B'Twin's Tilt 500 Urban Cycling Jacket is just the ticket for short commutes in cold weather. It's very windproof, well-insulated, shrugs off showers and is reversible if you like a bit of dayglo in your life. And all for forty quid: it's hard not to like, really.
The jacket is made from polyester inner and outer layers with a thin sandwich of insulation in between. The surfaces have a Novadry™ water-repellent coating; the outer is a mottled dark blue and the inner a fluorescent yellow. It's reversible, so you can look lairy if you like. Outside there are two zipped front pockets and a chest pocket, and also a phone pocket to the rear (no zip on that one).
The yellow side has two simple fabric pockets with no closure, so if you want to carry valuables and be bright you're better off zipping them inside. There's a full hood, a zip with a storm flap and reflective detailing, and soft cuffs. The fit is good for the bike, slightly lowered at the rear and plenty of length in the arms. The front zip can be a bit fussy at times, and the storm flap gets caught a bit too easily, but it's not too bad.
If you've got a chilly commute to do, the Tilt is just the ticket. It's impressively windproof and nice and cosy in the cold weather. You won't want to be going after any big hill sessions because you'll cook, but it's perfect for a leisurely run to work, or the shops, or the pub. If it rains then you'll likely survive: the water beads off pretty well and even when the fabric gets damp on the outside it doesn't transfer too much moisture to the inside. The hood is a fairly close fit so you can wear it when riding without it blowing back or channeling too much cold air down your neck. It does seriously restrict your peripheral vision though.
I found the Tilt jacket worked best with a long-sleeve merino top underneath. It can get a bit clammy if you have bare arms next to the inside and you get a bit sweaty, a thin layer of wool is just the job to keep you comfy. I've worn it on some extended commutes (10 miles or so) over varied terrain on the coldest mornings we've managed so far this year, about 7-8°c, and it was on the warm side of just right. When the mercury drops a bit more, it'll be ideal.
It's good off the bike too, although I'd prefer a less garish colour scheme for that. B'Twin do a dark/light blue version, but that's currently out of stock. There are three women's versions too, in grey/pink, burgundy/pink and navy/orange. It's just a really useful coat. It's very packable (it comes with a stuff sack) and would be brilliant for touring, you'd just live in it off the bike and for the cold bits on it. And at £40 a pop you wouldn't shed too many tears if it got a bit scuffed up. General dirt and grime can be removed with a cool wash in the machine.
It's impossible to review this without making reference to the Vulpine Ultralight Jacket which I've also been testing recently as it's a similar kind of a coat. That's more nicely made and it's better in the rain. It's a bit warmer, too. It's four times the price of this, mind. The Tilt jacket does a bang-up job most of the time and with a hood, a stuff sack thrown in, and the fact that it's reversible, it's arguably more versatile overall. You may not want the fluoro and it certainly doesn't work as well in terms of pockets and zips when it's that way round, but other colours are available (assuming they come back into stock) and you don't need to reverse it if you don't want to.
Most of all, the Tilt is a straight-up bargain. Forty quid for a really versatile jacket that you could use for all sorts of stuff, leisure and commuting riding included. Definitely one to recommend.
Excellent all-purpose coat for commuting and pretty much everything else in cold weather; a bargain
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Make and model: BTwin Tilt 500 Urban Cycling Jacket
Size tested: Large
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?
The b'Twin Tilt 500 Cycling jacket for men keeps you warm when on your bike but also looks very stylish. It is reversible and the bright yellow fabric really makes you stand out. A HIGH VISIBILITY, LIGHTWEIGHT, COMPACT JACKET!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Day and night: reversible neon product, reflective zips visible at over 50 m.
Interior padding, regulates body warmth during your activities.
NOVADRY water repellent and wind proof fabric for protection against showers.
Store product in a cover to take it with you everywhere you go.
Freedom of movement
The cut is perfectly suited to cycling (back, neck, and arms covered).
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It's comfy and well-made.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit, warm, well thought out.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Doesn't work as well when reversed.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The overall performance is good and it's an absolute bargain.
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.