Now that the clocks have gone back if you’re commuting there is a good chance one, if not both legs of your journey are going to be in the dark. Lights are one way to go but even when you are light up like a carnival float you’ll still get the SMIDSY shout, what you need as a backup are good reflectives. New brand Proviz have gone for plenty of both. Roadcc reviewed the Proviz rucksack recently and the waterproof jacket here follows in the same vein, a hi-viz and hugely reflective piece of kit whose party piece is electroluminescent strips.
Designed primarily for the city commuter this jacket is cut for a more upright position. A slightly dropped tail keeps your lower back warm but it is not as fitted as other race inspired jackets on the market. The construction consists of a 100% waterproof layer with a mesh liner, and it works. In the recent autumnal storms we’ve been having the Proviz never let in any water no matter how heavy it got.
A fleece collar eliminates drafts running down your neck while pit zips and a back vent help keep air moving through in a bid to counteract the weakness of any waterproof jacket – breathability. They do a pretty good job, things will get humid if you push the pace but its certainly no worse than any other full weight waterproof I’ve worn. The yellow fabric is one of the most hi-viz I’ve seen standing out very well in low light conditions. Where the Proviz really excels is the amount of reflective panels on show, massive side panels for visibility on roundabouts and at junctions, plus thick stripes running down the arms for indicating, areas often neglected by other manufacturers. Plenty of front and rear reflectives including the zips make the Proviz even better in the dark than virtually anything else on the market.
All the above allows the Proviz to compete against jackets twice the price but if you include the lighting strips it puts it into a niche market of, well two really, (the only similar jacket we can think of is the Endura Luminite). It’s not just a gimmick and the blue electroluminescent strips are really impressive whether in constant or flashing mode. In flashing mode two strips on the front and two on the rear light up alternately getting around 20 hours from 4 standard AAA batteries. In traffic the blue light stands out against the background of red and white lighting while out on the lanes it gives another dimension to the aura of light coming from the the other flashing LEDs adorning your bike. With a life of 4000 hours quoted for the 100% waterproof electroluminescent strips they will probably outlast the jacket. The battery pack is situated in an inside pocket and we certainly had no problems with water ingress over the test period. There is also a good sized zipped pocket at the rear which is large enough to store a mobile, keys, tube and a multi-tool.
Due to the electrics the Proviz isn’t machine washable, Endura's Luminite is because you can take the rear LED out - it also costs £25 more. The Provis instructions recommend wiping/scrubbing using a damp cloth with appropriate soft cleaning agents. To be fair this isn’t a major problem but while not whiffy yet it’ll be interesting to see how the inner liner fairs in the long term without being able to wash it.
Overall a good jacket. The Proviz is up against some stiff competition especially at this price point but it holds its own. One of the most reflective jackets I've ever seen and they have got the balance spot on between day and night visibility. Add the electroluminescent lighting and its a good all round package available in male and female specific cuts. The inability to chuck it in the washing machine may be a bit of an chink in its armour though.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Proviz Hi Visibility Waterproof
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?
Proviz was set up by two brothers who both commuted by bike in London which is why the range is aimed at the commuter. Visibility is the key and it ticks all the boxes on that front offering near 360 degree reflectivity.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes, for the commute its brilliant
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting My best bike is: Schwinn Fastback Pro
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: 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.