Most cycle clothing features a dab or two of reflective material, but the Pixel fabric technology used by Belgian company Bioracer, as tested in the Bioracer Proven Winter Protect Bib Tights and Jacket here, takes reflectivity to another level. As well as raising the visibility bar, making it ideal for commuters and winter training, the Race Proven clothing offers superb fit, insulation, bad weather protection and comfort. It's a lot of performance and practicality at a competitive price.
There's a growing appetite for reflective cycling clothing, but there are also cyclists who don't want to look like a lollipop person when they're out for a ride. Compromise no more with Pixel technology, as it allows huge slabs of reflective material to be added to the tights and jacket that, during the day time, don't stand out. Shine a light on it and it lights right up.
The really clever thing about Pixel technology is that it can be printed with any design or colour; it's not limited to the silver colour that normally signals a reflective detail. Bioracer is a company that does a lot of custom team kit across Europe and here in the UK, and to demonstrate the colour matching ability of the Pixel technology, they sent the kit in the colours of the Islington Cycling Club, a relatively new club started in North London a couple of years ago.
Bioracer use Pixel technology in a number of jerseys, jackets and tights. There's quite a range, but the Race Proven Winter Protect Bib Tights (£108.60) and Race Proven Winter Jacket (£112.10) are ideally suited to current winter conditions, providing adequate warmth and good protection from road spray and rain showers. Both garments sit in Bioracer's Race Proven range, designed for competition racing with an athletic cut and a focus on aerodynamics.
As I've been wearing them together, it makes sense to review them together.
The Race Proven Winter Jacket is ideally suited to the freezing temperatures of winter. It provides a high level of insulation due to the windproof and water resistant Tempest Protect material used on the main body panels.
The Pixel fabric is used for the entire arms, shoulders and the three rear pockets, and provides a very high level of weather protection as well as being hugely reflective. You really stand out on the road in this jacket, with full 360 degree visibility. It's not guaranteed to make you safer on the roads, but I couldn't help but feel a little safer when riding in the dark, especially as all my riding is on pitch black country lanes.
As well as being reflective, the Pixel fabric is a three-layer design, with a breathable inner layer, a windproof and water resistant middle layer, and the reflective outer layer. It's combined with their Tempest fabric in these two garments, a thermal material with a brushed microfiber layer that's windproof, breathable, quick drying, and water-resistant thanks to a treatment that is woven into the fabric so it's permanent, unlike some external treatments.
It's warm enough that you can get away with just a long sleeve base layer, or layer appropriately for the conditions, ride speed and intensity, or other factors that influence how many layers you personally prefer to wear. The fit is unashamedly close cut but the size I tested is similar to a medium from Sportful or Rapha, to give some comparison. It wasn't at all restrictive or hindering on the freedom of movement on the bike.
The jacket is well appointed with details. Three large rear pockets with a fourth zipped side pocket provides plenty of stowage capacity for all the gear you need for a longer winter ride. The cuffs are long and elasticated and form an airtight and comfortable seal around the wrists. The collar is high to provide some protection to the neck, the rear tail is dropped down and there's a full-length windproof and waterproof main zipper.
The Race Proven Protect bib tights are the perfect accompaniment to the Winter Jacket. They're made from a Super Roubaix fabric with a brushed fleece inside that is comfortable next to the skin, and provides adequate warmth to keep legs warm on long and cold winter rides, I took them out on rides when the temperature rarely got above zero and with a strong wind blowing, and no complaints from a lack of insulation.
And like the jacket, they employ the Pixel fabric to great effect. Used in small panels on the side of the legs and across the top of the bum, they provide a significant visibility boost for low light and night time riding. Inside is a comfortable padded insert with a dimple technology, anatomic shape and four-way elastic. It's as comfortable an insert as any from Castelli or Assos, and provides ample long ride comfort.
The bibs are a good fit, snug around the legs and hips with stirrup hooks at the end of the legs. The bib straps are wide and comfortable and place no noticeable pressure on the shoulders. Between the straps around the back is a large mesh panel, and the front comes up quite high providing a generous overlap with your lower torso.
The jacket and tights make an outstanding winter cycling outfit, with loads of warmth with plenty of breathability to prevent overheating, and fantastic wind and rain protection to keep you shielded from the most horrible weather you're brave enough to venture out in.
The Pixel technology is a fantastic addition. While it's impossible to say for certain how much safer it actually makes you when cycling in the dark and being spotted by other road users, with its huge slabs of reflectivity, I couldn't help but feel safer in this kit when heading out into the dark country lanes for an evening or early morning ride. The Pixel technology is a game changer.
Highly reflective performance cycle clothing with excellent fit and bad weather protection
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Make and model: Bioracer Race Proven Winter Protect Bib Tights and Jacket
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?
The Race Proven Winter Jack is a highly insulative winter training jack with strategically placed Pixel 100 inserts. This 100% windproof fabric provides superior wind protection, even when you're training at a lower pace and intensity. The outer layer of this fabric is reflective and provides maximum visibility in the dark, for improved rider safety.
Winter jacket, made of Tempest Protect, a warm and windproof fabric
Pxl 100 sleeves and collar, with reflective Pixel inserts
3 ergonomic backpockets
Water and windproof zip with zipper garage
Aero race cut.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The long Race Proven pants is available in a Lycra and Temp Control version. These two elastic and muscle supporting fabric types each have their own specific properties. The Lycra used mostly for cycle shorts always guarantees optimal wearing comfort and excellent mobility. In the Temp Control version, these long Race Proven pants from elastic fleece fabric is specifically suitable for cooler and even colder climatic weather conditions. The brushed inside of the Temperature Control fabric used for this pants ensures excellent insulation. By including polyamide yarns for this fabric, the internal ventilation is optimally controlled. To keep the long Race Proven pants on properly, one can choose between ergonomic straps or an elastic short fastening. The foot straps applied at the bottom of the trouser legs also contribute to the sleek and slim fit of these Race Proven long pants.
Fantastic class-leading fit and the fabric works wonders to provide good insulation with enough breathability to prevent overheating.
The great fit enhances comfort but it has to be noted it's fitted, designed for slim racers, though they do offer a wide range of sizes.
The performance is as good as clothing costing twice as much, and the Pixel technology is something that other clothing brands just don't even get close to. If you do a lot of riding in the dark, it doesn't get much better than this.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
High performance clothing that looks good during the day time and illuminates you like a lighthouse at night.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, comfortable padded insert, warm and breathable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much to find fault with.
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 Pixel technology is a game changer.
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.