really well made gilet that is good at keeping the weather out and the warmth in. Shine a light on it and anybody saying SMIDSY's pants are so on fire you might as well get some marshmallows out.
There is a bit of an elephant in the room though, and that's the price: £155 is a lot of cash for a gilet. It's significantly more than any Rapha gilet and a quick scan through our review archive suggests most of my fellow reviewers think half that is expensive for a gilet. I can see where the money has gone – it's a highly specialised (unique?) fabric, it has a fancy zip and it's a niche brand – but for me that doesn't quite balance up to the frankly huge price tag.
Comfortable, waterproof and very visible, but extremely expensive
road.cc test report
Make and model: Huez Moonrider 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?
Huez says: "A gilet created for those who desire safety without compromising style and performance in equal measure need look no further than the Moonrider Gilet. Formed from a unique fabric that utilises small dimples to catch and reflect light at what seems every conceivable angle whilst remaining astonishingly lightweight and waterproof, this gilet sacrifices nothing. The laminated mesh construction allows the garment a full 4-way stretch while remaining soft to the touch, durable and comfortable.
"Using expertise learnt from our wind jackets and gilets, the Moonrider features a quickburst YKK zip system unique to us. This allows the gilet to be removed ludicrously fast. Once off the garment is stored in its own integrated reflective pouch which doubles up as a zipped valuables pocket whilst being worn. The reflective fabric also has the benefits of being wind and waterproof, making the Moonrider a true year-round piece."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Quickburst: the fastest, most outrageous way to unzip your jacket. You'll never look at zips in the same way again.
Reflectivity: 3M®'s brilliant reflective technology keeps you highly visible when darkness falls.
Waterproof: Not a drop. None. This fabric is practically impenetrable to bad weather so you'll stay dry as a bone even when it's raining cats and dogs.
This gilet looks really well put together, with a quality YKK zip.
The reflective fabric makes you very visible when a light is shone on it.
So far, no issues.
There's more than a bit of bunching on the drops, but as this is not aimed at racers, I don't think that's a massive problem.
The Moonrider Medium is quite a big medium. If you're comparing it to a racing fit jersey, than it's a Massive Medium. I can easily fit a short-sleeve jersey and a Roubaix long-sleeve jersey underneath with space left over.
For comparison, a medium from Bontrager or Endura is tight over a summer jersey.
I don't think weight is particularly relevant as it's not a racing top, but it's not a lightweight.
It keeps you warm and cosy, and as dry as you could expect from a waterproof gilet.
No two ways about it, £155 is really expensive for a gilet. Yes, it's really reflective, it has a special zip, and it's made from nice materials, but it's significantly more expensive than any Rapha gilet, for example.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Cold wash (30 degrees) and don't do any tumble drying/ironing/bleaching/dry cleaning. I try to never wash waterproofs as it usually reduces waterproofness with every wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Its designed purpose according to the marketing blurb is "keeping you safe without compromising style or performance". I'd say it does that extremely well.
This jersey is incredibly visible in the dark when you shine a light on it, and I'll agree it's stylish. I'm not sure about performance though, it's not very breathable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very reflective and nice and comfortable to wear.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The Velcro tabs can be a bit of a faff and you need to be aware of the sizing, but the price, that's another matter.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, it's too expensive for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe to a rich friend.
Use this box to explain your score
The Moonrider is a really good, non-racing gilet. It's windproof and waterproof, comfortable and extremely visible in the dark. In terms of its reflective qualities it's excellent, but the fit could be better (even if you're not racing) and it's so darn expensive; when you take everything into account I think 7/10 as an overall score is about right – it's definitely a good 'un, but pricey.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
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: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking