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The colour of winter cycling

Cyclists in yellow jackets are a common sight on roads as the evenings draw in, as attention turns to increasing visibility to other road users. We’ve rounded up eight yellow windproof and waterproof jackets ideal for cycle commuting through the autumn and winter.

While there are studies that suggest fluorescent clothing doesn’t always ensure you’re visible to other road users, most people have clearly decided to wear a bright yellow jacket can’t do any harm for increasing visibility to other road users, and for that reason they’re hugely popular and there’s loads of choice, with prices starting from £20, as this roundup shows.

- Buyer’s guide: The best waterproof cycling jackets

Some things to consider if you’re looking for a yellow jacket. Aside from the colour, not all yellow jackets are made the same. Some are constructed from waterproof fabrics, others are made from windproof and water resistant fabrics, with the different fabrics impacting such aspects as weight, breathability, fit and how compact the jacket is when rolled up. The fabric also impacts the price, with branded fabrics typically commanding a premium.

- Buyer's guide: the best reflective cycling clothing & accessories

Bright yellow jackets are really only effective during daylight hours, so to ensure you stand out at night you want to look for a jacket with lots of reflective details and panels to help you stand out in the dark. Manufacturers are making much more effort to increase the reflectivity of commuting jackets, and we've even seen whole jackets made from reflective material, like the Proviz Reflect 360 Jacket.

- Essential wet weather cycle clothing and gear

Fit and shape are important, so it’s always worth trying one on before you buy, but you need to decide what. Some jackets are made from very lightweight material which means they can easily be folded away when not needed, making them ideal for touring and commuting where space is at a premium. Some jackets have a much more generous shape with lots of space for layers underneath, and some can easily be worn over regular clothes. Some are proper performance fit if you’re choosing high-visibility for training rides rather than commuting purposes.

Latest hi-vis deals

We've scoured the online retailers to find some good deals on yellow. Here's what we found!

Ten of the best high-vis jackets

If you’ve decided you want to invest in a new yellow cycling jacket this winter, here's a range of options priced from £24.99 up to £200.

Proviz Nightrider 2.0 — £64.95

Proviz Nightrider front.jpg

If being seen on the road is your ultimate safety concern then the new version of Proviz's Nightrider jacket really couldn't do much more to help. It's made from two types of material: super-loud yellow high-vis and Proviz's REFLECT360 fabric at the shoulders and tail. Which means, whether you're cycling in daylight or darkness, as long as a source of light bounces off the jacket from somewhere, you'll be seen.

The effect of Proviz's high-vis yellow material is clear for all to see in daylight (the women's version uses an equally lurid pink), but it's the performance of the REFLECT360 material at night that is so impressive.

To my eyes, that seems to have taken a step forward since Proviz's original REFLECT360 products and it really does need only the faintest light, not even hitting the fabric surface directly, to glow like a loved-up phantom. It's very impressive.

There's a women's version too.

Read our review of the Proviz Nightrider 2.0

Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Hybrid — £54.94

Pearl Izumi MEN'S ELITE PURSUIT HYBRID JACKET

Pearl Izumi's Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket represents a really nice blend of performance fit, water resistance and windproofing. It's not quite your Castelli Perfetto or Santini Beta Rain jacket, but then it doesn't cost nearly as much as those all-round garments either.

The Elite Pursuit Hybrid jacket isn't a do-it-all, cool-weather, all-in-one outer garment like the Sportful Fiandre Light Wind jacket. It's better described as a lightweight outer layer that adds a little weatherproofing to your layering system.

Ostensibly, it's a beefier version of the lighter PRO Barrier Lite jacket. Still relatively packable (this weighs 27g more), it's supposed to be a slightly more resilient version of the Barrier Lite that you might be tempted to rely on as an all-ride outer layer rather than a whip-on, whip-off as needed option.

Read our review of the Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Hybrid
Find a Pearl Izumi dealer

B’Twin 500 Hi Vis Waterproof Cycling Jacket — £24.99

B'TWIN 500 WATERPROOF CYCLING JACKET.jpg

Bright yellow jackets don’t get much more affordable than this one from giant sports superstore Decathlon. It’s made from a fully waterproof material with seamed seals, to prevent water sneaking in at the edges of the various panels the jacket is constructed from, and there are reflective patches on the sides, wrists and shoulders. There’s even a clip for a LED light on the back.

Sportful Reflex Jacket — £31.50

Sportful Reflex.jpg

If you don’t want a bulky and sweaty waterproof jacket, the lightweight fabrics used in this Sportful Reflex jacket might just be right for you. The fabric is windproof and water-    repellent, so it’ll be fine in showers, and it can be folded away very small to fit inside a jersey or backpack pocket. There’s 360-degree visibility with lots of reflective prints.

dhb Flashlight Force Jacket — £120

dhb-Flashlight-Force-Waterproof-Jacket-Cycling-Waterproof-Jackets-Fluro-Yellow-AW16-NU0420.jpg

Made from a three-layer waterproof fabriv with fully taped seals and lots of 3M Scotchlite prints and logos, this dhb Flashlight Force should keep you both dry and visible on the roads. The use of a Teflon water repellent finish on the outer fabric face provides enhanced protection in the rain. You get two storage pockets, adjustable cuffs, a dropped tail and a fleece-lined collar.

Madison Protec Waterproof jacket — £74.99

Madison Protec yellow jacket

British company Madison has been expanding its clothing range over the years and the Protec Waterproof jacket is fit for regular commuting cycling. It’s made from a fully taped fabric that is waterproof and windproof, and has vents for extra cooling on warmer days. A tailored fit with articulated arms increases the fit comfort and there is lots of reflective print.

Endura Luminite II jacket — £68.99

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A staple of Scottish clothing brand Endura’s commuting range for a few years, the Luminite II uses a 2.5 layer waterproof fabric with fully taped seams. It’s generous cut so you can get some layers underneath for extra insulation. You get a smattering of pockets, loads of reflective stripes and logos, and the inclusion of the Luminite LED in a small window at the back of the jacket. It’s available in a men and women’s version and a choice of colours if you don’t want yellow.

Read our review

Gore Wear C3 Gore-Tex Paclite Hooded Jacket — £110.49 - £118.99

Gore-Bike-Wear-Element-Gore-Tex-Active-Shell-Jacket-Internal-Neon-Yellow-AW17-JGTELM080004.jpg

Gore-Tex is often held up as the benchmark waterproof fabric, and this one is feature-packed with a stow-away hood in the collar, chest pocket, adjustable cuffs and waist hem, and lots of reflective detailing. It's cut to a casual fit—more a jacket than a race cape—so you can fit civilian clothes under it. If you want something sportier, check out the £164.99 Gore Wear C7 Gore-Tex Active.

Altura Night Vision Evo 3 Waterproof Jacket — £34.99

Altura Nightvision Evo 3

Altura uses its own Shield Evo fabric to provide a fully waterproof with 360-degree reflectivity to ensure you stand out at all times. The two-layer fabric has a soft touch and it’s breathable so you shouldn’t overheat. There are put and yoke draft vents to help remove any excess heat buildup. As is increasingly common on commuting jackets, there’s an integrated i-Lume flashing LED rear light.

Rapha Core Jacket — £66

Rapha Core.jpeg

Rapha’s autumn and winter range includes the Core Jacket, showing that even the high priests of coffee shop cool are prepared to go day-glo nerd when necessary. It’s a lightweight and showerproof jacket aimed at city cyclists and commuters that want a top that will keep them dry or stop the wind, while also being able to pack down into its own pocket, so it can live in a rucksack without taking up much space or adding weight, so it’s always ready for when you need it.

Castelli Raddoppia Jacket — £150

Castelli-Raddoppia-Jacket-Yellow-Fluo-Teal.jpg

Saving the most expensive for last, this Castelli Raddoppia jacket has a performance focused fit and shape and is made from Gore Windstopper X-Fast material, which is windproof and water resistant; it’ll keep you dry in a shower but not a prolonged downpour. This is a jacket for keeping you warm rather than dry and Castelli says the insulation level is similar to its excellent Espresso jacket. There are two big reflective panels across the front and back with reflective sleeve logos.

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

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.

38 comments

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BigRich [3 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm looking for a lightweight that is at least relatively hi viz for my porker body - needs be a good 50"+ chest.  Any ideas?

Yes  I know I need to lose a lot of weight indecision

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BarryBianchi [418 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I have a fantastic new material that's lightweight, waterproof, highly beatheable and attracts attention far more effectively than conventional Hi-Viz fabrics...

 

I'm calling it "skin".

 

 

 

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lambylamby [54 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've got the cheap decathlon £25 jacket shown above. It does the job, but is hideous.

I agree with above re:softshell, I have a dhb softshell that went into sale (and was subsequently discontinued http://road.cc/content/review/25957-dhb-windslam-soft-shell-jacket ) for £35 and was an absolute steal for the quality. It's very similar to a Gore Bike wear for a fraction of the price, albeit heavier, and I would imagine less breatheable I've used it for the last 3 years every day, and the only complaints are:

1 - The back pocket (with a huge zip) ripped slightly, so I've sown it up and waxed it,

2 - At the arm sleeve endings the velcro is really poor quality because the plastic grippers have worn down.

I would say a softshell is better as mentioned above due to much better breatheability, i've only ever thought about a rain jacket maybe 6 times a year, and I live in an area with more downpour than the UK on average. If Wiggle re-hash a new version of that jacket I would consider buying another one, they are that good (although I have many more years usage out of that jacket).

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brooksby [4573 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Shin]</p>

<p>[quote=ktache

wrote:
Disfunctional_Threshold wrote:
ktache wrote:
Grizzerly wrote:

My gore tex oxygen is less than a year old, so cannot afford to replace it just yet but who knows when it loses it's proofing.

 

Not sure what that is supposed to mean. A waterproof jacket should remain waterproof for many, many years. The DWR may lose it's ability to bead water, but the jacket should still be waterproof.

The past oxygen gave me somewhere between 3 to 4 years, with regular washing using the right stuff, until it stopped working one especially wet ride.  Re waterproofed it, the wash in stuff, just never really worked properly again.  Not a bad amount of time, worn every day whilst commuting and getting about on the bike in the winter, and when not worn was in the bag for the rest of the year, hung up when not on the bike.  Not a bad life for it really, nothing lasts forever.  As this one ages I shall try the spray on stuff, and save the wash in stuff for my bikesters.  For less than a quid a week for reliable dryness is alright on the value front.  I hope to get the same for the new one, which is only just less than a year old.  

Gore-Tex isn't waterproof because of something you wash into it, it's waterproof because of an expanded PU coated teflon membrane sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of the jacket.  The "wash in stuff" would presumably be something like Nik Wax - all that does is refresh the water repellent coating on the outside of the jacket and is largely irrelevant to the waterproofness.  If the jacket is now not waterproof I'd send it back, as Gore-Tex replaced two jackets of mine, both of which were a couple of years old at the time.  If it's looked after a Gore-Tex jacket should last for decades, not a couple of years.

I've got a gore-tex jacket. I re-treated the water beading effect on the outer surface. Honestly can't tell if the waterproofing has given up the ghost or if I sweat too much... (and I'm  not going to start licking the inside to find out...).

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LastBoyScout [601 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

You might be just the person I'm after. Can you explain this 'shell' business? What makes clothing a 'shell'? What distinguishes hard shell from soft shell?

If you want the answer in a nut shell, it is "taped seams"*.

Hard shell will be 100% waterproof because it has taped seams on the inside - the weak point will be the zips. The waterproofing comes at the expense of breathability.

In the original version of a soft shell, it was impossible, because of the material used, to seal the seams in the same way, so although the material would have been at least water resistant for a while, you would get water coming in through the seams in anything much more than a bit of drizzle. They are, however, much more breathable and, because you're not aiming for total waterproofing, you have more leeway with things like pit zips for further ventillation. "Proper" soft shells included things like Rab's VaporRise and Buffalo PP, but, in most cases, you were essentially buying a windproof fleece with a hood and flash name and you'd still need a hard shell over the top in a proper downpour.

More recent soft shells with smoother outer fabrics have got some external taping, but it's an expensive process and only really seen on top end stuff.

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birzzles [138 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Years of experience of waterproofs has led me to buy £12 quid decathlon ones.  They are waterproof for a while, which is fine.  Nothing I have bought has lasted much longer irrespective of price.  I do respect the goretex faithful, but I’m not a believer.

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StraelGuy [1699 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Also, I think the material your underlayers are made for has an effect. When it's really cold, I wear a merino long sleeve underlayer. I don't know quite how it works but any water that reaches my skin seems to instantly turn into a layer of warm steam. You might be wet but you don't feel wet and stay nice and warm.

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Chris Hayes [427 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Fluorescent pink gloves, overshoes (and sometime a back pack cover if I'm carrying one) with good lights are my concession to visibility. Then you can wear whatver jacket you like... Bright pink spinning overshoes are great for visibility - and though I've had drivers slow down to take the piss, at least they slowed down.

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