Gilets are really useful in the UK spring and autumn and the Sportful Ultra Light WS Vest is a very smart example that ticks the boxes well. It blocks wind with a Windstopper front panel and shoulders, and stops over-heating with a very breathable back panel. Three pockets boost its usefulness on the bike and it packs up very small.
Head out on the road bike at this time of year and the weather can be extremely unpredictable, so it pays to have versatility in your clothing so you can adapt quickly. A gilet is ideal when it comes to adding versatility. They provide an extra layer of insulation and protection from the wind over your torso, and can be carried in a pocket when the weather cheers up. I'm a big fan and reckon that every UK dwelling cyclist should have one.
This Sportful Ultra Light WS Vest is made from a lightweight and very thin Gore-Tex Windstopper 3L fabric, used solely on the chest panels and the shoulders. Elsewhere an Aeroflow 3D fabric is used to reduce the weight and boost ventilation. I used it in a range of conditions and it provides excellent protection from the elements and even copes well in light passing showers. On warmer days it's breathable enough to stop you overheating.
Fit is good and on the slim side, and there's little flapping or bunching up when in the drops. The high collar lets you snug the full-length zip right up to the neck when heading out on chilly morning rides or commutes.
It's at the higher end of what I would expect to pay for a gilet (though you can pay a lot more) but it's a good quality product made from top-end materials and a fit and function that justifies the outlay. You'll get a lot of use out of it through the year as well
Simple, lightweight, good quality gilet for adding weather beating versatility to your cycling wardrobe
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Ultra Light WS Vest
Size tested: medium, black
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?
A versatile light weight wind vest made from Gore Windstopper 3L fabric
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra light weight wind protection with aerodynamic race fit
Ultra packable takes up minimum pocket space when stowed away
Windstopper's lightest weight fabric
Stretch poly mesh on back for great fit and excellent breathability
3 external pockets
Usual quality construction from Sportful. That's useful in a hard-working garment like a gilet, it will get a lot of use
The Windstopper front panels do a great job of keeping the chill at bay, the fit is excellent and it packs up very small when not needed. Three pockets boost usefulness
Yes, it's very durable
It's pretty light, and rolls up small
Very comfortable, the fit is good and it stops you getting caught out in bad weather
It's a little on the pricey side, but works well to justify the price tag with excellent design, fit and ultimately peformance
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does exactly what a gilet should do, offer you extra versatility to deal with unpredictable bad weather
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Keeps the wind at bay
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.