Riding at night is a blast, and the Huez Starman Reflex Jacket makes sure you get noticed thanks to its 360-degree reflectivity, plus it'll shrug off a bit of wind and rain too. If you're a racer who trains in the dark you'll also love the close cut that reduces flapping – if you're willing to pay for it.
- Pros: Race cut, impressive reflectivity
- Cons: Expensive for what it is
A lot more companies are thinking about how they go about making their clothing and accessories more visible at night without making riders look like a full DayGlo warrior with strips of 3M Scotchlite adorning their kit at random angles.
The Starman Reflex uses thousands of tiny little glass beads sewn into the fabric to bounce the light back at whatever source is providing it. By day the fabric looks a shiny dark silver just like any other race cape, but at night it works really well, giving you this ghostly upper body that shimmers in the light and defining you as a human object thanks to your shape. I've even worn it when running on unlit lanes and was very confident about my visibility.
I've tested a lot of these sorts of jacket over the years, and the Starman Reflex is one of the better ones, especially in terms of breathability. It'll still overheat if you push the pace hard, but for most moderate training rides and the odd bit of hill climbing, the underarm mesh vents and the opening that runs just below the shoulder blades are enough to keep you comfortable.
There is also a long opening that allows you access to your jersey pockets, held shut by Velcro, so if you get really clammy you can keep this open to let more heat out.
The material is a decent windstopper, just taking the edge off a chilly breeze when worn over a jersey and light baselayer, even if the temperatures are only hovering around 3°C.
It's also claimed to be waterproof. It has a 5,000mm rating, which means it'll keep out a light shower or drizzle for a while, although to make sure the breathability is the best it can be Huez hasn't taped any of the seams so it's more of a water-resistant jacket than a waterproof.
I've mentioned the fit already, and it really is very well cut, and will appeal if you like your kit close to the body to reduce flapping and keep you aero. You get a dropped tail for rear end coverage against road spray and also to stop any draughts getting up the back.
The front is also arched up towards the zip to stop any bagginess when you crouch on the bike, plus it reduces rub from the zip on the front of your shorts.
The sleeves are a good length, and feel slightly shaped at the elbow so you don't get any creasing here. The cuffs are elasticated, which stops wind and rain from getting blown up your arms, and they stay in place well as there is plenty of tension.
At 190g the Starman Reflex is barely noticeable when on or when stuffed into your jersey pocket, so you can carry it as an emergency jacket. To keep things neat and tidy it folds into its own storage pocket.
It's £160, though, which is pricey for this type of jacket – especially when you can get something like the similar Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket for just 60 quid, or the Shutt VR Showerproof jacket for £75.
The Huez is very good when it comes to the cut and the quality, and the reflectivity does bring on a whole new level of usability in the winter that the Shutt VR and Showers Pass don't have, but I'm not sure it's enough to justify the cost.
Great race-cut jacket that stands out in headlights, but at a massive price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Huez Starman Reflex Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Huez describes the Starman thus: "The Starman Reflex jacket is our most technical to date and brings the added value of reflectivity to a highly breathable and waterproof material. The jacket is designed to perform at the highest level of road cycling, ensuring the fit is fine-tuned for your bike position and reducing fabric to ensure weight is kept a minimum."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Hand wash 30 degrees for best performance.
Access to jersey pockets
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Hand wash at 30 degrees is the recommended but I've also washed it in the machine with no issues.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive reflective properties and decent breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Not at full price.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a decent race style cape for performance riding in the cool weather with good breathability and the added bonus of great reflectivity, but the waterproofing isn't the best around and it's a lot of money.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
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.